A continuing part of my new life in Charleston is the new job that comes with it and re-wiring my brain around what design is. Moving from a creative agency to a software company, an intimate client facing environment to a larger, corporate environment has had some interesting effects. But one of the most interesting things has been the opportunities to design and think about what design can be.
My current morning practice is to get up a bit early and get in an hour+ of design work in, or read a good book to get my day off on the right foot. For the moment, that book is “inside Steve’s brain” – one that’s become increasingly popular around my company, and for good reason. As the company grows, they are increasingly looking for a brand to consolidate their array of products. And looking at the process of design, as the company shifts from one that makes software to one that is selling a brand. Increasingly, design leads such as myself are being looked to for advice – again opportunity.
This morning was Chapter 2: Despotism: Being a one-man focus group. Some really interesting take-always for me, especially considering I’ve been functioning as a one-man design show for years and the context of my new position. A lot of what I read has been reassuring in many ways – coming at design from a different direction than those building the product, gives you a unique understanding. Steve’s main asset isn’t that he understands the technology as well as the engineers creating it, but that he understands the users and is always pushing design. This is a strong concept for me, as it helps me think about where my value as a designer is to a company that writes software and needs that outside voice to help understand how to package and interact with the things they create.
So, here begins my on-going list of what we will call “Charleston-isms” as this new home grows on me:
- Cars: My god, I’ve never seen so many accidents in my life. It’s like people say hello by hitting each other with their cars, and they are friendly here.
- Dogs: everyone has them, I’d like one too.
- Rain: it happens. In fact, it’s a pretty much guaranteed that there will be a hair-raising thunderstorm roll through at some point in the afternoon.
- Boats: also, everyone has at least one if not two in their front yard, I’d like one or two as well.
- Surf: there is none, but what little they have is fun.
- Water: It’s everywhere and it’s beautiful
- Bridges: a result of #6, and also everywhere
- Bugs: comes along with #6
- Sunshine: wonderful when not #3
- Humidity: combine #3, #6 and #9 and there you have it.
- Small, Friendly City: It’s really cool how friendly people are here. I’ve been here only a month now, and I shit you not, you WILL bump into people you know. Pretty cool.
Week three in Charleston? or is it week 4?
Got co-opted into my younger brothers kickball team – AWESOME! Nothing like drinking a few beers and pulling out a quad kicking a stupid red rubber ball! We found out last minute we made the “play-offs” (pretty sure everyone makes the playoffs) so team super-bad took the field for one more attempt at glory. good times.
Also had my first going out in the Chuck-Towne downtown; Not too shabby for a random Tuesday night. This could probably grow on me….
as a footnote, the new job is an ass-kicker, which is good! and I’m still talking to myself as according to wordpress the site has 0 traffic, which is actually more coforting than one would think….
Getting settled into that second week of living in Charleston; the odd ins and outs of the new commute; a new place to live; and a new work environment. The first week started with epic rain storms – nothing like arriving at day one of a new job in thunderstorms. Everything becomes quickly familiar by that second week… then something beautiful happens, and the sun catches the clouds just right as you drive home across the bridge back into downtown, and you notice that you’re beginning to fall in love with your new surroundings. Having gone from a 4 mile commute along the beach in California, to find these moments puts the smile back on my face.
So as the date approaches for me to hit that airplane and leave California in the dust, all sorts of shit is coming to mind that I’m going to miss that I probably didn’t think too much about when I went gun-ho after a job in South Carolina. And on the eve of my last full weekend in the south-bay, so we start the sad list of things I’m going to miss:
- Living on the beach in some sweet digs
- Surfing every morning
- Sunday Morning breakfasts w/ Heidi
- Avoiding yoga
- the 4 mile commute to work along the coast
- the ability to bike to work (not that I do because I’m too lazy and would rather enjoy #2)
- surfing on my lunch breaks
- surfing after work
- Saturday morning: shotgun a beer, surfing for 2 hours and on to OB’s for breakbast + bloody marys
- Followed by the beach and pub crawling the south bay on bikes
- the Poop Deck on a sunny Saturday afternoon
- Sunday Fun-day
- Grant’s boat on clear Sunday mornings
- My Trader Joe’s home-made pizza
- ‘course, good friends and a few beers on the weekend
- sunsets down 42nd Street…
With a little more than 3 weeks left in sunny California, I can’t help to start making mental lists of stupid shit I’m going to miss in the South. OK, my Mint.com account already reveals a very scary shopping trend; in the fact that 90% of my purchases are food or booze from Trader Joe’s. Maybe this needs to be part of a larger thought – “shit I’m gonna miss from SoCal” list….
If I thought I had an obsession, this guy actually made a video about it…. LOL, he’s so correct about hot soccer moms in yoga clothes: http://www.thesneeze.com/2009/the-tjs-song.php
I don’t often think too highly of all the hoopla that goes into events, but it’s a bit different when you’re involved in the planning! I’d given my notice w/ my current job after 5 years, so I think I’ll just consider this one big ass party for Brad!
Months of work and planning, and we have Depeche Mode rocking “Personal Jesus” in front of the billboard I designed on the W Hollywood. Fucking outstanding.