Food for thought and the Whale

I read Hugh McLeod book (and recommend it), and subscribe to his blog as well.

The post from yesterday had some great highlights, most from a cartoonist life/career perspective, but I think some apply to anyone who is creative and wants to find that unique path of doing something fun/meaningful/hopefully profitable.

I wanted to share a few quotes that made me nod in agreement and think more:

Cons­tantly set­ting new goals, artis­tic or other­wise, is har­der than it looks.

Everything I own would easily fit in the back of a small pic­kup truck. I’ve never been into pos­ses­sions.

One of the smar­test moves I ever made was to figure HGH out HGH that making money indi­rectly off the car­toons was far easier than trying to make the money directly. If I could teach gaping­void rea­ders just one thing, that would be it.

The most impor­tant word in car­too­ning is “con­ti­nuity”. Dra­wing a good car­toon isn’t dif­fi­cult. Doing it repea­tedly, day-in, day-out is far, far harder. (this one resonates with my conversation with Mike yesterday, where he said “Every day, it’s a chisel strike. In the end, you’ll get a beautiful sculpture”)

The lon­ger it takes you to become suc­cess­ful, the har­der it will be for some­body else to take it away from you.

Source: Hugh’s post

Source: The Whale on Gapingvoid

Phone > wallet. Do you agree?

I was meeting a friend yesterday at 23rd street, and as I was exiting the F subway station, someone stole my wallet. I could actually feel my little bag get lighter as I was walking up the steps (or perhaps during the turnstile exit). And of course – it was unzipped open with the wallet nowhere to be found. Silly me, I started to look on the ground thinking I dropped it, instead of looking at people – I’m 95% sure it was a person actually pulling it out of the bag, and not me just dropping it. In any case – it was lost and gone.

My second thought was “Thank goodness it was only a wallet, not the phone!” (first thought was a long train of expletives). Then I thought it was interesting – in today’s world it’s more annoying to lose a phone. Whatever is in the wallet – cards, ID, cash, is totally and quickly replaceable. I called banks within minutes and cancelled my cards (only carry 1 debit and 1 credit card). Then I happily went on my way to meet my friend and enjoy the rest of the evening. She had to treat me, poor money-less person, to dinner – yay :)

Then it also got me thinking about iOS’s Passbook feature, and how it would really be helpful to have everything from your wallet in the Passbook, in my example store gift cards. I had a couple in the wallet (no biggie), but instead of carrying them around, it would be so much better to have them on your phone. If you could have an Apple gift card in your Passbook – why not others? Looks like Starbucks started first to offer it, and now thanks to the app Gyft you can put almost any gift card on your phone. And how soon will we be having everything on our phone, without needing cards or anything else physical on us, at any given time?

One more note of kudos to the New York State DMV site – you can order a duplicate driver’s license online without any hassle! It made me so happy – no need to go anywhere or wait in lines; just pay and submit your info online, and done! I did it lying on my couch from my phone – very cool.

Would you be more upset if you lost your phone or your wallet?

Favorite business/creativity/life books

I just started reading the book about Richard Branson (thanks Sean for the epub file!), and thought I’d list similar books by great people that really stuck with me. The books that make you want to do stuff, or grab your life and live it to its fullest, or both. The list is short, that’s why it’s good – only the best books (in my humble opinion), made it.

Ignore Everybody by Hugh McLeod
This book is not only witty and full of great life stories from the author and advice on how to stay creative and make a business out of it, but also has great hilarious cartoons sprinkled throughout. You can just read one chapter at a time, all of them are humorous, insightful and inspirational.

Steal Like an artist by Austin Kleon

I wrote about this book previously. It’s short, smart and highly enjoyable for anyone who’s even a tiny bit creative (=all of us).

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
I forgot how I stumbled upon this book, but it’s by a very technical guy, who worked at some very innovative companies, and then was teaching CS at Carnegie Mellon. It’s a great, very inspiring read, and includes not only thoughts on technology and career but life in general and priorities and decisions one has to make before death. Highly recommended.

If you don’t have big breasts, put ribbons in your pigtails by Barbara Corcoran
Sean got me this e-book after we watched a few episodes of the first season of Shark Tank. We really like the show, and Barbara Corcoran is one of the “sharks” (multimillionaire businessmen and women who successfully made it, and have enough time, money and influence to help entrepreneurs achieve their business goals).

The title of the book is funny, but the content is great. Barbara writes about her life from childhood (being one of many kids in a blue-collar family in NJ), to her first business venture, to running a successful real estate firm in Manhattan. The chapters are short and each one illustrates a point, and I especially appreciate her perspective from a woman who doesn’t talk about beaten women-in-business related cliches, but rather describes her experience straight and to the point. Loved it.

I’m always, always on a lookout for great books, so feel free to send suggestions in the comments.

11 great rules from Swissmiss

This past week I finally had a chance to watch the video of Swiss Miss’s talk at this years SXSW.

A wonderful talk – definitely watch it, I especially love the fact that she doesn’t complain and just does stuff (and that includes building things, teams and having a family).

And as I was hoping to just find her 11 rules written out somewhere online, Rashi of BucketofSquash actually put it in a very neat graphic. Thanks Rashi!


When I grow up…

… I wanna become Richard Branson. For the ability to speak with British accent, working on awesomest projects, having an actual life, family and fun outside of work, and owning islands in the Caribbean. And to top that off, a few billions of net worth.

The news of of us. And the fact that Richard Branson and his teams made this happen absolutely deserves admiration and applause.

I long wanted to read his books and downloaded whatever was available for Kindle, and loving it so far. If someone has a copy of “Losing my virginity” – please be so kind and lend it to me (as it’s not Kindle-ized yet for some silly reason). I’m very curious to learn about this great man’s first sexual encounter ;)

What does a Technical Director actually do?

It’s been very busy in the office lately, with a variety of projects going on with my accounts, and I really missed posting to my blog. Aside from work, there has been also a ton on things happening in my personal life, which are all awesome. I created a separate personal blog for that which I’m not ready to share yet, but might do at some point in the future. And then also I traveled for fun and business.

So as busy as the past few weeks have been, I feel lucky and fulfilled to be working on a lot of different things, and have so many things happening in life too. Here I wanted to talk about work a bit more.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been working on 2 large projects, a whole handful of smaller ones, and also new business/strategy. Each of those is so distinctly different, and aside from occasional hassles and mini-annoyances, I enjoy the work. My team completed or just about to complete:

  • a large site redesign and migration of this site to the new larger “umbrella” domain (aside from development and coding, also everything that follows site migration – preserving SEO, doing correct URL rewrites and redirection, thinking about compatibility on mobile devices, tracking, etc.)
  • a large new site launch. The site is brand new and optimized for mobile phone screens. One funny thing on this one was having the only developer assigned to it quit 2 weeks before it had to be done, with nothing done, of course
  • a big bunch of other site updates and enhancements, that even though are small, still require good deal of attention and coordination
  • IA, wireframes, content audit and specifications for a large multi-language website (prior to redesign)
  • brainstorming and idea-generating sessions for a new client for a big product launch
  • day-to-day stuff like answering questions related to any of the above and old projects, helping new hires learn process, managing vendors, etc.

As you can see, this range of work really stretches your potential and makes it very interesting (although creates time challenges). And I love it. Thinking of this made me remember a Show&Tell talk I gave last year about what a typical day in a life of a Technical Director looks like (here’s the link to the deck file). Oh, and I don’t like to brag, but as of January 1st of this year I was promoted to a Sr. Technical Director (I think titles are only somewhat relevant because I kick ass no matter what the job is called :) but still feels awesome, nevertheless!