How to Be More Creative

Long before the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn called it out as one of the most important skills, people have wanted — needed — to be more creative. The problems we face today are more challenging, complex, and ever-changing. Creativity itself is also challenging, because there’s a mystique to it; it’s a force that has […]

Aim High, but Make Sure You Shoot

Rebranding, “Done Is Better than Perfect” “Worse is better,” is the perfect blend of catchy and counterintuitive. It’s a meme; it captures a trend, its catchiness enables its spread, and bolstered its traction as an idea. The phrase was originally used by Richard Gabriel in his paper, “Lisp: Good News,Bad News, How to Win Big.” […]

What Nobody Told You About the First Draft

“When you get an idea, don’t hold it,” architect Vittorio de Feo said.  Recalling his master’s quote in Why Architects Still Draw, Paolo Belardi adds that when you get an idea, not taking action right away risks destroying the idea’s vitality. Sketch the idea immediately; draw impulsively, and transcribe unconscious energy from the brain to […]

Why the “Best” Way Is Your Own Way

Advice from James Cameron, on Not Taking Advice For years, I have been a hoarder and disseminator of advice; and I only found advice worth taking by measuring the success of the giver. It wasn’t the most critical way of thinking, and I figured if I found what successful people did, I’d also be able […]

How to stop overthinking and make magic happen

The line between thinking and overthinking is a thin one. It’s hard for anyone to discern where they are relative to it. Err on the side of action, and build momentum. Sometimes, you have to dumb it down. There’s no shortage of sayings, like, “Done is better than perfect,” or, “No time like the present,” […]

How average first drafts become extraordinary

The myth of great art is that it’s created through spurts of inspiration, genius, and epiphanies. This isn’t always the case. Rather, great art can evolve from what seems like very ordinary, average, rough drafts, often created during very ordinary moments. Not unlike an agile sprint or a lean startup, artists will then get feedback, […]

Why you should work on one thing at a time

I grasped one of the my important productivity insights when I worked at Xtreme Labs: the importance of doing one thing at a time. Our VP of Engineering, Farhan Thawar, was a proponent of “monotasking,” and he warned against multitasking and distraction. Professor Gloria Mark from the University of California, Irvine, told Fast Company that […]

Consider your conveniences

You’re running late for a meeting. You push the elevator button. Ugh, the closest one is still 23 floors up. You reach into your pocket. You pull out your phone. Peter sent you a message. Ahhhhh. What did he say? You slide the screen and check. Peter: Hey, I got some tickets to the Jays […]

Creative excess leads to creative success

There is no substitute for creative waste. It’s a part of the process I’m listening to Pharrell speak with NPR when he says he doesn’t know where his hits come from, or why they were hits in the first place. They just work. He laughs and calls himself the Mr. Magoo of music. I find […]