Last week, I tried taking a Tech Sabbath. Started by Casper ter Kuile via Twitter with the hashtag #TechSabbath, it’s a ritual of shutting off social media, email, your computer, and your phone as much as you can after work on Friday night to Saturday night. I mostly disconnected from technology for that 24 hours and it was amazing. I finished outlining my third novel that I’ll write as part of National Novel Writing Month this November and then spent Saturday with friends in Philly. I came back to tech today with a little less attachment to it and more joy. So it’s safe to say that I’ll be making #TechSabbath a part of my self-care.
Today I’m rolling up my sleeves and starting to learn how to edit film footage with the Premiere software package by Adobe. Please send me any of your tips, tutorials, and resources that you think would be helpful! I’m so excited to dive in and learning this new skill.
This is what a failed product development experiment looks like. I’m sharing this because I think it’s important to talk more about failure, especially in science.
I spoke to Michael DeLoach & NYC Water about the #FatbergFreeNYCinitiative. As a grad student at The Biomimicry Center I’m learning to use biomimicry principles and my experience in product development to invent a flushable wipe to eliminate fatbergs.
This was my green chemistry solution and my finished product. My dachshund, Phineas, is my lab assistant. He’s a bit like Beaker so I guess that makes me Bunsen Honeydew. We listened to the podcasts Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Ologies Podcast, and The Story Collider to stay inspired as we did our research.
This was only the 1st attempt. It failed. And that’s okay. I stand by the green chemistry solution. I just need to find a sturdier delivery material that quickly biodegrades. Trial #2 is already underway.
And given that it’s May Day, a day when we celebrate those who work, toil, tinker, and invent, here’s 3 cheers for all of you working to solve our world’s toughest challenges and make this a better planet for all beings.
Opportunity’s last words from Mars: “My battery is low & it’s getting dark.”
May we all have lives as rich with discovery and a final chapter as peaceful. We’re lucky to have known you, Opportunity, and to see this world through your eyes. Thank you for your service.
Excited to share this podcast episode where I talk about everything I love in my career: product development, science, biomimicry, the arts, writing, my book, storytelling, technology, and the power of our imagination coupled with curiosity. Thank you to host N.B., and to Carolyn Kiel for recommending me! You can listen at this link (www.crosspollination.co) and wherever you get your podcast feeds!
Yesterday, I did an interview for a podcast called How Humans Change. I spoke with hosts Josh Chambers and Leiv Parton about change, transformation, death, trauma, writing, mental health, choices, poverty, technology, career, the passage of time, therapy, science, dinosaurs, biomimicry, super powers, and how healing, while difficult, is the best motivator of all. It’s my most personal interview to-date.
Some people who hear it will be surprised, and others will have answers to some long outstanding questions that I have rarely discussed in the past. I’m making a more concerted effort to address these topics thoughtfully, authentically, and often.
I always love meeting members of my tribe and these guys are definitely part of it. Thank you to my amazing friend and mentor, John Bucher, for connecting me to them. I’ll share the episode link when it’s live. Until then, give their first season a listen by clicking here.
I’m having such a fantastic time at the PatronManager Community Meeting (and we still have 1 day to go!) What an absolute joy to meet so many of our incredible arts clients and to be with our stellar team members. My heart is so full. I ADORE my product team and I’m insanely lucky to work with them!
Dinosaurs are great teachers. Kingfishers & their quick, quiet, and precise diving abilities inspired the Shinkansen Bullet Train’s design. This is the power of biomimicry. Most of the manufactured world is a mess; copying nature helps.
More info on this incredible innovation from Biomimicry Institute here: https://asknature.org/idea/shinkansen-train/#.W3Q8EPlKiUl
About two years ago, I went to the Kennedy Center’s Arts Summit. It was a gathering of about 150 arts professionals, hosted by Yo-Yo Ma, and focused on Citizen Artistry, the idea of using the arts to influence positive change in people’s lives. I was one of the only people there who had worked in an industry other than the arts, and one of exactly two people who had an MBA. Several people asked me why I ever thought about pairing my artistic interest with business training. I told them that art and business are equal partners, not adversaries. In an artistic organization, you need business skills just as much as you need artistic talent. And in all organizations, business people have a lot to learn from artists.
