Thursday, March 06, 2008

What I Am Called For

Well actually I do not know why I am living in the fullest sense. I just heard a quote recently "perfect is worthless" on http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/ Seth Godin's blog. You know that has changed my life and actions. I am now choosing good enough in some of my actions to not make it perfect. This does not mean I am choosing to be shoddy but I did start work making a model railroad even thought it will never be perfection in miniature.

So another of Seth's posts got me over to a video by Jan Chipchase at TED. http://www.ted.com/index.php/themes/view/id/28
I am rocked, and motivated. He tells a story about how the poor are using mobile phones as an informal wire transfer network. He talks about how the poor of the world are starting to have the same tools to connect to the world as the rich. How they are going around the systems that the rich and designers and companies set in place. It is amazing to me how the poor are able to boil down things to what mater.
I am an engineer, my career ability is to support and be part of the team that Jan and his counterparts lead. To take what he observes, what others dream, I develop, so others can build, and everyone will use. If I do my job right I become invisible. If I do my job wrong we all fail.
At the end of the video below Jan lays out 4 aspects of designing things for the future:
1) The big idea is only a big idea if it is part of BIG change (Truth is you can not design for big, big happens after an idea is let go.)
2) Small products move to everyone world wide, rich and poor (for me I worked last for a car company, a product that reached only a couple people. Well ok what I did affects everyone that buys any car that manufacture makes and that IS a lot of people, but not everyone in the world. Right now my product will affect at most a couple hundred directly and a million indirectly. WOW I never realized how important what I was doing was!!!)
3) No mater how well a product is designed as soon as it reaches the marketplace all the people out there will find better ways to use the product, different than intended.
4) The poor want to be part of the world, the conversations that are driving the direction of the world, they have something to say that transcends their lack of education, money, literacy, and so many us vs them things. They are still people who, when it all boils down, have relationships.

I am a stuff designer, that is who I am and what really gets my juices going. I love to be a part of the team that figures out this stuff. And this stuff ROCKS when it is kept simple so simple that it is hard to believe it has never been thought of before. Or like nokia that there is so much technology behind the device the shell belies in simplicity. It would rock even more to know I have stuff out there that the poor find use in, that means the whole world needs it, not the elite few who waste money and time.

In a 15 minute talk Jan covers so much more than the above, his thoughts on design, what is important and why, how delegation works, how innovation happens and trust. All as it relates to how I want to earn an income to support my family and my self. Watch his video to see into what I care about. To me this is a rally cry and a call to action and pride in my job and skills.
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/190

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