29 September 2008

work values

I'm going to kick this off by stating that this is not a post about my feelings; it's a post about what helps me make good work. The following things will set the conditions properly for making good work, which is something I ... well, feel very strongly about. Dammitt, I guess it is about my feelings.


My idea might be great, but maybe you can help find a better medium for it. Or a better line. Or the perfect image I didn't know existed. Maybe it's not that readily broken down -- we both make ideas better as we talk them out, building on each other's thoughts & taking them to crazy, improbable heights. Then, we can break off & focus on specific aspects of it, let the brain wander then rope it back in. I don't believe in collaboration, exclusively, & I don't believe in lone brilliant minds, exclusively. I believe genius can be learned, & I believe hard singular work can also be learned. Let's make room for both.

If individuals (or the whole office, god forbid) is caustic, or apathetic, or inflexible, or defensive, bad work will come out of it. The work will reflect the ethos of the place where it's made. Smiling all the time is pathological, so let's not be total weirdos here. But remember why you like working here before you step in the door. Shit's not on? That's cool, let's talk about it. But keep a sense of optimism & benevolence with you throughout the day.

The free exchange of ideas is reinforced by wide open spaces where you can let unexpected influences leak in, make a suggestion to a colleague, or bounce an idea off someone without having to walk down a corridor or clutter their in-box. It's a messier and less precious way of working, and it's amazing. Also natural light. Natural light is really just so very sweet.

This isn't school, and this isn't a place for me to work on my fantasy portfolio & get paid at the same time. If the work is beautiful but no one understands the message, then it's a failure. If the work gets negative attention, that's also a failure. Our work must do its job -- to help companies get their brand message out there (without being gross). If our work isn't doing it's job, fire our work (KILL IT).

Medium-sized. Like, 25-150 people.

Only I can bring what I bring. Hire me for the whole package, with writing, and design, and biking, and ballet, and comic books, and bartending in it. Don't think I'll bring every ounce of my experience with me? You're wrong. Compensate me accordingly.

Meetings get bad press because most meetings are bad. They did earn the bad press. But there's such a thing as a good meeting. A good meeting has minutes, and agendas, and open dialogue, and strongly held opinions, and good will, and doughnuts. Honesty, benevolence, & baked goods ... now that's a good meeting.

Did I mention doughnuts?

If I have an idea that changes the brief, and I can support it, trust that I'm not doing so idly or for my own wily purposes. Allow me to present two versions -- the version that sticks to the brief like a barnacle, and my version. Am I asking you for permission to do more work? Yes. Yes, I am.

Those are the mains. Pretty much everything else is negotiable. "Doughnuts aren't negotiable?" Nope. How can I put this more clearly? I am going to need some doughnuts.


21 September 2008

C.R.A.N.K. MOB taught me: los angeles is good for biking

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my first-ever group ride in Los Angeles. That ride was C.R.A.N.K. MOB.

I hated biking in LA when I first moved here. I was bad at it. I'd moved from a city with three bike shops in every neighborhood to a city with more, bigger neighborhoods and fewer shops. I rarely saw other bikers on the road. Those I saw were mostly road racers, and I didn't have much in common with them. But I did enjoy it for its own sake, whether I had a community behind me or not, and I did learn more about bikes on my own, mostly by necessity. Then I found out about Midnight Ridazz from a co-worker who saw me bike in to work. (Thanks, Kristy.)

We went on that first C.R.A.N.K. MOB together, and I was stunned. It implanted in me the desire to be better, stronger, and faster. It shook the complacency right out of me, as suddenly I was exposed to a much bigger variety of kinds of bikes, of bikers, than previously. I saw how much more there was to know.

Over time, the more rides I went on, the more I rode to work, I got stronger. I got to know the city better. My sense of direction became a little less appalling. I could take care of basic repairs on my own. And my speed, hill-climbing, and handling skills improved. And C.R.A.N.K. MOB had a lot to do with it, alongside Midnight Ridazz and Los Angeles itself (all those longer distances and far-apart bike shops had a lot to do with my learning curve). For these, I'm grateful.

Thanks, C.R.A.N.K. MOB, and happy birthday.

20 September 2008

LAB grand opening #2

Yesterday (Saturday, Sept. 20) was the SECOND grand opening -- "Because one opening just isn't enough" -- of fixed-gear and track bicycle shop Los Angeles Brakeless.

They did swift business at their former location in Culver City which opened in November 2007. But when a vintage store went out of business at Venice Boulevard and Grand View, owners Anna and Dave saw an opportunity to move to a location with higher visibility and more street traffic. Other, complementary businesses in the area include a coffee shop, an art gallery, a used book shop, a tattoo parlor, and a costume store (if you've ever been on C.R.A.N.K. MOB, you'll know the importance of a good costume shop on the westside). All it needs is a repair co-op, and it could challenge Heliotrope and Melrose's distinction as Los Angeles' "bicycle district."

The opening-day celebrations were launched with an alleycat race -- a multi-stop event where the racers only find out the checkpoints moments before the race begins. Racers choose the order in which they make the circuit of the checkpoints, and one checkpoint demanded that racers take a large package with them for the remainder of the race. The requirements that the racers know surface streets well and be able to ride quickly with a large package strapped to their back were nods to the race form's messenger-style beginnings. Below are the front and back of the alleycat spoke cards and manifest (both designed by me).

02 September 2008

hunting & gathering

Gentle readers, some of you may know that I've been on a nearly two month hiatus from work during which time I went on a trip, became very ill, then left 72andSunny (where I'd worked for two years to the day!). During the 6 weeks I've been back in Los Angeles, I've been compiling work into a portfolio, something I had never bothered to do, and enjoying all that westside Los Angeles in the summertime has to offer, something I told myself I didn't have time to do. So that's the gathering part. Now it's time to hunt.

I've posted my resume at the bottom of this post. And here are some work examples from my time at 72andSunny. In addition to the hunting I'm doing myself, I invite y'all to take a look, tell me what you think, pass it around to anyone you know who might be looking. In the meantime, I'll post here about how the rest of my job search is going. It's an interesting process, very revealing about what I value, what I want, what I need out of a job. I'm looking forward to finding out where I wind up.

And just because it's been a bit of a habit lately, I'd like to give a shoutout to the awesome Tek for his very good advice. Mostly about milkshakes.