I’m thrilled to announce my new position at an exciting Silicon Valley startup called Britely, where I am now Director of Growth & Creativity. We’re a well-funded, fast-moving new kind of user generated content site and app. I’m heading up content strategy, distribution, growth hacking, user acquisition, product marketing, and social media strategy… I love my job and the team here is top notch. My favorite part of my job is helping shape a super creative, positive culture of creators on britely.com.
In “How to Keep an Idea Log You Will Actually Use” you talked, in part, about rereading your archive of ideas every 3 months. That is manageable, but I struggle with the revisiting of all the other information including: bookmarks, downloaded files, saved emails, hand written notes, etc.
I would very much like to know how you cope with the incredible amount of useful information at your fingertips. How do you organize everything that you collect (in different forms)? –Software Engineer
Hi Software Engineer,
I keep all of the data you’re talking about in simply structured (hardly tagged, mostly just thorough file names) folders on my hard drive.
As you know, I’ve been on the job hunt lately. Just like changing countries, moving apartments and other big changes, a job search forces you to get concrete about what you want your new life to be like. And because I love working, my job is a big part that vision.
- I want to make things with people who are energetic, smart, and unusually interesting.
- I want to be at a company that is clear about what it is, inspired by what it wants to become, and admired for being exceptionally good at what it does. (I’m anthropomorphizing. Forgive me.)
- I want to be able to dress like myself. Edgy and bold and professional. My workplace cannot require heels or suits (only my clients can); I live in the hills and I like to walk too much.
- I want to be respected for my ideas (ooh!), my rigor (hmm…) and my irreverence (gasp!).
- I want to use my skills as a social scientist to further a creative agenda of problem solving.
- I want to use my skills as a teacher, persuader and story-teller to lead challenging changes in how people work, behave, and think.
- White boards, sketchbooks and post-its are a must. I love my Macbook Pro to an almost fetishist degree, but for creative collaboration, nothing beats analog.
Some of these requirements (like the last) may seem mundane, but they are culturally significant: It’s important that my workplace that supports visual thinking, rapid prototyping, and collaborative problem solving.
And some of them are just things I’ve learned that I want in a workplace, time and time again. My former acting coach taught me that it’s essential to love using the tools of your trade. It’s important not to ignore those things.
So let me know….. where should I work? And what do you want in your next job?
I wanted to announce a few big changes in my life of late.
I’ve moved back to San Francisco to be closer to family and the amazing pulse of California life that I know and love.
I am now on indefinite leave from the tenure track at the London School of Economics. We are still working out the details, but I hope to keep working with the Department of Management in some capacity while I’m away, perhaps still teaching on some executive programs like our new Global MiM and the Executive Summer School.
I am also looking for ways to continue “teaching” here in the Bay Area, whether in a classroom or as an innovation coach like I did with Haas@Work. (If you have a need for a facilitator or guest speaker, I’d love to hear from you.)
KICKING ASS & TAKING NAMES!
I’m thrilled to get to focus on the design strategy work I love so much – I’m officially on the job market. (I’m having so much fun visiting friends of friends at SF’s most exciting design firms. Keep the leads coming!)
I am also getting to dedicate more time on my freelance organizational consulting practice, Kickass Creative. I have been involved in some very innovative projects lately, applying behavioral and social psychology research to making things and solving business problems through design (like at Nutmeg, an exciting financial startup I advise in the UK).
I’M STILL UP IN THE WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING….
…but for different reasons than before. I’m a proud new mom of a delightful baby boy, born in London this past August! I miss London (and going out) but couldn’t be happier to get to glimpse the world through my precious baby’s eyes. Going to bed early is the new sleeping in!
That’s the gist of it. I’ll keep you updated as my plans evolve… in the meantime, if you’re in the Bay Area I’d love to hear from you! – Caneel 🙂
Choosing a thesis topic is kind of crazy. I feel like I’m committing to marriage or something. Is it the right one? Will I be happy? Will I get bored? Will it keep my interest? Is there something better out there?
– A Masters Student
Dear Masters Student,
I know, the decision can be crippling!!! Don’t let it paralyze you. The best way to pick is to write out your thought process. Play with ideas. Talk to yourself in your journal about the pros and cons of each idea that pops into your head, not worrying about the order.
Most importantly, free-write through your thoughts, feelings, fears, and fascinations relating to your thesis. They are extremely relevant to your progress. I like handwriting best as I have more access to my emotional evaluation of my ideas when pen touches paper. I go to a café where I can noodle in my journal without being lulled into the safe distractions of the internet.
THINK BY WRITING… This is my biggest advice for the whole entire process! 15 minutes a day free-writing, every single day except Sunday. Let it flow, writing “I don’t know what to write” when you’re stuck – don’t wait till you know what you want to say. You figure out what you want to say by writing.
Feels disorderly? That’s okay, and a necessary part of the process you need to push through. Probably you don’t have a list of distinct dissertation topics or ideas that you could list and write pros/cons for at this stage. There are probably many that are similar. Or maybe you don’t have any ideas (or so you think!). This method acknowledges that. Instead, it allows you to investigate the blurry edges between ideas – the overlaps.
Don’t spend too much time on this process however (your subconscious wants you to procrastinate, waste time debating, because writing the dissertation is so much more threatening to the ego than indecision is… don’t give in to this temptation). The best thing is to pick an idea and commit to it after allowing yourself a short while to debate. Any idea is always more interesting the more time you spend with it, making it yours. So don’t worry too much about picking the right idea.
I often hear people say that they no longer read novels; that if they’re going to take the time to read a book, they want to learn something.
But “nonfiction” means neither objective nor important.
Fiction teaches empathy and truth about the impossible diversity human experience: This is NOT a waste of time.
Reading novels is both enjoyable and enlightening. Practice it. Allow yourself.
(And for some book-loving inspiration, check out my favorite tumblr blog, Bookshelf Porn.)