Monthly Archives: July 2012

Worth the Price of Admission

I happened to watch John Orozco last night as the US Team worked their way to an incredibly disappointing 5th place finish in the Gymnastic Team event. Orozco, an incredible gymnast and considered to be one of the best in the world tanked on two events, back-to-back, that put the team way beyond any medal.

I watched with my wife as tears formed in his eyes for the world to see – it hurt deeply and I, in a very limited way, could understand what it was like.

We’ve all experienced what it’s like to let someone down, or perhaps even a team. Most of us will never feel the pressure like Orozco as he carried the weight of an entire nation competing at the very highest levels of his craft. But, we have felt (and will feel) just as poignantly the disappointment of failure when it has arrived on our front door.

I then happened upon this video this morning, embedded above, that features John to a tune about being a “fighter.” How perfect is that?

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Where Will You Be in 5 Years?

five-years

Where will you be in five years time from today? Have you given that much thought?

Although I personally do not think about this very often I do know that when I do sit down and contemplate the distant (or not-so-distant) future it impacts me very deeply.

I believe the direction that much of my life has taken is the result of some of these significant moments where I have asked myself the tough questions and sought out wisdom from friends, family, and God.

What might fascinate you though is that this capacity to dream has been one part natural and the other part developed. You see, as a child I dreamed of new worlds and realities all the time, especially around solving problems that no one appeared to care about or do anything about.

Although my capacity when I was a child was limited to what I was aware of and capable of doing I was always looking to do something better, faster, and more efficiently. This sensibility was systematically beaten out of me as I walked through the educational systems and institutions that told me that there is a process and a “proven” method to nearly everything.

In other words, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for innovation. Why not just assume the existing methodology and trust that it was the best one available?

Although I lost the capacity to dream I never lost my desire to do so.

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From Me to We

me-we

I heard someone say today how important it is to change our mindset and actions from a “me” perspective to a “we” perspective.

I half-expected this person to diagram out what I drew out above but they didn’t. The difficulty of moving from oneself to outside oneself is incredibly difficult – sometimes so difficult it’s impossible.

We’ve been trained from a very young age to think for ourselves, to be independent, and in some cases to trust very few if anyone as we build our own luck, so to speak.

I have often thought that the world we live in needs to make this dramatic shift but it’s easier to criticize it and hope that it changes than actually change oneself.

I think even in our own small-ish online publishing and blogging ways we can be more a “we” type of community and “we” type of culture rather than a “me” one. Perhaps it’s as simple as spending just a little more time on someone else’s blog instead of our own or reading one more blog post and commenting than we do typically.

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batman-cheese

Creativity, Around Us

My daughter made a batman insignia with her piece of cheese the other day and I was astounded.

First, I was surprised she even knew what that insignia or brand mark (can we call it a brand mark?) looked like. Second, that she was even aware of it enough to cognitively create it explicitly with her piece of cheese.

Heck, it could have been a pony or a princess – why Batman?

I’ll never know, but it made my day in a way that doesn’t often happen.

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My New Love: Freedom Chair by Humanscale

freedom-chair-humanscale

I’m in love. Can I say that about a chair?

I have been whining and complaining for years about finding that perfect chair that I’d be happy and satisfied with and my wife has heard it all, many times over.

We set aside a budget for my personal-productivity-bumkiss-platform years ago but I never pulled the trigger until about a 5 weeks ago when I discovered Humanscale and their Freedom Chair. I did some research, saw this video below, and pulled the trigger immediately.

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Leveling Up My Minivan Skills

honda-odyssey

Something has happened recently that you need to know about and that I’m still somewhat ambivalent about: I now own a minivan.

Yes, yes… yes…

My family has made the significant (or not so significant…?) decision to trade in my lovely 2-door Honda Civic for a much more practical Honda Odyssey. Thankfully I was able to buy this from my parents who kept babied it for years and still looks and performs like brand-new.

And now this fully-loaded 2007 is part of our family. Some, like my youngest, have already claimed their rightful spot on the bus:

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WELD: Collaborative Work and Creative Space

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I had the pleasure of visiting one of the neatest places I’ve ever been to, especially in Dallas! It’s called WELD and it’s a collaborative work environment for Dallas-based creatives, photographers, and productivity/community buffs.

