Going Remote Forever, Byeee!
This week on Overtime—Are you feeling trapped? Is your company now remote forever? Meg walks you through an exercise to help you decide which city to move to next. Plus, we read your hilarious responses to the question, “How would you explain the job of a graphic designer to a five-year-old?” Then, co-founder of Foundation—a new crypto meets creative marketplace—stops by to explain how creatives can start earning money using the platform.
Thanks to Basecamp for sponsoring this episode! Basecamp is the all-in-one-place to keep all of your stuff and run your design company the calm way.
Links mentioned in this episode
Meg: Hey, hey, hey! Hi, it’s me! Ahh, I’m back in your ears and it feels really good, my favorite place in the whole world, mmm. Hi, it’s me, your host, Meg “Is Chili More of a Summer Food or a Winter Food?” Lewis, and hello, welcome back to another episode of Overtime. This is Dribbble’s weekly podcast where I cover design news and I might just give you the tips you need to create your very best work. This week on Overtime, are you feeling trapped? Is your company now remote forever? Do you feel like you just want to move because you’ve been staring at the same view for the last four months? Just me? I will help you through an exercise to decide where you can move, which is very exciting. And how would you describe the job of a graphic designer to a five-year-old? Let me soothe you with my relaxing voice as I read your answers. Oh, ooh and @dApp_boi, Matthew Vernon, aka the co-founder of the new crypto meets creative marketplace meets Meg’s confusion product called Foundation. So, Matthew stops by to explain to me what the heck foundation is. Let’s go.
Okay, so as more companies are moving to remote only, I think it’s giving us this very shiny opportunity to pick where we want to live, which I think is very exciting because it means that you can move somewhere that you actually feel fulfilled living in and you get to choose where you want to go. And I hope that this company is going remote forever trend stays so that way more of us can have a choice in where we actually get to live and create our lives and do what we need to do and be a lot more fulfilled doing it. And if you don’t know this about me, I’m a mover. I love moving, I’ve moved around my whole adult life collecting cities, I want to live in every city in the world. I just want to live everywhere. There are so many great places in this world.
So, I’ve learned through moving a lot that it’s okay to admit that some cities are better for other people. So, if there are some cities that you think are really trendy, you don’t understand them, don’t force yourself to try to live there just because it’s cool and your friends live there, or other people live there. And I’m going to take you through an exercise to help you determine where is perfect for you, where you could actually move, because I know whenever you think of where you want to live and what seems fun, I think it’s kind of an emotional response to what you’re feeling right now. And if you’re feeling cold or too hot, or trapped inside, you’re probably just going to be like, “Take me somewhere warm or cold or where I could be outside.” That’s certainly how I feel constantly. Also, I just feel like I’ve been stuck staring at the same view in the same environment, same terrain for the last four months while I’ve been inside, so I get it.
But here’s an exercise for you to go through where you can find what your actual values are. And if you have a partner or not, I’ll tell you how to go through this step. So, if you have a partner or if you live alone, here are the steps to go through, you independently from you and your partner. If there are two of you or more, I want you to do this list separately and go through this exercise separately and then come together and share. Do not do this exercise with somebody else because it’s important that you don’t influence each other because you are individual people. And if you live alone, go through this exercise too, because this is just as important for you as well.
Alright, so the first thing I want to do is make a really long list. I like to do this with post it notes because I can remove things and move them around and stick them up on the wall and zoom out and look at them all at once. But if you want to do this in your notes app, that’s cool too. It does not matter. It’s whatever works best for your brain. Make sure you recycle your notes. Okay, so start off with making a very long, as long as it needs to be, list of all of the things that are important to you about the city that you live in, or want to live in, what you’re looking for in the qualities of a city, the terrain, the culture, the people, the energy, the environment, what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like, as well as make sure to include in this list qualities of actual space that you want to live in, whether it’s a home or apartment, what are the qualities of that? What is the view like? What amenities does it have? All of that. Create a long, long, long, long list of all of those things, everything that’s important to you. It doesn’t matter how important it feels compared to something else at this point, I just want to hear the longest list of qualities that are important to you.
So, once you have all those things down, if you have more than 15, I want you to start by narrowing it down to the top 10. So, scrap things, compare things to other things, start to give hierarchy, and just whittle it down and down and down until you get to the top 10. And the reason why I like to start long and then get shorter is because it helps you to compare one thing to another and start to get some hierarchy here. So, keep the others for sure, we’ll use those later, but narrow it down to the top 10 and see what you love, and what’s happening in that top 10. Now zoom out, look at those top 10s, and then it gets harder. Now I want you to narrow it down to the top five. So, get rid of five, compare them to the other, and start to figure out what the actual five things are that are the most important to you. And once you do that, we’re going to do it just one more time, I promise. I want you to remove two more things so that now we have the top three. The top three things are now your focus.
