Delegation vs. Empowerment

From the mind of Kirk Graham:

Don't just get better at delegating, improve your ability to empower. There is a huge difference between delegating and empowering.
Delegation: Assigning people to tackle your to-do list.
Empowerment: Allowing people to take ownership of a specific area.

Delegation is a managers job. Empowerment is a leaders job. Too many managers are mislabeled as leaders.

Chess: The Game of Goal Setting

The game of chess consists of setting and achieving long-term goals, and making small moves to get you there. You’re always thinking three moves ahead. Most seasoned and professional chess players will tell you that they’re always thinking about the game in three phases; the opening, the middle-game, and the end-game. This tactical mindset its crucial to winning the game. 

In life, you should know what your next goal is, and what your goal after that is, and what your goal after that is. You should always be thinking three moves ahead, and be mindful of the end-game. If your goals are singular and short term, you’re not doing it justice. For instance, instead of setting a singular goal of having a job by September, your goal should be to have a job by September, so you can save $1,000 by November, and get a promotion by the new year. And in fact, you shouldn’t stop there. Why? Because you’ll live differently today knowing what you’ve set in front of yourself tomorrow.

Chess is a patient and deliberate game. Be patient and deliberate in life, know your next move, and keep your eyes fixed on the endgame.

The Weekly Digest

→ If you have $100 laying around, this espresso poster is really cool.

→ Hilarious Amazon reviews on this 85-inch Samsung TV. This one is my favorite.

→ The new Ugmonk lookbook is great. 

→ This Responsive logo design project is really interesting. Versatile brands are great at knowing their logo needs to scale.

→ The most ominous sound you'll ever need. Courtesy of Inception.

→ Sean Blanc release an update to Delight is in the DetailIf you care about design, this is a must have.

→ I love this article on American excess from the Becoming Minimalist blog. Enough is enough.

→ Now this is how you market a product. A nice little cameo by Spyhouse Coffee.

People will stay because of you, or in spite of you

As the saying goes, "people quit people".

So that begs the question, are people staying because of you, or in spite of you. Everyday we have the opportunity to affect people positively in their work environment, or negatively. You can also have no effect on them at all, but no one stays because of the person who doesn't talk to them.

Be a joy to work with, put a smile on people's face. You'll spend 40 hours a week with these people. Give without receiving, encourage without belittling. Be a reason someone will stay, don't be the reason someone is okay with leaving.

And for goodness' sake, don't ignore people.

Lead through doing

In your journey, never be to big to get down and do the dirty work, to get in the trenches and pull some weight. Don't hide behind the shroud of leadership or entitlement. Humble yourself, you’re not so great of a dreamer, visionary, or leader to do the tasks that is deserving of those attributes. A person who leads the charge in not just delegating, but doing, will be seen as a great leader.

Add an EQ to Spotify with Boom

One of the most requested features for Spotify is the desire for a in-app equalizer. There doesn't seem to be any sign that it's coming soon, but there is a workaround, for the mac at least.

It's called Boom.

This little app is a system-wide EQ and volume booster. It has a full range of controls and a menubar icon to help operate it quickly and add presets. It works great to fine tune the music played through Spotify to your speakers, room, and desires. It's also great for quickly changing EQ settings while playing a YouTube video, or a web stream, or any other sound coming from your computer. Its a great little tool. For a limited time, the app is 50% off in the Mac App Store.

The Weekly Digest

When I first started this blog, I wanted it to be a way of curating and collecting great things I find on the internet, all while sharing it at the same time. In time I've realized that dedicating a post to each little thing I find is overkill, so in true Swissmiss fashion, I present to you The Weekly Digest. Enjoy. 

→ I don't have an iPhone case, but if I were to get one, this would be on the shortlist.

→ Game of Thrones special effects reel will blow your mind.

→ Simon Sinek on the Entreleadership Podcast to talk about his new book. I love this guy.

→ Another podcast episode, this time it's Sean McCabe on The Nathan Barry Podcast on why he paid $1,000 for one email.

→ Why the German World Cup team is the best team ever.

→ Jullien Gordon's The Era of the Side Hustle Ted Talk.

→ Twitter's analytics just got much better.

Blibliotheca, a Kickstarter to make a Bible designed & crafted for reading, separated into four elegant volumes, and free of all numbers and notes. Incredibly interesting.

Dreaming vs. Doing

My generation seems to be filled with people who love to dream, think of lofty goals for work and life, some extravagant plans for something they care about. What a great attribute to have. A key part some lack though, is doing. Some people are just infatuated with the romantic ideas that they come up with in their head, paralyzing them in a hallucinating state that gets them no where. 

