Ya Lose Some, Ya Win Some
This week on Overtime, Meg investigates Clubhouse and the latest cake videos all over the internet. Plus, learn what Harvard design grad students are doing to fight for racial justice. Then… has this year been a total waste? Are you 100% failing at life along with the rest of the world? Meg shares her tried-and-true technique for turning canceled or postponed opportunities into new and better ones.
Links mentioned in this episode
Meg: Hey, hey, hey, hey! It’s me, your host Meg “Meg-ady-egady Bing Bong” Lewis, and welcome back to Overtime, Dribbble’s weekly podcast where I cover design news and give you the tools you need to do your best work. I just said that as fast as I could, and it was fast. This week on Overtime, I got Clubhouse, but it was actually just cake. I try to figure out exactly what is or isn’t cake and if Clubhouse is cake or if it’s some kind of tech product. Plus, Harvard grad students create a marketplace nonprofit for designers to sell their goods for racial justice. And is this year a total waste? Are you 100% failing at life along with the rest of the world? I give you my technique for turning cancelled opportunities and postponed plans into lemonade. Let’s go!
Okay, so by now, you know that I am a lazy journalist. This is not what I was called to do, being a journalist. I didn’t go to journalism school, and it shows. So, there were two news stories that I really wanted to cover this week because they were relevant and topical, but I became so bored when trying to look into them so I just kind of didn’t follow through with it. The first one is Clubhouse. So, clubhouse is something that design Twitter has been talking about, actually tech Twitter, I guess, probably more so has been really enjoying talking about, and I kind of wasn’t really paying attention during a couple days when I guess a lot was happening with Clubhouse, so I missed a lot of information. And then in searching for articles about Clubhouse, I found a lot of lengthy, wordy articles about VC culture and VC’s in general, and how they found a sanctuary in an app. And I tried reading the articles, but you know whenever you’re in school, I don’t know if you had this problem, I did, and you were assigned a reading assignment in the textbook, and you would kind of start to read it and then your eyes would glaze over and still be reading technically, but the information was not passing through to your brain because your brain was thinking about, you know, Cheez-Its, or nachos or whatever you were going to do after school? That’s what happened to me all the time, and that’s exactly what happened to me when I tried to read these articles on Clubhouse.
So, guess what? I ended up getting a beta invite to Clubhouse. So, I went in there, it’s a beta invite, so you have to download the test flight app and everything, it’s the whole situation. So, I got into Clubhouse, having not known what it was at all, and all of a sudden, I pressed something, and I got injected into a room where a bunch of dudes were talking about VC stuff. So, it’s a clue, there it is, there’s the clue. And I got in this room and then I was like, “Oh my God, shoot, am I on this call? Can they hear me?” And I was like, kind of mumbling to myself, and then I stopped mumbling because I realized that they could probably hear me and I panicked, and I shut down the app really quickly.
And so, I think that they probably couldn’t hear me. I think I just was listening in on some people talking, but I’m not 100% sure. This all reminds me of the day that Instagram launched Instagram stories and I happened to notice that while I was on the toilet using my phone, and I popped open a video and accidentally took a video of myself on the toilet and then I accidentally thought I posted the video to my stories. And I started to panic for a few minutes, but then I couldn’t find where my stories were to see if I posted a video of my, sort of like, bare legs on the toilet. And anyway, I didn’t. Luckily, I did not post the video, maybe unluckily, I did not post the video, but that was a similar situation when I barged in on Clubhouse. Was it a disaster? Probably not. But also, if you were trying to have a private conversation, and you heard me come in and go, “Oh my god, what’s happening?” then now you know, now you have the backstory there.
So, I can’t quite make this a full news story because I don’t exactly know what Clubhouse is. I think it’s an audio platform for people to start conversations together with only audio, but I’m not 100% sure on that. So, I’m going to keep tinkering with it and we’ll see what happens. It seems like maybe it’s for an audience that is not me. But I’m optimistic because audio feels great. Clearly, I’m comfortable with audio. So, this seems pretty promising. We’ll see what happens.
The second topical news story that my lazy journalist self is not covering well is cake. Is it cake? Is something cake? Is it not cake? I don’t know, everybody’s talking about cake. And I saw on Twitter, everybody was complaining about cake and saying, “Guess I have to mute the word cake now. I hate cake.” And I just thought, “Are they talking about the band? What is going on?” So, I had to do an embarrassing thing where I went in the Twitter search bar, and I just searched “Cake” because I had no idea what they were talking about. I don’t know how often you do this if you’re on Twitter, but a lot of times, everyone’s talking about something and you missed it, and you don’t know what’s going on. So, I constantly just go into the Twitter search bar and search for that thing, and 50% of the time, it gives me answers, I would say. And this time when I searched cake, it was just a bunch of people talking about something to do with cake that I had totally missed. And so, I kept scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and then I came upon the video, which is a video of somebody who makes cakes that look like real objects. You probably know all this because you’ve probably seen it. And then they go in with a knife and you’re like, “No, no, no, that’s just a used piece of toilet paper. No.” And then they cut it with a knife and it’s cake, and you’re like, “Gahh it’s cake!” And so, that’s what everybody’s talking about.
