My Guiding Principles for 2015

January 1, 2015

In the past few years I have abandoned goals/resolutions in favor of themes or guiding principles for the new year. The reason is because sometimes goals set in the past become irrelevant by the end of the year for me. Instead, I try to establish guiding principles of my areas of focus for the year and set smaller goals based on that.

Learn

Be consumed by learning. I feel I did a pretty good job at this in 2014 when I left HTC and was taking a break and working on my side projects before joining Black Pixel. However, I hope to accomplish intensive learning throughout the course of my year without having to quit my job every time!How I will learn this year:

  • Read 15 books for 2015, as per our reading group every year.
  • Immerse myself around people way smarter than me. (This is every day for me at Black Pixel).
  • Go to a museum once a month to see an exhibit.
  • Build something with an Arduino.

Create

For the last few years, I have been rather absent from creating physical objects. My work has been mainly focused on digital products. It was not until when I 3D printed an Apple Watch that I made a physical object and refined it with files, sandpaper, and other tools.Some do not know this about me, but I was an Art major in college. Those four years I spent so much time painting, drawing, photographing, woodworking, metal smithing, and sculpting. I really miss those days and there is really no reason I cannot take those skills and apply it to my job now. In a conversation with a friend, we talked about how working in digital products (design + code) is being an artist in a different medium. That really inspired me to re-calibrate my artistic approach.A few ways to focus on creating:

  • Build device prototypes with soapstone, plaster, or foam core.
  • Spend more time in a machine shop or studio.

Connect

Throughout my career I’ve had many great mentors who helped me get to where I am going now. They really enabled me and donated their time to help me develop as a designer/person when they really did not have to. Now later in my career, I feel like I am in a position where I can give someone some useful guidance.An idea is to meet with a new person a month—someone needing guidance in the industry. It is amazing how an introduction can change someone’s direction or enable them. In addition, I will continue to focus on receiving guidance from my current mentors and new mentors to come.Some ways I will connect:

  • Doing more public speaking and sharing with people. (Shameless plug, I will be speaking at Seattle Xcoders and CocoaConf in Portland this year).
  • Meeting with my present mentors once a quarter to get feedback from them on my career and life.
  • Introduce one person to someone new a month to help connect them to the design community.

Focus

Finding focus to learn, create, and connect. This means having to say no 1000 times to focus on the one yes you want to. It is not easy to do, but is necessary. In order to do this, I need to focus on what the goals I have are and stay committed to that, even if other enticing things come up and distract me from the goals. Now that said, goals can also change.This also applies to my personal life. I want to spend better time with people, not necessarily more time. I would rather have coffee and a good conversation with one person instead of going to a networking event and talking to many people briefly.For me, focus simply means being as present as possible in the what you are doing, whether that is having dinner with a friend or working on a project.Learn.Create.Connect.Focus.

Proof of Concept: The 000 Series

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