People are different. We go through diverse childhoods, experience different colors of joy and feel many different shades of sadness. Influences from family, school, friends and media mold into a unique mix for each of us. Mix to shape our perspective and view of the world. Further mixing of these unique views has created a world of possibilities. A world which fosters us to imagine and dream. We then build the tools needed to fuel our dreams. And use those tools to design our imagination. The spheres of differences also cross link on this finite planet. What’s intimate to one, will be intimate to many. But the quantity of that many varies here and there.
Yet we unsettle ourselves when we cannot cling on tightly to one of these labels. Labels, social groups, status. Labels which propel on defining us without knowing us. Forcing us to compare and compete with those we shouldn’t. It’s not our fault, we have been taught to do so. It brings us a sense of security when we “belong”. But such security shouldn’t come at the cost of self sacrifice. Media continues to portray false realities. Building up false hopes and expectations in young minds. Young confused minds. Sometimes equally confused as their older counterparts. We as a society don’t stop pushing these labels onto others. Creating a circle of confusion and fear.
A mind occupied in such confusion and fear is often crippled. Each mind deserves love. Love to understand what it is and what it wants. Finding other people with similar love. Sharing the love. It’s really amazing the things we can create when we come together. More diverse the crowd, more amazing the result.
Let’s detach all titles and labels from people. There are more than two genders. There are too many types/forms/sects of religion to name. On top of that the personal sense of existence varies by life experience. Let’s learn to appreciate our differences. Let’s share our experiences, and learn and teach each other. Let’s be weird.
Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2013
- Modern Vampires of the City - Vampire Weekend
- Anything in Return - Toro Y Moi
- Reflektor - Arcade Fire
- Doris - Earl Sweatshirt
- Days Are Gone - Haim
- Shaking the Habitual - The Knife
- Wakin on a Pretty Daze - Kurt Vile
- Random Access Memories - Daft Punk
- Bankrupt! - Phoenix
- Yeezus - Kanye West
- AM - Arctic Monkeys
- Mosquito - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Old - Danny Brown
- Mala - Devendra Banhart
I’ll show you how to travel in time
all you need is your mind
the trick is to hide feelings and checkpoints
into random pieces of art
that song you played all summer
the photograph you took
just one more chapter of that book
and that movie you watched for the first time
after the passage of time
wipe off that dust and rust
visit your friend again
and let him take you back
back in time
Apart from being an awesome life skill, empathy is also an important design skill. The designer needs to understand the wants and needs of their audience and develop empathy towards them. Then go through the process of product usage while being in the boots and minds of their audience. Making sure that every moment goes by with delight. Developing these personal feelings builds a relation with the audience and makes one not think of them as just “traffic”.
Design with empathy, design with love.
How to startup your restaurant
Understand the neighborhood and the people living around. Go to places doing well, go to places not doing well, observe the busy timings and try all the different drinks. You must understand and feel one with your customer. Then select your place’s cuisine with diligence, start with your one specialization make sure it’s top notch. If possible, start with a Minimum Viable Product, that is put up a small food stall in the area, maybe at some festival, maybe move a food truck around with just 2-3 products. Talk to every customer, get feedback and learn more about your product and your customer.
When setting up your place apply Design Thinking. Every single decision you make is a design decision, EVERY DECISION. So, carefully curate your place complementing your food, your customers and your style. Picking the color, the art, the music, the utensil sizes; all should be able to be justified with a good design and usability reason. All your decisions will reflect in your place’s ambiance.
Every single hire is important from head chef to the cleaner. Find people with passion, belief in your ideas, friendly attitude towards customers and love for your place’s food.
Apply analytics from day one. Keep track of your orders, what product sells most and what doesn’t sell much. What products do you people order together? After a careful analysis of your data, you should get a very clear understanding of the customer and you can start thinking of new products, combination offers and what products to remove from the menu.
Start experimenting. Experiment with new products, offers and design decisions. Have a clear idea of what you are experimenting, know your assumptions beforehand. Failure/success of your experiment should only lead to validated learning. You are basically testing your assumptions and the learning process will help you test more assumptions in future.
Get creative with your marketing strategies. Get in the head of your future customers, who do not even know about your place. How do they decide where to go? Use social media to full power and drive your SEO high. Maybe have customers vote on a new theme/flavor/product of the month. Maybe have a secret menu.
Innovate everyday and try to harness the power of technology. There are tons of startups solving problems like taking money, sharing bills, online receipts, online menu, online everything. Think carefully if they match your place’s style and make your customer’s life easier and employ the necessary.
If you feel these ideas make sense, you should read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
So many ideas on the table
all having their charm.
Slightly experimental in nature,
we don’t know the answers in advance.
These ideas came from the customer’s mind
and my efforts to fill their lives with delight.
But to know which one to choose
I must glare at the question for a few moons.
There are doubters here and there
reality will need to catch up.
With careful implementation and never ending passion,
put some stubbornness in there and swirl that bowl with flexibility.
The answer is ready to serve.
If it’s right or wrong; no one is to say
but my possibilities of regret are gone.
What I learn from this is all I need
to forge my tools for the next time I see the moon.
I can feel it in the air
I know you’re there
but I just haven’t met you yet.
Wrote some songs about you
sitting at our favorite coffee shop.
Humming to myself
that I still haven’t met you yet.
I sit at that place, our special place.
trying to ditnguish your sound.
Knowing that we’ll meet someday.
It was a cold windy night of October in Atlanta and a night of college football no less. We were playing Virginia Tech at home. They had a much better rank than us and everyone was expecting them to get an easy win, the year was 2009 if you wanna look up the exact stats.
To a shock, the game went our way and we ended up winning! I’m not going to get into the game, but what happened post game.
The crowd just went nuts and together we marched onto the field. Everyone was smiling at each other, high-fives everywhere, hugs, kisses; everyone was one, everyone was a Yellow Jacket. Then my friend and I turn to see this one guy, seemingly drunk, up on the goal post, drawing a crowd. As if hypnotized by him, we walk towards the crowd. He was shaking the goal post in an attempt to break it. Laughing at him, we ignored his plea.
In a very short duration that man was able to convince many other bystanders, fellow drunkards and crazy fans to climb up the goal post and start shaking it too. “Dude, no way.” said most of the crowd. But before we knew it, there were more than enough people trying to bring down that goal post and it finally gave up and came down.
All of this caused some sort of an electric wave to flow over the crowd and made us more energetic, school-spirited and crazy. We picked the damned thing up and marched with it to the school’s president’s house, singing songs and making traffic stop all over the way. After a couple of miles, we reach there, get a nice speech from the president and soon it was sawing-the-goal-post-to-pieces time. It was getting late and cold, we soon walked back home, recollecting the events of the night in awe.
How that one guy convinced so many others that his idea will work is commendable. One incredible night.
We shouldn’t be just focused on what to disrupt next, but think of ways to change a culture. Culture of how a thing is done. That thing can range from how we interact with each other to how we do our laundry.
Great products bring about a cultural change in society and slowly make everyone oblivious to their use, or at least them and a few competitors. Remember asking for directions on the road at a gas station or printing a nice 2 page set of directions from MapQuest? The trend is dying out with Google Maps and other mapping services becoming the norm. Netflix’s new season release cycle changes how people discuss an episode together. Uber is changing how we interact with cabs. Snapchat created a new culture of how we interact with each other.
Find a culture where people seem to be complaining and try to help them.