post-mortem: my presentation at impact hub

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.

i’m baaack

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 revamped my linkedin

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.

ask

“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.

why do i live in an expensive city?

seattle is not cheap. lunch, on average, costs $15 downtown. coffee costs $4. rent is a whole ‘nother story. i make it work, but it takes a extra amount of effort to get by. it means that i have to be smart, scrappy, and always on the hunt for a better opportunity.

and, thank god, the city is full of opportunity. living in seattle has connected me with incredible friends, cool communities, and great stories. the pressure has pushed me to learn a lot as quickly as possible. i live in an expensive city because it offers all the things that get my brain going.

i expressed my concern about seattle’s cost of living to a friend, who told me “the reason i came here is for opportunity. coming from a smaller town, i know that there is not a lot there for me. that’s why i am here.”

sometimes i feel tempted to move to a smaller town, but for now seattle is checking all my boxes. i get discouraged, but every once in a while the city throws me a bone, and it’s just enough to make be believe that i’m making all the right moves to secure a meaningful career in the long term.

let’s talk

writing doesn’t pay very much, but we do it anyway. art doesn’t pay very much, but we do it anyway. some people get lucky, some people don’t. it appears to boil down to a combination of skill and chance in terms of who gets to make art for a living. i don’t think this needs to be the case, especially now that each of us with an internet connection has the potential to reach the entire world.

i run a podcast/video series that you may know about, and my goal is to figure out what people are doing right. i want so badly to get paid to do the thing i love – to write and to help creative folks make money. but this means i have to first learn how to make money for myself. that means having my day job. that means doing a lot of unpaid prep work.

it is disheartening and i don’t know when this will end, if it ever does. but i hold on to the hope that it will pay off. and my research suggests it just might. and the best i can do in the meantime is to try my best, and to take care of myself in the process.

invent your job

we are living in a world of accelerating change. technology, careers, and strategies become obsolete at an alarming rate. if you want to be marketable, you have to be creative. the jobs of the future don’t exist yet, and its up to you to figure out what these jobs are.

this week i interviewed moji, a woman who created her own title as a environmental sustainability consultant. she told me that a lot of her job was education – she had to explain to clients what she did and why it was important. it’s an emerging field and more and more companies will experience pressure to become environmentally conscious, and moji saw that she could help.

for you, i’m sure you’ve noticed gaps in the market. if you see an opportunity to try something that might benefit a friend, a business, or a community, it’s possible you might be inventing a career for yourself. test it out, and see if you’re right.