Recently I’ve taken the little free time I’ve had to begin working on a couple personal projects. One might call them “start ups” but I’d argue they’re simply explorations. In doing some research, and sifting through a plethora of resources, I came across the Foundation series. This video series profiles some of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs by investigating the creative mindsets that have led to some of the most well-known ventures of recent time. Kevin Rose, a serial entrepreneur and technology investor is the host, and is better known by some as the founder of Digg.
I began listening to these interviews and absorbing the advice and suggestions given by Jack Dorsey, Tony Conrad, Elon Musk, and many others. I was in search of inspiration outside of the creative fields specifically – design, development, media, etc. I’m in search of escapes from my constant routine of web design, and traditional print projects. It’s not that I dislike the projects I’m working on day in and day out, but it’s always good to keep the mind fresh and indulge in some artistry away from the computer. Perhaps this is why I’m heavily involving myself in these personal projects (I’ll discuss at a later date). But it’s human reassurance that I find myself searching for. I want to know what inspires others. I want to know other peoples’ stories and how they came to be. I am interested in third party takes on existence, communication, science, politics, etc. I want to step away from the constant critical, repetitive conversation between the designer, like myself, and the client. I found that these videos are quite remarkable.
There are patterns and trends that I began to notice from each person Kevin interviewed. Many suggestions are positive and inspiring. These brilliant minds are willing to share ideas, processes, and reflections, many of which are relatable even to those without the entrepreneur spirit. But I especially found two common themes interesting. Just about every individual that Kevin interviewed touched on the following:
First, the reality is people are not simply successful and forever made of gold. Just about every individual who’s become successful in one way or another has in fact experienced downfall and failure, often times early in their careers. I always found the “rags to riches” story to be cliche, relating them to celebrities and athletes. But when you hear from the inventor of a world wide service that they spent much of their creative time in tough and rough circumstances, life is put into perspective. You quickly get the feeling that these success stories are in fact human, and that no one is ever super human for long periods of time. What’s more intriguing is that these individuals pay tribute to the tough times, regards them as periods in their lives that molded them and drove them to their successes. I find that this eases the fear of failure and further ignites the fire inside to want to take action, regardless if the outcome is successful or not. I appreciate and embrace that.
Secondly, almost every individual, in one way or another, suggests to spend time in creative environments outside of average work spaces. More importantly, step away from the routine and simply reach out to people, particularly those who you feel you’d never have a chance to talk to. Going out on a limb is one of the most positive things a creative mind can do. People are willing to talk, they’re willing have a coffee, they’re willing to grab lunch, they’re willing to spend 10 minutes of their time listening. People enjoy and appreciate honest dialogue, so why not involve yourself in just that? Opening up to others and pursuing those who you gravitate towards, whether it be due to portfolio, experience, or confidence, is simply beneficial. It’s up to you to surround yourself with, and interact with those who share your values. As you’ll find out if you watch the videos, it’s actually not that hard to do.