We discussed the importance of design and a number of designers so far on Youth Take Action. The reason is simple, we need more designers! Products, businesses, websites, videos, politics are all being influenced by designers. The demand for designers, especially good ones, is far greater than the supply, which shifts the power more to the designer. However, as the demand and power of designers increases, the role designers play and their influence changes as well.
Many designers spend years doing client work for an agency, but now we are seeing a shift to becoming entrepreneurs with their own design firms and companies. Ben Pieratt, founder of Svpply, is a leading amongst designers in the entrepreneurial field, and his call to designers has been spread all over the place. An increase in professionalism and responsibility has clearly made designers change their attitude, and Mike Monteiro address this issue with his new book “Design Is A Job” he also has a great Creative Morning’s talk entitield “F*ck You.Pay Me.” Many designers have gotten taken advantage of because of bad business fundamentals, and they no longer want that to be the case.
To show the demand for design jobs, look at the job postings on sites like dribbble and behance. There are hundred’s and from some top companies! Wealthfront, a venture-backed financial startup, is begging for a designer. If your looking for a job, or have free time after work, I suggest looking into learning more about design and the opportunities available.
For those of you starting something of your own, here are some excellent ebooks to get started on design:
Bootstrapping Design by Jarrod Drysdale
Step by Step UI Design by Sacha Greif
Making the claim to become the first elite University founded in 100 years is grandiose, but is exactly the plan of The Minerva Project. Founded by Ben Nelson, the aim is to create an online university to compete with the Ivy League (instead of the University of Phoenix) by providing a top-tier education to those thousands of applicants who don’t receive admission to the country’s top colleges.
In an interview with PandoDaily, Allen mentions how the school will create an elite university, which have traditionally relied upon the idea of scarcity with low acceptance rates (Harvard’s is just 5.9%). “Our approach is different. It has no capacity limits. Getting into Minerva is just as intellectually difficult. We will achieve diversity because we don’t have capacity. We take advantage of starting fresh, so it’s different from the advantages that existing universities have with having very long and storied legacies.”
With $25M in funding and former Harvard President Larry Summers as an advisor, The Minerva Project is looking to launch big and fast. Their goal is to have their first class in 2014. Student’s interested in the school can contact Minerva about acceptance.
See additional coverage here:
With $25M From Benchmark And Larry Summers Advising, Can Minerva Build An Online Ivy? (Tech Crunch)
The Minerva Project raises largest-ever seed funding from Benchmark for elite university (Venture Beat)
Minerva Project Scores $25 Million In Seed Money To Build A New Elite University Online (Fast Company)
The Minerva Project wants to bring Harvard-level education online in 2014 (The Verge)
Venture-Backed Enterprise Seeks to Satisfy Global Demand for an Elite Education, Online (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Since 2004, the Fayetteville-Manlius cross country teams have been a dominate fixture on the national running scene. The girls team has won 6 consecutive Nike Cross Nationals (NXN), and the boys have been multiple time NY State Federation Champions and runners-up for NXN twice. Some may say that they are led by a “crazy” coach and are pushed too hard with mileage, but what it really comes down to is a philosophy. The Stotan Way.
The term Stotan (a mixture of Stoic and spartan) is credited to Australian coach Percy Cerutty, which he used to describe the training program of 1960’s Olympic Gold Medalist Herb Elliot. ”A Stotan”, Cerutty says, “is one who hardens, strengthens, toughens and beautifies the body by consistent habits and regular exercises, which are consciously and irrevocably made part of the life plan of the individual, as well as consciously determining that the mind will be cultivated upon such abstractions as purity, beauty and logic.”
In order to be a Stotan one must be able…
(a)… to withstand physical hardship, to accomplish feats of strength and endurance, to understand orderliness, and the true meaning of intelligence.
(b) To know himself as an organism and a personality
(c) To emerge, eventually emancipated, from all dogmas, creeds, and beliefs, as well as worldly and unworldly hopes and fears.
(d) To habitually function upon the highest planes of thought and physical effort.
(e) To place the objective of an alert, informed intelligence, and a perfected body, as primary in Life. And to arrive at the conclusion that all else will follow on.
(f) To learn that on this basis, the whole world, and all that it has to offer, opens out as a vision, splendid, normal and realizable.
(g) To understand that Past, Futures, Fates, Fears, Death, Selfishness, Egoism, Pride, Envy, Hate and Prejudice can be replaced by Intelligence that controls emotion, dominates destiny, manifests completeness and exults in Life.
(h) To understand that, in actuality, evolved man is a King, but without the trappings. That Kingship is his right and his destiny.That we can make ourselves, in time, all that we would. That we honor real men but are subservient to none.
While the fame of Percy Cerutty is a mixture of praise for his coaching success but also being eccentric, the story of FM and Bill Arisis humbled and a model for how we should exhibit leadership and establish a culture. His coaching philosophy is odd and clearly against cultural norms for most high schools because the model revolves around selflessness.
