Yes, doing what you love is complicated. How much are you supposed to like what you do? Don’t decide too soon. Read this article. How can smart, ambitious people, like you stay working in an area where they are not happy and have no long-term ambitions? Read this article, especially get the last paragraph as a great advisory, stop, stare your eyes somewhere and think about it.
So, what’s next? The recommended next step is to understand that learning and mastering isn’t the same. It is so true that we’ve changed the game from “hard to learn, hard to master” to “easy to learn, hard to master”. Yes, the second part remains the same. Learn how to learn fast. This is about waking up every day and asking yourself: “What don’t I know, and who can teach it to me?” Use Medium search — Product Design and read all articles and at the same time read all articles which are linked there. Follow those people on Twitter and create a source of interesting articles yourself. Simply, learn how to scan articles and decide where to stare at your eyes and think, learn, practice from. You just have to scan and read a lot. Use Pocket app. Words I read in Pocket app in 2016 was 844,333. That’s like 18 books!. The time you spend at public transport is enough to scan articles fast and return them later. Easy to learn, hard to master. Yes, but you have full control over the second part, right? Focus on the right things. In life, as one of the my favorite influencer Mark Manson shares his views on her bestseller book that, our fucks must be spent on something. There really is no such thing as not giving a fuck. The question is simply how we each choose to allot our fucks. You only get a limited number of fucks to give over your lifetime, so you must spend them with care. Moreover, I believe high productivity doesn’t mean squat if the things you’re getting done aren’t truly meaningful.
It is a wonderful journey to find the patterns and predict what is going to happen next. Learning to design is learning to see, an adventure that gets more and more captivating the further you go. You need a design eye to design, and a non-designer eye to feel what you designed — keep the ability to see things as a customer would. Another adherent to this idea is Howard Marks who has said:
- you must learn things others don’t,
- see things differently, or
- do a better job of analyzing them
Ideally all three.
Complicated, but you have full control on them, right? So, what’s next?
You have to learn to see patterns. Which patterns? Information architecture and, Flow and UI patterns; Layout, Font and color patterns, Product feature patterns; Product growth patterns; Customer acquisition patterns; Working environment patterns and so on. Why? Because standalone beautiful UI is not a product. Thus, you have to read a lot in different fields and different sources to see more.
Don’t know any design tool?
Use Youtube and Medium articles to learn Sketch app or Adobe Photoshop/CC. Start from using and exploring freebies shared by designers in order to develop basic skillset. Redesign some features of existed websites and apps, not only one page or screen but full experience, just copy and paste UI to master the tool and develop your eye for design. Focus on content and layout. Learn a little bit more about fonts. Focus on your process, not only the end product.
Know what to design
Focus on the existed problem, preferably problem you have to yourself and design for it. For example, I was participating in group conversations on Messenger with my college friends and I simply wanted to grab someone’s attention in a group and give a hint someone where to pay attention later. I decided to design Mention feature for Facebook Messenger and two months later they implemented it. Simple, tiny things. When we talk about how product wins, it is mostly about tiny wins.
Know what people are doing
Follow on twitter and dribble to people who work in tech and shares interesting insights of their work. Subscribe to Panda Weekly newsletter to be updated and Mind The Product newsletter to have a great bundle of new articles. Subscribe to Product Hunt Weekly and focus how new products are launched, changed, commented etc.
Remember, you play like you practice. In my life, I have given a fuck about many things. I have also not given a fuck about many things. And those fucks I have not given have made all the difference.
So we as creators have a decision to make: do we want to be part of the 90% of noise out there, or do we want to be part of the 10% of signal? It’s quite simple really:
- Respect people and their time.
- Respect your craft.
- Be sincere.
- Create genuinely useful things. — Deathtobullshit