Saturday, November 26, 2005

Random Saturday Blogging Bits - Part 2

It's a quiet weekend in D.C., what with everyone heading back to their hometowns for the holidays. Cold and a bit breezy outside, I've decided to spend a low-key evening doing some reading at the local Starbucks on Capitol Hill. It's 2 level store, with a laid back, student/work friendly environment upstairs, plenty of comfy chairs, a conference room, as well as fireplace. It's one of my favorites, and I like to come here at least 1 weekend a month to read, catch up on work related materials, and browse current trends in the blogosphere and design communities.

Well, anyhow, sitting here tonight and a few things have come across my mind:

  1. I've been offered a new job as of Wednesday afternoon(with a 3rd inquiry arriving late that evening). I actually had two offers come across my inbox, both offering a sizable salary increase, and more importantly, a chance to do more interesting work than at a point in my career, while working with extremely talented people. Of course, that's how it should be when starting a new job. Nonetheless, I can't help but feel extremely fortunate. For a mostly self-taught schmuck (some great mentorship along the way) such as myself, who struggled in high school, and never finished college, uprooted his life from the west coast to DC without the support (financially speaking, I of course had the emotional support of a lot of friends along the way) of anyone, I find it amazing that I'm now being offered an opportunity to work alongside some of the best, and most well known user experience professionals in DC. My hope is that it'll be a long-term, mutually satisfying experience that will provide me with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow along the way.
  2. Staying on a similar thread, one of the reasons I chose the job offer I did is because of the tuition reimbursement program combined with the opportunity to be learn and grow with proven industry professionals. If there is one thing this rather difficult past year has given me, it is a more clear understanding of my long term professional goals. I left my first job this year with no clear understanding of what I wanted to do next, and fell into a technical support project management position, which, while a painful experience, it was also one of the primary drivers for discovering what I wanted to do long term. I always tell people that the world is too rich with opportunities to waste your time dating people you're not attracted to, working a job that you don't love, and generally not following your passions. Those of us in rich, Western countries are extremely fortunate due to all the opportunities afforded us, and shame on those who are capable, but don't take advantage (while helping others, of course). So, for the long term, I've decided to reenter school, focus on getting my degree (as well, later a graduates), with the end goal being the ability to command opportunities to hold a title of Interaction Designer as part of a premier User Experience team, with knowledge and skills that afford me the ability to design both online and offline experiences. I'm particularly fond of the work and research Peter Morville is conducting in the realm of Ambient Findability, as well as the research being done at the Stanford Captology project, and finally Wayfinding and Transmedia. To my relatively uninformed mind, all of these must intersect at some point, along with Information Architecture and Interaction Design, for a flexible career that will provide an endless list of interesting projects in our ever more information rich and complex society.
  3. With the first two points being a bit more long winded than anticipated, I'll keep this one short with a few interesting links to check out:
  • RBirds Pattern Observations : NYC Design firm publishes obversations and critiques of design, marketing and brand patterns in common consumer products. Not the most in-depth research, but certainly interesting, and available for free.
  • Rbirds About Design Blog : While most of my design reading on the web relates strictly to the web, it's nice to get insights from a company doing real design and marketing work for large consumer products in the offline realm. Worth reading, and perhaps grabbing the RSS feed.
  • The Curtis Creek Manifesto: There seems to be fair amount of information designers on the web currently interested in the use of comics as an effective way to present information, the Curtis Creek Manifesto on fly fishing seems to be a favorite. Apparently, I really need to read Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud.
  • Paul Graham on Web 2.0: Paul, per usual, shares his incredible insights, and hits upon a few thoughts I'd been mulling over regarding Web 2.0, as well as few new insights. A must read for those interested in the current state of the web, where it's going, and why we in the web community are so excited.

Finally, in closing out this post, I realized as I was typing, that my favorite holiday has just passed and I didn't take time to write about it. So, please, indulge me for a few moments. I love Thanksgiving, it is without a doubt my favorite holiday. I try to cook the entire meal every year, as I find it to be an incredibly rewarding experience, and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by feeding and giving sustenance to the friends and family that you're so thankful for all year. Though I wasn't able to be with the people most important this year, and was unable to cook for anyone, I'm still incredibly thankful for all the opportunities being brought about at this time in my life, and the people who've supported me along the way.



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