You’d be tempted to call it a coworking spot and I’ve definitely visited tons of coworking places, especially in Atlanta, but this is different – you might even be tempted to say that it’s categorically different.

It’s the brainchild of a collective bunch led by Austin Mann, a world-traveling photographer, but even as I spoke to him 1-on-1 I could see that this wasn’t about him and his vision but about rather how the collective vision of many creatives birthed this project into life.

You see, all the art, all the design, all the pieces of furniture, and even the coffee experience (and it’s a darn good one) was created uniquely by the residents. As Austin said it,

I just wanted them to go all out and make it their own. Lots of people say that but we actually wanted to do it. This is their space and you’ll see their fingerprints all over it.

As a result you’ll see a touch of one person’s design-love all over the walls and the caffeine experience, as I mentioned before, is from a local enthusiast who crafted the area tailored to their unique vision and experience.

It’s all community-led, community-driven, powered, and naturally financed. In just a few short months they are on track for fully booking out the entire space. This is a dream-like scenario for any new business, especially a brick and mortar.

And of the studio space for photographers? To die for. I’m not in that space but this was like a dream come true. It’s a win-win for everyone as costs are lowered for all those who want in and the space is not mediocre; it’s world-class.

I just walked around taking photos from my iPhone (although you’ll see a few from their own lenses) and just making mental notes of how this is what a creative and collaborative work environment is all about.

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Are You One of Us? Do You Have the Publisher’s Esprit de Corps?

keyboard

I meet you here every single day.

There’s something unique and very special about us, you know? We that consistently create content and pour our hearts and souls onto digital paper for the rest of the world to see.

We have a different perspective on nearly everything in life. We see relationships differently and how they are more fluid than rigid, more dynamic and full of possibility rather than static and ambiguous, and we believe that “the more, the merrier” is true wisdom.

We see meaning in our daily work and routine as having a purpose greater than the act itself because we see potential in offering something to the word through the the mundane and possibly banal. “So what?” we cry when we post images of our kids and the baskets of laundry that lay about the house.

If we aren’t blessed with children we find meaning in posting our thoughts about such things as our trips to the grocery store, our workout routines, and even the challenges of working in dimly lit office space for our 9-to-5.

Why? Because we find value in exporting our experiences into others and we fundamentally believe that we can create value for them by sharing with them our experiences. We find more than meaning perhaps – we discover purpose.

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I Like My Blogs Fast. Always.

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One of the biggest jumps in terms of my experience with Standard 3 is the fact that it’s blazing fast, not just on the front-end but also in the back admin as well.

Sure, a number of performance-related issues with blogs and WordPress Themes has to do with the way you configure and manage your hosting and server environment but I had already optimized a number of things to be incredibly fast.

But the one thing that hasn’t changed in a long time was the code quality in the previous versions of Standard Theme. Although the foundational code was and has always been competitively better than most other WordPress Themes the newest version of Standard is unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced (or built).

For starters I work with one of the best WordPress developers on planet earth. After having worked with WordPress since 2004 I have never met someone like Tom – he’s at the very top of the spectrum and he’s just a few years in. Unbelievable.

Second, we have the incredible privilege and honor of being partners with the company behind WordPress itself, Automattic, and they have meticulously helped audit the code base to meet their exacting needs. If there was one team that you wanted walking through your code it would be them, hands down!

Last but certainly not least we have an incredible team behind Standard, including Michael who has Q/A’d every single line that Tom writes, Jared who adds the spit-and-shine to make it beautiful and pretty inside and out (and who always considers speed and performance in light of his design), and Chris who is militant when it comes to stripping out the BS of our product and leaving only the things that create incredible value for our customers.

Shoot, what do those guys need me for anyways?!

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Forgiveness

Is something very difficult to do.

If you’ve never struggled with it then you don’t know what it really means. I think of how Jesus struggled with his decision to submit to His Father’s will to the point of sweating blood. It was the challenge of being the forgiveness for humanity.

We’ll never struggle like that, but we may taste that struggle in this life. Many times over, perhaps.