Experiment on limiting myself to computer/mobile screen exposure, Finding startups who will be willing to buy poster, Simplifying Sankalpsinha.com’s about section and much more…..my goals for March 2015

Well truth be told, I am pacing a bit on analyzing, planning, setting and achieving my goals. While looking back (since January 2015) I can clearly tell that I got better at visualizing my goals and steps needed to achieve them. But it’s not enough. I need to increase my pace more, bit by bit. To achieve that I need to focus less on distractions and focus more on tasks at hand, which seems obvious but I wonder how many us do it in a right way.

Anyway, let’s reflect on my goals and hope I will do better this month compared to the last two.

Goals for March 2015:

  • Finish book : THE LEAN STARTUP – Backlog goal from January. [Online purchase link] [Update : 100% done]
  • Write 1 blog post about exercises to be done – Experiment by setting a monthly target for 30 sets of few different exercises on a daily basis and note down the results. [Update : 30% done as have completed the first draft, need to edit  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Publish blog post about goals for March 2015 [Update : 100% done]
  • Do 28 sketches – 10 for March, 10 for February and 8 from backlog goals from January. [Update : 0% done  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Learn to play Ed-sheeran’s Don’t on guitar – Backlog goal from January. [Update : 0% done. Tried taking up the chords of the song but failed. I think I need to focus on the basics again – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Finalize the mobile layout of the blog – To maintain design harmony across different screen sizes [Update : 100% done. Check the blog @ experiments.themadscientistlab.com ]
  • Simplify Sankalpsinha.com’s about section – Need to finalize the detailed intro. Short intro is done and is same as on the blog (Link) – [Backlog goal from January] [Update : 0% done  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Write 1 blog post for March 2015 – Experimenting on limiting myself to computer/mobile screen exposure [Update : 0% done. Still considering whether or not to take up this experiment as most of my works are computer/internet related. May be that’s why I need to do this?  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Start book : Getting things done [Online purchase link[Update : 2% done  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Stop eating packed food – Try eating more of natural food [Update : 60% done  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Find startups who are willing to buy poster – Apart from validating the poster business idea via an online website, validating it with real potential customers might be more valuable and easier. [Update : 0% done  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]
  • Fix previous blog post’s images, links and spellchecks [Update : 0% done  – Carried to to-do list of April 2015]

Validating my poster business idea for free, 30 day push-up challenge, consuming more natural nutrients and much more…..my goals for February 2015

Procrastination was a close friend of mine last month. I barely achieved 50% of my goals.

However I achieved important VS. average goals. That’s the advantage of writing – you practically write your own goals/thoughts on paper – making them more visual, concrete in your mind and thus better to conceptualize your steps accordingly.

Goals for February 2015 :

  1. Develop a test website for LETWALLINSPIRE – To test hypothesis that people want to buy posters [Update : 100% done]
  2. Finish book : THE LEAN STARTUP – Backlog goal from January [Online purchase link] [Update : 100% done]
  3. Start book : Getting things done [Online purchase link] [Update : 100% done]
  4. Learn to play Ed-Sheeran’s Don’t on guitar – Backlog goal from January [Update : 0% done]
  5. Start exercising seriously – Experiment by setting a monthly target for 30 sets of few workouts and note down results [Experiment details will be posted in a separate blog post] [Update : 100% done]
  6. Start eating fruits – Fruit juice kills many nutrients, so eat fruits and drink vegetable juice [Update : 100% done]
  7. Simplify Sankalpsinha.com’s about section – Because details when scattered add no value to the brand – [Backlog goal from January] [Update : 50% done – have written the intro section. Have to write the detailed version yet.]
  8. Finalize blog navigation and branding – So to have a theme and framework to write and focus on [Backlog from January] [Update : 100% done]
  9. Write 1 blog post other than goal-summary blog [Update : 100% done]
  10. Write 25 headlines for blog post – To test which headline/title performs better. Here’s few tips on why/how to test headlines [Upworthy article[Update : 100% done]
  11. Save 5000 Rs. – To practice saving [Update : 100% done]
  12. Do 18 sketches – 10 for February and 8 from backlog goals from January. [Update : 100% done]

Books to read this year – 2015

Here’s the list of books I will be reading this year [If you’re curious, here’s the full list of my goals this year – Link].

