I’ve always loved the purpose of Creative Mornings. They are monthly events from around the world in cities large like NewYork and small like Charleston in South Carolina. The talks always provide a burst of inspiration to get back to doing amazing work.
I’ve gathered a selection of 10 talks that spoke really well to me. I hope they will inspire you to do some great things to albeit start a new start up or just finish that blog post you’ve been postponing.
01. Creating with Constraints by Daniel Baylis
In this talk, Daniel talks about how constraints bread creative solutions. He contradicts this against the meaning of freedom. He’s done some research about what freedoms means and figures out that to him freedom is the ability to define your own constraints.
He found himself working in the travel industry where he was not traveling himself. He always felt he would do it but never did; until one day. Traveling has allowed him to see the world through volunteer work and redefine what freedom means to him and his creativity.
02. Stop Writing for the Web by Erika Hall
Erika’s talk takes us through the story of how us, humans, communicated over time. She also touches base on how writing in itself is hard and it’s mostly due to its unnatural nature.
Humans have always loved to tell stories but writing them has been hard. Thousands of years ago we had stone carvings and now we reply to tweets with gifs and emojis. It’s an impressive revolution.
Yet, it’s so hard to find the right words for a button. Communication today is fascinating, as is technology, yet we usually limit communication in our products to written words. How can we think outside of it and utilize better communication tools?
03. Purpose is the New Bottom Line by Casey Gerald
Casey explains his journey as an entrepreneur over the last few years. It all started with “a crazy idea” while he was studying at Harvard Business School. He and his friends decided they didn’t want to work in a cubicle in corporate America and ideas wanted to see the real people of America.
Casey and his friends wanted to help real people with real problems. He talks about how business can be impactful as long as they have a meaningful purpose. Why do people go into business? So go into to make money sure, but others want to see change. Changing the world doesn’t mean making an app in your basement like Uber or Alfred.
Change comes from people who give a damn; people who want to save a local neighborhood, people ho want to bring manufacturing back to America, people who want to empower working women. It all boils down to the “why”. When you ask passionate people as to why they are doing something the answer is a beautiful burning passion.
04. Authentic Creative Voice by Chrisoulx
Shocking people is easy, just show them some inappropriate images. But that’s not long lasting. Chris talks about how you can impact someone and being authentic and giving them part of yourself because of it.
It takes courage and hard work to find your true voice but when you do, and you speak it unapologetically that is enough shock to influence someone for more than just a minute. It’s shocking because it’s refreshing. You decide if you work is good and once you find peace with that, it’s a fantastic place to be. That’s how you influence people – that’s how you shock them.
05. Death to Bullshit by Brad Frost
Brad takes us through a lovely rant about all the garbage information we have to deal with every day, albeit ads, clickbait, posts on any social media, emails, newsletters, texts etc. He urges as designer and makers to try to keep the things we make to a minimum so that the quality is high and the content doesn’t become bullshit too.
There are so many things fighting for our attention in both the physical words like billboard or subways ads, as well as the digital. We should be mindful not to add to that; after all, 90% of all data ever created happened in the last two years.
06. Avoiding Team Failure by Anna Oscarsson
Say you have two teams in cars. You tell team one to go to Amsterdam and come back. You tell the other to go for a car ride be back in two hours. Both teams accomplished what you told them to do but team two had a lot more freedom and many more options. Maybe they wanted to just drive around, maybe someone wanted to go to another city. Whatever, all they had to do was come back in two hours. However, the first team had a much clearer and well-defined goal.
If you don’t have a clear goal, you can’t get to it and you won’t accomplish as much. You don’t feel accomplish either. There are measurable goals like getting a certain amount of users per month. There are also unmeasurable goals like creating a great working culture. It all matters when you’re part of the team. Either way, you need to set specific goals as a team, set accountability as well in order to obtain your set goals. While you’re moving along and setting new ones, learn from the goals and your journey along them in order to learn what works and what doesn’t so you, as a team, can keep on doing better.
07. From Ansel Adams to Macklemore by Chase Jarvis
Chase starts out with showing a video he made when he was a six year old kid and explains the impact it hard on his life. To him, the art of more meant a lot.
He realized he enjoyed creating and making things. He made the video, he had a showing – he put it out into the world – and overall, it was a very personal to him. As kids, we make stuff all the time. Although it was a nerve-wracking experience, it proved to be valuable. Chase believes we need to keep encouraging our children to keep creating so that we don’t stop as adults.
08. Honey, We Shrunk Your Job by Adam Fletcher
The way most of us work in technology is quite interesting and also different than say 10 or 15 years before. There is no such thing as having a single job for your whole life in this industry anymore.
It’s mostly because of the way technology changes human progress. For instance, 10 years ago being a mobile app developer was unheard of.
At the same time, we are exposed to various roles as well such as a software engineer, mobile app developer to being an entrepreneur. Graphic designers are rebranding themselves to UX designers and who knows what will come next. Either way, jobs should never define us because they are ever changing.
09. Thinking Backwards by Seth Godin
The mantra goes “Great designers get great client”. According to Seth, it’s the other way around. Myra Cowman wouldn’t be know for her illustrations if it wasn’t for her clients. Chip Kidd wouldn’t be know for his book covers if it wasn’t for his employer. Shepard Fairey went to jail over 30 times to be his own client.
How much of your day is spent working to try to get better clients? Who do you want to work for? It’s about choosing your own path and working for clients who will put you in the position or place where you want to be.
You wouldn’t think that patience is for the impatient. Yet, most of the times going fast and going quickly leads to poor quality work. It’s easier to go faster. Take for instance building an online platform – it all takes time. It’s not about overnight success. It never is. Such mentality wouldn’t have brought us things like Twitter which was an unknown and unused for over two years.
You can’t just sit sill for a long time and put the blame on others for not finding you a good place to hide. Figure out how to do what you want to with a purpose. How can you be helping your boss or clients to be better boss or clients? Telling stories is a good way to resonate with people; that’s one way. Demand responsibility and don’t worry about authority. What does all of this mean? Well, watch the 20 min talk.
10. Fuck You, Pay Me by Mike Monterio
Of all the talks this one is my favorite. It’s the talk every entrepreneur, freelancer, designer, developer, creative, etcetera… has to see. Mike, alongside his lawyer, give a very charismatic but real talk. They both talk about the issue of getting paid as contract workers.
In order to get paid, and get paid on time you have to be in charge of the relationship; there needs to be a clear guideline on how and when to pay, for instance. You hold a lot more power than you think as you are the one who lets a client walk all over your, or not. And, for your own sake, get your own lawyer. Don’t be an amateur.
What’s your favorite Creative Morning talk? Have you attended one yourself yet?