toys and patience

i had a good weekend! interviewed seattle toymakers marnin-saylor, which will be up on youtube and podcast soon. what struck me about them is that they are immensely creative – they are never short on ideas for products or stories for their pastry pet toy line. their struggles mainly surround time management. it’s hard to be a manufacturer, a salesperson, and an administrator all at once. however, outsourcing is also scary to them. it’s hard to get the initial capital to expand, and you also run the risk of losing creative control.

in response, marnin-saylor are waiting for the right moment for growth. they care about their business so much, and as a result they have something that i don’t: patience. taking a leaf from their book, i am trying to enjoy my successes for the time being and to quietly be on the look out for the right conditions to next-level my own projects

discouraged? me too

every project has its setbacks. the path is never linear, and success is not clearly defined nor easily achievable. last night i stayed up awake for a bit because i was unsure of what i was doing, or whether or not it was valuable. this is a hard place to be, and i know for a fact that this happens to a majority of my more entrepreneurial friends.

but, i remember that there is hope. for every doubt that i have, there is at least one cheerleader in my court, and one clear example that what i am doing is valuable and meaningful. i try to identify these little victories and bits of positivity in order to maximize them. my friends and family believe in what i do, and so do i. the trouble is marrying these values with a viable business. i recently read this article by gumroad’s ceo sahil lavingia, in which he navigates his own successes and failures that he had to face at a very young age.

we are all being courageous in trying things that we’ve never tried before. and that courage carries us through the moments when we doubt ourselves and our venture. our courage and resilience are paramount in soldiering forward with open eyes and many ideas for making our vision work.

a time for me

“fridays were the days i would set aside for me,” says cordero core in our most recent interview on the orbit. cordero set aside specific times when he wouldn’t do his assigned work, and instead focus on things that interested him. now at 31, he has a ton of stories, skills, and hobbies along with his engineering degree.

i am taking a leaf out of his book today and trying to spend time doing focused play. my peers are so good at working hard and not very good at resting or enjoying themselves, so in a sense i think doing the things you love is a bit rebellious and revolutionary, and will take you to places you may have never found otherwise.

the alligator wrestler

i spoke with coredero core on our podcast the orbit. cordero has tried a little bit of everything, from mma fighting to baking to chemical engineering. because he had such a diverse set of hobbies, i asked him how he got into so may different side projects.

“well, i once heard that when an employer looks through a stack of resumes, everyone more or less does the same thing. they look the same on paper, and when that’s the case you really have to distinguish yourself from the pack. having a hobby helps – everyone wants to know an alligator wrestler.”

he used this as an example (he doesn’t actually wrestle alligators), but it made sense. the thing that makes you shine are your interests beyond work. having hobbies shows that you love to learn and are self motivated and creative. what are the things that would distinguish you from one hundred other applicants?

tired all the time? rest

our world is engineered to keep us engaged as much as possible. our phones, jobs, and friends demand our attention at a relentless pace, and burnout is prevalent. i often find myself exhausted, but still trying to be productive and outgoing even when i am at wit’s end. as a good friend once told me, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

my newsfeed is full of content that encourages me to take care of myself (@tinycarebot and @gumroad on twitter are some of my favorite online cheerleaders). even though i am reminded everywhere that “self care” is important, i still have trouble implementing it sometime. the simple answer? slow your roll. take a breather. don’t overthink it, and recline on the couch for awhile. the internet will be there when you come back refreshed and ready work.

personal can be professional

i believe that being genuine is incredibly important in business. we are all too familiar with the used-car-salesman trope of a person who is very skilled at duping us into buying garbage. however, businesses that succeed are ones that foster trust, and being honest and genuine is a vehicle to getting you there.

i run a weekly podcast/video series called the orbit in which we interview entrepreneurs, freelancers, and assorted creatives. the idea is bringing together folks who have this genuine, personal quality that is hard to come by with larger businesses. much like how we go to the mom & pop coffee shops to get a little bit of neighborhood soul, working with smaller businesses allow us to spend our money closer to where our values lie.

if this sounds like your cup of tea, i invite you to listen to the podcast or watch the video series. but further, if you are already familiar with the show, we are also on patreon. here, you can pledge $5/mo to support our vision and in return get access to bonus q+A sessions, our community on discord, and written highlights from each interview. find out more here.

going in the opposite direction

sometimes i get so bent on being productive, i forget that there are benefits of slowing down and being counter productive. last night, overwhelmed with everything i wanted to do, i laid back on the couch and listened to some ambient brian eno records. about a half hour later, i had slowed down my brain enough to think about some of my challenges in a different light. in particular, i figured out more of what i wanted to make for my ongoing virtual reality projects using a-frame.

similarly, i’ve noticed that some of the content that icrave is non-committal. With music, youtube videos, and podcasts, i can enjoy the content passively while doing other things, which is kind of the opposite of how i usually operate, with full intensity and without distractions. how can you venture in the opposite direction in order to return with some fresh perspective?