6 October, 2020

Getting the most out of it

It happens to the best of us. You come in to help a large corporate customer and make a passionate plan that you can quickly deliver with some simple inexpensive tools. For example: you could setup a beautiful landing page with WordPress to communicate a department's services to the rest of the company.

But then...

WordPress or any other SaaS service is not allowed on the company network because of security regulations. Experienced digital innovators will not be surprised and know you have to adapt with whatever is available.

Maybe you feel a little less sparks of happiness (Mari Kondo at work) but if Microsoft Sharepoint is an option let's get the max out of that tool. Learn all about it and just start building. It might turn out to be fun to learn other systems and you might get surprised while doing it.


22 April, 2020

How to grow when you’re on hold

Listen well at school and get good grades. Later the same reactive conditioning at work where you deal with whatever is thrown at you.

What if nothing is thrown at you anymore?

This lockdown is a surreal shock but also an opportunity to become active. What parts of your life energises you and needs more focus because time is swallowed up by following invisible rules?

I find myself going back to what started me into technology in the first place. Combining it with creativity continues to fascinate me.

Doing a lot of sculpting, a generative arts course on Skillshare, isometric drawing, excited about Jupyter notebooks that allows a new level of dashboards with machine learning, data visualisation...

What are you doing with your time? Check out any subject on YoutubePatreonSkillshare or Linkedin education and find things that excite you.

"Prepare, prepare, prepare to be ready when an opportunity arises."

Go Begin!

25 March, 2020

Quick responsiveness

During most people's career's one needs to adapt. Listen to the market demand and respond to it. Don't keep looking on the same spot for cheese and move on. Our schools are still drilling our children into obedient workers for a factory or office environment that is going to be out of business.

It is remarkable that jobs are lost because of the pandemic lock down but at the same time new industries emerge.

The reaction to a virus has to be faster. Why can't we scale intensive care more rapidly? Like you quickly start producing weapons during war time. Quickly train people for a specific set of tasks you didn't know you needed a few months ago. Kids are learning stuff very fast from youtube nowadays.

3D printers that make air ventilation parts in a matter of hours. Laws that activate public access to patents, copyright overwrites if this aids humanity. Slow administration that consumes time of valuable medical care can be upgraded with robust, privacy aware, digital systems.

A lot of people want to do something now. How can we be more prepared to make immediate use of all this ready-to-go brainpower. How do you get the right ideas spread asap?

If there is one skill you have to master, it is to quickly adapt to a new situation and know what information you can trust. So many opportunities. Can't wait to Begin!

25 February, 2020

The negotiation game

Offices seem very systematic and organised but they're actually a place of constant negotiations.

Most design people are soft negotiators. They think all the participants in the negotiation are friends and the goal is agreement.

Then there are the product owners and business people who usually think the participants are adversaries and the goal is victory.

Reading about principled negotiation (Getting to Yes) where all the participants are problem-solvers. The goal is a wise outcome reached efficiently and amicably. Going to study and master this!

6 February, 2020

Going carless and care more

Going electric bike after years of car. Decided to make more space for the things that are really important to me.

Luxury things are super nice but they drain effort and time to maintain. Time and effort I can for example invest in improving my sculpting skills.

Getting an electric bike tomorrow and cannot wait to see how I will manage around Amsterdam.

I think pretty well.

13 January, 2020

Raising your standards

Being compliant with what the people around you think is good.

Things get more interesting when you decide to be better.

Not only becoming better of what is required by others but defining your own standards.

Create and improve habits that you decide upon.

Raising the bar in a disciplined matter is more fun and creates freedom.

9 January, 2020

Staring at the computer

Being a creature of habit and excellent in doing what I think that is expected, I place myself most days behind the computer screen and start working.

I love the many things that can be done: designing, writing, programming, organising. The feeling that there is so much potential and inspiration in the digital world

However it can also be a seductive invitation to waste time and get dragged into nonsense.

Too much screen and headset time can be paralysing.

It's ok to turn it off.

Draw on paper.

Talk to people.

6 January, 2020

Staying in touch with the spark

Just as important as daily exercise is a daily dose of inspiration.

Make sure you unfollow uninspiring Instagram or Tiktok poser people, search for your interests and get inspired. Watch weird old movies or a strange BBC documentary that stirs something inside of you.

Then act upon it. Go!

2 January, 2020

Back to the routine

Let go of the grind can be a relieve and recharge you but also tricky. Old habits kick in. Eating shitty food especially during Christmas and New year's eve. Less exercise, irregular sleeping times, alcohol and acclimatising to an open schedule after a long period of go-time.

Kind of happy going back to my morning routine and get on with it. Continuing with the great habits I adapted over the last few years and extend them. So much to execute upon!

31 December, 2019

The book buying experience

I don't miss buying CD's. It's annoying when you have to listen to one album at a time. I need variation, surprise. I don't miss watching TV and prefer Netflix streaming alike services.

