Monday, December 15, 2008

How to Be a Star at Work: 7 Rules for a Really Big Career

I read this fabulous article by Cathie Black who is president of Hearst Magazines, which publishes O, The Oprah Magazine. In it she presents seven ways to get ahead in your professional career. I thought it was very timely, so here it is, taken from

How to Be a Star at Work: 7 Rules for a Really Big Career
By Cathie Black

From a lowly sales assistant to head of a magazine empire (...) Cathie Black has boldly gone where no woman has gone before. Here, in a preview of her forthcoming book, Basic Black, she shares her unorthodox (dare we say daredevil) strategies for getting ahead.

Thousands of years ago, a handful of fortune-tellers roamed ancient China, traveling to the palaces of Mandarins and predicting the future. When they were right, they were showered with riches and praised at lavish banquets. When they were wrong, they were boiled alive.

Taking a risk is scary when you focus on what can go wrong and exciting when you consider the benefits if all goes well. The trick is to think about risk in the right way and use it to your advantage. Most people see taking risks as opening themselves up to unnecessary, even dangerous, chance. But the truth is, avoiding risk won't keep you safe, nor will it guarantee a smooth ride.

In fact, the opposite is often true. It's like the monkey parable: A monkey sees a nut in a hole and reaches in to grab it. Once he's closed his fist around it, he can't get his hand back out of the narrow opening. He can't free himself unless he lets go of the nut, but because he's afraid to lose it, he won't let go.

Trying to avoid risk is like clinging to that nut. You may think you're playing it safe by holding on to what you have, but in reality you're just hindering your own progress.

Keep reading...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Transmilenio and design during Christmas

I'd had a crappy day and then just when I was getting home, something brought a smile to my face...

Yesterday was a long succession of ups and downs, mostly downs, made lots of mistakes, there was a tense atmosphere... at the end of the day I took a Transmilenio bus to go home. 50 minute commute, listening to my iPod, trying not to think too much about the events of the day.

When suddenly, as the bus was approaching the Portal (Terminal, the last stop) the driver speaks up in this towering voice (which they never do, as you'd know if you live in Bogotá; Transmilenio drivers are not allowed to talk to passengers) and said:

"Hello, passengers! My name is So and So (I'm so sorry I didn't get his name) and I just want to say to you all that it has been a pleasure driving you tonight and that I do this work with love, because I am here to serve you. I also want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and a wonderful evening!"
Well, as you can imagine, we were all kind of shocked at first, thinking that maybe this guy was some psycho that was going to kidnap the bus or something. But then the whole bus burst into applause and some people yelled "And to you too!". I did have a funny feeling in my throat, a mixture of sudden happiness and tears.

And what does this story have to do with design?

Design as this driver drives. Design because you love it. Be excellent in your endeavors because it will bring you joy, because this is the way you serve the world. And your tool is design. Do you think you can reach such passion?

All the best!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Honor your commitments

Obvious, right? Yet seldom people do. It all boils down to that short, simple word: Trust. And trust can make or break a deal, can’t it? But if it’s so important, why then people don’t honor their commitments?

When I was a teenager I suffered of disorganization and lack of direction and focus. Then I started working and soon I learned that professional life is filled with commitments. From the specific goals for your position to the staff meetings, you acquire commitments all the time.

And people expect you to do what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it, using the parameters you agreed to use.

So I embraced this “honoring my commitments” philosophy and I’ve been like that ever since.

I’ve recently experienced quite the opposite working inside a corporate culture in which getting 30 minutes late to a meeting or not showing up at all is considered normal. I reluctantly accept a 15 minute tardiness. Any longer than that is simply an insult. Or so I thought.

Now my new challenge is to not let myself be contaminated by such culture, which is somewhat hard to do because if they’re not going to show up, why bother handing in your homework?

So far, I’ve been able to identify two kinds of people:
- Those who say they’re going to do x or y and don’t do it and…
- Those who just can’t say no to anything.

I intend to make this post into a wake up call for the vast number of people who take commitments lightly:

Do you want your customers and employees loyalty?
Earn their trust.
Do things when you say you’re going to do them. To the minute.
Do things the way you say you’re going to do them. Always.
Strive for excellence.

It will render high dividends, even more sales! As the Mastercard campaign goes: “Being trustworthy: Priceless”.

