I have no problem admitting that I don’t know something. I make no pretensions of knowing too much. But, I do know some things.
Lately, I have been irritating myself with the awareness that I have been stagnating in a shallow bay of complacency. I am unfulfilled with the “maintenance mode” interaction I currently have with my job and life. I mean, it’s nothing emotionally weird or creepy; everyone goes through these stages periodically. I’m not special in that I am, once again, calling myself out for being a lazy fuckchop. In fact, “lazy” is too strong an adjective to use here; I’m far from lazy. I’m just tired:
- I’m tired of crappy products.
- I’m tired of old web properties languishing in “it’ll do” mode.
- I’m tired of unfulfilled customers.
- I’m tired of waiting for new things to show up.
- I’m tired of mediocre results.
- I’m tired of expired data.
- I’m tired of boring user interfaces.
- I’m tired of sinking in idea mudholes.
- I’m tired of being unimpressed.
Just… tired. And it’s not that I lack energy! I have energy. I have plenty of it. The tired I refer to is the mental shrugging you find yourself doing whenever you feel the wave of information/idea/project overload washing over you and you know you need to swim through yet realize it can all just wait until later because, quite frankly, no one gives a shit.
I needed a shot in the arm. A combo of intellectual meth and creative cocaine that would push me past the tiredness of processing new product ideas.
See, for me, ideas are just too easy. There are too many of them and they become annoying. They’re like flies… In fact, I came to the point of dreading new ideas because ideas without engineering (assessment, design, audience, execution) are nothing more than clutter. They multiply and divide and then they become a ton of tiny anchors that keep you firmly floating in one place, aimlessly bobbing up and down with the current – the here and now – never moving, staring wistfully at the horizon or steadfastly at a landmark on the shore that you can never reach.
Aside: That last paragraph had that gross, pseudo-You Can Do It Consultant Blogger bullshit vibe ‘written’ all over it? Did you catch it?
So while I was giving myself all of those dorky pep talks and life-affirming soliloquies, I did what any self-respecting hacker, hustler, or designer would do: I took a hard look at what I was buying, what I was selling, and what kind of deal I could make with myself. It wasn’t that hard. I took stock. I looked at the crap around me. I did immediate assessments that basically came down to the choice between, “Do I like this?” or “Does this suck?” I didn’t give myself a lot of grey area in which to work. It was a yes or no kind of question.
In doing this, I realized that my personal brand space was shitty. Ideas that were stupid were dumped. Product concepts that had no audience were scrapped. My attitude towards the products and environments that I am surrounded by got a huge adjustment simply by asking, “Is this good enough?” Nine times out of ten my answer was, “No. This is not good enough.”
I started with my own personal website. My old site had not seen an update in YEARS. Years! I’m embarrassed to even admit that. So, I rebuilt that site and you can see it now: http://patryan.com.
Also, I had been sitting on a bunch of domain names that, like a lot of you, I registered in haste in order to protect my incredibly amazing, obviously successful and cleverly crafted namespace. I had several of these. No, I had many of these. I have a GoDaddy app on my phone so that I can register domain names ON THE SPOT if needed. As part of my cleansing, I went through those domains and got rid of the ridiculous and the frivolous.
What am I left with?
http://hackershustlersdesigners.com – a nebulous ‘lifestyle’ store selling something that I have yet to define succinctly.
http://mydatabrand.com – a digital agency/freelance design thing.
http://thingbeam.com – an Internet of Things idea.
http://interflection.com – an art project.
http://industrial-luxury.com – Industrial Luxury Group Inc. is a real company. It’s been a Colorado corporation for a long time. I have done contract design and build work under this company since 2006. I want it to be the legal entity running blocker for all the other things I do so I am keeping it as a business front that has an EIN number and a bank account and a Square account and a certificate of good standing and all that. Everyone needs a front.
So now what?
Let’s get to the point. I have lots of ideas. And those ideas have now become anchors. These ideas and concepts? They’re empty promises to myself. They’re mockups in keynote, drawings in my sketchbook, project notes in Omnifocus, logos and fonts… but, the one thing they all have in common is, they’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Smash-cut to 30×500.
Applied. Accepted. Paid. I’m in. For me, this is the next step.
I am willing to be wrong about what I know and once I can admit that, then I have a starting point to begin. I’m ready to cut the anchor line.