So, now you can start looking for cities planning for where you want to move, depending on what those top three things are. And for some people, those top three things might only be city specific, it might not have anything to do with the environment that you’re living in, that’s how I was. But for others of you, it might just have to do with the environment that you live in, of the apartment or the home or wherever you’re actually physically living within a city. And that’s okay too, because that means that you’ll have more cities as your option. And in that case, you can start thinking, “What are the cities that work for me and for this space that I want?” And regardless, you can start to create a list of cities that match those top three things, and if there’s so many cities, there’s more than a handful, then expand your list back to that top five, and say, “Okay, now which cities for my top five list? Now, which cities would my top 10 list? Are there any?” And you can start creating your list of cities that way and try to determine what city is best.
And if you have a partner, now’s the time to compare your lists, compare the cities, compare what you’re finding. Are there any overlaps? How do you find one city that works for both of you? I believe it’s possible. It’s hard but it’s possible, okay? Because we want this to work for both of you. We want you both feeling fulfilled. That’s what creates great relationships, right? Yes. Okay. So, for me, my list came down to three things. It was public transportation, walkability, and close friendships. Those were the things that were the most important to me, and of course, every city’s not going to fit for that, right? And so of course, also, you might be thinking about 2020 COVID times, it’s not the best time to be in a densely populated city, it’s not the best time to be touching things other people have touched, like public transportation, right? So, in this event, you can act emotionally a little bit, but just know that you are acting emotionally depending on what’s happening with the times. So, what I’m thinking with 2020 and with this COVID time situation, is that maybe this is a great time to get something out of your system that you’ve always wanted to do. So, if you’ve always wanted to live in a city that you know you won’t want to live in forever, maybe this is a time to just kind of move there for a hot second. Maybe you’ve always wanted to have one of those really amazing open floorplan lofts. Maybe this is the time to do that. Let 2020 be your excuse to get something out of your system.
Moving is not that hard. It doesn’t have to be that expensive if you feel like moving yourself, I always move myself, we’ve always moved ourselves. I think we’ve hired movers one time and we were like “Meh, we’ll just do it ourselves from now. It’s expensive.” You can always do things yourself. And no, I ended up buying a house when I moved to Minneapolis because it was cheaper than my rent in New York was. And I think there was a stigma about owning a house where, you know, if you buy a house, it has to be your forever home, you have to stay there for decades. And I realized as soon as I got this house that I don’t. The first house I bought, I lived there for two years and then moved. It wasn’t that hard. I’m so used to moving so it didn’t seem that intense to me. And again, with the house that I’m in now I’m trying to finish renovating it and then I’m going to move. I love moving. Okay, so you deserve to live in a city that makes you feel fulfilled and makes you feel safe and comfortable being yourself, so go through this exercise and figure it out.
Meg: If you haven’t been paying attention by now, you probably don’t know that I have a comedy mindfulness podcast where I give you some soothing, relaxing experiences, like guided meditations and goofy affirmations and stuff, where I basically just read things in a soothing tone. Okay, so I thought it’d be fun to do a little relaxation, sort of soothing exercise with you by reading some content that I found online.
Okay, so we’re going to get relaxed. And what I found is that Dribbble recently launched a blog post titled “10 Ways to Explain the Job of a Graphic Designer to a Five-Year-Old,” where I guess people submitted the way that they would suggest how they would describe what we do as graphic designers to a five-year-old. So, I’m going to go through and read these in a very soothing tone to try to just turn you into a blob for a second because I think you deserve it. This is an intense time in human history, so let’s all just relax a little bit. And I’m going to read you ways to describe the job of a graphic designer to a five-year-old. Okay, let’s start off by taking a deep breath.
[Relaxing music plays] Meg: Ah, yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Here we go. I draw things for people who don’t know what they like. I make really cool pictures, but then I let some people ruin them if they give me money. I make the logo bigger. I help grownups who lost their imagination make stuff look cool. I solve problems through art. Graphic designers play on the computer all day and have no bedtime. I read other people’s minds and visualize it. I make it pop. I help people feel and understand things with things they can see. I have the best job in the world, I draw all day long and get paid for it.
Ah, and that is it for this very soothing experience where we explain graphic design to five-year-olds.
