One Week Later: This Was NOT Part of the Plan

An honest review of the other side of “just starting”. 5 things creators need to know when they launch their projects.

5 Things You Need to Know After You’ve Launched Your Project

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Photo by MasimbaTinasheMadondo–1388843

 

Last week was hard. 

I chose to write the articles on the same day, thinking I’d be able to carve time out. 

Here is a visual representation of how easy it was to find time to “carve out.”

But, that’s the reality of “just starting”. Whether you’ve planned ahead, or chosen to start on the spot, you’re going to encounter challenges. That pretty picture you have in your mind? That glistening image of how everything is going to turn out? Dead it. Now.

Continue reading “One Week Later: This Was NOT Part of the Plan”

Chrıs do, Seth Godin, and the Creative’s Remedy for Fear, Doubt, and Procrastination

Thursdays are for content-inspired posts. This week’s feature is a review of an episode of The Futur: Seth Godin—Make Something Everyday (Best Hour You’ll Spend Today)

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Chris Do & Seth Godin in the early minutes of the episode

Chris Do, the host, did a great job of navigating such important topics with Seth. He’s a natural conversationalist and this episode is a firm favorite of mine now.

There were multiple topics that were covered but I’d like to zone on the concept of “starting”.

This is now my personal and professional theme for the foreseeable future: Just start.

It was inspired by Seth’s 100-day blogging challenge.

For 100 days straight, Seth blogged every day, just for the sake of sharing. There was no focus on analytics, no push to share the work, and almost no plan. The goal was to make sure that every day a post went up – no matter what.

His blog has become a global sensation, with millions of subscribers and one blog post released every day. Seth also happens to be one of the leading minds in the marketing industry. He’s written over 18 books, appeared at countless conferences, and finds himself involved in new projects almost every other day.

His laid back demeanor caught my attention first. Most marketing thought leaders I’ve come across take the bright and chipper brand so seriously, I was almost thrown off by Seth’s chilled vibes. It was refreshing for me, to be honest. It was refreshing because it felt real.

I’m skeptical of following popular thought leaders because somewhere along the lines their content ends up saying the same thing, just with different words. But, this episode of The Futur, which also happens to be the first episode I ever watched, provided information that was refreshing.

Seth’s takes on topics like education, college & career choices, critical thinking, etc. were impassioned but realistic to listen to. Some of them caught me off guard and made me want to re-evaluate my stance on a few things, but at no point did I feel like I was being forced to understand his opinion.

The questions addressed during the episode are still relevant today – this episode aired in 2018 – and I’ve found myself raving about parts of this episode ever since I listened to it. If you’re someone who’s trying to navigate a stage of their life, then you should give this video a chance.

I want to zero in on the “just start” message Seth shared for creators. He spoke about the biggest struggle creatives face on a regular basis: trusting our work enough to create it. It’s safe to say that our field gets bogged down the most by crippling doubt, endless questioning, and overwhelming fear.

Some of us are sitting on stellar ideas that we’ve had for years. What’s keeping us from executing them?

“It’s not the right time.”

“I’m not sure if people will like it.”

“I don’t know if it’s worth pursuing.”

The point of “just starting” and focusing on releasing consistently isn’t to be good. It’s to be disciplined and to push ourselves.

“When you commit to sharing content every day,” Seth explained. “You become more observant of the things around you.”

I’ve only been at this challenge for four days and I’ve felt my mind adjust to finding interesting things to write on. One thing that encourages me the most is the absence of fear when Seth talks about failure and producing “bad work”. 

In a paraphrased version of Seth’s words: you’ll outwrite the bad stuff, eventually. But if you keep producing “bad work”, then maybe it’s a sign that you need to change paths.

Hearing those words was freeing and reminded me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s thoughts on creating work. Create because you want to. Create because you’ll enjoy it.

Take chances because you want to see where they’ll take you. Every decision to start will lead you somewhere worth going – even if the lesson is “don’t do this again”.

If you have an hour to spare or want to play something good in the background while you work, then I highly recommend this podcast.

