Category Archives: being human

minor personal shifts

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although the idea of a ‘title’ in my professional life never quite gets me to a phraseology i am ever personally satisfied with, i do think that i may want to adjust my own personal, interdependent brand to something more aligned with who i really am as a creative individual

i typically come into a corporate organization in roles like:

  • experience designer;
  • Senior UX Designer;
  • UX Visual Designer;
  • UX Lead;
  • or UX Architect

marketingfacts

my own little tweaks to my titles in the past include phrases like:

  • Lead Designer;
  • Senior User Experience and Innovation Architect;
  • interdependent artist and user experience design consultant;
  • and most recently, just DESIGN

through these improvised and hyperbolized adjustments to who i am as a designer within the context of a company or contract, i can definitely now see i have been having an identity issue over the years — through my title, i guess i am striving, in some way, for a better-empowered and more-important contributing role within the organizations i engage with as a designer

 

pay-as-you-drive-300x243on the drive into work today i took a photo of the sky

less than a mile from the office i noticed a particular patch of clouds, the sun burning a brilliant white hole through the darker, floating materiality and wonderment suspended in a slow crawl across the sky ( as shown at the top of this post )

i tend to look up when i need inspiration or a meditative moment to bring me back to me in a calming, reflective way

i guess i couldn’t help but thinking about all the nonsense of titles and roles and the sort of self-bending, -twisting and -shaping we put our minds, behaviors and speech through just to fit into the context of our work environments

you play a role, after all

and you can never ever be truly honest ‘out loud’ regarding your thoughts, expectations and desires in the workplace — even those honest aspects that directly pertain: to the surface veneer around your particular skills and expertise; and the growth, direction and potentially improved capabilities you can drive to through your daily work, collaboration and training, thereby increasing the value and integrity you ultimately offer the business and it’s clients and customers

believe me — any sense of pure honesty can easily offend your work colleagues in an off-putting and detrimental way

 

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i’ve been let go on a few occasions for cutting through the bullshit in several of my efforts to guide teams and businesses through:

  • revelatory critique;
  • honest assessment of distracting dysfunctional dynamics residing within teams;
  • questioning the status quo around processes and workflows;
  • and suggesting hypotheses that could re-direct group dynamics to more fruitful interpersonal behaviors and smoother, more collaborative ways to work together

anyhow

 

long story short

with a subtle personal shift to thinking of myself as lou suSi DESIGN, i wanted to establish a mood and mindset for myself that consistently stayed with me from job to job along my career path, regardless of what company i chose to engage with for either full-time employment or consulting-based work

i also used the personal title shift to simplify who i am for myself and for the people i interact with in my career and in my personal life

 

This confusing diagram could probably use a bit of a re-design

UX design is difficult to explain to people outside of the industry

hell, its even difficult to discuss UX with other professionals working in the field as there are so many varied titles that overlap with one another and that provide all of these implied niche-variations that just feel utterly confusing and meaningless to me at this point

as a human-centered designer — and as a designer that primarily focuses on story to drive and guide every part of my process — its more direct and honest to simply say i am a designer and then go into the details about what and how i design if the conversation goes to a deeper place

by thinking of myself as DESIGN — as an actual embodiment of a character: a persona, if you will — i can properly position and center myself around who i am within my daily workaday context

by thinking of myself as DESIGN — i clarify my thinking about: what i do and how i do it; as well as how i relate and communicate and collaborate with people in the most human way possible within the set-up and on the stage of these corporations

by thinking of myself as DESIGN — i can also better focus who i am on the job as well as the perspectives, and the value of those perspectives, i bring into all of my collaborative work

 

here come the clouds again

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because i make my living ( meaning the money that supports my family and i in this capitalistic world of democracy, consumerism and darwinian daily social survival ) almost solely through design ( i also get to teach design, which is a wonderful way to share and deepen what i offer to my profession ), i oftentimes forget that at heart i am really an artist

i began to draw every day as a child of 3 or 4 and i have always cherished creative and expressive work across any medium

so to better suit who i am in the world — and how i am in the world — both professionally and personally — i want to assume a new role and a more honest, holistic description of myself, mostly for myself

instead of all of those complicated titles prescribed by corporations and business and UX and design, i instead will now think of myself as a practical dreamer

of course, this might not be what i say to people i meet at a professional networking event, at least not on the first handshake introduction

but maybe in curatorial and art-affiliated circles — that community might get it and accept me as i am

to make this stream of subconsciousness a little less passive-aggressive-wishy-washy, i want to end on this set of statements for today

i am an artist and designer

i am a practical dreamer

and its so nice to meet you

have a wickid fun weekend!

