Where are the communities for creative coders? For designers? Not just to show their work, but to actually connect, collaborate, and grow together? I got the chance to visit Figma’s developer advocate, Jake Albaugh, in their San Francisco office to talk about why creativity matters — and how to find people to share and grow with.

Jake Albaugh wants you to build stuff simply for the joy of creation. The act of creating has intrinsic value; it doesn’t need to be monetized to matter. This mindset is crucial for fostering innovation and maintaining a sense of curiosity in an increasingly commercialized digital landscape.

The web started out as an open playground, filled with limitless possibilities and mostly free of consequences. Creative experimentation was the norm, because no one had agreed on how to use the internet yet. But as the internet has become more of a vehicle for commerce, the spirit of free experimentation moved to the fringes.

”It feels like there are fewer and fewer places to do that goofy stuff,” Jake said. There’s pressure to make everything commercially viable — to always be productive — that makes the idea of playful experimentation start to feel like a guilty pleasure.

But play is a core part of how we learn. Making space to goof around with something new in a low-stakes environment is a proven path to innovation. It’s counterintuitive, but actively choosing not to be productive is a great way to discover new ideas and connections that might just end up as the catalyst for your next great career move.

Jake tries to lead by example here, constantly using (and misusing) tools to make things that generate absolutely no shareholder value, and along the way he’s been able to create a body of work that landed him a job as a developer advocate at Figma.

The importance of community is something Jake believes in strongly. Surrounding yourself with others who celebrate exploration and playful uses of technology is the key to staying inspired.

Everything is so serious — finding a way to stay playful, to stay curious, gives us a chance to find joy in a world that can otherwise try to force us to only value direct return on investment.

The fun is the point. The community is the point. The growth is a bonus.

If you want to keep goofing around on the web, do it in public! Be weird! Share it with Jake and me! Bring back fun on the web.