Monday, December 27, 2010

New Things For Old

To really start a new thing, you have to both carefully remember and completely put aside the old things.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Setting limits - defining what you say "no" to - can seem like putting yourself in a box. View it, instead, as putting the things that you're not comfortable with in boxes. You can then maneuver around them or examine them more closely if you choose.

By sequestering them, quarantining them, putting these jobs/projects/conditions under glass - you are being both honest and wise. Few situations are worse than taking a job you you don't want. Either you or the client - and probably both - will be disappointed.

So set your rules and stick to them. When an opportunity arises that is on your "no" list, be clear (with yourself, at least) that it's not the type of thing you normally do.

You can always give it a second look. Remember - you're not in the box.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Know when to say yes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Know when to say no.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Your Word Matters

Of course your word matters to your clients and colleagues - while managers, marketers, and those who hold the budget can make idle promises, it's somewhat ironic that anyone with a foot in the creative realm really has to take care to deliver on what he (or she) says. Designers, producers, writers, artists - we are often thought of as being less grounded, less disciplined, than the suits.
But they expect us to deliver - and that's right, and that's fine.

The point today is different, but no less important. The point is to keep your promises to yourself. If you swore you'd never do X, then make sure you don't. If you said to yourself Y and Z would happen, move the world if you must to make them happen.

Treat yourself right.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crap beats zip

When you need to come up with an idea and you're drawing a blank, write something down. Even "the bad idea that I can't even come up with" is something you can change.

More often, you're coming up with lots of things - and they're all bad.

Pick the one you like the most (or - more likely - hate the least) and write that one down. Now you've got something, even if it's something bad.

Crap beats zip.

Usable or Secure?

Overcomplicating things can cost serious money.

By going all-out for security and designing $100 bills thought to be nearly impossible to counterfeit, Uncle Sam succeeded in designing $100 bills that the Treasury found nearly impossible to print.

"...the quarantined bills add up to $110 billion -- more than 10 percent of the entire U.S. cash supply, which now stands at around $930 billion.

The flawed bills, which cost around $120 million to print, will have to be burned." -- From Zachary Ross's piece on Yahoo -

Given that there is no plan to retire the existing $100 dollar bills, the level of protection this debacle was intended to provide for the US money supply is debatable. And it's doubtful anyone would argue that any currency is impossible to counterfeit. The counterfeiters may well have an easier time developing these superfranklins than the Mint.

The security consultants should have made room at the table for someone with a usability background - or someone with hands-on knowledge of printing currency.

As Franklin himself is so often quoted (paraphrased, really) - "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."

He who trades a usable product for a secure one will have neither.

Franklin's original quote, in the interest of completeness, is: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Friday, December 3, 2010


Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Multitasking is enticing. But can you really do three things at one time as well as you can do one?

It may be that in our quest to work smarter,not harder we are in fact working harder and less well.

Racing to hit the milestones, it's easy to miss the point.