The list has been compiled mostly from a self-help perspective rather than just reading-for-fun perspective. I have also added the purchase links of the books in case you want to read them as well. I might also put my thoughts on these books in separate blog posts once I am done reading them. 🙂

  1. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses – by Eric Ries – Link
  2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – by David Allen – Link
  3. One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work – by Stephen Key – Link
  4. The $100 Startup: Fire your Boss, Do what you Love and Work Better to Live More – by Chris Guillebeau – Link
  5. Steve Jobs – by Walter Isaacson – Link
  6. Delivering Happiness – by Tony Hsieh – Link
  7. Losing My Virginity – by Richard Branson – Link
  8. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – by Mason Currey – Link
  9. Secrets of Power Negotiating – by Roger Dawson – Link
  10. The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation – by Ron Adner – Link
  11. Permission Marketing: The Marketing Classic for the Internet Age – by Seth Godin – Link
  12. Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious – by Gerd Gigerenzer – Link

Hope I finish what I started. Fingers crossed 😉

Happy reading!

 

Buying a cycle for instance, a secret design project, getting 1000+ blog readers, building a athletic body and much more…My plans for 2015

12_Jan_2015_todolist2015

2015’s here. Time to do things right and set some basics in place. Have learned few lessons last year applicable to work and life and hoping to go exponentially towards that vertical. As I believe : It’s the small things that matter. Hence, will be focusing on small things and some basics in work, health and extra curricular activities.

Before jumping right in to discuss what are my goals for this year, I think it’s good to reflect on the last year’s successes and failures first.

Good things happened in 2014 :

  1. Learned how a startup operates (not completely, but to an extent) while working in one startup, which I joined in early November 2013. – Menily [now Menias – Website]
  2. Learned why execution matters as went to an event which aimed at connecting creative entrepreneurs with people, skills and resources to turn their ideas into creative businesses – The Coalition. Pretty cool right? Not for me! Turns out I learned nothing except realizing that without an idea or direction and plus tackling procrastination (if you consider that to be a hurdle) no event or talk show is of much help.
    Coalition
  3. Traveled to Gujrat – Everything in Gujrat is as shitty as any other state in India except the sea view and few other places
    Gujrat 1
    Picture 2 from the trip : [Link], Picture 3 from the trip : [Link
  4. Started my entrepreneurial journey : Launched LETWALLINSPIRE, a to-be platform to inspire creative people via inspiring posters. [Website, Blog, Download inspiring wallpapers]
    Letwallinspire
  5. Semi-Graduated from College – Still have 10 backlogs left. [More on this in a later post]
  6. Created job for myself in one big USA based advertising intelligence company – Exponential. [more on this in a later post. Quick fact for now – Most people in the company (including the CEO) are very humble]
  7. Designed and launched MKA in association with Specta  An application aiming to improve our health related issues caused by sitting in front of computers for long hours via reminders. [Update : the team is working to make the application a smart one] [Check the app. here : Link]
  8. MKA got featured in national newspaper
    MKA in newspaper
  9. Learned to swim a bit – All by myself and a little help of Rahul. [Pic. – Link]
  10. Bought things from my wishlist – Still have few left. [More on this in another blog post]
  11. My cousin (male) married at the age of 35+ – Always happy to see these guys grow and getting wiser each day. They had their bad days in the past but succeeded anyway. [More on this on a later post]

Bad things happened in 2014 :

  1. Didn’t finish my course in college – Have 10 backlogs left.
  2. Procrastinated a lot – For instance missing deadlines on design projects or not going to gym often.
  3. Stopped playing football – I used to play every alternate day in my university.
  4. Stopped blogging – Didn’t blog since March 2014.
  5. Got some belly – Football and running was enough to keep me fit which I stopped doing.
  6. Bought books, but couldn’t finish – Example – The lean startup.
  7. Watched porn a bit more than usual (Ahem!) – Is it a bad thing? Still have to figure that out.

Looking at past is fun. Right? Anyway, let’s concentrate on this year.

