A Year in Review/Preview

In many ways 2014, like 2013, was a year of transition for me. I shut down my startup, moved to a new city, started a new job, and most of all, got married.

But I think I mostly saw 2014 as a year of learning. I learned how to manage my finances more; I learned about iOS prototyping; I took a Thinkful class on Node.js; I immersed (and continue to immerse) myself in UX design tutorials; I learned how to be a responsible husband (and am still working on it, honey!).

And as such, I feel like I’ve learned a lot. Almost too much. But what do I mean by too much?

In general, I feel like learning should go hand-in-hand with creating.

The optimal level of both, in my mind, should have one’s magnitude of creating greater than one’s magnitude of learning.

To be clear, when I use the term “learning” here I mean the type of learning where it is strictly in the form of consuming lessons and content. There is no end-product.

By contrast, creation, by definition, does have an end-product. Every form of creation teaches the creator something new, conscious or subconscious. So in that respect, creating is a form of learning too. But the primary purpose of creation is not to learn – it is to bring something new into the world that did not previously exist. That the act can bring with it a lesson or few is a welcome bonus.

And so, my 2014 felt like a year of learning in the sense of consuming. To be sure, I did create some things. But I felt I did more consuming, passive and active, than the sured and determined act of creating.

And that’s why I’m announcing here that this year, in 2015, I will aim to adjust that.

I hereby announce my 12×12 Project!

Every month I will create something brand new and put it in front of the world. I’ll post them here too, of course, though it may not be the primary showcase for the creation, depending on the nature of it.

I don’t exactly know yet what I’ll be creating, though I do have some ideas. They may include new online publications, an e-book, an online course, or an iOS app. Either way, it will a consumable end-product of substance. With each creation, I aim to stretch my abilities and skills further, and get more comfortable with sharing my work with others.

The aim is not to produce anything perfect, but to produce and ship.

I think that’s a worthy resolution to try to live up to.

Looking forward to sharing my experiences with you! And I’d love to hear what your resolutions are as well.

Happy New Year!

The Benefits of Prototyping: Lessons from the Wright Brothers

There are not many examples which show the power of prototyping that are as dramatic as that of the Wright brothers’. On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made history when they flew the first ever powered and controllable airplane. Their journey to this pioneering moment was a long, arduous, and testing one. And it is littered with the sketches and remains of countless prototypes, many of which do not even resemble what we view today as a typical airplane.

An early sketch of a prototype by Orville Wright

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Want to Change the World? Join a Corporation

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(This article first appeared on Fast Company Leadership Now on Feb 11, 2014)

If you want to change the world, join a large corporation.

It’s a bold statement, but one which Scott Anthony, Managing Principal at innovation consulting firm, Innosight, was not shy to make during a recent keynote address at the Creative Innovation Conference.

To begin to try to understand how large corporations are uniquely positioned to tackle and solve society’s biggest problems, Anthony says, we must first understand where we’ve come from.

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