And the key word here: selflessness. Every one of those guys and coaches and parents did everything for everybody else. Not one time were the athletes thinking - or the coaches - thinking about themselves.-Bill Aris
Whether it be an athletic team or a business, the ideals espoused by the Stotan model provide an alternative to the winner takes all mentality that has overwhelmed high school athletics. Instead of focusing solely on results, the Stotans of FM believe in the process and take a holistic approach to their training. We can all learn something from this group of athletes and coaches in Upstate New York, and focus on pushing ourselves not simply for a reward but for a challenge.
Last year marked a significant point for smartphones, for the first time ever global smartphone sales eclipsed PC sales. Add in tablets, and the numbers look even stronger for mobile devices. With this shift comes the question, how do we use these advances in technology to add value to our lives? Within the next 10 years, our phones will transform into more and more functional pieces of our lives, and will further disrupt a number of long-standing markets. Mobile payments, games, music, and our work lives can all be done with our phones now. Can you imagine what it will be like in 10 years?
Instead of just taking up more and more room in your pocket, realize the potential that is in your phone. Having access to your files via the cloud allows you to quickly and easily create and edit files wherever you are. Want to go away for the weekend, but don’t want to bring all of your notes for class with you to study? Using a tool like Evernote can manage all of your resources in an extremely simple way. Can’t make it to a game or event? If it’s streaming on a site such as Ustream, you can just load it up and watch it wherever you are. So instead of just sitting around playing Angry Birds, realize that your phone can do much, much more.
The opportunities to leverage the power of our mobile phones are endless at this point, and it’s not just about making the latest and greatest apps. Often it’s about understanding how all of these tools and resources come together in order to make your life easier. The goal of technology shouldn’t be to overwhelm you, but to provide an added value. We are still in the early stage of a large technological paradigm shift towards a mobile world. The political process, education, finance, media, advertising, healthcare, and more will be further integrated into your mobile device in the coming decade. All of these changes will enable you to be more involved and informed on what’s going on, and further empower the people.
People involved in environmental conservation and the sustainability fields all come with various motives. Some are interested in the preservation and conservation of fragile natural environments, while others see it as an opportunity to get involved in a new business venture that is more than just profits. There are also those who get involved because their livelihood depends on our environment.
Professional athletes in the outdoor sports have taken tremendous initiative over the past few years to start tackling these issues by using their influence to spread a message that those young and old need to hear.
The America’s Cup, the oldest active trophy in international sports, has taken tremendous strides to ensure that sustainability is a major part of their competition and are trying to be a model for other events. Along with a sustainability sponsor, Sailors for the Sea, the America’s Cup has also launched a Healthy Oceans Project. “The current reality is the majority of people don’t recognize the value that the ocean provides, nor do they recognize that the ocean is in trouble and needs their help,” said Neill Duffy, Director of Sustainability, ACEA.
Action sports, especially skiing and snowboarding, have seen a deep commitment from companies and athletes to make these issues known to others, especially the younger generations that look up to them. JP Auclair, famous for being part of the team to develop the first twin-tip ski and his viral street segment from this year’s movie All.I.Can from Sherpas Cinema, founded Alpine Initiatives, which engages the snow sports community in sustainable initiatives that connect people and planet.
The Surfrider Foundation and Protect Our Winters (POW) have just teamed up to run a campaign called “Protect Where You Play,” aiming to bring the water sports and mountain sports worlds together and offering a membership to both organizations in one package. These organizations are pushing hard for more strict policy initiatives from Congress and relying upon grassroots support to make it happen.
While these organizations all involve using the natural environment as their playing field, will we see a stronger push from the major professional sport leagues towards sustainability? The Philadelphia Eagles recently announced a sustainable energy partnership with NRG to make Lincoln Financial Field run on clean energy. In order to accomplish this goal, NRG will install 11,000 solar panels and 14 micro-wind turbines to power the facility. Those with influence must continue to lead by example, and exhibit the need to lessen our footprint and show greater reverence for our natural world.
The process of building something has changed dramatically over the past century. Transforming from hands, to machines, to robots. When our world is full of goods made as cheap as possible, it’s nice to see companies devoting themselves to making things the long, hard, stupid way. Committing to make and build things in a slower, more intimate way is difficult to communicate concisely through just words, but it can be displayed through video. Action often speaks much louder than words in this case.
The collection below is a showcase of the process that goes into making some simple objects, but done with a reverence for the craft and beauty of the process. Birth of a Book: A short film put together for the Daily Telegraph by Glen Milner. The video displays traditional printing methods used by Smith Settle Printers in Leeds, England. The book being printed is Mango and Mimosa by Suzanne St Albans as part of the Slightly Foxed Editions.
718 Cyclery: A recent video from Show Love displayed the unique approach taken by the 718 Cyclery to build their bikes aptly named “The Inverted Bike Shop.” Instead of just building custom bikes for customers, the 718 Cyclery involves the customer from beginning to end, and allows them to get their hands involved in the process.
Repeat Press: I guess I have a love for traditional print techniques because this video features custom made coasters by Repeat Press in Somerville, MA. Something as simple as a coaster can be a unique and memorable addition to a party (and show your respect for wood).
