I DO answer some email.
From people who pay me.
People who have invested in DK.
They give their time, they share their resources. Most importantly, they show up. And so do I. The bigger their commitment, the bigger mine in return. I am a long-term relationship type. I like to know someone over the long haul, as we grow and change and discover things, and can pass on what we’ve seen and heard.
People who buy from DK are the ones who are the engine and lifeblood of our studio, in a big way. I mean, it’s true. They see the value (for growth, for culture) of making space for uncertainty and sharing of stories. These are the people who hire us for commissioned work, join our salons and workshops, and subscribe to our online magazine. Every dollar we get from our projects and our tickets goes into the design and creation of more and better space. For learning, sharing, and ‘rooms’ others can join for a time to experience moments of personal growth. And we are just getting started. In 2011 we started the first beta workshops online. STEER was the start of it, and later, we hosted a live salon called SCALE. Things got better, after that. As they must, if you care about them. Things got tweaked, honed, and redirected with the care that goes into the thing you can’t help but do, as artists.
EMAIL. I email people who’ve joined our workshops, are members of our subscription magazine S. P. A. C. E., or are mentors, or past clients, or full-time practicing designers or artists. I invest. As you do, when you want to see things progress. But I can’t invest in everybody. Selecting is huge. Sometimes, when the time is right, I send a note or two to a very good old friend. That doesn’t mean we are best friends over time and giant pen pals. It means we had a very deep connection at one particular MOMENT. (I want to talk more about ‘the moment’ in my next post.) But yeah. That’s it. I’m deleting a few Gmail accounts this week. That’s what made me think I should make this clear. Why I’m closing some of the channels, why I care about reinvigorating the lines of communication with the ones who have shown up, time and time again, or maybe just the once for that bang!, this is beautiful, point of connection. Maybe you know what I mean?
THE ONES I HAVE DESCRIBED are my high-priority people.
Less important are the no-show people, the people who’ve bought into the disrespectful yet prevalent culture of maybe, the let-me-think-about-that-and-never-actually-think people, and the generally indecisive. (It’s been something more experienced people, people like BB and others in Seattle who helped us in the beginning kind of alluded to, how you don’t have time for everyone, how it’s ‘easy to get married but hard to get divorced,’ etc, the sorts of lessons that came only with living it ourselves, and of course, time.)
People I ignore outright are the naysayers. Boring. (Surely we all know one or two of this type, right?)
But the dangerous ones leave no room for openness, they bludgeon the first sign of vulnerability. Which anyone who runs a successful business (and I’m lucky to know some of them, personally, now through these various projects) knows is a way of killing the culture of Exploration, of Asking Questions, and of discovering one’s way to Innovations. Real ones, not just stuff you talk about in a class for a grade.
Bunches of otherwise smart people are getting in the way of themselves, don’t you think? But you don’t have to get caught up in their own self-doubt and insecurity and otherwise meaningless stuff. You can just sidestep them and let them continue on their merry way, right? You can! I think you can, anyway. I think it just takes being, ah, firm. And letting them know that you want to work with people who want to work with, um, themselves. It’s kinda harsh. And maybe not the kind of thing you talk about at work. (But after work? Office party? I don’t know. I don’t remember what office parties are like anymore.)
But wait, I was talking about whom to avoid. #2 on the ‘stay away from’ list are: those who think they’ve got it all figured out. And #1, and therefore on a different planet from my carefully tended guarded gates are the ones, are those who’re just, well, bad at what they do. (Usually because they don’t know what else to do.) (Side note: I have seen more of this than anywhere else in my life in my time in Asia, but maybe that’s not Asia’s fault, or the people who are here, but rather that I’ve just gotten old enough to know the difference. Instantly. I really got sad when a woman at a venue, someone not so young who should know better, and whom I keep seeing around, said, ‘Well, it’s good enough for Cambodia.’ I nearly melted from depression, right then. She seems to know who I am now, and tries to meet my eye and smile, and I have to say, it’s very ambivalent when this happens…)
There’s so many.
Do you ever wish you could take someone’s business card and just hand it back? I do this. I figure that’s more direct, and polite. ‘I won’t be needing this.’ A no BS policy.
FOCUS. NEXT WEEK I AM STARTING SOMETHING NEW. An eCourse. It’s called FOCUS. Maybe it’s because of my genes that I’m inclined to be the kind of person who listens to the questions pouring forth about: meaning, direction, choices, confrontations with the Self, the stories within, the sharing of these, the philosophy that transcends our usual bounds of dogma, and so on. It’s been a privilege to share these innermost thoughts with people who are asking big questions about, ‘What am I doing? Is this worth my time? Does this really matter?’
Death and complacency
BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT?
There’s not that much time left. Watch DK’s TEDx now >
Words from four years ago.
I still stand by them. Perhaps you’ve already gotten past me, perhaps you are well on your way to putting into practice the things that one learns, with time, that are more important: vision, focus, and living your values. Right?
GRANTED, THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. I know with a handful of other people that certain things are highly esoteric and inaccessible, things like the eWorkshops that will, in 2017, be built out for the kinds of people who are already past the point where they have to ask, ‘Wait. What else is there?’ and still need convincing that the job they hate that they keep going to every day or the boyfriend they are dating until it’s convenient to break up is just… time wasted. WASTED. And for someone who has been writing incessantly about the imperative drive taht we must Realize our Fullest Potential, well, I am now seeing that, no, not everyone cares to do that and in fact, I don’t care about those people. I don’t. I really, really don’t. It’s why I disconnected from a lot of social media. It’s why I’ve slimmed the group of people I spend more time talking to (and am completely awake to hte fact that there are so VERY many who I simply cannot relate to, and that this is OKAY, this is disqualification, and if ther’es anything I’ve learned from freelancing here at Design Kompany since 1994 when we were kids and things were groovy is that you just HAVE to CUT THE BULLSHIT. I’ve caught myself saying it out loud, lately. I don’t email personally outside of my innermost circle, and these are people who have joined me on some adventure or another in S. P. A. C. E. (workshops, live salons, and online magazine). Show up and I’ll show up, that’s my attitude. ‘Tude. Making space for uncertainty. Framing the bounded box, within which we can investigate the URGENCY of the MOMENT, the impressive impact of the noted NOW. (Why else would I do 16N?!)
LATELY I REALLY detest giving email out like it’s some throwaway thing. Matter of fact, I’ve been thinking about how I can quit it altogether. There has to be a way to communicate with the high-priority folks, but… does it have to be email?
Let’s be honest: if there was a connection, we would know it, and there would be an honest exchange of something after that. If there wasn’t, we know that, too. Why waste time? Why pretend that there is some kind of dance one must do to act like ‘just in case this becomes something interesting’ that we have to talk, online? Why do people think I’m going to be the person who gets in touch personally asking them for some kind of stupid networking date? Because I’m not.
I knew immediately this person was going to take a lot of time and energy to work with, and int eh end, wouldn’t even read this far on a post that I think is really important. I don’t draw lines between ‘friendship’ and ‘workship’ I believe in what Bicycle posted here, our unofficial manifesto that he said isn’t a manifesto (but it kind of is.) I am looking for the people who want to be better. The people who want the tools to ‘N+1.’ Is that you? It might not be. It’s very, very likely that it isn’t. But if it is, if it IS, then that is why DK exists. Honestly, it is.
‘Cause know what?
Most people are hot air, and I don’t have time for bullshit. Who does, really? Right?
More is coming, for the people who are with me on the plane of the next. Is that you? I hope so. We have a lot of good work to do, together. —DK