All the best!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Accountability (Part 3)

The past couple of weeks I presented two examples of accountability in the workplace (Accountability Part 1 and Part 2). This week I’ll cover a polemic topic. IM at the office.

Bottom line, I think Messenger and other IM platforms should be allowed at work.

Here in Colombia, the general rule in companies is that you’re not permitted to IM while at work. As with anything that’s prohibited, you want it more! And this creates the need to find a way to get around this rule. And believe me, people will always find a way to get around it.

So it becomes this clandestine activity and you end up using valuable time trying not to get caught.

The idea behind this rule is that you don’t waste working hours chatting to your friends online; computers are set up so that you won’t be able to access any chatting software.

Now let’s go back to the title of this article, accountability.

I used to work for a company where IM was not only allowed but encouraged! So I concluded:

• When IM is allowed, most people tend to use it more and more sparingly as time passes. They end up getting tired of it.

• Performance should be evaluated based on results, goals and expectations, not on how many hours your backside is on the chair.

• IM can even be used as a working tool, you can easily share files, video-conference… and you can save time by not having to go to the 10th floor to ask something from someone.

So the idea I want to leave you with is this:

The issue is not breathing down the necks of each of your employees to see what they do every hour of every day and try to ensure that they do their work. The approach should be to set clear goals and expectations from the beginning and follow them up regularly. I’ve found that most people will step up to the plate and deliver.

Caveat: There are indeed people who are addicted to IMing and who don’t deliver results. If this is the case, IM allows you to tell those who do deliver from those who will find any excuse to procrastinate.

All the best!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Accountability (Part 2)

Welcome to the second installment of my series in the subject of accountability. Last week I spoke about office hours. This time I want to focus on office perks.

I don’t think it’s any secret that when you feel good, you do good work and when your employer provides the resources for you to enjoy your working environment as well as take care of some of your personal issues, it is more likely that it’ll be easier for you to focus, and to render your best results.

Remember the Swedish company I worked for? That company was an example of good working environment, awesome offices and office furniture and great culture, so I’ve experienced some of this.

There was another company I worked for where my boss used to say “We like people to not be worried about their financial situation, so that they can come here and be more productive” and their salaries were higher than the industry standard.

The other day I saw some blogs (See resources at the end) which posted pictures of Google offices and I was astonished at how cool they were and the kind of perks they enjoy!
(Pictures taken from Andrey Drozdov, Nice workplace looks like it.. Google offices in Zurich)

I’m a designer, so the actual office space is critical for my productivity and I really appreciate it when those details have been taken care of and if you look at the pictures of Google offices, you’ll see what I mean. It’s not only that they’re really cool, but they enjoy some additional perks such as day care for your children or beauty parlors.

So what am I actually saying here?

If you employ people (especially designers) take into consideration their working conditions and the balance you can help them achieve between their careers and their personal lives. Why? Because these factors deeply impact retention, commitment and productivity, that’s why. Ask the guys at Google!

See you next time for part 3!

Andrey Drozdov, Nice workplace looks like it.. Google offices in Zurich
Fresh Pics

Monday, May 19, 2008

Accountability (Part 1)

From Wikipedia: “Accountability is a concept in ethics with several meanings. It is often used synonymously with such concepts as answerability, enforcement, responsibility, blameworthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in both the public and private (corporation) worlds. […]

In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions,
products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.”

A few years ago I worked for a Swedish company; one of its core values was “freedom with accountability” which meant that employees were free to act as they saw fit, considering the core values, mission and vision of the company.

So as long as the objectives were met, we were able to come and go from the office, to make our own decisions, to use the company’s resources and to assess situations based on our own principles.

The way most of us responded to this policy was to actually be more responsible, more committed. It taught us that we didn’t need a cop breathing down our necks for us to do better work, to strive for better results, to handle things in on time.

In other words, the company allowed us freedom to choose our courses of action, and in return it got better results from us.

I realize that not everybody will react to such policies in this manner, but rather try to take advantage of the situation to procrastinate and be lazy. Of course in the end, the consequences will be paid.

I am a full supporter of such policies. I believe that being clear about expectations with employees will make it easier to implement these proceedings and, if all goes well, most people will respond the way we did in the Swedish company.

I’m going to touch on three subjects related to accountability: office hours, office site perks and IM in the workplace.