GOALS for 2015:

  1. Write minimum 12 blog posts – Blog posts from now on will be mostly based on results from intentional/unintentional experiments in my life.
  2. Put this blog’s branding in place – Working on a new theme for the blog as mentioned above. [Not finalized but yes, this is what it will be] [Update : 100% done]
  3. Get 1000 blog subscribers/readers/monthly views – Writing good content which people will love to read/share will be the key.
  4. Make my personal portfolio website [www.sankalpsinha.com] responsive – My website’s traffic data shows that most people (atleast 30%-40% of them) visit the website from a mobile device. So bound to push it to a responsive layout.
  5. Travel and live in Singapore [minimum for 30 days] I always wanted to travel to see places…people…good food. Why 30 days? Travel for me is to live and breathe the place not to sightsee them.
  6. Launch e-commerce website of LETWALLINSPIRE – Always believed that with right inspiration, people can go a long way. LETWALLINSPIRE is the result of that belief. [Website]
  7. Design minimum 20 posters for LETWALLINSPIRE – For e-commerce to be effective. [Posters designed so far – Link]
  8. Turn MKA into a smart application – The current version doesn’t take human interaction with the computer in account and gives reminder every 40-55 minutes irrespective of whether the user was active or inactive, which disrupts many engagements of the user with the computer. [Here’s the current version – Link]
  9. Host talks on building ideal lifestyle in minimum 5 colleges – Earning a decent money, working without stress, doing things you love – These are doable. I have done it pretty much and I think others can too. The talk will be based on how to design the ideal lifestyle for yourself.
  10. Read minimum 12 books [List link will be here soon] [Update : 1 book finished reading]
  11. Sketch minimum 100 sketches – Here are few I have done in the past – Link [Follow my sketch updates here – Link] [Update : 15% done]
  12. Learn 10 songs to play on guitar – Songs list will be here soon. For now I will be starting with Ed Sheeran’s Don’t. [Listen the original song here – Youtube Link]
  13. Eat healthy – Here’s my target per month – 30 Liters of milk [1 liter a day], 60 eggs (boiled) on average [2 per day], 60 cheese slice [2 per day], 7-8 liter of fruit juice [500 ml every alternate day]
  14. Get in shape – Have to figure out the best exercise according to my physic and need.
  15. Start cycling – Buy a cycle. Always loved riding one.  [Update : 100% done]
    My_cycle
  16. Manage finance better – Track every expense. [More on this in a later post]
  17. Be more open – Analyze how I react to people and their behavior and set few guidelines/principles in life so to avoid being a hypocrite.

The best way to achieve all this is to break them in easy and doable steps every month, week and days (if you’re so mad about planning). I generally plan out things for the month and then let things flow out according to my engagements for different weeks/days. Most of the times I have failed. But that’s how you get to know how you’re performing.

So here’s my to-do list for January 2015 :

  1. Write and publish 1 blog post [Update : 100% done]
  2. Plan out branding for the blog – So to have a theme and framework to write and focus on. [Update : 100% done]
  3. Learn bootstrap – For making my website www.sankalpsinha.com responsive. [Update : 100% done]
  4. Design 2 posters for LETWALLINSPIRE – To keep inspiring people irrespective of my e-commerce website. [Update : 0% done]
  5. Finish PPT about building the ideal lifestyle – So to reach out to college to let me host talks. [Update : 40% done]
  6. Finish the book : The Lean Startup [Online purchase Link] [Update : 100% done]
  7. Do 10 sketches – To get better at sketching [See all the sketches here : Link] [Update : 100% done]
  8. Learn how to play Ed Sheeran’s Don’t on guitar – To get better at playing guitar [Update : 0% done]
  9. Research on one secret design project – Shhhh! [Update : 100% done]
  10. Simplify Sankalpsinha.com’s about section – Because details when scattered add no value to the brand. [Update : 0% done]

That’s pretty much sums up my current priority for the year 2015 and this month (January). I will keep updating the list as I move forward. Let’s get back to work!

Have plans for 2015? I would love to hear them. Post them in the comments below.

Cheers!

Spending time alone, having a minimal wardrobe, staying fit and much more….21 life lessons learned – 21st birthday – Part 2

10_Feb_2014_21on21

This is part 2 of the post : 21 lessons learned so far. Read the part 1 here : [Link]

  1. Do you own thinking.
    Often I get advice from people and it never ends. Some advices are good, some are bad. If I had listened and acted on all of them, I wouldn’t be here where I am today. That’s why I love this quote by Robert Downey Jr., “Listen, smile, agree, and then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” Because in the end, you only take responsibility and credit of either failing or succeeding.

