Mojo's Dojo // Day 78 - Excited validation


Writing to learn, learning to write. With practice comes clarity of purpose. #100days

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Day 78 - Excited validation

Design - is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system. Cambridge Dictionary.

There are 37 design disciplines on Wikipedia. In my youth I associated design with arts and crafts. My curiosity was blinkered by a fixed mindset that avoided things I could fail at. I did not yet understand that not trying something due to fear of failure, was in itself a silent form of failure.

What I now appreciate about design is present in the following quote,

"Engineers are not the only professional designers. Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artifacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or the one that devises a new sales plan for a company or a social welfare policy for a state. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training; it is the principal mark that distinguishes the professions from the sciences. Schools of engineering, as well as schools of architecture, business, education, law, and medicine, are all centrally concerned with the process of design." Herbert A. Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial.

What got me excited was listening to a podcast that featured a lady who worked a 1000 jobs, and is now a service designer. She stated that most of the issues she's come across in organizations were rooted in a lack of understanding that the end to end employee experience is as important as the customer's experience. That there needs to be more exploration of the HR space through the prism of design. 

She's also Canadian, and lives in the D.C. area. It's just too good to be true!  The way I function best, is by linking goals I want to achieve to actions that impact a third party.  In this case, I'd intended to start writing my service design experiences for an upcoming project (inshallah). Coming across an established service designer, interested in pointing their design skills towards employee experiences and organizational design felt validating.  

I intend to further explore the work she's done in order to connect with her sometime next year. How I capture my learning points through writing over the coming months, will influence the ways in which I connect the work she is doing in the Organizational design space, with the work that my D.C. peoples are already doing. 

If you'd like to listen to the interview, the link is below.

[Service Design Show] New Ways To Spread and Scale Service Design / Jacquelyn Brioux / Episode #72 #serviceDesignShow via @PodcastAddict

Day 77 - Writing tips

I'm 75% of the way to the end of the 100 day challenge. So I'd like to create a list of things I have to be consistent about going forward. The purpose is to start practicing writing in a more intentional manner. 

Do Remove

  1. “a bit,” “a little,” “sort of,” “kind of,” “rather,” “quite,” “very,” “too,” “pretty much.”
  2. Dead sentences: If the reader can’t visualize the activity being performed
  3. Anything condescending. “This is so simple! yay for you!”
  4. Words like “surprisingly,” “predictably” and “of course,” overexplaining wastes space and time for a reader
  5. Appended prepositions: "This is the cat that the dog always runs after"  vs. "The dog always chases this cat."
  6. Qualifiers, they chip away at the trust readers have: "I run for a living" vs. "I mostly run for a living"

Do Try 

  1. "To Never forget where you left your reader in the previous paragraph and what they want to know next."
  2. To read everything aloud
  3. To ask what am I trying to say, and then ask did I say it?
  4. To write in the first person
  5. To Leave the reader with one thought, not 2 or three, just one.
  6. To make the first sentence interesting, then the second, and the third equally interesting
  7. To use active verbs
  8. To find a writer to imitate
  9. To use plain declarative sentences. Don't use commas. Each sentence should have one thought.

Adapted from Derek Sivers' notes on William Zinsser's book based on William Strunk Jr's and E.B. White's 'The Elements of Style'

Day 76 - Momentum

There's a coffee shop I frequent, it's been a year now that I've patronized them. On reflection, the people who work there have influenced my coffee journey.

My friend John took me there when I first got to this country, his excitement was contagious. My experience every time for the last year and a half since John bought me a coffee there has been consistent. So much so, when I travel, I try to check out coffee shops that locals enjoy.

My wife and I used to talk about opening up a philosophy cafe when we retired from the humdrum of corporate life. With tables themed by different philosophers, and an option for frequent patrons to be a coffeelosopher. Where they subscribe and forever have a personalized mug of their favourite philosopher on the wall behind the register, ready for them when they decide to have a coffer and stay for a few hours.

