In the second of our interviews with a Webstock ’12 speaker, we’re both honored and delighted to present Adam Lisagor in conversation with Merlin Mann. They cover such topics as Webstock, the New Zealand accent, what it is Adam does, how he works and much, much more.
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On improving presentation culture. Dan and Merlin talk about bombing the deck, advancing the slides, and striving to improve the self-perpetuating bad culture of presentations. Slide?!? (Also, kid germs in the spaghetti, meeting the angry corn guy, and moving closer to the metal with our Showbot hero.)
This week, Merlin looks at one of the most overlooked aspects of having a sustainable blog: managing expectations.
Bacon Ray covering The Afghan Whigs, live in Tallahassee, Florida, 1998.
- Merlin Mann - Vox and Rhythm Guitar
- Mike Coleman - BVov and Lead/Slide Guitar
- Brent McNeil - BVox and Bass
- Bruce Hamilton - Drums
Freud popularised the term, “The Narcissism of Minor Differences”, to describe how adjacent villages—identical for all practical purposes—would struggle to amplify their tiniest distinctions in order to justify how much they despised one other. So you have to guess how much he would have enjoyed design mailing lists. And, Perl.
Truth is, to the untrained (un-washed, un-nuanced, un-Paul-Rand’d, and un-Helvetica’d) outsider, discourse in the design community can sometimes look a lot like a cluster of tightly-wound Freudian villages.
So, how is the role of design perceived by the people who are using the stuff you make? What role (if any) should users expect in the process of how their world is made and remade? What contexts might be useful in helping us turn all of our obsessions into useful and beautiful work?
Can an Aeron chair ever be truly ‘Black’? Will there ever be a way to get Marketing people to stop calling typefaces ‘fonts’? And, when, at last, will the international community finally speak as one regarding the overuse of Mistral and stock photos of foreshortened Asian women?
By leveraging his uniquely unqualified understanding of design, Merlin will propose some promising patterns for fording the gap between end-users and the unhappy-looking people in costly European eyeglasses who are designing their world.
Is there hope? Come to Brighton, pull up a flawlessly-executed mid-century-Modern seating affordance, and we’ll see what we can figure out together. One village to another.
Merlin Mann is best known as the creator of 43folders.com, a popular American website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.
In this special episode, Dan Benjamin talks with two of his heroes, Merlin Mann and Jeff Veen about independence, free thinking, productivity, and changing your game.
Jeffrey Veen Jeffrey Veen is the founder of Typekit, one of the founding partners of Adaptive Path, and the co-creator of Measure Map, the web analytics tool acquired by Google in 2006. After five years with Adaptive Path, Jeff moved on to Google, where he lead the redesign of their Analytics product and managed their web apps UX team.
Merlin created 43 Folders, co-hosts You Look Nice Today, appears on MacBreak Weekly, and speaks and consults about things like email, time & attention, and creative work. Merlin also created Inbox Zero, the Hipster PDA, the Procrastination Dash, and more.
Here’s a confession. I want to be able to think like Merlin Mann.
He’s really smart on the topic of productivity, and in fact some part of his success comes from 43Folders.com which is a reference to David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. But his work is not just about productivity. It’s about creativity and purpose and striving to stay human and sane in a busy and distracting world and doing work that matters, doing Great Work. And he does all of this in funny, provocative, iconoclastic way.
In fact, writing this introduction and listening to the interview again has already provoked me to shift some of my own commitments in an effort to, as he puts it, “identify and destroy small return bullshit. Shut off anything that’s noisier than it is useful.” Great stuff indeed, and this is a wise and funny interview.
In our conversation we talk about:
- How the present is a “remedial course for the future” – and the pros and cons of those ‘creation myth’ stories of where people find clues for their Great Work
- The importance of an open heart and just where that might lead you
- The connection between productivity and creativity
- The two levels of prioritization (and how freeing it is to know that)
- And quite a bit more
You can follow Merlin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hotdogsladies
The interviews are all between 25 and 30 minutes long. You can either download them here as mp3s, or go to iTunes, type in “Great Work Interviews” and you’ll see them all there.