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Back. With Style No Less.

It’s been a long while since this site has seen much action. It feels good to write something with some thought to it again. I want to take a bit of time tonight and a bit of journaling, a bit of reflecting, and a bit of looking forward on to ideas that matter.

I really got a nice and positive feeling again after reading two different blog posts, by two people I’ve never met, and have never heard of. One wrote about the design process he went through while trying to get his new WordPress theme just right, the one you see here now on Open Mode. The other blog post was, like I mentioned to a few friends I shared it with in an email, the best thing I’ve read in all of 2009. I’ll go through what I was thinking while reading each post.

When I was reading about how the Basic Maths theme was put together, I was pretty nostalgic and thought back to 1st and 2nd year university when with a light school schedule and no financial worries I would spend days reading about design, blogging, and web development, but not just from “design sites” or “development sites” but from the blogs of great developers and designers themselves. Guys like Jeff Croft who are over all, well rounded smart people and good at what they do.

I read through the blog post, not being able to understand how he was making the decisions he did in the adjustments to the theme, doing so with that designer’s eye that comes from those years of experience (the work kind of experience give and not the have fun and socialize on twitter kind). It was also cool to experience a different kind of story telling that I haven’t had the drive to read recently, a story of a work in progress, going through refinement, tests and iterations, then finally reaching a level of completion that the designer was happy with.

Man, that was cool. But I didn’t pull out my credit card just yet. It took another piece of blogging brilliance before I realized just how much I needed to put down cash and invest in my blogging again. Which I more or less did as a sign of commitment to the general public as much as to myself.

The second post I read that really was a great push towards this end-of-year-reflective-motivator was shared by someone on twitter, which linked to Nick La, posting a link to www.drawar.com and his eye-opener post titled Smashing Magazine Killed the Community (Or Maybe It Was Me). Read the post. Because I admit that I thought the post was almost speaking to me. Bashing the development of what these communities on the net have become and the vicious circles they promoted.

I’m a IT Manager by education, but as far as real world experience goes I’m a digital marketer more than anything else, and when you’re still in school that balance is sometimes something to deal with as you explain it to people. What you do, what you’ve done, what you are being taught to do (or replace “do” with “think”). So even though this post had very little to do with social media, it just made me regret how much attention I paid to things versus how much effort I had committed to working at a higher level than an advanced beginner. On that note I have to also reference a worthwhile 30 minute monologue by Merlin Mann that covers all sorts of usefulness.

In the end of all this consumption over the period of four days I got a wonderful sense of motivation having to do with returning to a time on the Internet like I’ve shared with other people, where people worked hard at their blogs and comments, not because they wanted to sell ads or build a brand, but because they cared about the topics being discussed and what that meant for their profession, or their industry.

I mean, over the past year I’ve seen people blog about their industry and the work that they love and that writing gets no lift, but their posts about some social activity which carries no critical thinking gets shared and commented on like everyone’s at a party. It’s just a bit unfortunate people have lost their appetite for that sort of thing.

Anyways.. How to tie this back together. This is a good time in life, lots of different things going on that I like being involved with. Things that don’t bring in any money but, that hold my attention and give me creative outlets for doing what I like to do, what I want to get better at doing. And as much as I talk about my opinions on the actions of others, it’s rewarding to build bit by bit relationships that mean something, with people who get it.

Uuh…. And it’s fun to lock yourself away in Writeroom (or PyRoom in this case) and not care about clicks, tweets, links or anything else besides letting things go.

The skin I recently bought you can pick up from Toronto based Gelaskins through their online store.

One reply on “Back. With Style No Less.”

Great post Malcolm. Happy to see you back.And you're right about Drawar's post drawing parallels with Merlin Man’s attack on 'productivity' lists. The precedent where we all think we’re experts on any given subject just because we can call out the top ten issues/challenge/opportunities/principles after spending an hour on the web is pretty fucking frightening. I used to believe in the power of generalists; somehow I thought you could make it by knowing very little about a lot. After a lot of thinking and doing–I now realize that it is impossible. More importantly, its not even worth the effort in the longterm. I want to be an expert—at a lot of things. But the challenge here is, even if we spend the rest of our time alive working on becoming an expert, we may only attain 16 expertise.(Calculation: 10,000 hours / expertise @ 8 hour work days = 3.425 years / expertise attained; assumption is I will not take weekends off or holidays; also, this rate of expertise attainment will sustain until I am 80) **Note, no weekends or 2 week vacations taken into account**More importantly, I probably won’t even live till I am 80.Thank you for coming back and giving a shit. Really.

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