The link is right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZmxAOHyDBI.

And as you listen, I hope you get a renewed enthusiasm for the goals you tucked away because you felt like the right time hasn’t come.

Is this the ‘Digital Era’ we’ve been waiting for? I don’t know.

As the Covid-19 crisis has forced us to find new ways to carry out daily life, is it safe to say digital transformation is here to stay? I’m not sure.

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So, I know Tuesdays are meant to be for COVID-related topics, but I’m going to ride on the tail of yesterday’s post and discuss another aspect of the pandemic that is a part of our daily reality now.

#WorkingFromHome: The dawn of a new reality

The world we live in is not what it was late last year. Most parts of the world are going out less and using their PCs, tablets, and smartphones more. The pandemic has pushed us to rely on digital infrastructure in order to get things done. 

#WorkingFromHome is the new reality for many of us and as long as the pandemic continues to rage on, physical workspaces won’t be the go-to for a while. 

Remote work has been a hot topic for the last decade, but I don’t think we expected the situation to escalate this quickly. This wasn’t a gradual move that was openly embraced. We kind of stumbled into this situation and now we’re trying to make the most of it.

Granted, this is only applicable in situations where companies understand why their employees can’t commute to work. There are organizations that are trying to find loopholes in the restrictions, because who needs their employees to be safe when capitalism must go on?

It is notable to mention that there are a few big companies like Google and Twitter, whose employees are to work from home until further notice.

Is this the transformation we’ve been waiting for?

People have tried to use this present situation as proof that “Digital is the Way”. It’s understandable why this conversation has come about. 

The consumption of in-house media has increased at a notable rate, now that a significant part of the population – with internet access – is spending most of the time at home. From more news to more social media, more streaming, and even more audiobook consumption, it is clear that the digital infrastructure that has been set up in the last decade has allowed us to function the way we are now.

Gatherings that would have taken place in conference rooms, boardrooms, or community halls, are now taking place on video-calling platforms like Zoom, Meet, and soon – Facebook, Whatsapp, and Instagram “rooms” (I see you, Mr. Zuckerburg).

Bridal showers, baby showers, house parties, weddings, and even funerals have found their place on these platforms as well. Social distancing has stopped us from connecting on-ground, so we’re now forced to create and maintain these connections through the internet. While some may hail this as innovation, the sentimentalist in me can’t help but mourn this grayscale reality.

Some moments were designed for community – physical community – and no amount of pivoting will fill that gap. I know that these contingencies have been put in place because, right now, we don’t have any other choice. It doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, though.

It’s bittersweet, honestly. 

“Yay, we’ve managed to find a way to still hold these meaningful events. But, it still hurts that it has to happen like this.”

I think this is proof that digitization doesn’t need to take over everything, and it’s better to remember that. When this pandemic ends, and we try to find a new “normal”, I hope we get a chance to restore meaningful gatherings. There is power in human connection – even for the introverts.

While we think about what comes after this pandemic, I think it’s also important to evaluate the structures we are currently using. An honest look needs to be given to the digital move because while we may think the world is ready for a total digital economy, I would beg to differ.

So, what is the digital economy?

Digital transformation is a constant we have come to accept. New innovations appear daily and are gradually replacing the former structures we once knew as “normal”. 10 years ago, did you think you would be able to use one app to order food or catch a lift? But here we are.

The global economy is undergoing a digital transformation as well, and it’s happening at an even faster pace. Right now, however, it’s more about survival and less about the bells and whistles that come with innovation.

The term “digital economy” refers to the economic activity that is a result of billions of daily online interactions with consumers, businesses, devices, data, and processes. Another important term you need to know when discussing the digital economy is “hyperconnectivity”.

Hyperconnectivity is at the center of the digital economy and it refers to the evolving interconnected states of people, devices, and organizations. This cannot happen without the Internet, mobile technology that drives it, and, of course, the Internet of Things. Okay, tech talk aside.