There is a marriage of the two ideals, where dreamers and doers collide and create entrepreneurs, creators, artists and world changers. These people have great ideas, but understand that to do something, they have to get up and make it happen. They don't, from the beginning anyway, have a legion of cheerleaders, employees to delegate to, or an elevated platform to exploit. They have their passions, their talents and their drive and it takes them from point A to point B faster than anything else could.

Dream, think and have a vision. Then, put your hand to the plow and do.

Stay Simple

Simplicity is hard. In many cases, its easier to do more, say more, plan more. But it’s much harder to step back, shut out the voices, take inventory of everything, and simplify. People normally start off with simple, not having enough time or resources to not be, but over time, as things pick up speed it becomes very easy to pile on new ideas without considering the cost. The cost of attention and the cost of focus.

This home I've made on the internet is intentionally, extremely simple. I have, and will, count the cost of every addition to this site. Will you count the cost of attention and focus with every addition you bring to the table?

Start simple and stay simple.

5 Questions

This website has been circulating recently containing short, 5 question interviews with the worlds best designers. Surprisingly, I'm not in the running to make the list, but I wanted to answer the questions anyway, so here are my answers exactly how that would appear if I made the list.

What difficulties did you face at the beginning of your career?

I didn’t go to school for this. I had to work really hard to learn what I know, by myself, using the internet while still living at home and not knowing what I was going to do with my life. I had to discipline myself to learn and create a bunch of work with no immediate return, and put it up on a bad website I created, hoping that someone would notice. That was a hard season, albeit a rewarding one.

What should a young designer do in order not to get hired by anybody?

Send a resume with a link to your Flickr account with work from 4 years ago. Be late to a meeting and hang your hat on the fact that you have a B.F.A. Have no online presence whatsoever and then tell me you’re a forward thinker. 

Are there any things you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

I wish I knew that landing a full-time gig is not the end goal. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to get hired, trying to find my place in the world that when I got the job, I let my foot off the gas pedal. I was thinking with a short-term mindset. Also, never stop learning about everything. Be a student of the world around you, especially if you didn’t go to school. People will come into your life with more technical prowess then you, who will be more convincing that you, and you have to be quick to outlearn them, not for the sake of beating them, but for the sake of bettering yourself.

Don’t be afraid to show your work.

Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?

Recently I’ve been waking up at 6 am every morning, weekends included. Im forcing myself to be a morning person not because I like it, but because I see the benefits of starting your day of with a couple hours of uninterrupted peace. I like being organized, so any tools, digitally or physically, that accomplish that goal makes me less distracted and more efficient. I try to carry around a Field Notes and I write everything down that comes to mind.

Would you recommend some books that young designers might find useful?

Linchpin by Seth Godin, Steal like an Artist and Show your work by Austin Kleon, the Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook, It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden.

There's nothing new to say, but you should say it anyway

As the saying goes, theres nothing new under the sun. But that doesn’t matter.

As Merlin Mann says:

There's someone born every day who hasn't seen the Flintstones

There are people out there that you’ll encounter everyday who will benefit from what you have to say, who will want to learn what you have to know. You may think your market is saturated, but the market to teach that market will never be too saturated.

Pay it forward.

Disneyland's Original Prospectus

Recently revealed to the public is a 61 year-old document that Walt and Roy disney created and used to raise the $17 million (roughly $146m today) it needed to build Disneyland.

I love that it starts with the story. It's all about the story they are trying to tell, and its perfectly summed up in the first line of the page entitled The Disneyland Story: 

The idea of Disneyland is a simple one. It will be a place for people to find happiness and knowledge.

Such a simple and definitive statement that the company still embodies today.

The rest of the short 6-page document describes the the different areas that Disneyland will encompass, describing their purpose and setting, from the Main Street to Fantasy Land, highlighting Disney's original intention of the park and all of its different parts. Fascinating stuff.

Then Disney ends with this:

Disneyland will be the essence of America as we know it... the nostalgia of the past, with exciting glimpses into the future.
It will give meaning to the pleasure of the children... and pleasure to the experience of the adults.
It will focus a new interest upon Southern California through the mediums of television and other exploitation...
It will be a place for California to be at home, to bring its guests, to demonstrate its faith in the future.
And, mostly, as stated in the beginning - it will be a place for people to find happiness and knowledge.

Good formula for pitching anything - bookend the what with the why, and then add on the how.