Fueled by caffeine + country music. UX, digital strategist. Currently exploring the world and funding projects with @awesomemelb. Previously making the human aspects of tech come alive at @deloittedigital
He showed me his sketchbook at dinner last night. I asked him to tell me about this drawing.
“Really early on when I was in school I learned that if you draw with a ballpoint pen you don’t think about “Can I erase this?” You just draw. You don’t care, you just scribble stuff. I started that drawing just scribbling stuff and then it turned into that. I think that’s important, just getting outside your mind and “Oh my God, can I erase that?”…just draw it. Perfection, it’s overrated”
I just watched this video by Wilson Miner, he was responsible the now famous re-design of the Apple website in 2006 and is currently heading up the design team at Rdio.
Miner talks about the twentieth century and how the cars themselves didn’t change that much, instead, we built our environments casino around them. Furthermore, he describes how objects are simply empty vessels that we fill with our own lives.
As designers we have the opportunity to design more than an interface – we are a new generation of product designers for a digital world.
I spent eighteen hours with one of my close friends over the weekend. We talked a lot, watched a video about how we shape environment through design and spent Monday morning at a Melbourne cafe writing.
In the afternoon I met up with another close friend. We watched Clueless, drank tea and talked about the Alannah Hill Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection.
One is a dentist and the other works at a start-up. One will affectionately call me a nerd for when I tell her about this post, the other will push me to achieve peak performance by spending the entire morning writing with me, disconnected from the web.
Both women are strong, accomplished and light hearted with distinct personalities. Both have unknowingly shaped me in some way.
What I”ve just noticed is the awesome feeling of owning up to these different sides and not pretending to be one colour.
We do not fit into a single archetype. Instead, we thrive in contrasting environments.
Last night I had the privilege of spending an uninterrupted evening with a close friend. We effortlessly wove together a complex web, talking at length about family, relationships, edge living, interface design and women as leaders in the workplace. We also ate pizza and watched Mean Girls.
Somewhere between Lindsay Lohan and a chi machine session, the subject turned to scars. Physical and unseen, we all seem to have them. Some can be lasered off, others are chronic with scar tissue that will never fade.
My scar has been both visible and concealed. It bled profusely for four years and is now mostly healed.
It still opens up occasionally but I have learned how to to manage it:
I surround myself with a support system
I develop daily standards and try to live up to them
I build structure and adapt to chaos in parallel
The mark it left behind is an unreasonable mindset married with an acute self awareness.
Imagine for a moment wanting to dive out of the plane right now, you just need a designated mark to land on. You’re also aware that when you dive out the plane that the mark could always move.
Eventually I won’t need the mark. That boldness will come with time.
This is how I treat my scar. I don’t put a band aid on a bullet wound and expect it to heal. I remove the debris, dress it and let it mend.
When I was eleven years old my dad introduced me to Emmylou Harris. He taught me that Harlan Howard famously described country music as “three cords and the truth” and that this album broke that cardinal rule.
‘Pieces of the Sky’ on vinyl is still our jam.
When I was thirteen he took me to Boulder because of this song. We spent the day walking around the town, talking about music and life.
When I was twenty-one I wrote a thesis about country music. I talked about this song.
This morning my parents were getting ready to head down to the beach for the weekend and this song shuffled onto the speakers. It triggered a heated debate about the ethereal vocal in country music. He says Emmylou, I say Vince Gill.
Thirteen years have passed and we are still talking about Emmylou Harris. My dad is awesome.
I’m sitting at the communal table in a quiet St Kilda cafe. A German couple are sitting at the other end of with a Lonely Planet Melbourne & Victoria travel Guide. The man is methodically mapping out the St Kilda area and making plans for the day.
His eggs arrive and he closes the book. He exchanges brief pleasantries with the waiter and asks him what they should do for the day.
The waiter suggests that they visit the penguins at St Kilda Pier and then explore the area on foot. The German man appears surprised by the advice, “Why?” he asks.
The St Kilda local’s response is simple, “You can visit the beach or you can experience Melbourne.”
Drop everything now, grab the essentials (keys, cash, cards and phone) and see where the day takes you.
Why stick to the grid when the world is wide open?
This post was going to be about a run of the mill country music video. A guy. A bar. Some beer. A girl. A late night mistake and the regret that follows in the light of day. This was because Jake Owen’s ‘Alone With You’ was playing on the CMC channel when I walked out of my apartment this morning. I wrote an entire post. It was really bad. But it also got me thinking about why I started listening to country music in the first place.
The first country song that I fell in love with was an album cut called ‘Telluride‘ by Tim McGraw.
This was the bridge:
“It ended just like a movie scene, and I had to play the part, of the lover who stood there and watched her leave, and me with the frozen heart”
The sequence of a woman leaving a man desperate and broken on a cold night in the Colorado mountains played in my head on repeat for days. I was thirteen years old at the time.
The story of a fling in the Rockies was crafted so simply. But every detail, down to the oak bar with the water rings left over from the cold beer still pop into my head every time I listen. I have been listening to these stories for over a decade and I never tire of them.
In the last few weeks I have been writing and pressing publish on a regular basis. A few people have mentioned that they feel more connected to some of my more recent posts. It might be because I am writing from my own life experiences and not thinking about what people want to read. It feels authentic and not fabricated.
Country music isn’t about the cleanest songwriting or the smoothest tones, it’s about sharing an experience in a concise way. Maybe that’s what I have been tapping into, in a small way.
Mad props to Bryony Cole for reading the draft of this post last night.