Seth and Jon of Graypants piss me off.

They’re punks with bright eyes that exude creativity. Hanging with them is like having the guy next to you catch a 50-foot wave back to the beach, where a cold one held by a hottie is waiting. Meanwhile, I sit in a sewage outflow waiting for the next set. Jon and Seth are super nice too – if you punched one of them in the face, they’d probably ask if your fist was OK. Like I said: They’re such jerks – and it’s my own fault.

Those two are doing all they can to harness their creativity. They started their business in their own apartment the size of my kitchen – it felt like a sweatshop of young creative idealism on Capitol Hill, the “hip” hub of Seattle. They lived in the same space where they created their designs, a sort-of creative cocoon from which they couldn’t escape if they tried. Then, as if that wasn’t enough to make you feel sick, they recently moved Graypants to a warehouse space that, in its own weird way, is just as creative … yet totally different. It is breathy and light, with acres of space in which to work on larger and larger projects. If you coughed up phlegm – this space would make it creative. Wait … nope. That must be just the dust from the guys working on the roof.

Remember all those collegiate ideals that you dreamt up back in the olden days? Of being a successful uber-creative running your own business? Traveling to exotic lands? Surrounding yourself with fresh, hip, like-minded people?

Ya, they’re doing those things, too. I hate them.

When I met Jon and Seth a few years back, the idea of a business was fresh to them. They called me up for a fact-finding mission on what it’s like to own a creative shop. I think they promised to bring beer, so I agreed to the summit, and I provided what sage advice I had. (Little.) I told them to take these first few years to travel, take chances and do everything with a creative intent. Time would likely tie them down – I, myself, had a mortgage, a wife, two kids, two cars, a studio lease and a handful of employees – all of which take thought, time and devotion outside of a traditional creative process.

Now in a turn of fate, I’ve re-sought my advice – to loosen as many binds as possible, to re-capture that youthful freedom. I was happy with my family though, no changes there – although the kids might be available at a yard sale soon if they don’t shape up. My freedom lied in exiting the long-term studio to hopefully capture a few waves myself.

Now, it’s my turn to visit the Jon and Seth’s studio and take in how they’re managing their future creative business we spoke of those years ago. I get to pepper them with creative questions over beers – unfortunately most of the answers are spot on. It’s hard when the young ones get old enough to succeed on their own.

At minimum, I can resolve myself that I will always have years of hard-earned experience on them. You can see that in my face – and my beer gut. (You can’t top me there, suckas!) In the meantime I can take their actions to heart and remember and act with similar freshness with Wolken Communica. Next stop? Maybe the typewriter museum? The closed rubylith plant? The stat machine graveyard?

To gain my cool technology hipness, I’m off to the Apple store to ask again when the next iPhone is coming out, the one the boys at Graypants have likely been testing for months – they even have Apple in their back pocket.

See what I mean.

(Sigh.) I hate them!

Photo Courtesy of © Lara Swimmer Photography