Interactive. Booyah!

I’ve just uploaded a quick and dirty professional portfolio. Have a look.

I’ve struggled for a long time over how to describe what I do. Art director? Strategist? Front-end developer? Speaker? Consultant? Full-time employee (hint, hint)? In semi-frustration I decided on “Interactive. Booyah!”. My intention is simply to create enough interest that a potential employer (hint, hint) might look a bit deeper into who I am and what I do. Is this a good strategy? I’ll let you know.

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Personal mission statement, take one

For a variety of reasons, I’ve been feeling a bit disconnected lately. Life knocked me off my centre, and I lost my balance. Previously, I had been living in a mostly conscious state, so it’s been uncomfortable and disquieting to find myself reacting, rather than acting.

I’m wise enough at this point to know that what is up will soon be down (and vice versa), so I didn’t panic, knowing I’d eventually come back to centre. I’m relieved that I’m starting to glimpse my equilibrium point, but am frustrated at the pace of change.

In an effort to speed things up, I finally took my own advice and started writing. ‘Lo and behold, it worked (it always does for me). What came from that writing exercise is a personal mission statement designed to guide me through this next stage of life.

The concept of a personal mission statement is as corny as it comes. I didn’t set out to write such a thing. Rather I was trying to understand the thing that was bugging me (uncertainty, instability, insecurity, yadda yadda). In the midst of a couple of pages of stream of consciousness flow, I wrote a simple little paragraph that held an amazing amount of truth. Reviewing it, I realized it is a personal mission statement; it’s a map to what I need to do in order to fulfill my mission (more precisely, my mission at this moment). Here’s what I wrote:

For this next stage of my life, I want to:

  • Design web-based things that have a positive social impact.
  • Have autonomy over the shape of my day.
  • Work with a team of conscious adventurers.
  • Be present with my family.
  • Be able to meet my financial obligations.

Identifying these five points has gotten me a lot closer to my own center. With them, I have context with which I can make career choices. I have a place from which I can reframe my own brand. And I have a road-map of sorts that leads to peace.

Passion FTW! Part deux, WiredWednesday Edition

The fine folks from RedWire asked me to deliver the Passion FTW! talk at their monthly gathering of entrepreneurs. I was very stoked to do so, not least because I got to share a stage with the inimitable Saul Colt and David Crow.

This presentation is a bit different from the previous version. It’s been tweaked to appeal to a broader audience, and generally refined. I think it reads a bit better, and makes more sense as a stand alone piece.

Name that week

The primary project I’m working on at SiG@MaRS over the next few months is a week-long event in Toronto in early June. Together with some amazing partners, we’ll be bringing together the web/tech/agency/communication community with people working to create social change.

The goal of the week is to create opportunities for people in these two different groups to learn and work together. We’ve got some crazy ideas brewing, and plan on having a lot of fun.

We’ve temporarily called the week “Social Tech for Social Change”, but we all feel that the name is too cumbersome. Rather than deciding what to call this thing in a vacuum, I figured we’d put it out to the intended audience to see which name resonates best with you.

Please have a look at the names below – note these aren’t logos, I’ve just made the names pretty ’cause that’s the way I roll. At the bottom of the post is a poll. You can make multiple selections. Go! Go! Go!



The Passion Economy

passioneconomyWhat the hell is the passion economy? Does it exist? Does it matter?

A few months ago, my friend Sean Howard and I got very drunk on expensive white wine and strong Quebec beer (oy, the hangover!). We discovered that we share a passion for, um, passion. Over the following weeks, we met a couple of times to explore models of how passion affects people’s decisions, what passion means, how it’s measured, and to drink more wine.

I was very honored when Sean asked me to contribute the design for an e-book he was putting together specifically on passion and it’s role in the economy. Some seriously big-brained people. You may want to check the authors out on Twitter:


The Passion Economy pdf is released under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license. You are welcome to download, re-upload, distribute and do with as you see fit. I hope you enjoy it. Download at will.

Next!

I think I’m happiest when I’m terrified.

I seem to lack sufficient respect for doing things the easy way. What can I say? I like to make things, and I live to follow my passions. Still, it’s with more than a twinge of trepidation that I announce today that I’m stepping down from my day to day duties at The Blog Studio, the company I founded in 2004, in order to pursue new challenges and opportunities.

The Blog Studio is an awesome business, with a superb team and amazing clients. I’m still a partner, and will be helping with strategy and design on an on-going basis. I’m really proud of Lucia, Mike, and Adam and the business we managed to build together. Thank you guys, from the bottom of my heart.

So what’s next? Lately I’ve become fascinated with helping individuals within local communities connect around their areas of passion. I’ve witnessed first hand that spontaneous social good tends to arise when passionate people get together and are given the tools to act. I don’t know what will come from this, but it’s an area I need to explore.

While that exploration is going on, I’ll be taking on freelance design and consulting work. Please see the new Hire Me page for an overview of the services I offer.

By the way, none of this would be happening if it wasn’t for the amazing depth of awesomeness that is the Toronto Twitter community. Because of this amazing group, I can pull together an all-star team to tackle any size opportunity that comes my way. I also believe that by putting myself back on the market, I may get pulled into other all-star teams. Thanks to all of the amazing people I’ve met in recent months. You inspire me. Let’s see where this thing goes!

Feeling productive

David Seah absolutely floored me with the following observation:

I’ve said before that “personal productivity” is a state of mind; when we feel productive, we are productive.

This ties in with story I’ve been repeating to myself most mornings. I don’t if this is an urban myth or not, but it doesn’t really matter. The story goes like this:

A guy gets sick. He goes to see doctor after doctor after doctor. He has tests and surgeries. And through all the poking and prodding, he retains a cheerful attitude. He never gets cranky. He never gets bitchy. He just smiles and tells funny stories. His doctors and care givers are amazed. “How do you maintain this positive attitude?” they ask.

“It’s easy,” he tells them. “Every morning I have a decision to make; am I going to be happy or am I going to be miserable. I made a conscious decision to always choose happy. I make that one simple decision every day, and what you see are the results of that.”

Lately, as I slowly wake up under the shower, I’ve been telling myself that same story, and making that same decision. It’s helped, and as I develop the habit of doing it, it seems to be helping more and more.

I wonder what would happen if one were to make the same decision about feeling productive…

Stress & Meditation

So, if you’ve been following along, you know life has been difficult for me in the past six weeks. Between my dad dropping dead (literally), friends getting really sick, and clients “forgetting” to pay their bills, my stress chart would look something like this:

stresschart.png

There are a couple of problems with having one’s stress set to high: health deteriorates, work tends to suffer, decision making tends to be impaired, etc etc ad infinitum. Also, it sucks.

But all is not horrible suckage. In my case, the pain associated with the stress has pushed me back into my forgotten habit of meditation.

Meditation is like magic. For me, it acts like a kind of a reset button. After 20 minutes of sitting, I feel refreshed. I’ve dropped the bullshit of the day, and can face the coming day with a greater ability to tolerate more bullshit. Without meditation, I’m sure I would have snapped at more people more often with more ferocity.

Meditation has nothing to do with religion or spiritual beliefs. In it’s simplest form it is mental exercise. True, it often leads to spiritual insights. But that kind of comes as a nice bonus.

Meditating is the simplest, most difficult thing I do. There are many excellent free resources online to help you get into or get back to meditating. I particularly like the zencast podcasts myself. They have some great guided meditations, which are a terrific place to start.