hope to see you again soon

on wearables and beyond

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and with wearables, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic technologies we become even more immersed as human beings into the strange cyberSurreal otherSpace — a betweenSpace in our spectrum of new and ever-expanding realities — that exist between: the natural world we were born into; the artificial worlds we create; and the evolving technological realm of an alternative set of subconscious realities that our inventions open up to us ( both in realSpace + time as well as in cyberSurrealSpace + time )

for the machines — we become the wetware accompaniment to the technoHumanic symphonies developed through both our extensions and their extensions — whether purposefully created and developed or perhaps even unintentionally built mechanisms to escape our natural environmental context

at first these inventions allowed humankind to survive the elements — to brave and rise above the threats, the harsh realities of Nature

in fact, even the belief systems we invent, such as language, religion, mathematics, psychology and Science, to some degree, act as other tools to help us dominate the unexplainable phenomena of the universe that feel stacked up against us

these become methods for our survival at first

through measurement, logic, reason, discovery, explanation and blind faith — we get to reframe our existence toward an imagined superiority and rulership over everything we experience in life

but now the evolution of these tools into unexplored areas within — areas that reside within the subconscious, invented realities of our belief systems and our technological augmentations beyond the powers of Nature — these have become addictive forces that unfortunately begin to rule over our humanity

at this point, we are no longer able stop our continuing urge to technologically advance and ‘evolve’ ourselves

its become an addiction — an addiction that gets the full financial and emotional support from our official governments and corporations — after all, vast economic promise depends on the  hot streaming ever-inventive production and output of ‘the new’

but we no longer need to invent new tools for survival — at least not those of us born into the privilege and supposed leisure that The First World offers up to humanity

our escape from Nature and the feeling of sovereignty we fabricate through our tools, inventions and technologies now seem to only encourage a disconnectedness from our larger contexts within the world and within a greater holistic and collective sense of our humanity

the otherSpace we create tends to consume us

we subconsciously travel in our ethereal, cerebral thinking so very far away from those aspects of our social animal selves

we are distracted from, perhaps, a bigger purpose

how can we better channel our energies to best serve this bigger purpose?

i am not advocating for a suppression of our inventions through Science and technology

i’m just hoping we can leverage them — and the passion and energies that go into these sorts of development efforts — to optimize the larger, collective human experience of people all around the world

products like the Apple Watch distract us from working towards the greater good that we could potentially provide to our brethren world citizens

products like the Apple Watch feel superfluous, unnecessary and more for the benefit of companies, surface economies and governments than for the majority of actual people

frivolity

derivative

and ultimately unimportant in comparison the grander potential of what we can all be offering the world at this point in time

in honor of Thumbullina

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Thumbullina passed away last Friday, June 17th

we will miss her so much

she was an important and very dear part of our family

blessings and love to you sweet Thumbles

you are with us in our hearts and in our souls

being there

Being There

appreciations

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this year for Thanksgiving ( and why not also for each and every day ) take some moments to simply appreciate life

life is such a mysterious experience

one which i hope we’ll never Scientifically truly understand in the least

to try and understand life too much is to miss out on: the actual experience; and actually tuning in well enough to appreciate that experience of human ( among other forms of ) life

see if you can appreciate, too, all aspects of our experience together

up and down

good and bad

we are wed to life in all of its wonder and chaos, in all of its highs and lows — so try and appreciate and accept all that life offers us, even when it feels unfair or broken or wrong

this year i appreciate life — i choose to tune into that channel of human energy in a personally meaningful way

 

we almost lost our mother this year

i have a lot of questions for her, about her behavior, about her constant struggles with mood and escape and negativity and then manic joy

not all of these questions will be exactly smooth or supportive

i can feel ( in an unfortunately negative and low / sad way ) the immense power of our socially collected energies as a human organism — my mother’s purposefully-chosen attempts at the ultimate escape can be nothing but a dark and dreary ripple of hopelessness and confusion — a horrific example to ‘put out there’ for anyone in the world

it shows a lack of appreciation for life, for people, for anyone and anything beyond herself

my empathy for her obviously wanes at this point in the aftermath

but, for the rest of us at least, let’s hold on to life

we are all very vulnerable and life can escape us all on its own at any moment

there are no logical systems or reasons, either, that death needs to adhere to

so let’s appreciate life together

let’s set a good example for the world and the people we love

let’s appreciate each other with a new sense of closeness and humanity

tune into little things when time gets dark

tune into life

Meeting Santana

santana

I just connected with Santana on LinkedIn

I couldn’t believe he reached out to me like that — so totally amazing, right?