As research for this future shop, I used to keep a small user experience journal, of the coffee shops I visited, to better understand the things I notice about the place when I first get in. The smell, the people in there, what they're doing, how easy it is to find the menu, then read it, whether the baristas looked up, nodded or locked eyes for an instant, did they smile?

I'm not a coffee snob, I mix in milk and sugar. I am however, a connoisseur of experiences, and coffee shops are one of the most inexpensive experiences you can have at a physical retail space. What's wonderful about it is that it can last all of 5 mins, or a few hours. There aren't many spaces that allow for that kind of human interaction.

I made a habit of being friendly with the baristas, and they've been kind and welcoming in return. The manager, young, well trimmed and with a wide grin, shared the kind of footfall they get, which was an eye popping 30k customers a day. Location matters of course, but considering all they had was coffee, and some tiny baked bites, it's still remarkable.

The manager said the difference between their place and the average Seattle mermaid shop, is the quality of their coffee, and the quality of their service. It needs to be equally balanced. You can't have coffee good service without good coffee, and people are starting to understand what's good and what isn't, and they're voting with their feet.

It's also good business, with just a few stores, they were able to clear tens of millions in profit in one year, and their profitability is almost double the Seattle mermaid's. With the owner clearing 5% from each store, it has my barista friend convinced he's got to strike it alone. He's got the location, he's found some farmers, and I get to taste a special crop of coffee very soon.

The time I spent with this person reminded me of two quotes by Seth Godin.

"I think everything is made not born, and that makes people uncomfortable because it puts them on the hook and I truly believe it."

"Money is a story, once you have enough to buy beans and rice, and to take care of your family and other things, money is a story and you can tell yourself any story you want about money and it's better to tell yourself a story about money that you can happily live with"

I'd rather not identify this person any further, because their drive and vision was refreshing; all the more because they definitely did not have the privilege, and access to capital, that a lot of my readers do.

If you're a coffee connoisseur, remind me, and I'll let you know when their store opens up. It'll be in a magical place.

Day 75 - Coming up empty

I binged. It's been a while since I have. The Boys.

If you've seen it, you'll understand why nothing is forthcoming tonight. So I won't click email subscribers for this post. And you'll see why on the following day.

Day 74 - What's the opposite of a rant?

Today was a lovely day, it was also eid celebration, which meant it was ok to take time to just be with people and forget about work. So we did.

We decided to invite people over and host them for lunch. Since we got back we haven't had a chance to breathe. So after spending the better part of a month organizing our household, we were finally in shape to have people over.

It was just us 2 and lil dude, and he thoroughly enjoyed the new faces in the house. That was one of our motivations; As I'd previously mentioned, he grew a little tired of my limited repertoire of faces.

I realize now that a lot of the things I hear from people about married folks disappearing after they have a kid, or life being upended and your social life coming to halt is just that, hearsay.

Many a time, it comes from people yet to experience the very things they pontificate about so assuredly.

So let me break down the day. Folks started streaming in at 1 pm. After which we ordered food. We'd already made a small trip to the grocery store and picked up items we could have on the table for people to open up their appetite. We also used paper plates and cups, to cut down the time we'd spend cleaning.

I didn't facilitate. There were lulls. That was ok.

Towards the end of the afternoon, I affirmed our appreciation for the people attending. I let them know that we understand that today, people came to have a 'Simba' moment for lil dude. That we also enjoyed being able to host, and that lil dude didn't freak out and seemed to enjoy everyone equally.

We were also hopeful to continue hosting in the future. Because we feel that it's important for lil dude to be surrounded with people we respect and love.

As lil dude grows, and as demands on us as parents possibly increase, I'll remember this day fondly, as proof of what's possible.

Day 73 - Fight or flight

I was wondering this morning when it develops in children. When I'm clowning around with lil dude, I've yet to understand the patterns of what scares him or what excites him.

Exaggerated faces seem to do the trick until he's 'processed' them so to speak. I'll need to keep better track of when he's fully engaged and when he's not. Whether it's before or after he's fed, or before or after his nap.

