#50: Working Title 2.0 - Where Things Are Headed
Plans for the future of this newsletter and...the future, in general.
“I want to take writing seriously. And I mean, seriously.”
Sometime around the first quarter of 2020, I made this promise to myself. I was fully convinced then, as I am now, that this is it. Writing is it. No matter how far I get with my design career, I’ll always have writing.
Fast forward to today, I can honestly say that is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for sure, certainly one of the most fulfilling things I’ve committed myself to.
But that was more than 2 years ago. I’ve been feeling the need to take this a step further. Over the next few months, I’ll be making some changes to this newsletter. Here’s what I have in mind so far on what that could mean:
Topic coverage: Break out of the UX ecosystem and expand further, deeper into the other areas of technology where it connects with. I’ve already started doing this with business thinking & sales.
Writing format: I’ll keep the long-form narrative but I’ll add a bit more of a consistent structure to the entries moving forward, perhaps also incorporating more illustrations and other visuals when necessary.
MORE series: In the past, the ‘accidental’ series entries I’ve published ended up being the most fun and satisfying to produce. These will be a staple in my entries and going to be more evident next year. In case you missed them:
Luck: Creating Luck in an Unknowable World / 3 Not-So-Simple Rules for Attracting Luck
Design Literacy: Introducing Design Literacy / Design Literacy For Everyone
COVID-19 Job Hunting: What I’ve Learned from Job Hunting in the COVID-19 Era / Landing a Job (or career!) Doing What You Love — As An Immigrant
Stoked for these changes and for the work that will come out of this. Stay tuned!
Two of the big things I’ve been casually studying
Consider this a preview of what I’ll mostly likely write about over the next few months.
How to build a portfolio of intellectual capital
I’ve been obsessed with this idea even before I knew what it was. The writers from Category Pirates are doing a better job explaining this than I can. From my previous talk, I’ve opened up about this. In a nutshell, I want to be a lot better at maximizing my full potential through creation. From design to writing and even through public speaking, it’s no secret that I want to build a body of work I can be immensely proud of. More than that, for all of it to have some sort of value and can leave a lasting impact and compound interest for the future.
This is one of the best investments (of time / energy / money) ever. It’s also a place where I can definitely put myself in a strong position to win, financially, mentally and emotionally. It makes a lot of sense to have this as my anchor and focus, career-wise.
Building a portfolio of intellectual capital will be a lifelong journey for me, one that I’m happy to bring you in along through this newsletter.
“This is all about redefining what it means to be happy by DOING THINGS. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that happiness is really doing things that make you feel invincible, and strangely human.
It is about telling the world that Hey, this is what I can do with my hands, and brain. Show me how we can change some things with them. For the better. It’s not that UX is perfect. It’s that, UX is perfect for me. In choosing it, I choose, with great pleasure, the responsibility to be a problem solver, user advocate, and principle-builder at any given time. I can’t think of a better use of my life than be of complete service to this incredibly satisfying and rewarding field. " - myself from the talk, Mapping the Journey of a Design Career
Relevant reading on the subject:
Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One by Category Pirates
The Startup of You: Adapt, Take Risks, Grow Your Network, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
How to design with AI in mind
There’s a lot to unpack here and I’ll try my best to articulate how I’ve been thinking about this. It is not unreasonable to believe that over the next few years, the landscape is going to change massively for designers. With the rise of AR/VR (‘the metaverse’), Voice and Artificial Intelligence, there is no shortage of opportunities for all of us. However, it is not as simple as a title change in a resume or learning a new software / platform / tool. It is much more complex than that and it will be a heavy lift for a lot of us. Here are the questions on my mind as I explore this:
Are we prepared and well-equipped—intellectually— to meet those challenges in the industry?
What are we doing now, collectively, to fill those learning gaps?
Is this what’s going to push a lot of us to finally take coding seriously?
Can we find overlapping skillsets with these new roles and would that be enough to get a good start into any of these 3 (AR/VR, Voice, AI) new arenas?
With emerging technologies in mind, what can we do NOW, TODAY to start preparing for a future in a brutally competitive and unpredictable industry that is technology?
To say that design, our craft and our industry, is heading for a disruption is, without a doubt, an understatement. Design will never be irrelevant, it’ll just be augmented. Creativity will never be obsolete, it’ll just be more collaborative than it ever was. (Just take a look at what’s happening & what’s going to happen with the future of the art industry). Storytelling will never go away, it’ll just be a LOT MORE focused on the strategy / high-level rather than the tactical. (A startup is already building products with this insight as a business model)
Anxiety is real, but I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not alone in this. Designer Joel Califa did an excellent talk on the subject. (I wouldn’t recommend this if it’s not worth your time).
Just some of the resources I’m using for this subject:
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bolstrom
Maybe it’s just my optimist nature speaking, maybe it’s also naïveté on the subjects mentioned above, or a potent combination of both but here’s what I think: I still think we all have a place in the future to continue doing what we’re excellent at, and actually earn a decent income. It will just demand a new version of us, just like anything else that is worth achieving. The learning curves can either break us, or can remind us what it's like to fall in love with a craft / creative process all over again.
No matter what, it’ll change all of us. In some way, shape or form. There’s many reasons why I started Working Title. Documenting these changes is one of them. The goal is to continuously get a better understanding of the world, where we’re headed towards and how we can find our place in the future.
Thank you for reading,
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