Raising your arm results in Periscope Hearing™.
You can cover your eyes from your head.
a skymind, ever reaching
Today was bring your child(ren) to work day at Walmart Labs. We needed to come up with activities to entertain our miniature guests, so we decided to run a guided design studio for kids! We took over our large conference room for the day and outfitted each participant with a goody bag containing markers, colored pencils, and sugar. Lots of sugar.
As anyone with kids, or retired summer camp counselors like myself can attest, it's not easy getting 10 children all hopped up on sugar to focus on a workflow, so the design of the studio itself needed to have a flow that was open-ended enough to allow our child design team to be completely imaginative while still achieving an end result. We (myself, Dev manager Scott Anderson, and fellow UXers Chad Mortenson and Micheal Selby) decided to have them create an iPad game, from scratch! Here's the trick: they didn't know they were making a game at first. That was saved for the end, the big reveal.
The themes we wanted to convey through our activity were collaboration, teamwork and ideation. We wanted to illustrate that by working together we can create something greater than any single imagination, an end product whose ingenuity was greater than the sum of its parts.
We're going to create a story as a group first by identifying the common components of every story (who, when/where, what, why, how). Then, we'd have them identify the qualities of each of those components by drawing individual ideas onto post-it notes and placing them on the whiteboard. Last, we'll create the final climactic moment of our story, with a surprise ending: we'd turn it into an iPad game!!
Me: Today we're going to create a fictional story together. Doesn't that sound like fun!?! (no response) So, what makes up a really great story? What do all stories have in common?
The year is 2048. In a post-apocalyptic city in Arkansas, USA, amidst a landscape speckled with tall buildings and lightning. There is also water, somewhere. Our main character Rupert is being possessed by Hairy Pudding (affixed to his head), and has turned evil! Rupert rides his motorcycle up to the abandoned 7-11, where he meets best friends Fiona and O'Laina. They've been scouring Arkansas collecting the ingredients of a magical cure to all of the diseases plaguing the world: Pudding-possession, Zombification, and Orcism. They find the final ingredient to their magical potion in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box - a Mirror toy. The potion is complete! And just in the nick of time, they cure Rupert, turning Hairy Pudding into a good robot pudding-bowl, remaining friends all the while.
Building the main character Rupert (in throes of Hairy Pudding possession) into our iPad game using the app "Bloxels".
How fun! The design team was able to see how the final product was made through collaboration, and I was able to waste hours of work-time sketching a sentient, robotic bowl of pudding with jet propulsion.
On a flight to New York, I plugged my headphones into the seat-back media center and searched for a new record in the folk genre. Pretty slim pickin' so I went with Ray LaMontagne's newest album "Supernova."
I'm astonished by how good this album is. Try it yourself: play the song "Pick Up a Gun," close your eyes, and slide away from your current obsessions into a clouded daze amid the candied daffodils.
This is not the LaMontagne you've come to know, his smooth voice spending a rainy day crooning and swooning over lost loves. No, this is rich, multi-layered, organic, well-constructed psychedelic groove with more than a few hints towards some of the greatest folk and psychedelic artists from the 60's. I was able to pick up nods to Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The Turtles, The Cars, Iron Butterfly, Rod Stewart (?!), Mark (forgot his name - who did the Alice and wonderland inspired record), Mamas and Papas, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and more!
Any fan of Folk rock and psychedelic music must have a listen!
Next, in the World Music genre, another stellar find, an album called "Slide Guitar Ragas" by D Bhattacharya. Indelible electric sitar transcriptions tacked onto a tapestry of the river-like drone and tabla, it's easy to get lost in here. The album is comprised of five 15-20 minute tracks I don't want to ever end. Sounds like I'll need to buy some music when I get off this flight...
Update: I bought the Ragas album, and I love to listen to it with a background of rain/thunder sounds from an iPhone app called "Relax melodies." Highly recommended!
Just want to give a quick shout out to my extended team here at eBay. The mobile app for iOS, released on Tuesday, September, 8th 2015 is currently featured in the App Store as one of iPhone/iPad's "Best New Apps." The redesign of the mobile apps has been an almost two year process culminating in a great product with a personalized blend of utility and inspiration. Everyone involved has done a fantastic job, putting in countless hours, a million meetings and tons of extra effort.
This blog post was inspired by this article, and reading many books about productivity, personal branding and career development. For some good book suggestions or ideas to help you kick start your own career, feel free to get in touch.
While it's still a work in progress, your thoughts and are valuable! Please comment below and help me shape my output and bring this website to life!
Listening to: Departure Songs by Hammock.
This evening, after a call with a colleague in Thailand, I went out into the garden, played this album, looked up at the sky and felt the freedom of limitless possibility. Whenever I have this feeling, I'm instantly connected to the other moments that inspired the same feeling. A time traveler in a sense, the way a smell can take you back to memories you don't remember keeping. It fascinates me that time can fold upon itself when examined through the mind's lens:
What is life, but a series of conscious moments? And what am I but a singular moment, observing itself? A denizen looks skyward, up the skirt of the heavens, a voyeur to the void. The universe and I observe one another.
The horizon expands. My mind goes silent for the first time in days. I connect to more primal purposes and timeless moments where archetypes are born, destroyed, and born again, endlessly, like stars. The stars, the wind, the archetypes, always here.
I dream I'll find the stillness to learn myself, practice the arts and lose myself to something bigger. I can't outgrow the void, or the archetypes. Is this it? Yoginanda Paramhansa had it. Alan Watts had it.
Its simplicity is dissolved by idiosyncrasies as the music conducts the cantor of the mind. My thoughts are redirected through the aqueducts of conscious and down into the dark well where ideas stir in longing to be received.
Listening to Departure Songs by Hammock.