Meg: Now, I don’t know about you, but my brain is consuming so much news lately. I’m often reading an article and I start screaming and just throw my phone down or across the room or something. Yeah, it’s a problem. So, lately, when a new product launch happens, I think everything just kind of gets swirled together into one thing in my brain and I can’t remember what I read about who, and which does what. And I think between Hey.com, 👁️ 👄 👁️ (Eye Mouth Eye), and this clubhouse thing that I still don’t understand what’s going on with, I’m just overloaded with sensory information. And the Twitter arguments and general critique happening, just, oh my gosh, my brain.
So, when I saw a product launch called foundation a few weeks ago, I got very excited, but then I got confused about what it was. And then I was also overcome with more excitement, and then totally interrupted again by confusion, and I think you’ll understand why because it’s, like, a crypto thing, it’s a marketplace. I don’t know. So, I recorded a segment on Foundation a few weeks ago that I actually never ended up releasing because I had so many questions, no answers. So, I decided to probably be a good journalist and I reached out to them and was like, “Can someone just come on and explain to me what it is?” So, we actually have the co-founder, Matthew Vernon, here with me today to explain what the heck foundation is. Hey, Matt, welcome!
Matt: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Meg: Yeah! Okay, so just explain, there’s so much going on, and there’s a lot about Foundation that I find very unusual and exciting at the same time. Just explain to us what Foundation is.
Matt: Yeah, for sure. There are a lot of weird and wonderful things going on, so I’m happy to loop you into that. But yeah, at its core, Foundation is an online marketplace that allows independent designers, artists, and brands to drop limited edition collections of their work. And the new element that we’re adding here is that each item in the collection is actually priced dynamically. So, it goes up and down with supply and demand and actually creates this really exciting Stock Exchange-like quality that allows creators to capture the hype that they’re building around their work and also allows fans to buy in and actually share in the success of the creators they’re supporting on the platform.
Meg: You just put that so simply. I appreciate that so much. Whenever I was looking at the website, I think it’s not you, it’s me, because I don’t know anything about cryptocurrency, so my brain is already like, “You won’t understand this Meg,” which is not very nice of my brain. But you explained it very simply, which I appreciate because now I think I understand what it is, I think I get it.
So, one of the things I was really interested in is there are a lot of platforms out there right now that I’m a huge fan of, like tools for artists and creators to not have to rely on anyone else to determine their success. They could just put stuff out there and it gets in the hands of their supporters, their fans and people who want to support them. And so, things like Patreon, you know, they allow us to get closer to the people that love to support our work, so do you think with everything that Foundation is doing, do you think that, because it sort of, you know, commodifies the art in an unusual way where people could swoop in, bots could swoop in and take over, like people that aren’t even fans of yours could take over and start buying things, so my immediate thought was like, “Oh, does this devalue the relationship between the fan and the creator?” But I think that I’m assuming you probably have a more optimistic outlook. So, do you think that it devalues the connection between creator and their fans or supporters? Or do you think that it adds extra value?
Matt: Yeah, so the really big thing to point out here is I definitely think that it adds extra value because what foundation actually does is it unlocks an entirely new revenue stream for creatives. So, we basically have two revenue streams that we actually pay creators out on the platform via. We have the first revenue stream, which is a traditional, older style way of selling products and paying creators. Once they sell a product, they get revenue via that way. And that exists, that’s in play, that’s already in Foundation today, and that’s happening. But the new thing that we’re offering on top of that is the ability for creators to actually capture shares of the trading activity that is taking place in the market. So, it actually unlocks this entirely new revenue stream and allows them to monetize the often-intangible parts of what they’re doing. It allows them to generate money and monetize the culture, the story, the narrative, and the connection that they’re actually creating with their work and with their audiences. And that’s totally something on top of this existing revenue stream.
Meg: Holy crap. Okay, that’s so cool to me because I have always been a freelancer, and because of that, I’ve always had to get really creative with how I make money and how I survive. And my brain is moving so fast right now thinking about how I could use your platform to make money, because I think most of the things that I’ve created throughout my career have been out of desperation because I had to make money immediately for something. And so I’m just like, “Okay, this is this is going to be good,” because I think monetizing the larger parts of what’s happening within your work and what makes your work so special is really interesting to me because I spend so much time focusing on areas like that, and I don’t know if anybody notices. I’m sure they probably do, but no one’s paying me to just generally be weird and be me. I usually have to like, give them something.
So, I find that really interesting. But one of the things I think is the most interesting is the underlying psychological factor about what’s happening with something like this, like limited edition releases, or launches of any kind, have this wonderful effect culturally, and on society where, I don’t know if you followed what happened with 👁️ 👄 👁️ a couple weeks ago, I reported on that on this podcast. And it was just so bizarre because humans just want to be a part of something, especially when they don’t have all the answers and they know that there’s only a small selection of humans that get to be a part of something. And I feel like what Foundation is doing is it’s creating those atmospheres but creating them for creators and artists. And I find that to be so fascinating because you’re kind of creating a system that helps people to feel like they’re part of something that’s bigger than themselves. You probably know more about what’s happening with humans in these types of situations, but how would you explain that cultural phenomenon that you’re trying to create here? What is at the core of that?
