Birth of an App, Part 7

Birth Of An App

Pictures chosen and edited – check.
Stories written and edited – check.
Categories (finally) decided and named – check.
Music composed and optimized for the iPad – check.
App optimizing and troubleshooting completed – check. (Although there were some pesky crashes on the iPad 1 that needed some serious analysis and work. All stable now, thankfully.) (more…)

Ten years on

Ten years ago this week I walked off a plane from the US into a new era in my life. What started out as a chapter unexpectedly turned into a volume. Life is like that sometimes.

I could not have anticipated, even dreamed of, all the changes in my life that were coming – good and bad, happy and sad, adventurous and boring. But that’s why it’s called a life journey, no?
I’ve learned and grown so much in this time that it’s nearly impossible to put the lessons to words. It’s also hard to comprehend how much more there must be to learn in life if this era is any indication of what’s yet to come.

I won’t list out the world changes that have happened over the decade (a DECADE already!), as even I would be bored with such a list and I’d start sounding like my grandmother… To give you a rough feel, when I embarked on this adventure 9/11 hadn’t occurred and the iPod – much less the iPhone – hadn’t been invented yet. So many changes in such a short time.

These few years have seen the end of one and, through a maze of others, the birth of a new, loving relationship. My first grandchild made his entrance a short two years ago! I’ve gone through another career transition, moving onward and upward. I have again learned the difference between friend and acquaintance – always a tough lesson for me. And that’s just a taste of what’s transpired in my little corner of the world.

My photography has been published a number of times (plus a show) and has taken its right position, moving from serious hobby to the core of my soul – where it was all the time actually, I just had to recognize and embrace it. I’ve finally found how to balance work and creativity, get them to work together and feed each other – and pay the bills, all at the same time. No small feat but oh, so worth it.

It’s been a fascinating decade. We’ve all experienced the past 10 years, each in our own way, full of our unique experiences; the good, the bad, the lovely, the ugly – it’s all ours. I, for one, can’t begin to imagine what the next ten will bring, but I am curious…


Saying yes or saying no


It’s always a choice we make when made an offer of any kind. Brian Lanker, an outstanding photographer of our generation passed away last week. I never met him, but my mentor, Howard Stephens, offered to introduce me to either Mr. Lanker or his mentor, Rich Clarkson, when I graduated from college. I don’t exactly remember which one he offered – too many years have gone by – but the memory of this offer was jogged to life when I read the news of Mr. Lanker’s passing.

When I left school I felt the need (nay, it was fully expected of me) to be productive; my father and his father before him were businessmen, so I should be also. Not follow in their footsteps exactly, but go out and make my way in the world. (And a reasonable expectation it was, I believe.)

While I was doing some excellent photography in school, I had also been doing some reasonably good writing, been published, etc. Due to this recent “success”, when faced with needing to live on what I earned, I chose the writing path. This path, through many years of training, more school, opportunities and decisions, successes and failures, evolutions and morphing has brought me, ultimately, to where I am today. And it’s been a good journey.

The interesting or strange part is that I did not take Howard up on his offer. All he offered was an introduction; no guarantee of opportunity or employment or even an interview, just a chance that an acquaintance of his might give me the time of day to discuss the business and perhaps my opportunities. For whatever reason, I said no. No to the possibility of a conversation that might lead to an open door or even just move my career forward in some fashion. No to the chance to meet an interesting person and learn something from him. I have no idea why I did this.

While I don’t regret my decision to follow the writing and ultimately marketing direction, (although I am curious about the “what if” had I pursued photography from the beginning), I have learned over the years to say yes more than I say no. No, as I’ve written before is a showstopper. All action ends at “no”. Yes on the other hand moves things forward, for better or worse and from a sample size N=1, I say it’s usually better.

Saying “no” closes the door on an unknown opportunity whereas we never know where “yes” may lead unless we simply say, “Yes.”


Is your “Evil Plan” ready?

I’ve been grappling with the seemingly odd mix of my professional life: strategy consulting, photography and creative workshops. How they fit together – or not. I find myself answering the question “So what are you doing these days?” with “A mix of marketing strategy and photography – two separate parts of my life.” But I’m learning that they’re not separate – they’re part of a whole and absolutely interrelated.

I credit a number of folks helping me sort through this recently: my good friends DK of Mediasnackers and Jay Liebenguth, designer Zoli Reczey, and, most recently, the book “Evil Plans” by Hugh MacLeod.
Each of these sources of inspiration has shown me that there is an umbrella to what I do: offer a new perspective to all of my projects. Stand on my desk (or your desk) and see things in a different light. Whether it’s marketing strategy, a creative thinking workshop or my photography the common link is that of my perspective. How I approach strategy for a business or conducting a workshop or composing an image is one and the same: to bring a unique and meaningful alternative perspective to the subject.

This sorting out is an evolutionary process with many “Ah-ha!” moments tossed in to keep the momentum going. It’s a journey and it’s not just about the destination but taking in the scenery (and lessons) along the way as well. My plan is coming together – it has been over the past few years – and within the span of the past couple of weeks the vision has become significantly clearer.

What is an Evil Plan? As MacLeod writes, it’s the determination to “make a good living doing what [you] love, doing something that matters [and] becoming the person [you] were born to be despite the odds.” (By the way, this is one of the few books in recent years that I could not put down until it was finished.)

We all have the capacity to develop an Evil Plan – it just takes determination, listening, learning and a lot of hard work.


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