Why we should forget ‘our passion’

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CC photo: Renee_pirate via Flickr

At some point, most of us question what we’re doing in life – especially when it comes to our job.

We debate if it’s really what we want to do and – inevitably – the following question will pop up: “What’s your passion?” The inference being, if we find that, we can give everything up and start a new.

But the writer Daniel Pink says this is totally the wrong question to help you decide. Instead we should be focusing on the things we gravitate to naturally during our spare time.

– What did you do last Saturday afternoon – for fun, for yourself?
– What books do you read or blogs do you visit, not for work, but just because you’re interested in them?
– What are you great at? What comes easily to you?
– What would you do – or are you already doing – for free?

Then – and only then – can you be sure that your passion is more than just a dream, but actually something you actively enjoy doing.

Thinking about giving it all up. Answer those questions and see what you come up with.

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CC photo: pirate_renee via Flickr

User testing can be an emotional experience

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Anyone who’s spent any time working in digital will tell you the benefit of regular testing of your offering with real people.

They hopefully validate a number of theories, as well as piercing huge holes through long-held assumptions and occasionally throwing you curveballs you would never have foreseen under any circumstances.

But – for me – the most enduring part of user testing is to hear the personal stories of people who already do or are likely to use your product/site.

Working for a charity, you sometimes test with those who fit completely with your target user, but who may never have heard of you.

It’s at that point – occasionally – when your job seems completely worthwhile. Continue reading “User testing can be an emotional experience”

Stop thinking ‘failure’ is a bad thing

James DysonMost of us are brought up being encouraged to get things right. Although ‘fail fast, fail hard’ has become a Silicon Valley motto, it’s anathema to most of us.

And yet doing things wrong is great, because you learn from your mistakes (and no, that’s not meant to be a cliche).

Take James Dyson, King of Making Failure Pay. He famously made 5,126 versions of his Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner before he reached the magic version that has turned him into a very wealthy and successful man. Continue reading “Stop thinking ‘failure’ is a bad thing”