It takes 2 years for the amygdala to form, basically, he needs a lot of cuddles, and cues of reassurance from the people around him. Living in an area free of stressors or situations that would contribute to our stress levels resulting in faces that cue panic or fear are what we need to be wary of.

I lost a bunch of articles opened I searched for in ghost mode so I won't be able to articulate further.

One thing I keep catching myself doing is breathing in a shallow manner, and the research on infant brain development and our observations show that these lil people are sponges, constantly observing and emulating. So I'll have to be more mindful about practicing my breathing in front of lil dude more often.

Day 72 - Chief Development Officer (CDO)

My wife and I decided early on that she'd be in charge of input, and I'd be in charge of output when it came to lil dude. As he's grown, I've also enjoyed the role of CDO.

We've found that fully engaging him in play gets him to drink more, and to nap longer. He's also reaching a stage where he's tiring of the same toys. A water bottle fascinated him enough today to cause him consternation when he couldn't grasp it with his limited reach.

We also were able to take him out twice. This is an important development because our walls are plain and the curtains constantly drawn due to the extreme amount of sun that filters in. We realised today that he may have actually gotten an unhealthy dose of sun due to the location of the changing table. It seems the two layers of thick curtain aren't enough to stave off indirect sunlight and UV rays.

So taking him out to a mall allows him to receive another form of stimulation, but at the risk of exposing him to airborne illnesses. We live in a global hub, and this particular mall gets people bused in directly from the airport, but we have to take our chances or he'll go a bit stir crazy looking at just our two faces.

He's already caught on to the existence of voices emanating from black rectangles. Mainly an apple watch and my phone I keep handy to photograph him.

Back to CDO, so far duties include:

  • Diligently directing tummy time
  • Reciting numbers 1 through 5 in a slow and deliberate manner
  • Ensuring nap time quotas are met
  • Allowing for bouncy chair time to facilitate for the processing functions of the intestinal tract
  • Coordinating music and dance extravaganzas
  • Executing the disappearing / reappearing algorithm 

I'm sure there are a few I'm missing. Let me know what else is age appropriate for an almost 5 month old.

Day 71 - Define accessible

Early in my UX journey I'd attended a free seminar on design and usability. The lecturer was Canadian, and happened to be a neighbour; relative to where we were then which was Doha,Qatar.

At the end of the lecture I asked him what he thought about this as a career, and he said it'd be the smartest thing to invest my time in. In the province of Ontario, there was a court case against the government by a lady who couldn't navigate their websites well enough to request a service. So all government entities now must ensure that their websites are accessible.

He said the accessibility law requires all other organizations ensure their digital products are accessible by 2025 under penalty of law. Which meant that there was a good chunk of change to be made by consulting for organizations that need to ensure their websites are accessible. The U.S. has a similar requirement, titled section 508, but it only applies to government entities.

I recall this because there was an interesting case in the news recently. Dominoes pizza is trying to stop a run on it by people who claim it is not abiding by the American Disabilities Act, when it comes to their digital assets.

Domino’s points to the past for evidence of the fact that the ADA never required companies to ensure a disability-friendly alternative to every aspect of its services, explaining:
Since before the advent of the Internet, department stores have sent customers mail-order catalogues … Companies have also deployed door-to-door salesmen and maintained telephone hotlines as additional ways for customers to place orders without having to visit their physical locations. Those methods parallel today’s websites and mobile apps. Yet, under the Ninth Circuit’s view, these longstanding methods would have violated [the ADA] unless the mail-order catalogues were available in Braille, the door-to-door salesmen knew American Sign Language, and the telephone hotlines were equipped for the hearing-impaired.”

It's better if you read it, I can't summarize it well enough.

But I find it interesting that Ontario foresaw this issue and gave companies sufficient time to ensure their digital assets were accessible.

Time will tell what will happen south of the border and if there'll be enough talented usability folks around to deal with this challenge, maybe foreign companies can fill the gap? 

Day 70 - What has helped you arrive at this understanding?

