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Posts Tagged ‘stories’

This weekend I decided to do something a bit differently than I normally do, just to see what I would gain from it. I purposefully changed my perspective, to see what I would learn from it.

I’ve been a mentor for a couple of times at this event called Evolv now. At Evolv we teach people who are interested in being an entrepreneur about the Lean Startup Methodology. I won’t go into what that is – because that’s more a topic for my business blog – but I will tell you that this time, I really wanted to be a participant, and not a mentor.

Doing my work as a coach in part of this methodology, I had encountered a couple of interactions with clients that made me realize that I did not know enough about what you’re going through when you go through this process. And it was in my opinion that I needed this experience to be able to coach people better in the process. So it was decided. I was going to be a participant, and not a coach, at this edition of Evolv Weekend. To learn more about Lean Startup myself, and also to experience what it would be like in the role of participant.

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I’m reading the story I wrote for the NaNoWriMo 2010 for the first time. In my head, this story turned into the most cliche, most boring, exactly the same as the previous story of all times. Luckily, my imagination took over somewhere in that process, because it isn’t all that bad. One sentence in every hundred other ones is actually well put and rather ingenious.

I want to share this part on this blog. Because it made me think. (Part of the fun of reading it again is that I honestly have no idea how it will end and I have no recollection for the most part of what I wrote, so I can actually read it as any other book). The story itself is over 50.000 words (part of the challenge), so this is only a little part of it, but in itself worth putting up here, I think.

She didn’t look up. She wasn’t going to give up this feeling easily. She was going to stay in it for as long as possible. But the old man did not allow her that time. With a rasping voice, he intruded into her realm.
“Now how could a young missy like you be in so much trouble?”
She didn’t reply. He had no right. He was already judging her by the feel of it and this was the last thing she needed right now. 

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And after a few weeks of not quite knowing, it all fell into place a couple of weeks ago: I knew what I was going to do.

Up until then, there was a vague idea, and a vague explanation. Now, it’s all so crystal clear. And that feels good!

This is what it is. I used the WHY, HOW, WHAT principle as was explained by Simon Sinek at a TedTalk. Watch it, it is pretty inspiring!

My WHY:

CONGRUENCY: I believe in the feeling that things fall into place. They feel right. They are supposed to be like this. Whether it’s quitting your job to start up your own company, finding a solution to a design problem or using a product for a specific purpose. All that should be congruent with everything else that is part of reality at that moment.
VALUE: I believe that everything I do should have value. I try to only do things that I think are valuable to me, the world and other people in the world.

My HOW:

NATURAL: I do this by turning things into something natural. Use of a product should be intuitive, easy, unobtrusive, effortless and supportive of the goals.
STORIES: I do this by listening to stories of real people. Every story is worth listening to, and is of value because you can learn from it. Feeling connected to others adds value to the process.
CREATIVE:I do this by being creative, by looking beyond the problem at hand and finding the solution beyond the ones that already exist.
SMALL: I do this by starting small and then spreading. I believe in an agile, flexible process that fits with what is really needed at that point in time. Doing lots of little things at a time and adjusting them has more value than doing one bulk of work with the possibility of getting it wrong. Without losing the overview of what is really important.

My WHAT:

USERS: I look at users
SITUATION: I look at the situation the user is in
NEEDS: I look at user’s needs, even the ones they don’t know they have
PROBLEMS: And then I solve problems to make things easier.
SPECIFIC: I do this for specific situations and target groups.

(I can hear you all ask: of WHAT exactly? I’m working on getting that clear right now)

I call myself the user’s advocate.

Pleased to meet you.

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My first song of 10s10w is posted on the site and on YouTube, exactly on time. Although it’s hard work, and although I didn’t really feel like making 9 more, this one was fun to do, and I guess I’m still going to do it!

The song was inspired by the ‘Where’s Waldo’ books (which I love because of the hours of fun it creates and the rich experience you get). Don’t know how, but the idea just hit me in the shower. And I connected it to the notion that I think every person has a story worthwhile telling.

Watch my song here:

People wander in the streets

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I love people’s stories. I think every person has an interesting story that is worth hearing and telling. Maybe this is the reason why I like using storyboarding in my work.

Storyboarding is a technique that originated in the film industry, but more and more product developers are using it in their design processes. It puts the use of a product in its context and focuses on the user and his interaction with the product.

A storyboard is a couple of images that together form a story around the use of a product. For examples, simply google on storyboard and look at the images available.

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NaNoWriMo 2010

This is actually the second time that I’m participating with the NaNoWriMo (check the NaNoWriMo site). The goal is to write a novel of at least 50.000 words within the month November. A pretty good challenge, since last time I participated I went for half of it, so this is actually my first real try.

It benefits me to think that I only need to write at least one word a day. I promised myself that with the result that I start doing it and keep at it until I reach my daily goal. It also helps that I have no real obligations in my life right now, that I’m in a place where I don’t know many people, and that my laptop goes wherever I go. Very convenient if you want to have 50.000+ at the end of the month.

I’ve also been meeting nice people on this big NaNoWriMo adventure. Another plus.

I’m afraid that I won’t be posting my story for this year’s NaNo here. There’s a number of reasons for that:

– It’s too long
– It’s not done yet
– It sucks (since it was created using the motto quantity over quality)

Maybe after the NaNoEdMo (May every year, editing your story) I’ll feel confident enough to post it somewhere. If you’re curious about my writing, please visit my Elfwood or Fictionaut page.

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