Monthly Archives: August 2007

What Do You Do?

At SXSW Interactive 2006, an acquaintance of mine asked, “What do you do?”
This was not an intro question trying to find out who I was and what I did for a living upon first meeting, but a derisory question meant to belittle by someone who had known me for over a year or two by that time and knew my profession.
I was a bit stunned, “You know what I do. I am a web designer and mobile blogger.”
The Acquaintance stated, “No, I am asking what do you do? Have you written a book? What conferences have you spoken at? etc.”
What the acquaintance was really getting at was who was I and where did I rank in web hierarchy. I am here to tell you that I did not add up in the acquaintance’s book. I did not matter in this person’s world because I had not aggressively carved out a territory to have, to hold, and to defend in the new internet bubble known as “Web 2.0”.
I was a bit bewildered by the whole conversation and later it offended my flat hierarchy punk rock ethos. I may have forgotten about it, except it happened a couple of more times over the course of the year with several other professional acquaintances.
Since I have finished my Master’s program nearly a year ago, I have felt a great deal of pressure, both internally and externally, to carve out a territory, be it web design for developers or mobile design or mobile practices or … or … I have spoken to / met with 3 tech publishing house acquisition editors about the possibility of writing a book. I have spoken at two conferences and a few university speaking engagements on web design and mobile practices. While I love speaking and teaching, the very idea of writing tech book leaves me cold.
But most of all, I have been examining my motives and desires. During the third editor meeting last week, I stated out loud, “I love creating web sites and art, I am not sure I want to write a book.”
My non-existent business manager would have given me a good talking to and possibly a swift kick in the rear, but I don’t care. It is true. I most desire to create.
Be the creations art, photography, ideas, web design, a web app, a great meal, a blog post, or a coptic bound handmade book, I want to make things. I want to share ideas. I want be a blessing to others.
All the carving of territories that is currently happening in web design & development makes me nervous. No, not really nervous, it makes me shy away. Watching the internet that I have loved so dearly the last 13 years go from a wild place with lots of crazy ideas – a place of innovation and sharing – to a place that is slowing hardening into a place of hierarchy and territories, I want to pull out of it and go paint.
Seriously. I have an pdf application on my desktop to apply for a grant for a local studio space for LA area emerging artists. This is not a good response, as in 1994 – 1996 I purposely left the art world and all of its competition for the love of creating web sites.
A better response for me now is that while I don’t care about competing for a specific slice of a web territory, I will create regardless. I don’t care if the topics I could write a book on or in an article or speak on are currently or concurrently have 3-4 other higher profile web professionals jockeying for the slot as “The Expert ™”. I will create. And I will share.
To this end, I will be blogging more of my ideas about the web design / dev and mobile worlds, not to carve out a territory but instead to celebrate a range of ideas. Sharing them with the internet. Hold me to this, I have been posting lots of photos but more ideas need to be flowing from this space.
Next time someone asks me, “What do you do?”
I create.

Please Excuse the Construction Dust…

I upgraded from Movable Type 3.4 to 4.0 on Saturday night so that I could take advantage of the kickass new moblogging (Lifeblog) functionality and have been having database / CMS meltdowns every since.
Sunday was spent recreating the database from the backup for multiple hours.
Yesterday, I was showing Ruth around SoCal. And hoping all was working.
Today, all the individual entries have disappeared, but the Main Index page is still showing entries. The instructions on how to Upgrade your 3.x templates to 4.0 are not working.
I was hoping to hold off on upgrading to the MT 4 new templating structure to when I had more time and was not on a deadline for client work. Alas and a lack, this is not the case. So, I am about to refresh all the templates just to get a working website and will have to bring back all the CSS and side bar links later in the week.
Please excuse the construction Dust… We will resume our normal visual presentation later…