When last we left my pursuit of purpose, I'd had a realization that I've been working towards my purpose, continuously clarifying it as I learn by surrounding myself with people who either act on theirs, actively pursue it, or are aware of their need to refine it.

When I was young, I wanted to be a large vehicle operator, I think I had one of those yellow earth moving Tonka trucks. Once I saw how slow they were, I quickly relented and opted to become an airplane pilot. When I learned eyesight is a qualifier, I quickly gave that up as well and decided to become a captain of the biggest ship there was. Soon after I saw a horror movie set on a boat that capsizes and the captain, apparently honour-bound, stays to die on the boat. I didn't like that. I found it stupid, and wasteful.

The captain couldn't escape the role. In hindsight, as a child, I didn't respect someone not choosing to shed the shackles of a role, for something more important, their life.

I'm not sure what I'll do with lil dude so that he doesn't get beat down by the same system I was. Because overtime, I became the captain. Shackling my identity, and my life, to a career role. That was my paradigm for a time, and I've learned to look beyond it. To find purpose in the smallest personal and professional interactions I have with people.

I'm not always at 100% with everyone. But I try to be with myself. Because that plays a large role in how I experience life, family, friends and others.

Day 69 - I Know Someone

I know someone with a fascinating story, it's not very simple to capture in one post, but that's all the time they'd have to read it.

Their story doesn't have a beginning, or a middle yet but this person has since made concrete contributions to their life through effort, determination, and dedication. In each situation they find themselves in, they persevere, get recognized, and are lauded for their presence and their drive.

But, crucially, before any of this recognition occurs, they experience a torrent of nagging self-doubt, crippling anxiety, and a fair share of sleepless nights.

If there's ever a bright spot that shines through the darkness in their grey matter, it is short-lived.

Now that they're... the energy they once had to commit to the darkness, isn't as available.

But because the darkness, the self-criticism, the nagging crippling anxiety, has fed for so long; what could once be compartmentalized is not. The walls are broken, the darkness over running life. Their systems simultaneously in fight and flight.

If I could tell them one thing.

I would tell them they are whole. I would tell them they are whole and loved, that mistakes are possible, even if they aren't predictable, that they won't be shunned for making them, that their self-worth will not disintegrate, that they won't be out on the street, and even if they were. They are loved.

So love yourself.

Day 68 - How would you describe

If you winced a little, you've been to way too many interviews. Don't worry, this little question missile isn't directed at you. I'll be introspecting here for an upcoming chat I'll need to be having.

The topic? Purpose. What is my sense of purpose. Currently.

Sigh, I'd love to say it's being a parent, or changing the world of work, or anything profound yet relatable really. And I'd love to say these things because then the answer is simple. It's contained. It's easily understood even if difficult to pursue. 

What I can elaborate on however, is my pursuit of purpose. I think purpose can be accidental, for example, you've come across stories of people who had someone near and dear suffer a fatal illness, and finding a cure becomes that person's purpose.

Purpose can be given by one's culture at large (joining the army), or one's culture at home ("I come from a long line of X profession"). Purpose can be recognized in hindsight, like a life well lived. 

In my case, my purpose is unfolding, and yes it involves growth, you can't blame me if that's still on my mind, I only wrote about it yesterday. Also the gif up there was just as helpful in keeping those words top of mind. 

If memory serves me correctly, it's been 7 years since I first entered the organization that lit the fire that had me recovering from the human resource profession. I've spent the past 4 years absorbing, experimenting and redefining the knowledge I want more of, and the things I want less of. 

In a sense, I've been chiseling away at the marble that holds my purpose, what shape it'll take 7 years from now, I can't say. But this is an important realization, and I need to celebrate it, make it real, in order to...lil dude is chirping, the thought is gone. Dad life!

Day 67 - Evolutionary Organizations

Some friends are coming together to learn then practice what they can in the context of new work / evolutionary organizations.

I won't define either term. It's currently beyond me, and it's ever evolving. I feel like every time I turn my head it's 'evolved'. So I'll speak to what isn't measured. Which is feeling.

What does an "evolutionary organization" feel like?

