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musings on design, coding, manufacturing, fashion, and then some

Musings on visual and UX design, digital manufacturing, eco fashion, coding, and everything else in between and sideways.


Travel // New Orleans

Leslie Yang

Just came back from New Orleans (a second time) and loved it as usual. Super nice people and amazing live music and eats. I made a Pinterest board, using their new Place Pins feature, of must-see spots plus some less travelled places because you can only eat so many beignets and po' boys before your body starts complaining. Enjoy! 

3 Lessons learned from an in-house designer

Leslie Yang

Today was my last day on the job as an in-house designer. At my final all-staff meeting, I asked if I could share a few lessons learned. I'd been thinking a couple of days in anticipation of this meeting and here's what I shared with a room of 50:

  1. Empathy. Have empathy for your co-workers. We'll never know what challenges the people we work with face just getting to work, caring for family, trying to get through the day, and so on. Remember that and be empathetic and kind to another. 
  2. Timelines. If you have one task that takes 5 minutes but you have oh, 200 tasks ahead of you, it's not going to take you 5 minutes to get to it, it could take you over 5 days to finish the task. Let's be real with ourselves and our teams about how long things take so that we can follow a realistic timeline and get things done on time. 
  3. Self-education. Whether we like it or not, we live in an innovation economy. The types of jobs out there are evolving (some disappearing completely) therefore it's important that we continue to level up our skills and deepen our expertise. I hope more people use all the terrific online tools available to continue on a path of self-learning. And I hope that more staff get their children to learn how to code. Digital literacy IS literacy.

Or as my co-worker put it, "Leslie, I like what you shared. Basically, you said, 'Be nice to people. Turn your stuff in on time. And learn some shit.'" Yeah, what he said. :-)  

My motto

Leslie Yang

If you want to do something badly enough,
you'd already be doing it.

Years ago, I made up this saying to remind myself of two things: 

1) If you really want to learn or build something, you'd find any way you could to do it. For me, I knew I wanted to level up my web dev skills in a big way so a year ago today I paid for an 11-week class on front end web development at General Assembly. I knew I'd get a lot out of the live instruction and coding. I did every homework assignment and went to almost all of the office hours. Afterwards, I spent months after work coding my friends' marketing websites.

On the flip side... 

2) If you find you're more into talking about the idea than making it happen, then you don't love the idea enough to realize it.  We all have ideas we love to talk about (and think are brilliant), but you need to be a bit obsessed with creating a prototype (my favorite part) or holding/experiencing that final product. If you're not that into the idea, stop talking about it and let it sit on the back burner for a while. 

Years ago, I wanted to be a DJ. A generous friend lent me a pair of decks and a mixer and I even had a DJ name (Feisty L, like Tenacious D, get it?). I barely used them. I had two records, yes only two. You could say I was scared to learn or didn't know how to learn, both of which were true. But I had friends that were DJs who I could have bugged to teach me and I could have watched a bunch of Youtube videos and practiced by myself. Around the same time, I taught myself to felt wool roving and started selling felted wool hair clips and badges made out of Japanese textiles to friends and family. I registered as a business and set up an e-commerce site. As for a business name, I changed Feisty L to feistyelle (elle is for all ladies). Looking back, It's clear what idea or skill I was really into and what was fun to only think and talk about learning. 

Today, I repeat this saying to myself to check to see if I'm really into geeking out about something (and should buy books, read blogs, and get my peer mentoring on), or if I just love the idea of it, in which case, I should drop it and go do something I really want to do.

Do you have a motto or saying that helps you stay on track? 

being on a learning edge

Leslie Yang

That moment when you wish you were already good at something because ramping up is hard but then you keep going because it'll be worth it.

I felt this way last week, and like all things, it passed. Most days though, I love being on a learning edge, doing things I didn't know how to do last week.