If you haven’t heard about it yet, there is a new program out that you can participate in to help you accelerate your side projects. It’s a venture started by two tech entrepreneurs who worked on their own side project for two years before they quit their jobs to go full time. They share what they learned and help others build their dreams. Further, they have a powerhouse of mentors on the roster.
If that already doesn’t get you excited, one of the mentors who is working on this project is Jeffrey Zeldman .
I recently attended a live webinar about his decision to join the mentorship of this project. He had some helpful advice for careers and his decision to mentor. I’m going to paraphrase most of it because I was taking notes too quickly to have exact quotes. This is not the interview in it’s entirety, but a glimpse into Jeffrey’s advice for design careers as related questions were asked in his live interview. All were audience questions.
How to build personal brand
Jeffrey’s overall advice: Be personal. Be yourself and don’t think too much about it.
Advice on writing a book
- Don’t write a book just to write a book. Do it because you are inspired. Have something unique to say.
- What’s unique and who’s it for? Designers? Developers? Advanced? Simple?
- Workflow example - everyone’s workflow is different. A book about workflow is usually unique but it’s more specific to those who it will work for best.
- Try writing a paper on why you’re doing it. See reactions of others.
- Do the same in your teams. Share what you’re working on, see how people react.
- Write articles about the topic. Consider the reactions to them.
- Read others, get the idea right first.
Why he mentors (and why the Side Project Accelerator)
Jeffrey’s reply included:
- Hacking UI is awesome
- Loves side projects
- He feels that he built his reputation with side projects. He wants to help push others to find the time and motivation.
Jeffrey mentions that the right fit between service providers and clients is similar to the fit of mentor/mentees; it’s an important match. Don’t be impulsive. Be selective as to who you reach out to from either perspective.
When mentoring, Mr. Zeldman looks for people who seem to kind of know what they’re doing and then encourages them gently.
On helping to guide client solutions
Jeffrey suggest that sometimes if you can keep being enthusiastic, show confidence, you can do great work and that will stand for itself. Even if the client wasn’t thrilled at first with an idea.
This is a great reminder that it’s not about the client, it’s about the customer/user. This focus will make bring the client the success they're looking for.
Some of Jeffrey’s Inspiration
Early inspirational reads and personalities include:
About existing media/publication models on the internet
Jeffery’s opinion is basically that we are still working on this one, and there is no real good answer yet. He references Brad Frost’s talk about pop up windows feeling like a punch in the face. Ethics come into question with use of some methods; “Are you a giver or a taker?"
We'll keep watching this unfold.
On getting things done:
Give yourself deadlines.
Produce stuff, be yourself, help others, give back.
To learn more, check out Hacking UI's Side Project Accelerator.
Hacking UI Podcast: http://hackingui.com/podcast/