First, I need to better understand the terms, I feel like my English has devolved of late, as I find myself using words with lil dude that I then try to simplify further and further until the concept of a word starts to hurt my head.

Here are some copy pasted definitions. Yay Internet!

According to Merriam-Webster:

Definition of evolution
1a : descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations. Mmmmm, are organizations alive? I guess they're as alive as the mind flayer from Stranger Things. Taking things in nature, horrifically disassembling them, and uniformly repurposing them for it's own needs.

2a : a process of change in a certain direction : UNFOLDING. This one makes sense, I'll take it.

c(1) : a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : GROWTH. This is what I think most people strive for. I'll take it.
(2) : a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance. Sure, that makes sense.

And now Organizations

Definition of organization (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : the act or process of organizing or of being organized. Straightforward.

b : the condition or manner of being organized
a group with a high degree of organization.
Don't see a large difference between 'a' and 'b', but ok.

charitable organizations
b : an administrative and functional structure (such as a business or a political party). This is probably what most people understand organizations to be.

Definition of organization (Entry 2 of 2)
: characterized by complete conformity to the standards and requirements of an organization, an organization man. Sounds like an outcome of being a part of organizations. ok.

So put it all together and we have.

UNFOLDING GROWTH through a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance utilizing an administrative and functional structure.

The evolution part is rockin', but the organization part just doesn't seem to jive and falls flat. Right?

Some cursory digging and I learn the word organization to have the meaning 'system or establishment' as early as 1873, prior to that, in medieval English, it just meant "an act of organizing".

What am I getting at. I'm not sure, it could be nothing. And because I've not spent enough time digging, I'm going back to feelings. 

I feel like belonging to something that leads to unfolding growth, not something that is an administrative and functional structure.  I feel like being part of a process of continous change that serves and not just being part of a system or establishment. I feel like surrounding myself with people that ask questions, good questions, and then go and find answers, and then tell each other what went well and what didn't. I'd love it if that process led to a gradual relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance. I want there to be recognition, that time is finite, life is to be lived, and if what I work on is not complete in my lifetime, then it continues in someone else's.  So if I can share something that will speed up your work. I will. 

What do you feel like surrounding yourself with?

Day 66 - I count a buddy

Image by @arabicwords_0

Friends are important, they make you feel warm and fuzzy, they ground you in experiences that formed a part of your psychological make up, they temporarily alleviate any concerns you may have of the lonely nature of our short existence. 

But like most things, friends are flawed, which is why you most probably have groups of friends which rarely intersect. Except for a wedding or two. One thing friends are not really great at, is giving advice. For one, the first iteration is usually related to advice they wish they could act on, and so, you become their petri-dish. For second (yes I can say that), for your relationship to survive, you can’t nag them if they don’t follow through.

My friend once shared that there are organizations that pair people on projects, usually a designer with a strategist, and they become joined at the hip to an extent. Thinking through client challenges together, a smart wall to bounce things off of.

At LeadIN, people are paired up according to proximal geography, complementary strengths, and incantations. When I experienced LeadIN, I was able to connect with most of the attendees, in the capacity of an accountability buddy. We had something I don’t have with most friends. A purpose.

We’d connect each week, either at a park, or over the phone, and talk through our goals, what we did to work towards them, what worked, and what didn’t. I have zero friends that’d be interested in hearing what I had to say about experiments I held to increase my emotional awareness or how I took note of my energy levels that week.

Friends are great, but I think we should all hope to cultivate some friends into accountabuddies. One for each Ikigai quadrant perhaps? The next time a friend brings up the same mistake you’ve noted them make for the 20th time in 5 years. Be their accountabuddy. They’ll treasure you for moving them forward past their b.s.

Day 65 - Bully for you.!?

Add an exclamation mark and that phrase becomes positive, sound it out while chewing a bagel and it becomes biting sarcasm.

Here's a scenario: You've struck gold, literally.

You've promised your client, that you'll save them buckets of gold, because you know the smartest people, and they'll fix the problems your client has. Your fee? A small percentage of the gold you'll save them.