Office hours

There’s usually some office hours policy, right? You’re supposed to go in at certain time in the morning and you’re supposed to leave at some other time in the evening. And you’re supposed to take a fixed amount of time at lunch. This generally applies to everybody except people in sales, or high level managers.

Whenever I’ve been forced to follow the office hours policy, I’ve found myself getting there on time and leaving on time. Not one minute extra. Why? Because it infuriates me that performance and results are measured on a how-long-are-you-at-your-seat basis.

However, whenever I’ve been free to handle my working hours I’ve found myself being more committed to the tasks, mainly because I feel more empowered to manage my time as I see fit, given of course, that I am clear about expectations.

But what exactly are we talking about here?

• Yes, there are office hours, but if you have a personal issue, you can go solve it before coming to the office (Provided this doesn’t cause any trauma on the operation) or leave early to do so.

• Projects and results are evaluated based on completion and quality, instead of how many hours you put into them.

• Weekends are sacred and only you can choose whether or not you go in the office on a weekend to finish something.

• The same goes for after work hours.

• It is expected for the employee to try to balance his working hours with his personal time, as it is vital that employees are rested and energetic to achieve top results in projects.

• It is understood that some personal issues are more important than work.

• People are entitled to take as many breaks as they feel necessary during the day.

Whenever I’ve used these concepts in my experience, employees have never disappointed me.
I leave it out to the community to share some comments about this and about their experiences.

Come back next time, to read Part 2, about office site perks.

Monday, May 12, 2008

In-house designers beware…

A few days ago I stumbled across this passage from “Pulling Your Own Strings” published in 1978 by Wayne Dyer.

(From Wikipedia: Dr. Wayne Walter Dyer is a popular American self-help advocate, author and lecturer. His 1976 book Your Erroneous Zones has sold over 30 million copies and is one of the best-selling books of all time).

I thought it would be useful to publish here, as a call to reality for all in-house designers. All comments are welcome.

"How Institutions Work

Business institutions exist for one reason: to make profits. They seek only to perpetuate themselves so as to return dollars to the people who have taken the risks of financing them and manufacturing the products or delivering the services.

They are not in business for charity, and they don’t pretend to be. Therefore, any victimizing you experience as a result of your connection to an institution has probably come about because you allowed it to happen.

If you believe a business institution owes you some kind of loyalty and ought to reward your long service with a lot of benefits to you as a person, then you are carrying around groundless illusions.

The institution will attempt to deal with you in as utilitarian a fashion as possible. It will pay you for your services until you can no longer deliver the services it needs, and then you will be dismissed in as inexpensive a manner as possible.

This is not a sour view of business in western culture; it is simply the way things are. Whenever you become an employee of an institution, this is the implied agreement. Even if it has such things as pension plans, profit sharing, incentive programs, or any other devices designed to hold on to employees, the fact remains that when it doesn’t need you any more, you will be replaced, and every effort will be made to get rid of you as cheaply as possible.

Institutions simply do what they’re designed to do, and there is no complaining about them being written in these pages. But you are not an institution. You are a human being who breathes and feels and experiences life.

You do not have to be upset about the way businesses operate, nor do you have to commit yourself slavishly to institutions just because you are encouraged to do so by institutional spokesmen who stand to gain by your self-victimizing loyalty.

The man who retires after devoting fifty years of unflagging service to a company, and receives a gold watch and a small pension for his lifetime of devotion, has not been victimized by the institution. It owes him nothing, so he should feel grateful for the watch. He did his job and received his paychecks, and the company received his services. That is the way it’s supposed to be.

But the retiree has been victimized if he has devoted himself beyond normal requirements and sacrificed his own personal goals and his family activities, because institutions do nothing but continue on, whether you kill yourself for them or simply see them as ways for you to make your living."

In my opinion, even though you must bring excellence and commitment to everything you do, it would be foolish to ignore the reality of how companies work and to regret the personal time that you sacrificed for them.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

To design or not to design?

That is the question, indeed. As I’ve said in my profile, I graduated as an industrial designer. However, in my career I’ve never worked with product design. What have I been doing all these years, then? Read on to find out.

When I graduated I landed a job as “designer” for a big multinational company. The job entitled working with digital files of packaging and doing prepress processes. I wasn’t too crazy about it, but I enjoyed the work.