I mean, its not Carlos Santana, of course — its Henderson Santana

I don’t really actually know Henderson Santana IRL { that’s ‘in real life‘ for those not familiar with internet slangology ;] } — like, we’ve never actually met face-to-face or anything, or even virtually now that I think of it

This makes me pause and wonder a bit …

Am I too friendly on social media? Is it wrong or strange to connect randomly like this in an online and public forum like this ( and other ) social web experience prior to actually knowing a person and how they might influence my personal brand, among other potential ripple effects to my online identity? Do I take my social presence across multiple SM properties too lightly? Do I come across as I too playful and too casual online? Do others perceive me as unprofessional or inappropriate by my accepting a request like this to connect upon a cold and seemingly random invitation sent by a virtual ( and also real ) stranger that lives somewhere in the world on the other side of my computer monitor?

All I know is it frikkin’ Friday y’alL — enough with The Spanish Inquisition here, right? — who cares? — I’m here to have fun, get some rawkin’ creative work done, and to just play and discover the rules through experimental, semi-naïve doing — if Henderson or Carlos or any other of the mere instant acquaintances start to even feel toxic via Social, there’s an amazing click or tap I can access to cut ’em away — or better yet, I could interact a bit and find out what the strange behavior’s all about, when and if it even happens at all

but, up front — I give people the benefit of the doubt for a bit up-front and figure it all out as I go along — why over-stress about this shit, right? — i mean its just Social ;]

Stand-Up

onStandUpi just wrote and posted some of my recent thoughts On Stand-Up Comedy and UX up on LinkedIn — go gander a bit and read if you’ve got some minutes to spare, i think i’ve bumped across a lot of interesting similarities between the 2 fields by taking Amy Tee’s Stand-Up Comedy course out at North Shore Community College this Summer and some of the work i’ve done by learning about stand-up — through the process of writing and refining a set of stand-up comedy — enlightened me about various aspects of my life ( both personal and professional ) on SO many levels

its been a fascinating journey

that said — in less than a week i will perform my very first serious set of stand-up comedy out at Timothy’s in Danvers — here’s a link to the Facebook Even Page in case you’re interested in seeing more about the event or maybe even purchasing tickets for dinner and the show — its gonna be a lot of fun with over 10 comedians breaking out their material to friends, families strangers and frenemies, i really can’t wait

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after this week’s debut stand-up performance i will most likely head back to Laughter at the End of the World, Outloud Open Mike and other similar, wonderful events to perform and test my material and hopefully augment this initial 6 minute set into a fuller body of work to keep pushing my comedy

after that, i gotta get back to focusing on building out and working with the team of Comedy Catalysts i’ve rounded up for TEDxBeaconStreet this November — SO many amazing TED Talks goin’ down for a big weekend in midNovember, and SO many talented comedic professionals expressing interest and comin’ on board — ‘sGonna be SO much fun!

 

 

our new granddaughter

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Carol and i are sooOOoOoo happy to welcome our brand new baby granddaughter to the world — she’s such a precious, peaceful little baby { born on Thursday, April 23rd 2015 } — we love you

an ant in the office

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i get a special happy tinge of joy whenever i bump across an insect in the office

we’re such a sophisticated and culturally-advanced species

we’ve designed and developed vast systems of buildings and cities and architectural accommodations for shelter and meeting purposes that keep us safe and antiseptically removed from the potentially harmful elements of the natural world

and yet —despite all of our supposedly superior intellect and our advanced, clever separation from nature — these little pesky living reminders somehow find their way back in and our exclusivity suddenly enjoys unwelcome visitors

a spider in the bedroom at night

a sugar ant in the elevator at work

itty bitty fruit flies in the break room — biting gnats around the office plants

these little intruders bring a smile

i’m momentarily reminded of our rather precarious situation within the fuller world context — our little bubble of humanity resides within the greater realm of nature { of the natural world and universe }

some might decide to step on the ant, to remove this harmless pest from our civilized microcosmic self-designed humanSpace

but i secretly celebrate

i quietly feel like i belong — i am still part of the natural world — i am like the ant, too — i subscribe to the cause, to this hidden reality that really contains us all whether we care to admit it or not

i celebrate with a smile and breathe a little easier for the rest of the afternoon

live long and prosper

Leonard Nimoy