Matt: Yeah, totally. I definitely saw what happened with 👁️ 👄 👁️. That was an amazing time to be on the internet. I was watching it in real time, and it was just this like, beautiful display of how FOMO and memes and just internet culture can really excite people and rally them together for something new. And that’s definitely a lot of the qualities that we’re trying to tap into at Foundation. It’s definitely something that we’re trying to do. And I think the greatest example of that is just when a creator drops something on Foundation. It’s an entirely different vibe. It’s not like dropping a product on an online store and putting it out there into the world, it’s something completely different, and where we’re really trying to strive to create something that creates a really, really deep emotional connection between a creator and an audience. Because for the first time ever, there’s a real financial stake at play. Like someone in a creator’s audience can invest directly in a creator and into their work, and actually get exposure to the financial upside of that. And it allows creators to actually generate hype and, you know, integrate that into their work and actually monetize as well.
Meg: Wow, oh my gosh, okay. So, I also noticed whenever I was looking at Foundation that you have a really wonderful, curated lineup of artists and creators. How have you been choosing who to feature so far?
Matt: Yeah, for sure. So, I think the main thing to kind of call out is we definitely see foundation as a new, exciting medium for creators to be creative with and actually start utilizing in their work. So, we’re hungry to work with creators who are not only talented at what they do, but creators that are hungry to kind of start playing around and kicking the tires on Foundation, and people who are hungry to understand the medium that Foundation offers and the various constraints at play there. So, a lot of our artists are often on the cutting edge, they’re very experimental, and they’re often early to new platforms and new technologies. And that’s the type of creator that we’re looking to target. We’re looking to work with creators who not only create good work but see Foundation as a platform that kind of ties back into the art and the actual act of actually dropping a product. You know, the product is a piece of that, but also the story and the narrative and the connection between the audience plays into the piece of art as well.
Meg: I’m sold. I’m trying not to be too much of a fan, I just find this to be fascinating. Okay, so, with what Foundation is today, are we far off from what you foresee it being in the future? What does the future hold for Foundation?
Matt: So, the big thing to kind of really call out is Foundation is live, we actually have two live markets now with a brand and an artist, you can actually go on there right now and start engaging with the work on there. And we just want to continue that momentum and actually continue dropping with more and more creators, so that over the next couple months, the focus is just having more and more drops from creators that are actually on our roster. And then from then, the aim is to kind of really just turn Foundation into a thriving, vibrant digital community of a lot of different creators and curators and collectors, kind of engaging on a multitude of different levels across our platform.
Meg: Neat! I’m constantly – okay, so I’m the worst interviewer in that my brain’s always like, “You have to say something interesting after they stop speaking,” and nope, every time I just go, “Wow, cool, neat, I like what you said!”
Matt: [Laughs] That’s okay, you’re doing a good job.
Meg: Well, thank you so much, because now I feel like I at least understand what Foundation is, so now I’m going to go back on there and make sure that I participate because I know what’s going on. Yay! Thank you so much, Matt, for being here. Where can everyone find Foundation on the internet?
Matt: Cool, so you can go to withfoundation.com right now. We have two live markets that you can sign up to Foundation with and start engaging, and we’re always on the lookout for new creators and artists who want to hop on board. So, if you have a cool idea for something that you could do on Foundation, just feel free to reach out.
Meg: Excellent. And Matt, personally, where can we find you on the internet?
Matt: Cool, so I am big on Twitter as @dApp_Boi, so you can follow me over there on Twitter, and you know, that’ll be fun.
Meg: How’s boy spelled? Boi?
Matt: Boi, yes. I also have a very, very bad website. I’m matthewvernon.co.
Meg: You went with your name on that one? Just classic?
Matt: Yeah. You know, I had to lock it in, you know.
Meg: Yeah, congrats on getting your name.
Matt: Thank you.
Meg: Alright, thank you so much for being here, Matt.
Matt: No worries. Thanks for having me.
Meg: We did it. That’s it for this week’s episode of Overtime. Oh, wow. Be a good person this week and I’m going to try and do the same thing, and let’s do it together. And if you’d like to take this conversation on to the old internet, use #DribbbleOvertime, or twag me – [laughs] twag me? Twagging apparently is a combination between tagging and tweeting. So, I definitely encourage you to twag at me or twag all over me, please. My handle is @yourbuddymeg. Okay, bye, hear me next week!