    “Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece” ~ Ralph Charell

  2. Read stories of successful people, don’t adopt their personality.
    I started reading few auto-biographies of successful people lately and have found the whole process very inspiring. One can learn a lot by reading biographies. It makes you wise. But, what I fear about immersing myself into such inspiring stories is I will start adopting their personality too which is the first step towards losing my original self.

    “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” ~Judy Garland

  3. People older than you also have had dreams. Start pushing them towards achieving it.
    My mother used to paint a lot before marriage. Gradually after marriage, her pace kept slowing down and after few years it completely stopped. But that passion for painting was never over. Likewise, everyone’s parent must have dreamt something. But over the years, after getting married and sacrificing everything for their families, they have just lost the spark.
    I strongly feel that it’s our (child’s) responsibility too to push them towards doing things they always wanted to do. Remember? It’s never too late to start something.

    “The stars are not going to align themselves perfectly for you to start any day.” ~The four hour work week

  4. Keep shuffling your music playlist.
    To my amazement, research have shown that listening to the same playlist for long enough kills creativity and restricts thinking. Best solution is to keep shuffling your playlist every now and then to stay fresh and to let creative juices flow in your body.

    “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.” ~Henry David Thoreau

  5. Always keep a book to read.
    I wasn’t a reader earlier. Not even in a least possible manner. In one of my trips to Varanasi in 2010, my cousin gifted me this book named :The Alchemist, mentioning “this is the book you should read or start with”. 2 weeks later I found that I like this process of discovering something new all of a sudden which gives a new perspective on life and also answers some of the questions. Since then I have read quite a few books. And the experience and knowledge I have gained, has made me more wiser.

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

  6. Getting married can wait. Build something.
    There are lot of things we know without having done it earlier. Like we know how marriage works and what are the challenges (almost). We know how it feels to get a job and do a 9-5 work everyday. Seen my dad and many others doing it. And the list goes on. On the other hand building or doing something which no one has ever built or done, be it concept/real product or few years of continuous travel for example, is extra ordinary. Those are few things we have to experience ourselves.

    “Whatever good things we build end up building us.” ~Jim Rohn

  7. Success brings acquaintances, friends and lovers . But above all, don’t loose sight of the end goal.
    I designed a concept alarm clock (singNshock) and submitted the image to YankoDesign for publication in early 2013. They liked the design and published it the next week. To my amazement the design was all over the internet within a week after YankoDesign published it. I was flying high, I must say. It brought me a lot of traction and branded me as a designer in the industry. I have now friends from different parts of the world. Some are designers, some are entrepreneurs, some are writers and so on. But above all, that fame was only for the moment.
    And fortunately I am surrounded by people who every now and then keeps my goal in check. Never let fame lure you out of what you have dreamt of.

    “If you come to fame not understanding who you are, it will define who you are.” ~Oprah Winfrey

  8. People are smarter than you think. Give them the responsibility and show that you trust them.
    While working with one startup few months back I realized that people around us whom we thought couldn’t take much responsibility of (for example) being in-charge of the project and running it successfully, did just the opposite. Not only they completed the project in time, they also added new features to the product which we never thought of implementing. This happened only because we gave them the responsibility and showed trust even when we weren’t sure.

    “The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.” ~Gisele Bundchen

  9. Always smile when you enter a room.
    According to Mystery, one of the best pickup artists in the world, “The number one characteristic of an alpha male is smile. Smile when you enter a room. As soon as you walk in a club or a room full of people, the game is on. And by smiling, you look like you’re together, you’re fun, and you’re somebody.” ~Quoted by Neil Strauss in his book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.

    “A smile is the universal welcome.” ~Max Eastman

  10. Networking will only help when you have already done something.
    Recently I attended an event named THE COALITION, a platform to support creative entrepreneurs in India. It was a 3 day event aiming to be a platform where new collaborations can happen, people can get to know other creative fields, people can pitch ideas to investors and so on. It took me only 1 full day at the event to realize that this is not my time to be at these kind of events.
    I had my designs in place, I had my concepts at place, but in real world ideas alone don’t work. One really need a real prototype of his/her idea. Otherwise everything I say is worthless. That is why I didn’t attended the rest of the event because networking there only have had helped me if I had anything to show, a working prototype of my ideas.
  11. Practice writing.
    Doesn’t matter what I write. I just write about any topic now a days.
    Why? Because it has :

    • Improved my writing skills
    • Improved my reading speed
    • Enhanced my vocabulary

      “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.” ~Benjamin Franklin

Keep smiling and DO MORE 🙂

Spending time alone, having a minimal wardrobe, staying fit and much more….21 life lessons learned – 21st birthday – Part 1

10_Feb_2014_21on21

I am turning 21 today and am not as excited as it might seem. All I am excited and concerned is of what next I will be learning and experiencing in life and for that what I have to do today. I spent the last 21 years of my life doing almost nothing. But I had the opportunity to learn great things which most people learn later after their active lives (18-50).