Non-fiction I do like to buy in e-book form because it is easier to make notes and store it in my Evernote. Novels, however, I still love to buy in an analogue bookstore. It's an interesting state of mind I automatically get in when visiting a bookstore.

It's not the same when buying clothes when I visualise in my mind what clothes would make me look like. With books it's about inspiration. Would this story stir my interest? Could I get lost in this story?

19 December, 2019

The swamp thing

Bureaucracy, the books, journal entries, reports, VAT, Income taxes, numbers that have to be balanced out.

It's like spending too much time on cleaning your apartment because of a hair producing cat. This should be automated with a robot vacuum cleaner so I can spend time on making useful beautiful things.

18 December, 2019

The love of order and aesthetics

I attended an User Experience meetup in the City last evening. A room full of Designers and Design Ops of big corporation high traffic websites.

Being mindful, I was trying to be aware of why all this people were here. Why would a design person want to organize, become a process junky, create systems and make order in the usual chaos of creation? And how do you do all of this organizational stuff and still create delightful experiences?

I'm rewatching a gardens of France and Italy BBC series and the presenter noted the garden architect's love for order, controlling nature and aesthetics.

The garden architects faced the same designing on scale challenges.

16 December, 2019

The most wonderful naps and the power of downtime

I went to one of my favorite Northern European things to do: visiting the sauna. Between hot sauna's and ice baths I have short naps floating in shallow water or on a bed in a chill-out space.

There is something extra relaxing about falling asleep in a public safe place.

The light bubbly sleep usually comes with great inspiration and new creative ideas.

13 December, 2019

Tone of voice

It's so easy to adapt and copy the people around you. Talk the same lingo, make the same gestures, the same mistakes.

I want to talk and think like stellar programmers, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists. They see the world in a different way.

With a fresh look.

11 December, 2019

Building something disposable to learn from

Sculptors can make several study models out of clay or wax before carving the final piece of art out of marble. They learn while doing.

In bigger sized companies there is a tendency for keeping one's position safe. The by-product is a fear of failing plus vague evasive ownership. Bureaucracy welcomes endless meetings and detailed documentation before even starting. #demotivating

Visualise your ideas so you can share and make it real for all types of people. Then quickly build, fail and rebuild to learn and keep the momentum going.


10 December, 2019

Create work that gives back

Lately I dedicated myself to be creative on a regular basis. Within a year from now I want to have produced a series of pieces I feel comfortable exposing to the outside world. Meanwhile my collection is slowly expanding.

Love it how I can carefully shape my own environment wherever I am. Love it how a sculpture that came out right continues to inspire me and gives back when I casually pass it in the morning.

9 December, 2019

Connecting people

I have always got a lot of energy talking to and connecting with people. I find that it adds a lot of joy to my day especially now during the grey and dark winter days.

Although I'm not shy of starting conversation, I do feel there is an urgency to take more action. I catch myself too much in my own design/develop world. Comfortable in my zone doing the work but slowly isolating myself. This week I will increase my ask for help, to include others in the conversation. Go outside of the monitor.

Was listening to a podcast about radical critical feedback. The more relevant people I will include in my process the better my work becomes and the more support I will receive when launching new products. I will not find this people sitting behind my desk all day.

5 December, 2019

Daily awareness to stay on course

Every morning I work out, meditate, journal and start the day with a green smoothie. I keep doing it because it keeps me in the now and aware of what I'm doing.

It's so easy to go with the flow and basically let your life be lived by external demands.

To not be ruled by other people's dreams only, I keep a journal and work ahead. Work out plans for things that make me happy.

What makes you happy? And did you do something about it today?

4 December, 2019

Authenticity and work

Besides work related topics I also deeply love literature, sculpting, drawing, painting, filmhouse movies, history, documentaries, psychology, philosophy, learning and more. Especially in the Netherlands people separate work and their private life religiously. Being authentic however means you should not hide or separate your interests.

So here I am, after many years, back to blogging. Making predictions and noticing things in public. One can not be unique or different when there is a focus on not offending anyone and disappear in the crowd.

3 December, 2019

Becoming a better freelancer

I'm a freelancer for about 6 years now. For as long as I can remember I never liked pinning myself down to one particular job title. I just think it is not covering and it narrows me down into something you can give a label.

Working on my portfolio made me think about how I want to be perceived and how I want to market myself. I also realised I should step things up and that there was action needed to do that. A few weeks ago I came across 'The Freelancer's workshop' by Seth Godin and signed up. What a great choice!

The course really makes you think about simple things like how you want to position yourself in the market. Are you the cheapest most economic solution in a very competitive pool of others or do you go for being unique or even remarkable and attract customers instead of hunting them. Shifting from accepting every customer request to screening your customers in order to do your best work.

Now instead of just doing my job at a reasonable level, I decide every week what I can do extra to become unique. What would I love if I would hire myself? When would I recommend myself? So for example making a presentation with all the research in it that brought me to the end result that I designed. Everyone in the team or leadership can instantly use this in presentations they might have.

It's extra but it should be  useful  not more documentation that no one will read.

Koen van der Veldt
is a product & information designer