Ben MacGowan

Ben is the UI Evangelist for Creative Jar, a digital agency based in Reading, UK. Passionate about emerging technologies and bringing static visuals and interfaces to life resulting in only the best user experiences. He's a developer, speaker, writer and event organiser. Co-founding Breaking Borders back in 2013 has awoken a drive to share knowledge and creating safe environments for people within the industry, leading to the organisation of ConfConf. He can be found via his personal site or Twitter.

Published Thoughts

Working in this industry seems to come at a cost. For most it is a rollercoaster of soaring highs and rock-bottom lows.

In my relatively short career, I have already had quite a few highs and lows. It’s only really been from knowing myself, through learning from others, that I haven’t thrown in the towel.

My dad is, and has been, an alcoholic for the entirety of my life. My dad often tells me, sober or not, that I am turning into him.

What I tell him is that – thankfully – I’ve learnt from his mistakes to ensure that doesn’t happen. He’s taught me, for the most part, what not to be.

Having a passion and a job that I (you) love is great, but don’t let it become who you are.

Sure, I work long hours and try to do “all the things”, but I also make sure I have other things that take me away from it. I’m a theatre lover, a dancer, a TV fanatic, and lucky enough to have amazing friends who take me into a different world.

I’ve seen my dad’s career as a software developer, owning his own company, and his spiral into the situation we are in today. I know the pitfalls of his work ethic. Having no work day structure, working in isolation, not being able to admit failure, even handling money poorly. These are all things I’ve learnt from him and take into my working life. That’s a major factor as to why I work at an agency, because I can avoid what I know will be detrimental to me.

It’s not always perfect. Nobody is always perfect. However through these lessons I’ve learnt how to identify problems, feelings, and adapt. Is there anyone who you can take similar lessons from? We don’t always have to be the ones that make the mistakes in order to learn from them.

I love my dad. Forgive his faults and his mistakes, he provided an amazing childhood for me and my siblings. I would not change my childhood, as he has influenced me and shaped me into the person I am today.