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    Wednesday
    Aug042010

    quietAction - reflections from 1 year in

    It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working on getting quietAction out there for over a year now. It’s been an amazing learning experience, from starting the blog to creating a new business card and slowly evolving a description of what it is that I do.

    I’m happy to see the name quietAction continues to hold relevance. So much so that my family and friends still stop and say, “that is perfect for you, isn’t it.”

    That’s probably because my life theme remains about shutting up and doing my own work. I’ve been focused on allowing new work and opportunities to come to me while I stay grounded in my own practice and day-to-day.

    Interestingly, much of my own practice has become about writing. I didn’t even realize how undisciplined I had become over the past few years.

    My biggest issue on the writing side is simply having too much to say. Each day as I’m writing I produce a lot of content, but invariably it begins to morph into something else. By the end, I’ve created enough for 3 blog posts – none of them complete. I think that not having a regular writing outlet since I finished teaching a few years ago has created a bit of a logjam.

    My little “30 posts in 30 days” experiment (I’m on day 4) is shaking out that little issue and all of my bad habits at high speed. As my friend Alexa says, “very entertaining to watch.”

    On the design side there’s been some fun little bits of learning. Much of my design in the first year has been about maximizing my time commitments. With a busy client schedule I have wanted to still be able to keep my communication moving with as little fuss as possible.

    The blog came first for me. I decided to work with SquareSpace in order to speed up my development time. I appreciated their WYSIWYG interface and that they would track things like spam and other hacks to the site. With a busy client schedule, I really just wanted to get the work out there. I really liked their how to videos with the actual build examples being most useful.

    There are some issues remaining for me with the SquareSpace blogging. I haven’t figured out how to get my YouTube embeds to play properly on iPhone and iPad. And when I was getting started there was the inability to do simple things like print ALL of the FAQs at one time so I had them for reference. That was almost a deal breaker. It feels like a complete failure of understanding how people use your reference material.

    Ultimately though it has enabled me to create a simple stable platform to get my thoughts out there. The blog has become my portfolio. Because of the type of work that I do, there is very little that I can show publicly. The blog is a place where I can share process and logic without breaking any of my non-disclosures.

    And of course, I was able to iterate my way into the first simple explanation of what I do in the About section. I'm due for yet another round on that one so stay tuned. This darn job of mine keeps changing.

    Twitter remains a powerful tool for me as well. Last year I won an awesome computer bag for being the most prolific tweeter at UX Week 2009. I wasn’t and am still not sure if that was a good thing. I do notice however that I got to know a lot of amazing people at that conference because of it and I’m starting to meet more and more of my other Twitter folk in real life as well.

    There are a couple of funny stories about my logo and tagline. You may have noticed on the blog or if you gotten one, on my business card that the font is Arial. Yes, you read that correctly – Arial. Ha, I love that.

    After all of these years of slaving over fonts and feels, I was joking with my friend and amazing visual strategist Cliff Jew, that I was just gonna use Arial for this round. I wanted it to be about the writing and I wanted the visual design to get out of the way. At least I thought I was joking. I saw it as I mocked up the blog and then the card and I knew it was perfect. Every time I see it I grin. Shouldn’t all font choices do that ;-).

    Then I worked with a designer friend Lauren Turetsky to tighten the design (yes, she let me keep my Arial, on the front only) and had it printed at Greener Printer. If you've never used them, then I highly recommend it. Not only do they have a spectacularly easy-to-use online ordering system, they print on excellent quality (quite heavy) RECYCLED paper and use soy inks. And they've turned all of my projects around in great time.

    Just after I launched the business card I had a chance to try out the tagline: mediate your experience. Listening to people read it out loud was totally humbling. Medicate your experience? Meditate your experience? Actually either of those might work.

    Anyway, I’m trying out a new one now: making it up – better.

    As you may know, I’m a big fan of making it up, so I figured it was at least a relevant tagline if not perfect. Feel free to @ me and let me know if you like it.

    So where do we go from here? Plenty of details remain as I work my way out into Flickr and LinkedIn incarnations. Lots more writing to do about an ever-broader array of topics. Realistically though it’s one single thing – practice. This is about me showing up and trying things out in ways that I had stopped doing as the years stacked up. There’s gonna be a whole lot of seeing what appears in front of me, staying responsive, awake and juicy.

    Can’t wait to see what comes next.