A few months later, I was promoted to head of the department, with one person reporting to me. So now I was in charge not only of the technical aspect of the work, but also of the administrative aspect of the work. Budgets, deadlines, processes, procedures, policies, internal communications, suppliers, staff development, you name it.

And I loved it.

Was it stressful? Hell, yeah! But I really enjoyed that part of the business.

After that job I went on to work in several other companies, doing business or design process related things, but never actually designing. And there came a point when I just admitted that I enjoyed the business aspect of design, more than designing itself. Not only that, I didn’t miss industrial design per se, at all. It could be graphic design or branding.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Bear with me a bit more…

A couple of weeks ago Oprah Winfrey did a show on women who hated their jobs. The special guest was Marcus Buckingham, a career expert from England. Marcus designed a workshop to help people determine a plan to make the best of their professional lives, be it figuring out how to make your job match your strengths, or having the guts to quit it once and for all.

The workshop focuses on figuring out what your strengths and weaknesses are, but seeing these two concepts under a different light, which I thought was very interesting.

Strengths are defined as activities that you do, that invigorate you. How do you know? Because when you’re doing them you get really focused, it’s easy for you to concentrate and you look forward to doing them.

Weaknesses are defined as activities that you do, that drain you. How do you know? Because when you do them, it’s hard to concentrate, you’re always coming up with excuses not to do them, you dread going to work to do them and you feel like they take away your energy.

Pretty easy, huh?

Well, I took the workshop and came to realizations that I was reluctant to admit, but that will help me in the decisions I’m going to make about where I want to go with my career. Maybe I will tell you about those conclusions in another article sometime.

But my point is that just because you graduated from college with a certain degree, doesn’t mean that that’s who you are or what you’re supposed to do for a living. And as Wayne Dyer would say: “Who would trust a seventeen year old with career choices?”.

Maybe I don’t want to be a designer… maybe I want to move to other design related areas like management or teaching… Or maybe I want to try a different design discipline like graphic or interior design, who knows? The future is not written!

And only you can figure out what it is that strengthen or weaken you. I suggest you take the workshop . It’s free!

All the best!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Getting the Most of Your Career

Some time ago How Magazine published a list of some of their articles for getting the career of your dreams.

These are a few of their posts:

· Create Your Personal Career Map
This essential guide presents questions you need to answer to help you hone in on where you want your career to go and how to get there.

How can you have a fulfilling career? By making sure you're not falling into any of these on-the-job pitfalls.

Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands, and a job is no exception; here's how to make the most of a current position.

How do you know when you've done all you can in a position or if a job has become a dead-end? Here are 5 sure-fire signs.

Are you afraid to ask for a raise? Scared by your manager? Haunted by past mistakes? Here's how to confront—and overcome—these common office-place issues.

All the best!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Business Skills Every Creative Needs to Know, Now!

Last week’s HOW’s Newsletter was packed with business related articles for all designers! These articles contain basic information about the design business in general. True, some of them apply only in the US, but they’re worth a read nevertheless.

Among the different titles you can find:

Designers' Hourly Rates See what other designers in the country are charging for their work and how they determine those rates.
Make The Most of Downtime At Work When work gets slow, here are 6 ways to use that extra time to your advantage.
Are You Ready To Freelance Full-Time? Look at our checklist to find out!
Be Your Client's Best Friend 8 ways to keep clients happy.
How to Motivate Every Type of Creative Get specific ideas for encouraging—and getting the best from—any designer.

There are about 90 articles to choose from, so browse around!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is disorganization and lack of planning effective?

I used to be pretty disorganized when working or doing a project. Then I discovered the many benefits of being organized. And then… there comes a project that made me question if being organized all the time really paid off.

The latest project I embarked in consisted of many items, all showing up at once, handling a massive amount of incoming information and then analyzing, organizing, deciding. This naturally led me to get ready to plan and implement databases and tools to keep track of everything.

But just when I was ready to do that, the person for whom I was doing the project implied that maybe my thoroughness wasn’t really necessary in this case, but rather intrusive and time consuming.

I was resistant, at first, after all, I know how to handle my own information, thank you very much! But then I decided to listen.

