Found a little fairy door in a eucalyptus log in Golden Gate Park! Made a little guest book for future explorers
"You need to love your work for others to love it too."
Exactly what I needed today. Redesigning an entire product is no small feat, but I keep imagining the finished result will be so worth it. You can have results or excuses; not both.
These past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to make and partake in some really wonderful brunches with friends. This Sunday morning, my roommate and I perused the farmer’s market to make brunch Julia Child-style. On the menu: poached eggs with wine-sautéed mushrooms, pear and gouda crepes garnished with thyme, and goose pâté with ciabatta toast!
"Is it you or your roommate who’s a really good cook?" my friend asked.
"Neither," I answered sheepishly. "We’re just both trying to get better and keep attempting ambitious recipes that are way over our heads. Fake it ‘til you become it, right?"
This weekend, I went to New York with some of the KA team to help conduct a teacher workshop. I seized the opportunity for a firsthand user research and feedback session.
Random things from the past few days that have inspired me:
- Seeing so many teachers sacrificing their weekend and energy, unbidden by school protocol, to address their class’ learning needs. KA is not an easy product to use right now, especially for teachers who may still be intimidated at the prospect of integrating technology too deeply into their curriculums. Yet everyone was extraordinarily earnest and enthusiastic about using it if it meant their students would learn better. After speaking with many of them, I admire teachers SO much more. Definitely ensuring their problems are addressed with the upcoming improvements we have planned!
- Dinner with Moya, the student from Columbia University featured in Humans of New York. We were all deeply awed at his resilience and optimism in the face of some truly excruciating circumstances (“I should put on my resumé that I’m really skilled at surviving while homeless in New York — I know all the best dumpsters to find the essentials you need! I even drew a map!”). He’s managed to stay positive and grateful through it all, and all we can do is hope to be more and serve more like him.
Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more: I truly believe that you can find beauty anywhere if you look hard enough.
“The great subversive works of children’s literature suggest that there are other views of human life besides those of the shopping mall and the corporation. They mock current assumptions and express the imaginative, unconventional, noncommercial view of the world in its simplest and purest form. They appeal to the imaginative, questioning, rebellious child within all of us, renew our instinctive energy, and act as a force for change. This is why such literature is worthy of our attention and will endure long after more conventional tales have been forgotten.”
Another fun side project: illustrations for K - 3 kids learning arithmetic & how to count!
Recently, we just announced a partnership with the White House to provide information and resources to help high schoolers get into college.
Originally, we were going to ship a bare-bones layout (like literally, text and a video on a blue page). ”This is just a just page to announce the future availability of college prep content, so we’re just going to ship this as is,” my coworker said.
I went insane. “But THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!!!! WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING MORE TO ANNOUNCE A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!”
We were nearing deployment. I took a break between the (arguably more important) projects I was working on and gave myself two hours to make a splash page image. I grabbed a bunch of college and university images from Google and whipped up an amalgamation of their main buildings. My illustration skills leave a lot to be desired, but, y’know, shipping beats perfection — here’s a slice of the piece I made, sans text or video.
I’ve never participated in a real hackathon, but there’s something exhilarating about giving yourself a mini-challenge and working within tight deadlines, about giving yourself some space to experiment fearlessly. I’m starting to look for more opportunities to try to make something awesome really quickly; it’s so thrilling and the results can be unexpectedly satisfying!
"Your job as a designer is to fight for the unreasonable. You want every experience to be magical."
Visited the Github office today for a Girl Geek Dinner celebrating some incredible female leaders in design (including Elle Luna, designer of Mailbox and Uber, and Alice Lee of Dropbox and Dear Instagram fame). My dreams for my work are sprawling and enormous, and all the inspiring ladies who spoke at this event reminded me of exactly how much is possible.
Some of my favorite moments:
- "Do you remember when you were a beginner? You weren’t afraid of anything. You had no concept of limitations. If you were a kid and you wanted to paint, you never said, ‘Should I get a painting degree?’ You just did it. Be that bold."
- "Nobody cares about delighting the user. Craigslist delights nobody, and yet it’s still around and the most successful company of its kind. When you talk about why you make a design decision, get your numbers and your results. Then sneakily make it look better and delight the user along the way."
- “You make the map of everything that’s possible. Share your battle plan; externalize your process.”
Every day I’m hustlin’!
The little bro and I being little deviants and sneaking in illegal pictures of the Royal Palace. (Come on, even the Sistine Chapel lets you take pictures of Michelangelo’s ceiling!)