Two years ago I was asked to write a blog entry for a website called Business Life Stories. The concept behind this website, which was started by a friend and business partner was best explained by it’s tagline: “Why I Love What I do” and more stories from entrepreneurs, startups and business people.’
For a second I thought of simply reposting that blog-post as a way to get out of writing a new one, but despite the fact that this has been an extremely busy week, I still felt I owe it to the handful of those brave souls who are following my blog, to write a new post.
For those curious as to what I wrote 2 years ago, on this very topic, from the very same golf course, during this very same time of year. Click here:
There is plenty of good news to share regarding this update:
- I shot much better golf (My handicap is lower)
- My business has grown dramatically over the last 2 years
- The weather was still perfect this time around
- I still ended up working in the hotel room while I was there
- The white slacks in this photo still fit 2 years later
Yes, #4. I was still working from Paradise. Folks still find it hard to believe that I would work while taking some time off. This of course is a business trip, an annual golf outing organized by one of my best clients, so I always pack my MacBook Pro. Even though this time around, I did leave behind staff manning the fort, running calls and carrying on with business as usual, I did prepare to work while I was in the “Ponce, Puerto Rico” office.
This is why I STILL love what I do.
As soon as I touched down in sunny San Juan Puerto Rico, I checked my email (as I do practically every 20 minutes). One of the emails was from a long-time friend and former co-worker from Walker Digital, none other than former editor at Business Week and author of Webonomics, Juice, The Last Lone Inventor, and most recently “Finding Oz’, who most often writes about innovation. Evan was now working at Innosight.com a global innovation and strategy consulting firm.
Evan wanted to know if I had the bandwith to tackle a new design project. The subject line of his email read: “Design project for Innosight – available?” My answer: of course. Next step was to set up a quick call and with the time difference in my favor, we set up a conference call for that night. The project was small, initially: to design a printable version of the website into the form of a newsletter. The end product would be a PDF complete with articles, photos and links. The task was to make it consistent with the look of their new website. After taking a peek at what they were using as a newsletter, a very bland, dry Word document that looked like an 8th grade term paper, I assured him that not only was I up for the task, but that I’d have a first draft by Friday.
Now keep in mind, this wouldn’t be anything to talk about if I were stateside. It’d be another run of the mill project. But the fact is that my Ponce office is ocean view and the tropical breezes are blowing through my sliding balcony doors. The reaction I got from most people was “Weren’t you upset that you had to work?”. I guess I’m wired differently, I couldn’t have been happier. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. Evan and I worked closely together at Walker Digital, and we’d been out a few times golfing, and have had many lunches together. I helped Evan during the launch of his book Finding Oz, designing a series of posters to help promote the old fashion movie screenings of the Wizard of Oz that he held in major cities across the country (NYC, Chicago, San Fran) as a way to promote his book by leading a discussion about the movie itself. All that is well and good, but it is his new gig at Innosight that I was really excited about. We are both huge fans of innovation and technology and for me this also represented another opportunity to work with not only Evan but a new project with a new client. It was a win-win. I was grateful for the opportunity so I took it and delivered. I just don't know any other way.
That night we first spoke was Tuesday. By Wednesday night Evan had sent me all the assets, photos and files that I needed to start designing. By Thursday night, I had a first draft that I fired off at Evan which he shared with the Chief Marketing Officer at Innosight. During the days, I was playing between 27-36 holes of golf. My daily routine was:
- Wake up
- Eat Breakfast
- Have Lunch (1 piece of Flan per day)
- Golf (best scores were 85 & 86)
- Hit the Gym (see #4)
- Have Dinner
- Hit the Boardwalk in Ponce (La Guancha) for “Café con Leche”
- Work in my hotel room
It worked well because each day I became progressively more tired, so that by Saturday night, I was so exhausted that I just passed out and did not hear my brother-in-law’s excessively loud snoring at all. I was in peace. By completing the project (at least the first draft) by Thursday night, I was able to give myself Friday night off so we were able to hang out and enjoy Ponce a bit. I even hit the hotel casino and lost a few bucks on a strange version of Blackjack and the infamous $2 Roulette wheel.
The project continued for the following week (quick projects are seldom quick) and now it can be seen on their website and is available for download here:
Click “Download the PDF” in the lower right corner.
So yes, I still love what I do.
I get to mentor young design talent. I get to travel and play golf. I get to work with very cool, interesting people. I get to do what I love, which is to design and I get to work anywhere where there is an internet connection, and hopefully a nice tropical breeze and a Mango smoothie.
Life is good.
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