Your client, has a mandate, their business is big, it's grown rapidly, the spend on projects that will keep them relevant is high. They need an outsider's perspective. They trust you. Why? Because you've saved others money before, you've got the facts and figures to prove it. Hundreds of millions of gold buckets saved for a client here, a client there, a client everywhere. Bully for you!

Your people are sat with the client, whose people didn't get the memo that your people are the smartest, that they're here to save you buckets of gold. There's bad blood between them, things aren't going as well as they should, you shuffle your smart people in, out, in, out...but you deliver the savings you promised. You tell the client, that the people in that business unit there is worth a few hundred buckets of gold, and that division there is worth a few thousand, and they can all be replaced with one magical computer system; which you'll have to charge for, but it's worth the buckets you'll save.

The client, impressed by your reasoning, and the buckets you've just saved, wants this thing yesterday, so you bring even more smart people, buckets and buckets worth of smart people. Your client isn't sure what they're all there for; remember the savings! You remind your client, it takes smart people to save money! You add.

Months later, and your smart people are 'managing' a bucketful of I.T. people to put in place the magical computer system. You client is wondering why there are people on top of people on top of the actual people putting in place the magical computer system. Your client wants meetings, the meetings need meetings, and your smart people are now in all the meetings, except for the I.T. people, they're still on the first sketch of the magical computer system. A year later, the I.T. people will be informed of the changes that were requested 6 months back.

Your golden goose is losing it's patience, they want progress, but wait! You have something that'll guarantee your client have total transparency over the process. Your people will work alongside their people this time, and they'll implement things after two weeks. Wow! That's so quick! You client is amazed at this new way of working, what do you call it?

It's proprietary you say, and you let them know only your smart people can do things the Hermes way. That other ones are just copies of Hermes, whether it's Mercury, Zoran, or Horus.

A year passes, and the A.I. edition of the magical computer system is yet to come online, your smart people are fleeing the client offices, and word has spread among the smart people that you throw people under the bucket of gold, whenever the client throws a tantrum. And so you've thrived, client after client, exchanging buckets of gold for shallow graves.

Time is friend to no one, you're nearing a hundred years, the tales you told, to get the work, the lies about the buckets of gold you saved, are catching up with you. The loss in production, the loss of value, the clients you promised prosperity, no longer active or at death's doorstep. You're going to be found out, your half-truths, whether they're the latest fad in diversity, or the coolest trick in thinking, will not keep you from swallowing your own bitter pill. So bully for you dear management consultancies. Bully. For. You.

Day 64 - Throw a baby at em

I feel that we're perpetually becoming more homebody like than we were. Partly due to the limitations placed by this city and it's weather - in the high 40's / 100's - and partly due to the energy required for raising a child.

My sister is staying with us, and has become a sort of gateway for long lost loose family friends to connect, especially if they have a baby, or are expecting. So one of these mornings, my sister informs me that one of these relations will be coming over, and that they I need to do some real talk - since my wife wasn't going to be home - and scare this visitor into fully realizing the challenges of raising a child. At issue was whether this person would be able to have the presence of mind 2 months after giving birth to complete an arduous work related experience. One point to clarify is, it's not unheard of here for families to have a nanny assigned to each child. The parents want to live their lives, and I guess they reason that the child won't know be able to tell the difference since they're young...the nannies end up in most cases raising the children well into adulthood. But our visitor didn't have this issue, they want to be hands on, and so we threw lil dude at them.

I keep forgetting what our home looks like to others, because visitors keep remarking about the walls full of post its, windows graced with white board markers, and weird charts on the walls (journey maps and blueprints). Our visitor calmly played with little dude, listened to our first 3 months experience as relayed by me. But it was only when they witnessed the prep wall that it really registered for them.

That particular wall held our plans for delivering the child 6 months out, the two main things I highlighted there was finding a doula (didn't know about it) and if not in shape, to find a personal trainer who knows how to handle pregnant women.