I couldn’t be happier to recall what I have learned and how it will help me shape me my future. So today I am sharing 21 lessons I have learned in the past 2 decades.

  1. Age is merely an excuse not to start anything.
    In the past 3 and half years while studying in Sharda University, I saw people ranging from age 24-60 procrastinating about starting/doing things they always wanted to do. The reply was more or less the same and was like this : “Oh! I am too old for this”. I hope this doesn’t happen with me or you. Start slow, but start.

    “Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.” ~Napoleon Hill

  2. Don’t judge people. It’s a waste of my own time.
    People grew up in a different environment than mine and have their own reason. I wrongly judged many people many times and found later that they were just the opposite I thought they would be. I guess I can’t control everyone and everything. Can I? So it’s better to move on and let few things be as they are. I know it will save a lot of time.

    “Learning to ignore things is one of the greatest paths to inner peace” ~Robert J. Sawyer

  3. Practice mind control.
    In 2013, I read Robin Sharma’s The monk who sold his ferarri. The book was great and had a lot of positive insights. But out of all, one I remember in particular, i.e. the art of mind control. It suggests that those who can control their mind can control anything. Also, I recently bought a book (suggested by many elite performers around the world) : Getting things done by David Allen. I only finished reading the first chapter of the book and the result so far by applying the first few suggestions are great. Allen has advised to dump everything we need to do from buying eggs for home to finishing the work project into a piece of paper, note or a dairy. The essence of this routine is to clear your mind first and then to focus only on what’s important.

    “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” ~Bruce lee

  4. Atleast stay fit.
    Since childhood I was quite active in sports. Played cricket mostly till high-school. Started playing football since I joined university. I see people craving for gym, healthy tips from experts and every other words of wisdom they believe can bring them the hot figure they desire. But the truth I realized is you don’t need a great figure to stay healthy. You just need to be fit enough. For that, one can exercise (yoga, running or gym) or play a sport. (I need to work on my skinny body though)

    “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn

  5. Treat work as every other general activity in life.
    I have noticed that when playing football, watching movies or doing anything interesting but in a limited amount of time, I don’t get bored or I don’t get stressed. Treating work in the same way as a general activity with a short timeline can really bring results for my work and my life too.”By working only when you’re most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It’s the perfect example of having the cake and eating it too.” ~4HWW

    “By working only when you’re most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It’s the perfect example of having the cake and eating it too.” ~4HWW

  6. Don’t sit in front of the computer without an agenda.
    Woke up at 8:00 AM, brushed my teeth, had breakfast, started using the computer while thinking to just check my email/facebook for few minutes and will quickly return to the project at hand, but it turns out 2:00 PM on the clock. This is what happens with me most of the time when I use my computer without any agenda. Internet is a great tool to push human race forward, but it’s also a tool to suck up time. Define first what you want to do with the tools then use it.

    “A goal without a timeline is just a dream” ~Robert Herjavec

  7. Spend some time alone.
    Here’s a quote from best seller book : The 4 hour workweek “After years of repetitive work, you will often need to dig hard to find your passions, redefine your dreams, and revive hobbies that you let atrophy to near extinction. The goal must be to pursue and experience the best in the world.” The quote pretty much sums up why spending some time alone is very important. I have experienced that a several minutes of meeting with silence can bring a lot of positive thoughts and the right direction for life. It frees your mind and enables you to think clearly again.

    “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” ~Olivia Wilde

  8. Dress well.
    I am not talking about Armani Jeans or Van Huesen all the time, but there are a lot of clothing in the market that costs you 1/4th a pair of Armani and yet is drop dead gorgeous in appearance. One must spend some money on their clothing and I know, nobody has ever regret it. But don’t get carried away in the name of fashion. Keep it classic.