So I started questioning my own usual procedures:

- Is a database really necessary?
- How complete should it be?
- What fields should it have?
- Do I need to leave a record of every single item?
- What if I only left a record of the items that were going to go on?
- How can I make this effort more effective?
- What activities don’t have any added value?
- How can I do things more quickly, without sacrificing quality?
- Do I have to follow a predefined set of activities?

So instead of using a huge database with tons of information that I wasn’t immediately going to use, and that I could refer to later, I decided to do things simple.

A mixture of digital (database) and analog (notes and printed materials) mediums to keep track and be effective.

So I realized that I don’t always have to be ultra organized, that some projects don’t need to leave records of everything behind and that they can be done in less time, using less resources, if you’re just open to new ways of doing things and listening to what the customer actually wants and needs.

The moral of the story is, question your own procedures from time to time, you may find new and interesting ways of tackling your projects.

All the best!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Designers of the World, Write.

This week, How Magazine presents a very interesting article by Juliet D'Ambrosio, associate creative director at Atlanta-based Iconologic. The article begins like this:

It's a strange paradox: So many designers whose work speaks so fluently in images flee in terror when called upon to communicate with the written word. After all, designers are nothing if not communicators, and communication is most fully realized when image and word unite.

Juliet presents seven steps to tackle this challenge. I suggest you read on, to find out more.

All the best!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Design Aerobics

Creativity is like a muscle, right? Well, here’s a website I found a couple of years ago, that literally proclaims that very thing and offers designers a series of exercises to stimulate their creative juices.

Designboom is a website dedicated to industrial design. One of their sections is called the Design Aerobics where for a fee, you can enroll in a variety of design exercises.

There are 8 themes a year: Sex, work, spirituality, childhood, glass, paper, ceramics and textiles. Each course takes two months, where you also get to meet other people from all over the world who are also doing the exercises, and get great feedback from expert instructors.

The website actually has a page where they explain what the Design Aerobics are about.

I can’t actually comment further, because I haven’t tried them myself. However, I thought I’d bring them up here as an interesting design resource and allow you to decide for yourselves.

Do drop by later and leave a comment if you’ve got something to share about them.

All the best!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Top Ten Job Hunting Blunders in Latin America

Nobody is perfect, especially when it comes to job hunting, which is greatly subjective. There are however, practices that should be avoided if you want to up the chances of getting an interview.

In my experience, I’ve had the opportunity to recruit mostly designers though I’ve recruited other positions. And believe me, when you’ve got about 500 resumes to read, you’re just looking for reasons to filter the best out quickly.

Here I present to you the top ten blunders (In no particular order) I see in designers looking for a job in Latin America. Let me tell you, these poor souls weren’t called for an interview.

Blunder 1: “Maybe someone will see how much I need the job and hire me”.
Nobody will hire you for a design position out of pity. Remember, it’s not what the company can do for you, but the other way around. People hire you for two basic reasons: They want you to help increase sales, or cut back costs. Think about how you can play a part in either or both and present yourself that way to the company. You’ll boost your chances of getting called for an interview.

Blunder 2: “Let me go ahead and send just my resume without a portfolio. After all, who cares about the work I’ve done?”
Helloooooo! Aren’t you a designer? When you send your resume for a position as a designer, and don’t send a portfolio, you’re not leveraging the opportunity to make a great first impression, thus losing the battle against people who walk the extra mile and do send samples of their best work. Who would you call for an interview? Don’t place any more work on the recruiter, making them send you an email requesting a portfolio. Send it up front!

Blunder 3: “She’s not going to notice that I sent it to nine different places at the same time”.
You send the resume in an email to several different job offering people in the “To” field, displaying the fact that you don’t care about any particular company or position and that you didn’t even research those companies. Worst of all, displaying your carelessness when it comes to presenting yourself which could lead one to believe that you’re sloppy in your work as well.

Blunder 4: “I know! I’ll just write ‘resume’ in the subject line of the email! That’ll set me apart from everybody!”
Again, a sea of emails and resumes. Think, how can you set yourself apart? The least you can do is write your name and the position you’re applying to in the subject line of the email. This way you make it easier for the recruiter to find you.

Blunder 5: “Wow, my resume is so gorgeous, I’m not going to even bother to check my spelling”.
Wrong! Send a resume with spelling and grammar errors and you’ll be screaming sloppy. You’re a designer, you need to be concerned with kerning and correct punctuation. Who wants to hire a designer that doesn’t pay attention to details?