There are so many things in life, once experienced, that leave you feeling incredulous that you hadn't heard about how to go about tackling them before. It's like there should be a Khan Academy for major life events: puberty, savings, taxes, death etc.

As for our visitor, I think we were able to somewhat sway them. Even though lil dude decided not to have a melt down.

Day 63 - Man of leisure

A childhood friend was over for a visit tonight, they'd traversed 8 time zones to do a gig and we had a chuckle about how strange it is, meeting halfway round the world from the playgrounds we used to play in once upon a time.

They've built up a career that's traversed the largest metropolitan cities in Canada and the United States and they found this new playground a welcome one. Even if they feel other, they feel it less so. I remarked how I find natives true to these metropolitan cities, usually here on a mission to drive change and vision, are always somehow least informed yet most sought after.

We remembered Lagos, and how for a period of time, while I worked remotely and at times didn't work, I'd had access to a lot of free time. So when I attended events, after fumbling for an accurate description of my current pursuit in life, I decided to be playful and said I was a 'man of leisure'. People really took to the title, and always nodded approvingly, as if I had cracked the code to life. No further questions were warranted, and you could see people's heads grinding away the things they needed to do to become a person of leisure.

My friend remarked that this would never fly in a city like New York, where the first retort would be "You mean you don't work." My friend continued, "In that city, you're either somebody, and that means you're filthy rich, or you're grinding gears trying to be somebody, and you'll be grinding half your life, there's no in between, it gets tiring."

My friend also shared their surprise at how many more women are in positions of power, in a place most North Americans would confuse for not allowing women to drive, compared to the North American board rooms which continue to talk the talk of diversity and inclusion, and continuously fail to act on it.

Maybe I'll have to move to New York, spread the word that one can be a man of leisure, if you just walk past the ladder.

Day 62 - New baby incoming

So after doing some digging, it turns out lil dude is going through a comprehensive development milestone, at the end of which he'll be a new baby of sorts.

I caught myself saying something is off with him over the past 2 days, and it got to a point where I'd said it one too many times. I didn't like that I was shrugging and chalking it up to him being a baby. I caught myself and remembered that I have access to information, and I can pair that with my observations to figure out what was up.

In short, he's "waking up" and becoming more conscious of his environment and more curious about complex colour patterns and sounds. In the last week he started getting sleepy more often, usually after I bombarded him with what I call development time. Lots of reading, repetition of letters and numbers, basic things, but they seemed to tire him out. The last two days that wasn't so and he became more fussy, less engaged, and constantly sucking his hands. He also learned to blow bubbles using his lips after consistently practicing, started reaching for and grasped his toes, and started waking up as frequently as he was when he was newborn. So the 5 hour stretches are over and it's back to sleepless nights.

The good news is that it'll all be over in about 35 days, or when he's about 5.5 months old. Which makes capturing our experience all the more necessary. My friend Zarko suggested I think through our experience through the lens of service design - with us as parents providing a service to lil dude the customer - there'll be some challenges blueprinting the main birth experience, because that was a blur, and the hospital we attended would probably have benefitted from this exercise to highlight pain points that appeared post delivery, amongst them settling the bill and follow up care.

The only reason this period he's going through is worth noting, is because we mostly were able to understand his needs, but I think it's possible to capture something in terms of the process we used to care for him. Which involved the way we were able to care for ourselves so that we could be attentive to his needs.

Day 61 - Steer clear

Howdy folks, not a lot on the brain today, it was a bit of a blur, even lil dude seemed to be in a fog. We are expecting help over the coming week, so I'll finally be able to start responding in earnest to old emails I've received, pick up on research I was meant to do, and get around to editing hours of audio I've had sitting around for months.

I think the process of writing over the past weeks may have taught me how to squeeze what little time there is and be quietly productive. I just wrote up a page on the role of reflection and nostalgia in our lives and decided to do away with it for now.

I guess I'm learning that it's ok to steer away from something if it doesn't feel like it's worth the time, at that moment in time.

