Jon Dwoskin's re:THINK Blog: Building Camaraderie in a Tech-Driven Society with R.J. King - icon

The importance of making connections on a personal level.   

Everywhere you look today there are iPhones and Air Pods. It seems as though people are connecting less and less. Everyone is glued to their phones, seemingly all the time. Do we miss that personal connection with one another? What would it take for us to get back to a place where our personal interactions are more frequent than our phone interactions?

R.J. King is the editor of DBusiness Magazine, a business he started in 2006 after an illustrious career writing for the Detroit News. He is also the author of a number of books, including, Detroit: Engine of America, which brought to mind the idea of camaraderie.

Below is an excerpt from the “Rapid Fire” portion of my conversation with R.J. on my THINK Business podcast, which led to some great insight.

Jon Dwoskin (JD): share with me your favorite book and why.

R.J. King (RK): …what pops up is Detroit: Engine of America because it really was a book that people didn’t appreciate. Detroit is older than the country by about 80 years; it’s the oldest city in the Midwest. And, when people started moving west, starting in the 1800s, they came to Detroit…because of that, we were able to build this amazing manufacturing economy. I still reread the book before I do presentations because there’s just so much in there that happened here. It just blew me away with all the research and just the strength and spirit of the people. I mean, in front of city hall there was a garden and it said, “Welcome, thrice, welcome.” And, that kind of blew me away because people were just so nice.

JD: …What’s one more piece of your book that people will…walk away with when they’re done reading?

RK: I think the spirit of camaraderie. When the…stakes were against us, people just didn’t care about their political parties or religious affiliation. They just came together to solve a problem. And, a lot of that happened when Detroit in the 1800s, 1700s even, everything was made of wood. So if there was a fire that was just an incredible emergency, especially if it occurred in the winter. And, literally you had people…down at the riverfront handing pails of water across a line…you just don’t think about that anymore. Cause we’re so blessed with amazing fire departments. But back then, I think it was that spirit of camaraderie and togetherness that pulled everybody through. And I wish we had more of that.

JD: Yeah. How do we get more of that? How do we get more camaraderie…in a day and age where everyone’s on their phones?

RK: I think…the politicians are really good at putting everybody in little boxes and if you’re not in this little box, then you’re nobody. And we’ve got to stop doing that. We got to stop judging people. We’ve got to be open and, and helpful and…really reaching out to people and being involved in charities and nonprofit organizations…I tell my nieces and nephew this all the time, that the secret to life can be summed up in two words: Add value. Whatever you’re doing, just add value and you’ll be fine.

What a great thought, “Whatever you’re doing, just add value.” In short, R.J. King has us reTHINKing:

  • Thinking about others is a trait to be valued.
  • Putting someone in a box only limits their unique ability to make an impact.
  • Being open and helpful is a great way to build camaraderie.

To hear more of my interview with R.J. King click here.

Think BIG!