#wisdom

The blue bird of happiness is a myth.

I don’t need to tell you that the world feels angrier—more intolerable—by the minute. People are mad at other people for one-to-seven reasons or another. Recently I caught an angry post by someone who has always come across to me as level-headed and jovial. They were angry at others for thinking that a popular social platform might fail. Their response baffled me. Is that really something to be so irritated about? Then again, we live in extraordinary times in which we threw being rational out the window long ago.

When I think about this moment, the greater intolerance and anger of the recent past, and even the times I’ve blown up over my own irrationality, my mind goes to the wisdom of age. You may have read the same article or two I have that contains pearls of wisdom from an older generation. The common thread of lessons learned (usually the hard way) is to choose tolerance and love over anything else, relationships over grudges, and friendship over self-absorbed moral high ground. The prevailing thought is to free yourself of anger and rigidity because it limits your ability to live a happy life.

I don’t think I’ve ever read about anyone who felt happier because of a social media platform.

#you / "It takes one person to knock down a silo."

You are the value. Your ideas, your insights, your compassion, your ability to help someone in need, your dumb puns and dank memes; that’s what’s valuable.

A nice, heart-felt thought from Mr. Rupert. Also, I love the quote from Sam Rayburn.

#jackhandy

It's a small, resilient world after all.

About three months ago, a local coffee shop directly across the street from a popular Starbucks closed its doors. For years the two existed, but the local joint failed to attract enough customers while the Starbucks had waves of regulars of all ages. Though the neighborhood is dense and active, it didn’t seem to be enough to support two shops offering the same range of products. A week ago, I caught the news that Starbucks closed the location. The wife and I had just been there not long ago and saw no signs of a store in trouble—customers everywhere—a vibrant retail scene. Despite “winning” the neighborhood, the corporation decided it wasn’t enough.

Obviously, I am not privy to all of the data they had to make this call, but it feels so odd and absurd. This is another reminder of how fragile our systems are. Democracy, diplomacy, manufacturing, shipping, community tolerance, popular technology platforms—nothing feels as resilient as I remember. It makes me wonder if our world has always been fragile, but I was just too distracted by work and life to see it. This isn’t something to fear (there is only so much you and I can control), but to be mindful that nothing, even the seemingly successful business, is guaranteed to last.

Days after Starbucks removed their branding and covered the windows from top to bottom with opaque paper, the empty local coffee shop across the street sported new, large window signage that read: “We’re coming back!” Maybe the world is more resilient than my frazzled, post-epidemic brain can recognize—more than it has felt in a long while.

#photography / William Eggleston: The Outlands.

“David Zwirner is pleased to present The Outlands, a selection of photographs by William Eggleston, the majority of which have never before been seen publicly. Some images recall rural colorist landscapes from the nineteenth century, while others have an almost subdued yet ponderous visual quality reminiscent of the paintings of Edward Hopper.”

A wonderful, Lomoesque look at a moment in time in America.

#teamwork

The importance of aligning and working with quality people.

Near the end of a self reflection by Jason Bateman on his career, he closes with a sincere thought on the importance of aligning and working with quality people. It caught my attention because I believe it applies to everyone irregardless of their industry.

“Staying employed is tough, success or relevance is paper thin. And you’ve got to try to align yourself with as many talented and kind people as you can because you need them.

This is not an individual game, it takes a team and so working with quality people on quality things is what I think fuels longevity. And if you want to stay in it for awhile, look for the good people.”

I am thankful for the good (quality) people I have had the fortune to know and work with over the last twenty years. And I look forward to working with more in the next twenty.

#indieweb / We’re going indie.

Ms. Jen has always been a voice of reason to me and I admire her independent spirit.

Elon M taking Twitter private and destroying it may be the shock we creators, who left our blogs and DIY internet endeavors in the late 2000s / early 2010s for various social media style micro-blogs owned by other people, needed to wake us up and shock us back into the Indie Web rather than the Corporate Web.

I’m inspired. Are you?

#thepuck

Design Systems are the New Responsive Web Design.

Last week I had a conversation with a leader who is going back to consulting with a focus on design systems. They are eager to enter the space but expressed doubt that it was possibly too late, that the marketplace is already too well established.

Poppycock!

This summer, I worked on creating a product and marketing strategy and roadmap for Emulsify, a design system creator and management tool. With my colleagues Colin and Brett, we worked with Randy, Brian, Mike, and Todd from Four Kitchens, who created the open-source tool. I should do a playback of the work, but in short, we dove deep into the world of design systems to develop an “As-Is” scenario for what’s happening in design systems. And while there has been a lot of activity in the last two-to-three years, we are very much in—as the brilliant Val Head said to me—“very early days” of design systems.

I believe there is a direct parallel between the design systems world to the evolution of web design, beginning in 1995 with very few tools and no standards save for HTML to 2010 with Responsive Web Design enabled by mature versions of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. In those fifteen years, think about how many standards were introduced and evolved, the crazy amount of tools that came and went (Pagemill, GoLive, NetObjects Fusion to name a few), and how our processes, practices, roles, and responsibilities changed drastically. And that’s from 1995-2010. Now think about how much those things have changed from 2010-2022!

And let’s not forget that design system success relies solely on the parent organization’s state of transformation and operational maturity. Uf-da, there is a long, long way to go there.

My friends, we are far, far, far from a saturation point in the design systems marketplace. It’s the opposite, and I believe we are still very much at the beginning of the Wild West days of design systems tools, capabilities, jobs, outcomes—everything. Tuck in because we’re on a path that I believe will evolve beyond digital.

If you see a design system need or opportunity, fill it.