This was puzzling to a lot of people, and that’s when a lightbulb went off for me. How could I bring the arts and business, and more specifically people who work in both disciplines, together to learn from one another? At the end of the Summit, everyone had to create a card to describe their career goal for the year. Here I am with my card:
“I commit to helping artists find the business people within them, and to helping business people find the artists within them.”
My life and my career have never been a binary choice between the arts and business. They’ve always been a package deal for me. And I wanted to find a way to work that mission into my career. I started my career twenty years ago in company management of Broadway shows and national theater tours. It has been a long and winding road since then. In all of these experiences, I say without hesitation that my work in theater has been the best business training I’ve ever had.
I so fervently believe this that when people ask me “how can I enhance my business skills?”, I tell them to go produce a live performance.
Here are the business skills we wield to produce a live show:
Are you kidding me? What other industry requires that much of a single person? No other industry. The production of a live show is the epitome of deft business skills in action.
I was beyond fortunate to have this kind of experience in the arts in my early twenties. It has informed and shaped my career and life as an adult, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. These skills are transferable to so many other industries, and a variety of roles within organizations and companies. The arts, and our active engagement with them, have many more gifts to give us than we realize.
My great hope and purpose in coming to work at PatronManager is to help arts managers create an environment of financial sustainability that allow your art and artists to shine, and to make your work accessible to as wide an audience as possible. The arts have never been more important than they are today, and our responsibility to produce them has never been greater. If you have ideas for us, please don’t be shy. I want to hear them so that we can help each other bring them to life.
I started my new full-time job this week, and I have to say that after just a few days it has exceeded all of my expectations. I recognize that I am still in the early days of this role with this company, and I think it’s worth detailing exactly what I love about it and why:
1.) I love artists. I mean, I really love them. All shapes, sizes, and genres. All of my colleagues are artists in some way. Musicians, writers, actors, dancers, directors, designers, producers, singers, visual artists, bakers, and improvisers. They literally bleed creativity. And then, we add to that the fact that we are an organization whose clients are all performing arts and cultural organizations. I am surrounded by art, and everything I’m doing and learning is helping to further art in all its forms. How cool is that?
2.) Artists are an accepting, helpful, and collaborative breed of folks. The doors are open, the hinges are off, and everyone is encouraged to grab a glass to toast to creativity. This is by far the most welcome I have ever felt at any job in my career. It’s also the most diverse and the organization of my training schedule is just stellar.
3.) We have lots and lots and lots of interesting, thorny problems to solve. There will never be a dull day at this place. Never. We work inside of Salesforce and the platform is POWERFUL. I mean, I’ll be learning something new about it every single day. It’s mammoth and nearly every organization in every sector is using Salesforce is some way. Getting that experience of working in Salesforce, customized for nonprofits, is a skill I will be able to utilize over the course of my entire career.
4.) I use every part of my brain and every part of my experience every day. My job combines all of my experience as an artist, and in business, technology, and product. In many ways, everything I’ve done up to this point has helped me to land right where I am.
5.) New York City is my muse. My office is near Carnegie Hall and I also have the flexibility to regularly work from my home. I love that I can walk to work and that when I step out of my office, I am smack dab in the middle of Manhattan.
I am under no illusions that I will never have a tough day. I’m sure I will. And even on the tough days, what I will most appreciate about this company and our incredible product is that there is a higher purpose and everyone here is on-board with that higher purpose. That’s the crux of it all: everyone here is driven to make the world a better place through the combination of technology and business to support and foster the arts. I couldn’t think of a better place to be right now.