And it seems like internet culture has really latched on to this cake thing, and you know what? I don’t blame anyone for doing that. It is a breath of fresh air right now. It’s totally harmless. I mean, we’re turning it into something harmful, probably, that’s what humans do best. I think we need to fixate on it for right now, just because our brains are always fixating on something, so like, just give us this for a little bit of a second. Because obviously, our brains are fixating on like, 25 to, you know, 243 things at once, and this is just one of them. It’s annoying, and if you want to eat cake, then that’s great, too.
Next news story. Now, this one I know a lot more about and can talk about more confidently because I care more, and I looked into it a heck of a lot more because I care more. Don’t you just love somebody who reports on news stories that actually cares about the subjects are reporting on? I don’t know, I would like to think listening to me report on things I don’t care about is just as endearing as the things I do care about, and in this episode, you’re getting a little bit of both.
So, for this new story, I want to talk about Harvard graduate students from the Harvard School of Design. They’ve started a nonprofit called Design Yard Sale, and Design Yard Sale is designyardsale.org. It is an actual nonprofit they created, it’s a shop and an auction, where they allow designers, artists, people with physical goods to come on in and sell their original artwork at a shop or in an auction. So, items are released every day at 10 am and you can go in there and buy stuff. But the wonderful thing is that 100% of proceeds go to organizations that fight against systemic anti-black racism. And so, they’re saying an amazing thing. They’re saying, quote, “It’s time we call attention to the racial inequality perpetuated by the design field.” And, yeah, I’m all in. I love that.
So, I think it’s really important to dive into their intentions and what they’re trying to create here because I know there’s a bit of a fine line to balance right now whenever you try and participate in a movement through selling your stuff. And I know that’s kind of a hard place, us as creatives, I’m constantly on this podcast recommending that you help the world be a better place through your skill set. So, it’s definitely hard to find that line of, “Are you tooting your own horn too much when you’re trying to help a movement?” Maybe. And that’s been the line that we’re all grappling with and all trying to figure out how to not cross. So, I think they’re doing a nice job because they say, quote, “We recognize that the field of design is inherently non-neutral and has an obligation in addressing the architectures of oppression that our society is built upon, and our role in perpetuating them. We want to use our creativity and skills to contribute to the movement against racism by amplifying voices of its leaders who are advancing justice and equity in design.” And I love that. That’s beautiful and perfect, and I think it’s great. It’s a great perspective to have. Of course, you can disagree with me, please, that is okay. We can have different perspectives. I’m also learning and growing and changing my perspective all the time as I meet new people and hear new perspectives, so that’s cool, too.
But I think that’s the great question here: how do you help without tooting your own horn too much, right? That’s the important thing, that’s an important balance to find. And I think they’ve done a nice job because they’ve created an external destination, it’s an actual nonprofit that they’ve created where they filter the money back into organizations that are already doing and have been doing the great work here. And I think that’s absolutely fantastic, and I’m glad they’re doing that because 100% of the proceeds go to a couple of different organizations that they have selected. So, that’s absolutely wonderful. But I also think that they ask a really great question and address a great point. They say, quote, “While the design profession must rethink its long term plan to battle racism, both within the field and in society, we want to use our creativity and skills to assist the black community right now in projecting its voice, and in leading the profession and society towards a better and more equitable future.” And I think that’s great. I think we’re all being asked, all asking ourselves, we should be asking others, “What are you doing right now? And what are you doing in the long term?” And I’m glad that they’re addressing both. So, thank you, and again, of course, head on over to designyardsale.org and check it out. You can submit your own stuff or check out the new items that are released every day at 10am.
Hi, okay, so I have a really, very helpful brain trick, a way to fool my brain that works really well for me, and I thought maybe it’ll work well for you, and it’s a little topical because it’s all about expectations, and what we do with what we’re expecting when that doesn’t happen. So, whenever plan A isn’t successful, or it gets canceled, or it gets postponed, and I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but everything has been getting canceled and postponed for me the past four months, and I’m sure the same is for you too, here’s what I like to do: anytime I have a situation where there’s something exciting that’s coming up that I’ve been planning for, and that I’m expecting to happen, I do this thing to trick my brain just in case it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t follow through. And I think this is a really good technique if you are interviewing for a position at a company that you’ve really want, and you’re kind of getting your heart set on it a lot, or just those situations where you might get a good job or a good project or a good gig, and it’s possible that it might fall through.