I also intend on revamping my portfolio, and giving it serious thought, it's been I think 4 years since I've bothered to think it through. I've not been super organized, so I'm not looking forward to picking through gigabytes of files and folders and finding information to piece together.

I think I will try my best to capture learning points, going forward, by writing about daily experiences on future projects. It's only fair to me to save my future self some precious time by being organized. Also another way of removing possible excuses from future self's path.

Day 60 - Fuckup jobs

I attended a Fuckup night event, branded Fun Dubai, because reasons. The turn out was amazing, easily 200 people were in attendance. It was the 28th Volume or event for the Dubai chapter and I did a cursory look into Washington DC, there were about 8 events with the last one sometime in 2018. I checked the Toronto chapter and they're on iteration 26. I'll relay the significance of that in a minute.

But first, so what's Fuckup nights? In a nutshell, a bunch of friends in Mexico City were tired of hearing success stories that skip the gore and highlight the glory. So they put together biweekly Fuckup nights where three speakers shared their biggest failures as honestly and as painfully possible, it's now in 300 cities.

So why the numbers above? Considering it's a purely volunteer run event, it makes for great marketing because there's nothing for you to do outside of finding people vulnerable enough to share the lessons they learned from their failure, and it allows you to foster more human connections in a way that can be cathartic.

Think about major media, you mostly hear bad news, or horrifying tragedies except when it's related to entrepreneurship and startups, where you'll mostly hear about IPOs, acquisitions, and to be fair, once in a while sensational burnouts. None of which help anyone who is starting out and looking for advice, mentors, market validation or customers.

DC is supposed to be pushing entrepreneurship and there not being a community that took up a mantle for something like this, that connects so deeply with entrepreneurs, especially the ones that appreciate how lonely the struggle is to bring something into being, is very telling of DC and it's start-up ecosystem. Toronto is being touted as Silicon Valley North, so it's heartning to see the numbers match the sentiment.

Clearly, there's nothing scientific or studied about my hypothesis, but I think it gets to the root of something people are becoming more aware of. That we are unfulfilled in our jobs, and I don't agree with the assessment that they're bullshit jobs, but there is an element of a majority of jobs being similar to the one on the TV show Lost, where numbers had to be entered at specific intervals or the world would 'supposedly' end.

In most of our work realities, there are cubicles of people, who all have their own numbers to punch in, and all equally adamant that their version is the most important task to complete. The choas in our workplaces create discomfort, unhealthy tension, and foster a culture of sabotage through indifference.

So these 200 people in Dubai, I think are an indication of what people are interested in, and that's an exit into a life where they have control, but they're also aware that it will be painful, and are looking to feel what it'd be like if maybe, the pain is worth has more value than the pain of their 9 to 7 life.

Day 59 - Helpful Humans

I mentioned my weekly Thursday posts on the Creative Bunch Instagram, where I pose personal and professional questions I thought folks might connect over or connect through. Day 43 I think it was.

So far I've learned that it's easier to use questions generated by people, if they see it, they're likely to engage with the questions. As opposed to coming up with questions I think are interesting.

That people enjoy the Instagram chat feature, but only if more than 3 people have a connection to the topic. Tagging people to give advice works best, people are helpful, they just need an invitation to do what naturally comes to them. It also helps to jump start the conversation in the chat group by calling on someone to give a tip, followed by requesting others in the chat to chime in.

In the past 3 weeks we've had one group talk about the human side of sales, how to come across strongly, without feeling icky. One group was collaborating over the question of why single women in the emirate find it very difficult to find a serious partner in this region. And a group most recently indicated an interest in partaking in a meditation session, and a group member decided to kindly host them.

I enjoy the weekly rhythm, but looking at the analytics, Tuesday would make more sense. Most people are stuck at work, it's the middle of the work week in this region, and on Thursday the battery to connect kind of runs out. Which is why I'm continuously surprised when people do engage and care to help.

I think it's time to change it up just a notch, not sure what I should do in forthcoming iterations. If you have any thoughts let me know!

Oh and if curious it's all in the highlights on insta, I think you can even join the pre-existing chats