The proof is in the threading

Everything we do online, from the $10 transaction on AliExpress to the long-winding rants we leave on Twitter, and even the occasional IG selfie, are threads that have woven the digital economy together. We’re all a part of it and every action we take online adds another piece to the puzzle.

The digital economy is taking shape and redefining “normal” when it comes to business structures, the interaction between firms, and how consumers access services, data, and goods.

This isn’t a sudden thing, however.

Concepts of a digitized future have formed core parts of 90s film plots, sci-fi book theories, and expert predictions. Do you remember when everyone thought computers would explode on the 1st of January 2000? (I just showed my age).

But here we are, alive with computers that talk back to us now.

In the last four to five years, digitization has taken over major industries and has also left some without options for growth – the print industry, for example. Streaming wars is another example of the rapid change in how we consume data. In the early 2000s, you couldn’t imagine anything besides cable. Now? $7 can give you access to thousands of movies, series, and documentaries you once had to wait patiently to see on TV. Once they come up with a solid, Netflix-like platform for sport, I think it’s over for cable. 

We’re already on the brink of redefining financial transactions. Digital currencies are a growing reality and, whether we like it or not, we may see a cashless economy settle in faster than we thought. Again, another byproduct of the pandemic. The discouraging of paper money transactions, and using swipe machines, is pushing online transactions to the forefront. At a time where digitization is the main topic.

Some may argue that this pandemic has brought out necessary advancement, but I think we need to view this very carefully. The transition to digital processes has not been seamless for everyone. There are barriers to entry for multiple groups of people and more light needs to be cast on that.

We have taken big steps in the direction of a totally digital world, but it’s important to ask ourselves, “What do we want this world to look like?”

How far do we want to let technology take over? Where do we draw the line?

There is much more to consider about the digital economy before we can make declarations with our chest. I’ll touch on that more next Wednesday.

For now, there is more thinking to be done.

 

This was the first piece for Wednesday Topics: Digital Media & Tech. Do you have any thoughts to share on the digital economy?

Let me know in the comments.

Covid-19 Continues: Lessons from Lockdown

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to show us that we have no idea what’s going on and we’re all playing a game of guess, hope, and wait.

 

The coronavirus looks different in each location you consider. In some countries, the cases continue to grow while citizens choose to fight the systems put in place. The USA, with 1.3 million cases and a little over 80,000 deaths, is still grappling with protestors and calls for an end to lockdown. Similar calls have been heard in the United Kingdom, which recently surpassed Italy with the highest COVID-19 related deaths in Europe. Germany joined the chaos, not long after the government shared the country’s impressive progress.

People are becoming tired and they want to be let out. Other countries seem to be winding down with more ease – but just as much caution. New Zealand and South Korea are among those at the forefront for reaching the much-awaited “new normal”. But, this is not happening as seamlessly as the world wants it to.

 

From a local perspective, the little island on which I reside managed to get on top of the virus and contain the situation. Our 50+ day lockdown ended on the 4th of MAy and, slowly, life is getting back on track.

 

Lockdown, for me and my city, started on the 10th of March. This was at the time when eyes were on Italy and Iran’s alarming statistics, as well as the rapid spread of the viruses. More cases were being discovered and we’d just realized that this wasn’t a “bad flu”.

 

Months later, I don’t want to think of the future, yet. I’d like to dwell on the last 6 – 8 weeks and share the lessons I picked up along the way:

Continue reading “Covid-19 Continues: Lessons from Lockdown”

So, this is really happening?

This is it. This is really it.

We’re here. You’re here. I’m here.

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*Gestures around*  This is really happening.

The idea is to blog, every day, for 100 days. I’ve tweaked this challenge to work with my schedule – and not burn out – by making it a five posts a week thing. So, from Mondays to Fridays, there will be a new post from me for the next +/- 20 weeks.

To be honest, I’m quite nervous. The usual questions have frequented my mind:

“Who’s going to read?”

“Will I keep this up?”

“What’s the point of this?”

But, I chose not to let my questions remain unanswered. I chose to sit with the fear and address it instead of pretending like it wasn’t there.

Continue reading “So, this is really happening?”