So, here’s what I do. I have a running list of all the things that I’d like to do someday, whether it’s side businesses, side projects, personal projects, brand new businesses, or just things around the house, exciting opportunities, hobbies, projects, things that I want to do, like, the things I’m really excited to do someday, I just don’t have the time to do it right now. I keep a list going of what those things are, the things I truly, really want to get around to someday, but I just couldn’t right now because I don’t have the time. And every time there’s an opportunity for me, since I’m a freelancer, it’s usually a client project or something that I really want to do, and I’m in communication with them, but they’re considering other people and I might not get it, I pick out one of those things from that list and I tell myself, “Okay, if I don’t get this project, I’m going to do this side project that I’ve been putting off or wanting to do for so long.” And so that way I frame it as a good thing, so if this client project falls through or they choose somebody else, then I can just have a wonderful happy outcome no matter what because it means that I get the opportunity to work on this other project.
And of course, if you’re like, “Hey, Meg, but that means that if the client project falls through, I won’t be making money,” and I hear ya, I have this problem all the time, as a freelancer, I’ve had to get very creative with how I make money, so I like to make sure that my side projects, my side businesses, all of this stuff, if you know my career, you know this, I like to make sure that they make money for me. This is how I survive. It’s how I fight for myself to succeed and am able to pay my bills is I make everything that I’m interested in make money for myself, and that is helpful for me. That keeps little pockets of income trickling in all the time, which is great.
And so, I like to make sure that I start these side projects, side businesses, little ventures in a way that they make me money right away, or they set me up to make money later. So, as you know, I do a thing a lot of the time where if I’m interested in getting into a new area, like podcasting, or textile design or something, I’ll always create an opportunity just for myself, where I don’t have to wait for a brand or an employer to believe in me to give me that opportunity because that’s probably never going to happen if I don’t have any proof that I can do that thing. So, I’ll create an opportunity for me to make that happen for just myself. So, with textile design, that’s what I did. I ended up creating a Society6 shop where I just designed a bunch of textiles in there, and let me tell you, Society6 can make you some money, but it is not a place to make a bunch of money. You’re not going to make a ton of money on Society6. But I put them up there because I learned about textile design in the process and I was able to have examples of the fact that I clip design textiles, and I can do a great job and they look really nice.
And then doing that for myself, this was one of my plan B things when an opportunity fell through, I made these textiles, launched the Society6 shop, and then posted about it on the internet and said, “Hey, internet, this is the thing I can do. I can do textile design, look at this example.” And because I had a single example up, it opened the door for brands and future clients to hire me for that. And literally, a couple months later, somebody said, “We love your Society6 line, we’d like you to apply patterns like that, but to our product line,” and that’s how I get work in other areas. So, even if that opportunity doesn’t bring me that much money right away, like Society6 does not, sorry everybody, it at least leads to a paying opportunity, and it’s very intentional in getting me where I want to go.
So, that’s what I do. I always have a very, very exciting plan B, something that I’m almost even more excited about than plan A, so that way if plan A falls through or doesn’t happen or gets canceled or postponed, I have a beautiful fallback, a beautiful option that I’m really excited about. So, it’s a great brain trick because it leads me to believe that I win, no matter when I lose. No matter win, win no matter… win if I lose… I’m winning no matter what. It’s a win-win, where I’m winning. And I’m also winning. This is how that works.
So, I also think that whenever you put all your eggs in one basket mentally, and you’re banking on something happening, and you’re so excited about it, and you’re like, “This could change my life,” you imagine yourself doing it, and it’s just the best, I think whenever that thing falls through, or you don’t get that thing, or you put your eggs in that mental basket before you have 100% confirmation that it’s going to happen, then, when it doesn’t happen and it falls through, you think of yourself or that opportunity as totally failing and yourself as a failure. I know this from personal experience. And the nice thing about having a really positive backup option for yourself is that you don’t feel like you’ve failed, no matter what. No matter what, you’re winning! Win-win, you’re winning. Also, you’re winning. And everybody wins, but mostly me because I always have a backup that’s just as good. Yeah!
Well, well, well now, that’s it for this episode of Overtime. We did another one, we ticked another one off the list, and that was fun. I had fun. Did you have fun? Really, I was all alone. Except for you, you’re here with me and I felt less alone for just a little bit and I hope that you did too. So, if you’d like to take this conversation onto the internet, tweet me or tag me. My handle is @yourbuddymeg, or go to meglewis.com to learn more about me, and take care of yourself this week. Be healthy, be well, be kind. Be a good person. Okay, bye. Hear me next week!