About

What Maker Year is
For one year, I’ll create things in different parts of the world.

What kinds of things?
Initially it’ll be digital interactive projects, drawing, and writing. But I’m open to collaboration on almost anything, so we should talk if you have a project in mind.

Where?
Right now I’m in Turkey. But since this is entirely unscripted, it could be anywhere.

What about your job?
I don’t have a job anymore.

Why are you doing this?

  1. I don’t know when I’ll die.
    Knowing people in my peer group who have died caused me to re-think the notion of retirement and focus on doing what I want to do before I die.

    You can always make more money.
    You can’t make more time.

  2. I want to fall back in love with creating for the sake of creating.
    Ten years ago, I made things because making things was fun. Outcomes were inconsequential and the act of creation was what mattered. There was no monetization, no market segment, no shareholders, and no self-criticism driving my decisions. The only driver was completing this sentence:

    “Wouldn’t it be neat if…”

    Then things slowly changed. In 10 years of product design, fun and curiosity were overshadowed by worry, fear, and greed. Worry of being wrong, fear of being good enough, and greed for salary, bonuses, and stocks. These were consequences of a myopic focus on utility (creations must solve a highly relevant problem), competition (creations must be better than everyone else), and monetization (creations must make money).

    The work I’m most proud of – Pivot, Viscosity, Circles are Awesome, and Everyone Has A Name – happened when I loved the process of creation and wasn’t focused on being right, being good enough, or making money.

  3. I want more time.
    I loved my job, but unfortunately I made it all-consuming. By the time I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was create. I just wanted to look at my stock portfolio, watch Netflix, and zone out on Facebook. Everyone gets the same amount of time in a day, and because I cherish 8+ hours of sleep every night, something had to give. That was my job.

  4. I want to learn new things.
    Dance. HTML 5. Thai. Objective C. History. Design methods. Drawing. Art. Driving on the left side of the road. More things will come in time.You need to sharpen the saw if you’re cutting trees every day. And professionally, I’ve reached a point where my assets are becoming liabilities. Making interactive work in Flash brought me great success, but the landscape has changed and I need new skills. But when what I’m good at brings continued success in a job that allows no time to learn the new ways, it’s difficult to start over.

  5. I want to collaborate.
    A lot of fun and interesting projects never happen because:
    a) They won’t make money
    b) The necessary skills are missing or too expensiveBy falling in love with creating for the sake of creating, I can easily disregard a). By finding likeminded people who want to collaborate, we can disregard b) and have fun making things.

  6. I want to see from different perspectives.
    Humanity is capable of incredible and interesting things, and these things happen everywhere – not just in North America. I’m late in learning travel exposes me to different perspectives and ways of understanding life. Not better perspectives, just different perspectives that let me appreciate what’s good, what’s bad, and what can improve at home.Plus, traveling will only increase in difficulty as I age.

  7. I want to be uncomfortable.
    As long as I can remember, I’ve lived carefully, safely, by the book, and in ways to minimize all risk and fear. But growth happens when you’re uncomfortable. So I’m doing two things that make me extremely uncomfortable: Not having a job and not being in North America.

2 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    Saw you on Atölye İstanbul’s post and got really interested in what you are doing. We are a bunch of UX designers working in i-am istanbul company, and if you are still around we would like to have a dinner or a small talk in our office about your work&life experience.
    Cheers!
    Sinem Laçin

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