Work and Boredom

Work and boredom. — Looking for work in order to be paid; in civilized countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays well. But there are, if only rarely, men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work. They are choosy, hard to satisfy, and do not care for ample rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed, but so do even those men of leisure who spend their lives hunting, traveling, or in love affairs and adventures. All of these desire work and misery if only it is associated with pleasure, and the hardest, most difficult work if necessary. Otherwise, their idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonor, and danger to life and limb. They do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if their work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable “windless calm” of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds. They have to bear it and must wait for its effect on them. Precisely this is what lesser natures cannot achieve by any means. To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar, no less than work without pleasure.

From The Gay Science, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Bumping the Lamp: Why Attention to Detail Matters

rogerrabbit

In the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” there’s a scene in a dark room where Roger Rabbit (an animated character) flies across the room, knocks a hanging lamp around, and the lighting becomes so dynamic that all the shadows move around including the animated character’s shadow. Here’s the scene in question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EUPwsD64GI

This was such a small detail that it would have been forgivable if the animators had left it out entirely: if they had not moved the lamp, kept the shadow steady, no one would have really noticed the difference. It would have been 100 times easier to animate and the effect wouldn’t really have been that different.

But they did it anyway. The term was later coined, and “bump the lamp” is used throughout Disney (and probably other organizations) to mean something akin to “go the extra mile”—but I see it as having a special significance to design.
You’re right, most people won’t notice. By that logic, you could cut corners a lot of other places too. You could be lax about button colors matching exactly, or per-pixel sharpness on the map and buttons. No one would probably notice.

But if you go for every detail like it was the most important detail, you have the possibility of reaching a level of design quality that is superlative, and some people will notice. Others will not notice directly, but will see that the piece exudes style and quality subconsciously, due to the attention to small details. If you carry this into other areas of your work—programming, customer service, market strategy, marketing, and more—then you have a chance to create something of true quality.

If you don’t pay attention to detail at that level, well, you might have the chance to actually get something done. Yes, it’s a balance, like everything else. But you have to know that it won’t be quite as good, and understand that yes, you are sacrificing something, even if you can’t see it.

Source: calinet6 on Hacker News

Agile Development with Trello

I originally wrote this post as part of my role as Product Manager at OwnLocal.

We have learned a lot at OwnLocal from when other companies have described their development cycles. In the spirit of contributing to the conversation and maybe sparking some ideas for someone else, I want to discuss a few of our most important strategies for managing the agile development cycle with Trello.

Keep reading…

My Word for 2014: Independence


This new year’s I joined close friends and many new ones in west Texas for a phenomenal retreat. We spent our time exploring, communing, and sharing.

Our hosts requested that we each determine and vocalize a word to describe our coming year. Rather than merely sharing specific task oriented goals, the exercise allowed us to postulate an overarching theme that would guide us in the coming months.

My word for 2014: independence. Webster defines it as “freedom from outside control or support.” I intend to further my personal journey of intellectual independence from outside influences as well as regain the independence of my time.

What’s your theme for 2014?

Skydiving – AFF Level 4 Jump

Fantastic jump experience at Skydive San Marcos for my level four! 90 degree turns, 180 degree turns, and an impromptu docking. A privilege to learn from Hank; can’t thank him and the other instructors enough!

Skydiving – AFF Level 1 Jump

I feel like a fish who’s discovered water for the first time. Home.

Liberty

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.”

—Thomas Jefferson

Photo via Young&United

Vision

“It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”

—Helen Keller