    “Clothing is the first step to building a character.” ~Sylvester Stallone

  9. Have a minimal wardrobe.
    I used to have 5 t-shirts, 5 shirts, 4-5 jeans/trousers and several sweatshirts/jackets. And what I found while traveling is that they restrict my freedom. It occupies a space in mind and tightens me up. From 2013 I have started donating clothes which got short or wore off. Once I gave more than half of my clothing which I didn’t wanted to have, I bought new ones only with a sense of minimalism. Now I only have 12 clothes including summer and winter wear. I feel lighter in mind and with my wardrobe.

    “Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

  10. Have multiple interests and source of income
    Most of the time I spend my days working on design projects or playing football. But there are days when I don’t like doing any of those activities. That’s why I have started cultivating other hobbies/interests like reading informative books, sketching and will be starting playing guitar again. The same goes with source of income. Most people rely on only 1 source of income i.e. their permanent job. In recent years, there never have been the worst time to rely on one and only job for paying bills. Jobs have become more and more insecure than ever and it will stay this way or worsen in the future.

    “Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” ~Henry Miller

Part 2 here : [Link]

Keep smiling and DO MORE 🙂

Why it is important to create a lifestyle which is both productive and enjoyable

9_Jan_2014_havingthecake

Developers, designers or anyone creative has a nag to create. They are always busy creating something from time to time. And they must have built a few things in the past. Some with pressure and some without pressure or deadline. But those who did it without pressure could only do it because they were focused on only one thing, i.e. the product they were creating. And that concentration, clarity and passion led them to create something very beautiful/functional.

I believe to work without any obstacles, people should have different fields to concentrate, work, and enjoy on and not only one. When a person works on a particular object, may that be anything, he/she can not concentrate more than 45 min. on that work. This count may vary person to person. But the base essence of this fact is that even we love or don’t love doing a work, we need switching. Switching between different works. For example, Coding to gardening. Gardening to cooking. Cooking to coding; and so on. What I am saying here is: with pressure, no one has gone any far till today, nor he/she will. No doubt with pressure you will get the work done, but the person doing it won’t work with his/her 100% effort.

Now a days, startups or individuals move on a good pace in their development phase, which is best and acceptable. But many a times they start to think very fast. They fall in the trap of future possibilities and tries to pace up the development process. I acknowledge the fact that as start-up, people or organizations need to move fast and get into the market quickly to test their products. But the question is : aren’t we human first? Or are we robots?

I experienced and thus completely believe that without mental satisfaction no one can create anything full of mastery. And for that we need to be flexible. We need to understand that human emotion comes first when one is forging something full of mastery. As being the blacksmith of your workshop, you must not take pressure for product launch, marketing, investment or revenue. One must concentrate only on the product.

This one principle of not taking pressure may change or break any company/individual. Now a days, most of the companies get the job done with pressure and that is why the level of mastery is not achieved. Take for example the culture developed in Google. How their employees work. All they do is code, design and play. All without pressure. On the other hand, Apple has done it with an extreme level of pressure. Both inside and outside apple. This has cost the company its image in the market.

The best practice one can do when pressure starts to build is to take rest for 1 or 2 days. Give your mind the time it needs to recharge, not the time to build the pressure. Treat yourself and everyone else involved in the team with human emotion. Because before investment, revenue, market or product, humans always comes first. And in the end people will remember you on how you treated them, not on how big company you created.

Here’s a lovely quote I will leave you with from the book: The four hour workweek, written by Tim Ferriss “By working only when you’re most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It’s the perfect example of having the cake and eating it too.”

And by the way, it’s my mom’s birthday today. So cheers!

1_Jan_2013_happybdayma

Have the cake and eat it too!

