Say Something Nice Logo 2

Not Getting the Job, but Making the Right Connection

The business world is a tough place.  And if you think it’s going to get better in the near future, let me introduce you to this novel concept called reality.  It’s something that the governments of the world are currently being introduced to (If you are unfamiliar with Marx’s Das Kapital; it’s a long, often difficult to understand set of works discussing the functions of capitalism, the history of capitalism, and most importantly, Marx’s famed view on capitalism’s diminishing rate of profit.  Like I said, it’s not an easy read.  Nor is it what I call uplifting).

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.  I wanted to talk about the value of being rejected by a potential employer.

Like I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m currently in a purgatory like state of employment/unemployment.  I’m in that fickle and highly stressful stage of life between my undergraduate degree and my graduate degree.  Yes I graduated from a top tier university with a true liberal arts degree (I could of graduated in 2.5 years… I studied 4) and a work ethic that most employers would kill for, but the fact remains that I’m also competing in a world that is in all honesty a wash of “cheap” undergraduate degrees.  (Notice how I did not describe the undergraduate as inexpensive.  They are anything but inexpensive).

But I do not let that detour me.  Doing so seems in my eyes unproductive as worrying about things that you can’t do anything about is simular to travelling via rocking chair: you expend a lot of energy, but you don’t move anywhere.

What I can do (and I encourage others to do) is continue forward progress.  It may seem like you are constantly being pushed back 4 steps, but if you make 5 forward steps, that’s still a net gain of 1 step.  It’s not a huge gain, but with the college football season coming up (and my string of productive Saturdays about to start disappearing), a gain is a gain.  It’s not a touchdown, but neither are most plays in a game.

And that brings me to my point.  When you get rejected by a potential employer, take it for all it’s worth.  Make a connection with the people at the company, make a solid impression, and initiate a relationship.  It’s not a job, but it’s forward progress.

That being said, I want to leave this post by re-visiting an old idea (the SaySomethingNice initiative) that I was reminded of by a recent (and non related) Improve Everywhere Campaign.  On a side note, Charlie Todd, the founder of Improve Everywhere is also a UNC alum and one smart guy.



Photoshop CS5’s Shapebuilder Tool and Reasons why I need to Learn to Read

I really need to re-learn to read.  And I’m not talking about the ability to look at a word and know what it means.  I’m talking about the ability to see the small details in a passage that most readers skip… things like exact dates.

It’s because I “skim” most articles that I read.  “Skimming” is a bad habit that readers tend to sink into and I personally think that it’s a result of years of having to “skim” through pages upon pages of reading for school.  I was a literature major after all.

But enough of that.  Today’s post focuses on a new tool that I’ve been playing around with in Illustrator CS5.  It’s the Shapebuilder tool.  And it’s wonderful.

So what is the Shapebuilder tool?  It basically works like the Live Paint tool that makes coloring shapes in Illustrator super easy.  Back in the days of CS4 and before, to make the shapes required for the Live Paint tool, a designer either had to use the somewhat complicated pathfinder tool or stick with very basic shapes… like circles and squares.  But if there is one theme that defines CS5, it’s the way that it has simplified a lot of simple to solve issues.  Unlike previous versions of CS, CS5 seems to have focused on doing things better, not just expanding CS’s capabilities.  In other words, CS5 didn’t just put a bigger engine in the vehicle, it fixed the cup holder problem.

If you want to learn about the Shapebuilder tool via Adobe TV, just click on this link.  Adobe has been kind enough to create this online series explaining virtually every tool in the CS5 family.  It’s a great example of how companies are using customer relationships as a primary advertising tool.

Want a quick example of what the Shapebuilder tool can do?  This comes from my attempt to enter a logo contest for a local based advertising company that ended 5 years ago…  Like I said, I need to re-learn to read.  But anyway, it was a great excuse to exercise the creating juices and learn a new tool in Illustrator.

If you can draw it, you can develop it: Flash Catalyst

Rarely do I find a piece of software that I adore.  Most of the time I can easily find some critical flaw in the software and that seems to kill my love for it.  Adobe software seems to be the exception.  I fell in love with Adobe CS2 years ago and don’t let me get started with CS5.  It’s brilliant.  CS4 wasn’t my favorite, but CS5 more than makes up for all of CS4’s flaws.

But within CS5, there is one piece of software that I really do adore above all else: Flash Catalyst.  I’ve played around with Flash enough to know it’s an untamed mythical beast.  Yes, a good Flash designer can do marvelous work with Flash, but for 95% of developers, Flash is just too much.  It’s the odd program of CS that really isn’t approachable by novice users.  One can’t really do much with it without a lot of knowledge.  It’s not instinctive like AI or Photoshop where absolute beginners can build basic outlines and teach themselves the basics via just playing around.

But that’s where Flash Catalyst is absolutely brilliant.  It allows wanna-be Flash developers a bridge between Flash and AI or Photoshop.  How so?  Well for starters, it’s designed with the AI and Photoshop user in mind.  In fact, you can build your site in AI or Photoshop and import the file directly into Flash Catalyst.

From there, Flash Catalyst offers users a limited, but wide enough range of interaction options to build a function Flash based website without the need for intricate timelines or interactions.  In fact, with just a little practice, Flash Catalyst becomes dare I say it, very easy to use.  So anyone interested in looking good on the web… listen up!  Yes, there are some major limits (I tried to add a mailto: link with no success), but the limits are in the whole view of things very minor.  And best of all, unlike Flash, you don’t need to know any sort of code to make things work.

So need a quick example?  My latest project… NewYorque.  It’s going to be good.