Ben Holliday

Having an opinion

Up until about 3 years ago I wasn’t a regular blogger.

I’ve come to realise that I was afraid to share anything that might sound too much like a personal opinion, especially if that meant people disagreeing with me.

As I’ve published more, my confidence to write and share what I really think has increased. I’ve realised that people are only interested in reading what I write because I’m prepared to have an opinion. If I’m only repeating what other people say then the effort of writing isn’t worth it.

Also, if I only share finished ideas or the things that I’m certain about, this doesn’t support how I work and learn. I like the idea that our ideas are always a series of rough drafts. We have to be brave enough to put things out there, and if necessary, to prove ourselves wrong.

I have been fortunate. I’ve never been attacked online. I’ve only had to ever block a couple of people on Twitter, and I recognise the privilege and protection I have as a white male working in tech. I also understand that some people choose not to work in the open, blog, or even make their Twitter accounts open for very good reasons.

In design and startup culture there’s an echo chamber. We can easily fall into saying the same things, and have unconscious biases. This makes what we do closed to ‘outsiders’ and the diversity of opinions we need if we’re going to keep improving and growing as an industry.

It’s important that we’re all honest enough to say what we think or share our real working experiences, even when we disagree. This is how communities grow stronger. For me, working in the open is how we help more companies to organise themselves around a more human-centred design approach.

When someone I respect like Matt, says he doesn’t always agree with me, this make me happy. It shows that we’re part of the right kind of digital community.

As I said last Sunday evening:

The point of writing a personal blog is to help shape what I think (in the open). It’s often about being prepared to prove myself wrong. It’s great being part of a digital community (especially in government) that’s prepared to talk openly and have different opinions.

I can honestly say that all the best things in my career over the past few years have happened because of the conversations I’ve had in public and the things I’ve written and shared.

It’s true that we don’t always disagree respectfully enough, but I would still encourage everyone to write a blog. As a creative industry we want diversity of opinions and different voices in every conversation.

Join the conversation

We want to know about your work. Your unique experiences.

Everyone is welcome to disagree, as long as they’re willing to have an opinion (and not just someone else’s).

Finally, it makes me glad when I see that others are writing because I am, like this post published yesterday by Will. Writing and sharing is a habit and sometimes we just need a nudge to get started again.

Footnote. I’ll take coming 3rd for a Jukesie as a 2016 highlight. Thanks Matt.

This blog post is part of an experiment where I’m writing and publishing something everyday. This is day 15: everyday is an opportunity to write something – previous blog posts.

This is my blog where I’ve been writing for 18 years. You can follow all of my posts by subscribing to this RSS feed. You can also find me on Bluesky, less frequently now on X (formally Twitter), and on LinkedIn.