5 design habits that can screw anyone

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I have been experimenting with design lately and have learned a lot. There are so many do’s and don’t’s for design that will break you or make you. As the famous quote from Steve Jobs goes “Deciding what not to do is more important than deciding what to do”. So, in this blog post I am pointing out 5 don’t’s for design:

  1. Do not copy design: Designers when designing, let that be website design, product design or any sort of design, tend to look for the best designs out there. Many designers or companies copy designs which tend to be the best in the market. But if you look at their stats after launching their product, most of them failed to achieve what they thought they will be. In short their whole great-copied design didn’t work for them. The reason being that designers or design companies do their research related to the product they are working on. They spend days, weeks, months or sometimes even years going back and forth on few design ideas. The research also includes their target users, demographic, and other parameters. Once they collect and analyze that data, they design accordingly.
    Take away: Great design is there to inspire, not to copy. Do some research on your product and on its other parameters and then design accordingly.
  2. Do not waste time searching for the right medium: I have come across many people who spend their valuable time searching for the best tool available in the market to help them design their product. This is not a bad thing, but it’s a myth that without the best, one can not design the best. Creative people don’t seek any medium to design, they just design in whatever medium they are comfortable with. For instance, designers use Adobe’s illustrator in industry to design logos, but I know many who do the same on Adobe’s Photoshop, and that even without compromising on quality. Here’s one great example of a cute grandpa who paints digitally on Microsoft’s MS Paint. YES! You heard me, MS PAINT. Read the whole story here.
    Take away: Learn a medium and stick to it until you are comfortable enough to make the jump. Don’t hunt for the best medium all the time.
  3. Do not bombard user with information: Ever visited Yahoo’s homepage? No doubt you must have deviated a day or two from your goal of visiting yahoo’s site. Users get lost as soon as they hit a data-traffic, i.e. where there are lots and lots of data. Data-traffics are same as any large toy or book fair. Even you know where you want to go, you will be lost because there are so many text, images or videos placed to catch your attention. Minimize the steps involved in any process, may that be buying a product from your website or extracting a information from your invitation card. Here’s a lovely website that can teach you to create your product’s visual design suck less and increase information extraction in simple steps. Learn from Visualmess.
    Take away: Design websites, visiting cards, products or anything so that it’s easy for the user to extract information without spending much of their time and energy.
  4. Do not design just for the sake of beauty: Designing means solving a problem. It must be design’s first priority. When Steve Jobs, endorsed the importance of design, the whole world thought that design is they key to success for any product. Hard truth? It’s not. Design is just one side of the cube. Don’t forget there are many others. A successful product is highly dependent on one criteria, i.e. its problem-solving approach. If your product is not based on problem-solving approach, no design can add value for the long run.
    Take away: Design to solve a problem. Not just to make it aesthetically cool.
  5. Do not design just to deliver: Are you running a design based service company? Guess what?! The market is full of opportunities and you know that. Every now and then your company or you get a call to design or re-design someone’s or some company’s product. You are being flooded with opportunities based on your design skills, that’s fine. But think before taking up any project. Look at it’s other aspects. Ask whether is there any new design challenge that I will be tackling or it’s just another fancy design project which requires only re-touching. Also taking up challenging design projects enhances your skills. So it’s better to reject some and accept one rather than taking a lot of projects and compromising on personal and professional growth.
    Take Away: Don’t take projects just to deliver. Design for impact. If it’s not a challenge, it’s not design.

These insignificantly small tips will have a great impact on your product or businesses if applied timely. Hope to see you out there producing great designs.

Stay fresh, stay creative!

 

Patrick Abbattista, co-founder of Design42day – On what success feels like, career suggestions, traveling while working and much more

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Who are you and what you do? (where you come from, where you currently live, age, what is your current job….etc.)

My name is Patrick Abbattista, I am 30 years old and live in Milan, Italy, where I was born and grew up.  After several work experiences, I now run the Sales & Marketing office of Design42Day, a company that I co-founded in 2010.

How you reached here, to this point of success?

I don’t know. I just kept doing what I believed in. Success, whatever it is or you say about it, comes day after day, with hard working and the ability to never give up. Sometimes you wake up in the morning and realize that your dreams are taking a clearer and real shape.

Given a chance to change one thing in this world, you will change…..? And why?

I would change the way people perceive the differences. There are too many stereotypes and prejudices. I wish adults had the same enthusiastic curiosity that children have towards the new and the different. So doing, it would be easier for anyone participating to the innovation process, giving ideas, sharing knowledge and playing a part to make this world a better place. A pure and uncontaminated glance on reality allows you to see things for what they are, so to do the right thing.

The best thing you noticed about the design world? Any example(s)?

The best Designers are excellent problem solvers. There are many examples of good Design around, which is not always visible. I could say machinery for health more sophisticated and accurate, smart appliances that optimize the use of energy, etc..

