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!