Birth Of An App, Part 6

The Ipad Experience

My first experience with the app on an iPad was amazing! The vision I had months earlier was actually a living, breathing, application. The diagrams, sketches and words on paper had changed into animations and transitions I could touch. I could actually play with the app and see what the experience was going to be for the users.

Now it was crunch time. Five yet-unnamed categories were needed with around 20 images and stories each. I had completed one story to date… I had a bunch of ideas scattered across scraps of paper, emails, my iPad and my laptop but they were often incomplete thoughts and in need of illustration. (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…


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.


Promises and changes


Last year I promised myself to write regularly and keep this blog going with, hopefully, interesting and meaningful content. Here it is eight months into the year without a single new post. Hardly qualifies as either a commitment or a blog.

But, early in the year changes were afoot. Good changes, actually. I’ve finally learned that when life presents changes one can react in two basic ways: freak out or embrace the change. I’ve done both in my past and can tell you that embracing change is a far better option. It’s better to be rowing a boat in the ocean taking on the new than waiting for the current to take you somewhere as you ask yourself why you’re where you are.

I’ve also learned that everything I’ve done up to this point in my life has prepared me for what comes next. All of my experiences, decisions, training, study, travel have laid the groundwork for the next step in my life. This is the absolute truth.

So now I find myself renewed, recharged and bursting with energy for the new projects I have undertaken. It was time for a change, I’ve embraced it with both hands and, true to form, everything I’ve done up to this point in my life has prepared me for the work I’m doing today.

Life is good.

Standing on your desk

Work with me on this one.

Right now, after you have read this paragraph, I want you to stand on your desk. Not on the chair, not on the floor beside your desk, but on top of the desk itself. While you are up there, take a good look around. Look especially at the surface layout of your workspace, the computer, chair, trashcan, phone, projects, papers, “in” box, whatever. Then review the layout of your office (or whatever your space or “day home” is comprised of), the position of your desk, chairs, other furniture and their relationship to the rest of the visible workspace near you, the door, a window. Do it now and take your time. Yes, you will feel silly, but it will be worth it.

(I’m humming theme music while you’re up there.)

What did you see? Just a bunch of papers and office equipment? (If so, read on and then try the experiment again.) Or did you gain a high-level perspective on your work life? I do this about once a year and find that there are always improvements I can make to my work environment – piles that should not be there (either at all or could be moved out of the way/closer to me), a better layout to my desk which would be more comfortable – the phone here instead of there, the monitor in a different location which improves visibility and maybe increases the work surface of my desk. A layout that facilitates ingress/egress to my desk, improves the view from my chair, invites guests into my space. It even provides a new view of my work by itself – just exactly what it is I am working on at that moment.

We all need a new or different perspective from time to time to help us see things in literally a new light. Andre Kertesz, as I’ve mentioned before, regularly captured unique perspectives in his photographs. Views from a second story window of the street below and the patterns created by people and objects. A camera angle from underneath a structure looking up into it changed the structure from its functional role to one of beauty. He continually challenged the normal perspective when approaching his work.

Try this experiment and see if you gain a different perspective on your work or life.  Is there something in your life – personally or professionally that needs to be looked at from an entirely different viewpoint? How did standing on your desk alter your view, in a practical and theoretical sense?

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