A few weeks ago, I attended 99U Local, a movement created by the 99U. I was eager to attend this event because it was about turning creative ideas into reality, something I often struggle with. Hosted at Design Cofounders, curated by Splash Effect, and made tasty by a variety of expensive cheeses and other snacks, here are the top three takeaways from the panel and speakers at the event.
1. Leadership is relational
Mentorship is about leveling the playing field, by taking life experiences and putting that back into the community. It does not only come from older individuals, and experience is not only age; mentorship is about questioning and affirming someone’s ideas. Finally, it isn’t only about sharing successes, it’s also important to talk about your failures with the person you’re mentoring. (The panel included Nayani Thiyagarajah, Che Kothari, Gavin Shephard, Karla Moy, and Mustefa Jo’shen).
2. There’s no right way to the top – Steve Carty
Steve Carty, photographer and artist at Hermann Audrey, talked about getting to the top and making your mark. But there isn’t a right way to do that. However, it’s crucial to be inspired, which includes finding and creating inspiration. Steve also stressed the importance of passion, and consistently researching, gaining experience, and making friends in your field. You need to have enough of an ego to try stuff, but still be likable, because “people give work to people they like.” And finally, believe in yourself and what you’re trying to do, and make an impact!
3. Ideas are cheap: EXECUTE – Heather Payne
Heather Payne is the CEO of Hacker You and founder of Ladies Learning Code (which I am 100% planning to do a course there, because HTML is not my forté, and I need to learn to be a coding whiz). Her talk was about making a career out of flawless execution. Her main points included
- Hustle first, not tech first – see if people are receptive to your idea first
- If you don’t have a deadline, create one – make a public commitment to get things done for a certain time
- Remember the 10,000 rule – it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at your craft, so take lessons and courses
AND 4. Have a plan to push through the valley, because you won’t always feel motivated
4. Storytelling is important to a creative career – Randy Boyagoda
Finally, after a crazy story that ended up with a businessman stepping on his daughter’s poop (you really had to be there), our last speaker, Randy Boyagoda talked about the importance of storytelling. Ryerson professor and director of Zone Learning (which is a big deal here at Ryerson), Randy explained that we are hardwired to understand ourselves and the people around us through storytelling. He also talked about the “necessary tension” of a creative career (making money vs. pursuing ideas), as well as the importance of balancing curiosity with discipline.
How do you turn your creative ideas into action?
Photos by Sanjeev Kuganesapillai