All of these techniques are more expensive and labor intensive than modern ways of completing these products, but there is a unique story embedded into each item that cannot be taken away. A story adds durability and emotion to a product, which translates into more meaningful and longer lasting products. These techniques may not be for everything or everyone, but every once and a while it is nice to know who and how your items got made. If you enjoyed these videos, be sure to check out more of the work by Show Love.
In order to stand out in a crowd of job applicants, being creative with your resume can be a great advantage or is demanded. Often, a one-page, typed out resume may not express you or your work in the best way, and having an alternative resume may help you match the corporate culture you’re seeking. Here are some alternatives to a traditional one-page printed resume that you may find useful.
I have come across a few video resumes that are very well done, and make the job-seeker look professional and showcase their personality, such as this one. Some people put up videos that they think are funny, but usually are embarassing, like this gem:While these are just generic video resumes, certain companies are now requesting applicants to submit 1-2 minute videos answering specific questions. Most computers are equipped with webcams so this is often easily done. Don’t be surprised if you come across this request during a job hunt.
While demanding passwords is intrusive (and should not be given), having a public profile on LinkedIn and Twitter can be useful to share your interest and show engagement with the companies your are interested in. For designers, you should look into Dribbble and Forrst and developers should be on Github. As mentioned in a previous post on Twitter, you can get a great overview of a company and people through their twitter feeds. This is especially helpful while networking to keep people in the loop and make them remember you.
Having a personal website to showcase your work and interest can be a great way for a company to see what you can do, and to share with people while networking. Having a personal blog shows your passion for an industry and the quality of work that you can produce. You can set up a free account on Tumblr, Wordpress, or Blogspotwithin a day, and start making your mark.
Traditionally only used by designers, having a styled resume can really make you stand out from a crowd and display your best work in a clearer way. If you are not a strong designer yourself, you can use a service such as Loft Resumeto give your boring resume additional style. Spending hours tweaking a few sentences every few weeks may not be as useful as making your resume design standout.
The job market is stil tough, and will probably be increasingly difficult in the years to come. No longer can we expect to climb the career ladder or stay at the same company for life. Traditional job boards may not be working, so look at other tactics like JobScore or Rework.
In Seth Godin’s latest manifesto, “Stop Stealing Dreams,”he argues that top-down industrialized schooling is threatened just like mass media, newspapers, and other industries that have been disrupted over the past decade. Our economy has changed, but our schools haven’t. Everyone wants higher performing schools, but instead of trying to solve the problem within the current system, we need to think about new systems and solutions to engage our students to learn and master the material in a way that benefits teachers and students.
The current structure, which seeks low-cost uniformity that meets minimum standards, is killing our economy, our culture, and us.
Below are some of highlighted passages from the book (which is available for free in a variety of formats here), which provide some insight and an overview of the material covered in the manifesto.
In order to efficiently jam as much testable data into a generation of kids, we push to make those children compliant, competitive zombies
The real shortage we face is dreams, and the wherewithal and the will to make them come true.
As the industrial age peters out, as the growth fades away, the challenge is this: training creative, independent, and innovative artist is new to us. We can’t use the old tools, because resorting to obedience to teach passion just isn’t going to work. Our instinct, the easy go-to tool of activating the amygdala, isn’t going to work this time.
In the post-industrial age, though, the good jobs and the real progress belong only to those with the confidence and the background to use the scientific method to question authority and to re-imagine a better reality.
The fork in this road is ever more pronounced because there’s now so much more to choose from. A citizen can spend his spare time getting smarter, more motivated, and more involved, or he can tune out, drop out, and entertain himself into a stupor. The same devices deliver either or both from the online ether-and the choice that people make is one that’s going to develop early, based on the expectations of our teachers and the standards of our peers.
Virtually every company that isn’t forced to be local is shifting gears so it doesn’t have to be local. Which means that the call center and the packing center and the data center and the assembly line are quickly moving to places where there are cheaper workers. And more complient workers. Is that going to be you or your kids or the students in your town? The other route-the road to the top- is for the few who figure out how to be linchpins and artists. People who are hired because they’re totally worth it, because they offer insight and creativity and innovation that just can’t be found easily. Scarce skills combined with even scarcer attitudes almost always lead to low unemployment and high wages.
When it’s safer and easier and quieter to stick with what we’ve got, we end up sticking with what we’ve got.
The networked revolution is creating huge profits, significant opportunities, and a lot of change. What it’s not doing is providing millions of brain-dead, corner-office, follow-the-manual middle-class jobs. And it’s not going to.
Times are changing, and at a rapid pace. Schools are a foundation to any nation, and we all must realize that in order to remain competitive and have the types of lifestyles that we have become used to, we must be encourage learning in all ways. With significant technological changes, learning about any topic is just a few clicks away. Khan Academy, MITx, TED-Ed, Skillshare, Coursekit and countless others are paving a road that is challenging traditional schooling and must be understood.
These resources may not be perfect for everyone, but may provide you with a learning style that engages you and encourages you to keep learning and continue dreaming.