a portion of my tech-savvy friends give talks. software developers get together for show-and-tell sessions that serve as networking and hiring opportunities (the events that i have attended have been very casual). some friends give their talks at conferences (e.g. deconstruct conf), and others at meetups (like donut.js). one of the best talks i’ve seen was one in which the speaker showed us how they used code to create the most dissonant music possible. they were followed by a woman (a banker by day) who used code to sort through produce plu codes.
so talks are happening and they’re useful and cool – i wanted to get in on the hype. so i put together my presentation using what i had learned from interviewing folks on ‘the orbit’. i asked my contact at impact hub if they could fit me into the calendar, and they said yes. easy peasy.
the hard part was making / rehearsing the presentation. i really had no idea who would show up, which meant that i didn’t know if my talk about seem stupid or inaccessible. i figured it would be best to not overthink it, and just focus on the things i liked and thought were useful.
i outlined the presentation in notion several times, then put together a google slides document. i went through three drafts before i settled on the one i was going to give. i practiced out loud in front of my girlfriend, and then video’d myself and sent it to lito who has a lot of experience with giving talks. both of them gave me meaningful and constructive feedback, which helped me further tune in the talk.
eight people showed up (less than i expected but still good). this meant that i could get to know my audience deeply and learn about their businesses and what they were hoping to get out of my presentation. my favorite bit was hearing about their projects. i find that many folks are embarking on really interesting, individual projects and i am always happy to see ways i can help (usually it is recommending a tool or a book).
if i were to do this again, i would really want to lean into the data more. i want to show hard and true facts that will illustrate my point: the future of work is coming, and its for everyone. if we figure out how to adjust to sustainable work structures, we’ll be well positioned to have meaningful careers that are fueled by our individual interests, passions, and talents.
this past week i interviewed sahil lavingia, the ceo of gumroad (an online selling platform). he told me that he believed the future of work was going to be decentralized, software-enabled, and small. you don’t even have to predict the future on this one, he told me. it’s already starting and you can see evidence of it around us.
my whole mission is to assist with the transition from the “old trappings” of 9-5. one friend i spoke with said that it was almost like i was a doula for the future, which i don’t think is too far off as a metaphor. what i appreciate about sahil is that he welcomes the future of work with open arms, and encourages others on twitter to try and fail and try and fail again and again, because together we are proceeding into uncharted territory.
this week, i’m excited to speak to an audience of my peers about some of the things i am working on. i am afraid that some people may not understand where i am coming from, or not recognize the importance of adjusting to the impending changes to the structure of our workdays. the talk is fun, informative, but i think it scratches the topmost layer of what i am thinking most weeks. i hope it goes well, and at the very least i am pleased that it is happening.
i’ve been promoting the hell out of this thing (it’s this week on july 31st in seattle, washington, link here) but worry not if you can’t make it – at least two people will be filming it and we’ll push it to youtube as soon as possible.
here is the aforementioned vloggo, in which i discuss two books that i recommend most often, ‘whiplash’ by joi ito & jeff howe, and ‘the circle’ by dave eggers.
in other news, i just bought the book ‘the knowledge economy’ by roberto mangabeira unger, which came up on joi ito’s summer reading list. it’s a very… crunchy book, and aligns with a lot of my studies of the future of work.
anyway, i’m a bit shy about this new video because it is my foray into the world of video essays. i am inspired by the big players that have changed my life with their content, and sometimes releasing mine own thing make me feel small and feeble. but, the plan is to snowball some momentum and to keep these coming, similar to how i’ve been doing the interviews.
yesterday i made an attempt at producing a video essay. it is not as easy as creators make it seem. inspired by lindsay ellis, jon bois, and jenny nicholson, i thought “hey, why not take a stab at it?”
it is very hard to talk to a camera. i took this for granted during my interview series. both me and my subjects alike probably seemed as comfortable as we were because we didn’t have to talk directly to a camera. instead, we chatted with each other and it was easy to forget that we were being filmed.
jaron and i filmed one interview where i sat out of frame and the subject sat in front of the camera. the resulting footage was unusable – our subject was visibly nervous the entire time and didn’t really answer the questions we were asking.
now that i am in the hot seat, i get it. being filmed can be very difficult for a novice. i talked to chey about this. chey is extremely comfortable talking to a camera, though she credits this to a combination of her acting training and also years and years of practice.
so, for me, i’m in practice mode. i’m going to continue to make vlogs and no one is really going to see them until i find out how to do it properly.
i’m back in seattle and a lot has changed. for one, my boss got fired at my day job. i liked my boss and i liked my day job. but now i have the option to leave, and i really want to. so i’m looking.
i first applied to work at a bookstore (familiar stomping grounds). i quickly received an e-mail back, but they informed me that i would likely have to work during the holiday season. i really, really don’t want to do this – i’ve worked the holiday season for many years and i’d rather not do it again. i called chey an expressed my dilemma, and she recommended i look at other industries (“not retail”) so that i could have my holidays off.
further, i’ve been doing some solid reading and writing, which is culminating into some presentation projects. one of which is at seattle’s impact hub on july 31st. i’m very excited to share that i will be giving a talk about my work at “the orbit”. you can read more about the event here.
2019 is a big year for me. we’re already halfway through it and i feel like i’ve laid down a solid foundation for self-employment, though the path right now still seems muddy. all of my friends and family have incredible confidence in me and my ability to chisel out a career for myself, which helps a lot. we will see.
i don’t care for linkedin. but i know i need it if i am going to get the career that i want. so, i fleshed out the descriptions of my previous work experience, added some credentials i have, and generally focused on making my profile look full and fresh. like a bouquet or something.
at the end of this month, i will be giving a talk at seattle’s impact hub. it’s part of their “lunch + learn” series for entrepreneurs. i’ll be talking about professional and creative orbits, which is an obsession of mine. instead of burning out, i will be sharing strategies for sustainable workflow among folks who freelance or run their own businesses.
i’m excited about it, and i have a hunch that this talk will give people a better idea of who i am. more so than my linkedin. you can check out the details of the event here.
“how did I get an interview with kurt cobain? I ASKED.”
nardwuar the human serviette is an eccentric radio personality known for hosting incredible interviews with musicians. he is loved for his quirks, his personality, and in-depth research/preparation for his interviews. his subjects are often surprised at how much he knows.
in his ted talk, nardwuar tells us the secret to how get got as many great interview subjects as he did: he asked.
sahil lavignia is the ceo of gumroad, a kind of commerce platform for the indie creator. his twitter (and gumroad’s twitter) is full of encouragement. you’ll find that both accounts root for the underdog on a daily basis, because it’s the underdog who needs that extra push the most.
me? i’m encouraging you to ask. ask for help, as for your next gig, ask someone you admire for a pointer in the right direction. you don’t necessarily have to go at the entire journey alone.