This summer, right before leaving Cambridge, I was extremely lucky to interview Ben Fry for the podcast at Fathom Information Design, in Boston, Massachusetts. Ben, together with Casey Reas, co-created the "Processing" programming environment back in 2001 (that's seventeen years ago), an open-source tool still in active development and used daily by thousands of designers, artists, researchers, engineers, students, and professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. Processing was a side-project Ben was working on while writing his thesis on Computational Information Design at the MIT Media Lab, which led him to found Fathom Information Design later on, a studio in Boston focused on understanding complicated data problems.
Who said that making art was easy? Today, I'm glad to invite you to see the world from the perspective of an artist and creative that brings her craft everywhere she goes, might it be painting at her studio or teaching youngsters how to use digital tools to formalize their ideas.
Listen to artist, designer, and educator Jiyoo Jye on the struggles of making art and choosing your projects; education at an innovation school as a creative; when to share your work and the role of feedback; media consumption and technology; and her approach to simple living and daily routines.
Ian Keough (@ikeough) is the founder of Hypar. He writes code from his garage to automate the generation of the built environment to help stakeholders make better decisions faster. Trained as a fine artist and architect—and known as The Father of Dynamo—Ian believes efficiency breeds quality and automation yields better, higher-quality products. This episode uncovers the Ian Keough beyond Dynamo—including his life habits, tactics to get into the flow state and avoid distractions, his new adventure to disrupt the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, and a lot more.
Andrés Colubri (@codeanticode) shares with us how he manages to do seemingly different things—such as art, computational biology, or open-source development—by connecting them around one overarching theme.
Write for yourself. Talk about the things you care about. Construct an opinion on them. Take a clear position. Then, be flexible — as you learn more, your position might change.
This is what I tell myself when I sit to write. I learn (a lot) by reading what others say — but we won't go too far if we don't build an opinion of our own.
As Seth Godin would say: Don't hide. Write in public.
Then maybe, just maybe, what you write will resonate with your audience.
In the event of a disaster, we would probably leave most of our belongings behind. You're not likely — I hope — to care so much about your fancy tea mug, your watercolors, or whatever piece of clothing you own, as to put your life in danger to save them. Today, with the exception of digital information not backed to the cloud and other unique hand-crafted objects, everything we own can be replaced for an item which is exactly the same. After a disaster, great part of our stuff might be gone. If you manage to get out of there with no important injuries, you have, without choosing it, adopted an unsolicited minimalism — you've got rid of stuff without looking for it.
No disaster? You might never get around getting rid of stuff. Belongings accumulate and, the more storage space you own, the more you'll accumulate. The thing is: we usually don't care much about most things we own. We tend to only love a small portion of it.
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, was interviewed by Tim Ferriss not long ago. She is known as the Japanese tidying master, who created the KonMarie method. Her motto? "Love everything you own." She believes we need to be thankful of our belongings, thank them for their service while we have them, and, more importantly, before we get rid of them. This way, on top of appreciating the item itself, we remove the feeling of regret for getting rid of it (a feeling that frequently prevents people from letting go of things they don't need any more).
This, I believe, goes inline with what William Morris said in his 1880 lecture titled The Beauty of Life1. "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
As a friend pointed out, in Spain we often say that "moving three times equals a fire2." Will you wait for a disaster to take action? Or will you fake your own so you can get rid of the useless and love what you own?
It's easy to get trapped in busy work. You are given a brief and a deadline. You leave everything aside and focus on your work to meet a set of deliverables. Finish the task, and you’re all done.
Well, there’s a little lie behind this story: you are not completely done—not yet. A project doesn’t exist if it isn’t visible and accessible and shareable and understandable. The job is not finished until you've documented your craft, until you've done some sort of self-explanatory manual that others can peek at without you looking, that others can read without you talking.
Create it while working (or after finishing)—but don’t forget to provide us with a manual!
Over the last three years, I found myself spending long hours reading and writing on how to simplify my life, on how to do less things but do them better, on how to make things as easy as they can be, on how to remove the unnecessary complexities from my daily routine.
Today, I am glad to announce Getting Simple—a new adventure toward simplicity, a journey to bring the focus of our lives back to the things that matter. Join me on this journey. Sit back. Relax. It all begins here.
In a world full of inputs, to-dos, commitments, and notifications; We struggle to find time to do the things that really matter to us. How many times have you said to yourself: "I would love to do X but I don't have time for it?" To accomplish your goals, you need self-discipline, clarified goals, to take your time seriously and to simplify your life, to establish a series of conditions for stress-free productivity.
As Dieter Rams puts it, we need to do Less But Better. Simplify our lives; Focus our efforts; and Execute.
In order to amplify our efforts, we need to focus on just one thing. Even more important than knowing what to do is knowing what not-to-do. Everything that doesn't contribute to our end goal should be ruthlessly rejected—as it can only distract you from reaching your aim.
Be minimal. Reduce stress by simplifying your life: digital systems; physical clutter; daily habits; they all need to be simplified to disconnect and focus on your work.
Minimalism is, in its essence, having less to worry about—in all aspects of your life. An acceptance of our time-limited lives. David Allen knew it, the key wasn’t in being the most organized person, but in focusing your aims to really few things. He posed it as “you can do anything, but not everything.”