Geekeasy is a relaxed gathering of geeky/techy/creative types, who have an interest in learning and perhaps working together. It’s very friendly, and you’ll find an interesting mix of people to talk to.
Every time I’ve been to Geekeasy the only complaint I hear is: “this is so cool, I wish it would happen more than once a month,” normally while ordering another pint to stave away blues of having to wait yet another month. Continue reading
I recently became a founder member of a new web design focussed book club. (Yeah, I know.) The first book we decided to look at was Execute, a manifesto of sorts which extols the practice of acting immediately on your inspiration and not getting bogged down in endless planning. The book, by Josh Long and Drew Wilson, is itself is an example of this ideal having been conceived of, written and designed in just eight days. Whilst it is clearly aimed at web designers and developers (or ‘builders’ as they are referred to in the book) there is much here that could apply to anyone intent on taking control of their own projects.
I had read this book previously but decided to re-read it as a refresher for our discussion. Interestingly I had quite a different reaction to much of what was said the second time round. On first read I came away with a sense of motivation and being fired up to get on with things. The book is fairly short and I read it in one or two sittings which may have added to my excitement about the concepts it contains. On revisiting it I started to notice things were bothering me though. One example is that the book is full of grammatical errors and repetition. I’m talking about basic stuff here as well, the transposition of ‘your’ with ‘you’re’ for example. Now I’ll admit that writing and publishing a book in just over a week is impressive, even to someone who grew up watching Challenge Anneka. But I can’t help but feel that asking someone to spend a couple of hours proof-reading it would’ve been time well spent.
There are also some concepts which don’t sit too well with me. The authors strongly advise against planning when they say:
…Planning is a complete waste of time and it’s actually a distraction from executing on your inspiration. Planning is guessing, and guessing is a waste of time and energy.
However, the following revelation is made later in a later chapter:
We built this in eight days building as we went. I threw the entire book in the trash three days before it was due and started over.
Perhaps I’m wrong but I suspect that a little planning (or ‘guessing’) before starting to write may have saved the author some time. A half-day of planning could have avoided several days of wasted writing. I can see the point of what they’re saying: Don’t sit around dreaming about what you could do; just get on with it. But I think there’s a middle ground which makes more sense. At least to me.
Now to balance things out a little I’d like to say that there was still a lot in this book which I liked. Readers are encouraged to get into the habit of asking themselves “Am I planning, stalling or executing at this moment?” Which I think is very good advice. It sounds simple but I know from personal experience that I would often have to answer ‘stalling’. Admitting that fact to yourself is often the first step towards action.
Another great piece of advice is ‘Never hold onto an idea like it is your baby … By treating your idea like a business it frees you up to think objectively instead of emotionally.’ Getting over-possessive of an idea can kill it. I know this from experience.
On balance I would recommend reading this book. It’s not without its flaws but it serves as a good platform to start thinking about how you spend your time and energy, and what you could be doing differently. Execute doesn’t get bogged down in productivity systems and it won’t take you long to read. And if the book gets you to act on an idea you’ve been sitting on for far too long already it will have served you well.
The talk at May’s Geekeasy was about animation software. Mair Perkins, Ben Haynes and Richie Phillips explained what and how they use specialist software to create animated logos in their business AnimatID.
Logos can be animated in a variety of ways: some are simple movements of key parts of the logo, while others will be visually complex. The trio work together to come up with ideas and will storyboard the concept to help explain it to the client. Once agreed, they’ll get to work. Continue reading
Take a look at the photos Glyn took at April’s Geekeasy… can you spot yourself in there?
Watch to find out who wins!
This is a few years old now but it’s a nice demonstration of turning something commercial into geek art. The Pixelator project by Jason Eppink created new artworks by fitting frosted foam board screens onto the front of advertising billboards at the entrances to New York subways.