The worst thing you noticed about the design world? Any example(s)?

Often the creative talent is not accompanied by the same ability to do business and impose a vision, which could change the world for better. It is difficult to make a specific example, but I have met many excellent designers who didn’t have the ability to promote themselves, gaining visibility, get a chance to demonstrate their qualities. Sometimes it is a problem of skills, but most of the times it deals with the mental attitude. Designers should learn how to develop their ideas not only in terms of design project, but also as a business.

What you do in your free time?

I meet friends, travel, read, reason about what I am doing to understand if I can do it better. Generally, I take advantage of any minute to learn something new.

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What and how you are planning to do for the next 5 years?

I want to consolidate my company through new projects, partners, and a commercial expansion toward new markets. Also, I want to build a team of highly motivated people who really love Design and are willing to change this world. On a personal level, I wish to constantly improve my skills, knowledge and consciousness. I think that the best way to help others is to be at their service as better people. If we grow, they grow. If we lead by example, they will learn faster. Obviously, I have chosen my mentors, too.

Suggestions for young lads?

Learn to dispel the fog that limits your actions and start to pursuit your dreams, if you have not already done so. Step by step, you will realize that it was not that difficult if you do all that must be done. Often, the limits are only mental. With patience, curiosity and determination, you will find all the necessary resources.

How curiosity is shaping us and why it’s important to stay curious

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Curiosity, simply defined as thirst for knowledge, exploration, investigation, and learning, is the answer for our everyday development. Whatever and whenever we do is because we stay curious 24/7. But as humankind has been able to build sky-penetrating buildings, breach the sound barrier in human flight, cure many diseases, or be it space travel, everything we had done can’t be justified as perfect solution to problems. Instead whatever we had done has given rise to new problems.

It all started with the discovery of fire about 790,000 years ago. Since then humans have continued to look for better techniques, processes, or system to enhance their lives and to reduce human effort. With every discovery or invention, we thought that it will change the world for a good, but no! It doesn’t seem like getting along with our vision. Here are few examples to support my point:

  • We had bicycles which served us well. But out of curiosity and desire of delivering everything from goods to humans fast, we invented cars. This invention saved us millions of time but now is destroying our planet. We are worrying and fighting for global warming now-a-days and it seems we are nowhere close to eliminate this threat. Bottom-line? A Solution to a problem gave birth to a new problem.
  • Alexander Graham Bell invented telephone for faster communication. It did good to the society and everything was fine until we started producing mobile phones and did everything for its advancement. Now we have smartphones which are making our lives more complex rather than simplifying it. Bottom-line? A Solution to a problem gave birth to a new problem.
  • Mark Zukerberg’s Facebook aims to provide a platform to build connections from all around the world. After 9 years of its invention, we are looking at facebook addicts which contain a vital age group of 18-25 or privacy threats. Bottom-line? A Solution to a problem gave birth to a new problem.
  • Earlier we used to wear simple and plain textured clothes for example Khadi. Later we started manufacturing clothes with different material, color, print patterns, etc. which gave consumers various options, promoting fashion and style, which in turn allowed them to buy as many as they wanted (given they had money). Now we are looking at people screaming that they have too many clothes in their closet and they want to get rid of them. It has taken away their mental peace. Bottom-line? A Solution to a problem gave birth to a new problem.

These are only a few examples of problem-solution-problem (PSP) system in which we try to solve an existing problem and knowingly or unknowingly we generate a new problem. It’s not new. We are part of this system from many years. The question is “Can we do something about it?” The answer is unfortunately NO! The way I see it, we are in a loop which is not going to end anytime soon.

But, there is one good news to be happy about. The average life span of a human being is 69 years which suggests that every time a generation passes, the old set of ideas, assumptions and curiosity dies and a new set of curious batch shows up which keeps the loop running at its constant pace. Otherwise, if the loop slows down, the problem that last occurred will remain and there will be no new ideas or solution to cure it, thus destroying the loop. And when the loop ends, curiosity ends, and so does human beings. Bottom-line? Whatever we needed to sustain in this planet was discovered or invented 100+ years ago. We don’t need anything anymore. Whatever is discovered and invented now is only to sustain the system, to create needs and thus to feed our so-called emotion “curiosity”. So, try to work for a better world, not for a better bank balance or for a fancy technological advancement.

Stay curious!