Blunder 6: “Picture perfect?”
So you went against your better judgment and decided to include your picture on your resume. I suggest you run a poll among your closest friends and acquaintances to decide whether or not the picture does you justice. With all due respect, but the mug shot, or the I-just-got-out-of-bed, or the I’m-so-pitiful-please-hire-me look don’t favor anyone.

Blunder 7: “I’m sure they’ll only receive about three designer resumes, so why bother with a presentation letter? I’ll just send my bare resume”.
Again, 500 resumes at any given time. The key here is to differentiate yourself. Other designers present their case in the email or the presentation letter, telling the company how hiring them would be a good idea, how they can help the business grow sales and how what they have to offer matches the company and the position. You might want to try that sometime.

Blunder 8: “Maybe they won’t notice that I’ve applied to three different positions in the same company”.
When you apply to different positions, it just conveys the message that you don’t know what you want or how your skills can match the diverse jobs. Take the time to research the positions and the company, before applying.

Blunder 9: “So I have to format my portfolio to fit their expectations? If they can’t open it, it’s not my problem”.
The recruiter has requested something from you, and you find it annoying to have to comply. Either they can’t read a .exe or they’d like you to send JPGs instead of PDFs. Hmm, you might as well say that you’re not interested, or better yet, don’t send your resume at all! Why? Because there are other designers who are willing to do whatever it takes to land an interview and you’re… not.

Blunder 10: “I’m sure it’s like all the other design studios. Why bother looking for more information? I know them all”.
You’ve been lucky enough to land the interview, yet you get there and you don’t even remember the position you applied to! You also didn’t research the company and its culture, so you are completely clueless. This screams with conceitedness and lack of vision about how you can help the company first.

For every designer that is not willing to walk the extra mile, there’s another one who will, and who has a far greater chance of landing the job.

All the best!

Related articles:
12 resume writing tips for designers.
Designers beware: Your portfolio.
Designers beware: Being the interviewee (Part 1).
Designers beware: Being the interviewee (Part 2).
Designers beware: Being the interviewer.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Get your boss to send you to How Design Conference

A couple of weeks ago I received my latest issue of How Magazine. Inside there were some postcards promoting the How Design Conference.

The graphic design is pretty cool, as it is to be expected from the How team. However, that’s not what really caught my attention.

The interesting part was that they made each postcard as if it was a designer, sending it to their boss, explaining why it would be good for the boss, to send the designer to the conference.

See these examples:

“Hey, Boss! I’ll get all the tools I need to work more efficiently + effectively at the How Design Conference in Boston (May 18-21). Experts from Adobe will share insider secrets on Photoshop, InDesign and more — while top designers outline their best time-saving processes! Let me save you time (and money) — Send me to HOW! PS: If I learn just one tip that saves 2 minutes off a tedious design project — I’ll save at least 8 hours a year!”.

“Boss: The How Design Conference helps designers work faster, smarter and more creatively — that’s why I want to go! I’ll learn shortcuts and new techniques for the Adobe software I use everyday; get creativity boosters from the experts; and find out how to positively impact your business through design. Find out more at”.

“Being creative is my job. But on-the-spot creativity is a learned trait. That’s why the How Design Conference is important. I’ll see amazing work from some of the brightest minds in the industry and learn how to develop innovative solutions to business and marketing problems, even under pressure. — I wanna go!”

“Dear Boss— Please send me to Boston May 18-21 for the 2008 How Design Conference! I’ll learn new creative processes that will actually save YOU money — such as how to create my own type and build a stock photo library. Everything I learn, from on-demand creativity to technological shortcuts, will have a positive impact on your bottom line.”

See a pattern?

This is how a designer can sell an idea. Present to the other person what the benefits for them will be. Not only that, but be specific about what those benefits will be. Who could deny a designer who asks this way, the possibility to attend the conference?

HOW knows that, and that’s why they set up a Tips For Convincing Your Boss To Send You To The How Design Conference web page.

My point is that, if this is the way most designers think in the US, perhaps we, the Latin American designers have something to learn from them, like how to present a case or an idea and how to ask for training that will benefit both you and the company. And I think that we are scared to ask sometimes, because we assume that our bosses won’t want to spend money on such things, but like my old boss used to say: “Don’t assume, verify!”.

All the best!