Design

A course on intuition (and laundry) for Silicon Valley

My family used to joke about making a course for Silicon Valley kids to practice doing laundry and interacting with babies. I live in a strange bubble that designs infrastructure for much of our modern world. It can be a powerful magnifying glass on global issues.

People today are sad. I see it around me and we know it to be statistically and clinically true. Ads, Likes, and Facebook posts like this one, drain our serotonin (the chemical in our brain that makes us happy). I believe Marie Kondo sold over 8 million books because she is an astute business person and has great timing. She offers some relief to a world becoming disconnected and depressed.

At first her method might sound preposterous. Go through your home, category-by-category, holding each item in your hand asking if it sparks joy. Really? I rolled my eyes a bit at first. Anyone who has completed each step knows it is physically and emotionally challenging. But, she says if follow her process just once, you’ll never rebound again. Her book teaches you how to develop intuition-based decision making, a dying art in our robotic world.

I went to a Konmari Consultant training last weekend. Kazuma Yamauchi, Cofounder of Konmari Media, Inc. reminded us how structured and systematic our world has become. The more technology we use, the more we develop or logical and rational minds. Unless we practice our sensitivity skills, we risk losing the intimate relationship with ourselves. As a person who spends most of their day in an office behind a machine, powering more machines, I could relate.

He said that’s why Konmari starts somewhere as personal as our bedroom, instead of the garage or basement. When else do we get to fully dedicate decision making based purely on our own happiness? Not that often really. Among all the new noise pollution out there, some of us need a little practice having quiet conversations with ourselves. One fold at a time.

Because if you can’t enjoy yourself, how can you enjoy anything else?

Design

Track your Konmari™ Profits and Losses [Spreadsheet Template]

 

Between the mountains of clothing and boxes of old photos are hours focused of sweat, tears, and sparks of joy. Don’t lose sight of how much you’re spending to run your business.

[ Download Spreadsheet Template ]

Spreadsheets are lightweight ways to help me track track my profits, losses, and miscellaneous expenses as I go. I plan to start slow, so a lightweight option like this works for me.

How to use this template

  1. Open the Template.
  2. Make a copy of the document. (File, Make a copy)
  3. Input any clients you have worked with, including those you did not charge. It helps to have a full tracking of how many hours you have worked.
  4. Track your expenses thoroughly and accurately. Record any expenses made for your clients, marketing, and self care. Use minus sign for expenses, leave it neutral for profits. Your total earnings, hours spent, and average rate will total in the last row.

If you are pursuing your Konmari™ Consulting journey as a serious part or full time business, consider creating an LLC (for those in the U.S.), separate bank account, and more formal bookkeeping strategy using Quickbooks or ANDCO. By the way, ANDCO handle contracts, invoicing, and payments beautifully. I like this nice guide on how ANDCO works. I hope this sparks joy for you!

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Design

Inspiring Designers [spreadsheet template]

What do you want to do in 5 years? What about 15 years? This question is hard because technology, industries, and what’s possible changes so fast. As a thought exercise, I tracked the career history of ten designers who inspire me in 2015 to help me make my own plan. I figured out it was time to rejoin a product company, continue writing, and most importantly not to worry. Because this activity was so valuable for me, I made a spreadsheet template for you!

Your Inspiring Designers [Template]

Map Your Inspiring Designers

  1. On a sheet of paper, make a list of 10 designers you look up to. See how far you can get without doing deep internet research. Who comes to the top of mind?
  2. Make a copy of the Inspiring Designers spreadsheet template.
  3. Replace the “Your Name” placeholder in the document title (at the top) and spreadsheet tab (at the bottom) with your name.
  4. Track your personal career history. (Row 2)
  5. List the ten designers who inspire you. (Column A)
  6. Focus on Inspiring Designer #1. How are you connected to this designer? Is mentorship in the realm of possibility? (Row 3, column B)
  7. Why is Inspiring Designer #1 interesting to you? Not to twitter. Not to bloggers. Not to investors. To you! (Row 3, column C)
  8. Look up Inspiring Designer #1 on Linkedin. Track their career history in 5 year blocks. If they’re not on Linkedin, do some googling to find a resume, bio, or something close enough. The further back in history you go, the fuzzier the records will get. (Row 3, Columns D-H)
  9. Highlight the jobs Inspiring Designer #1 held that are interesting to you in bold.
  10. Repeat. (Row 3 – 12)
  11. What do all the designers you look up to have in common? Did they take any common themes or career paths? Are they on a similar or wildly different trajectory than you? (Row 16, column B)
  12. What insights can you make from these themes? Do their career paths interest you? Do you want to do something similar? What were these designers doing when you were in high school? Are you on track, behind, ahead, doing something totally different? Do you need to change direction? (Row 17, column B)

That’s it! I hope this helps you look at your own career from a new light. And a big thanks to Ofri Afek, my design manager in 2015 at Pivotal Labs. She initially suggested I make a list of ten designers I look up to. During this activity, we often talked about how careers are so much more than status updates on Linkedin.  But having a view of the past can be meaningful for insights about the future. If you want to learn more about other designers and their backgrounds, check out How They Got There by Khoi Vinh.

In 2015, I learned:

I look up to designers who

  • identify as writers or are connected to journalism
  • were head of a design or product team
  • spent at least 4-years at a single product company growing their career
  • were working as professional designers when I was in high school

If I want to be like these leaders I

  • am on track and possibly ahead of the curve
  • should continue writing for fun
  • should consider joining a product company
  • meet more female design leaders
  • need  mentor!