Inspiration over Tofu Tacos

So I’m sitting in my living room working through some home-made tacos I made just a minute ago. I put on a You Tube video: High Resolution interviewing Judy Wert. They do a fantastic intro, and finally, she comes on screen. Her smile and mannerisms captivate me. Listening to the talk, I barely get 4 minutes in when she makes a point about her coffee cup, how UX design starts with the person who made this coffee cup, how many kids they have and what is his father like.

At this point I had gotten through one and a quarter taco, and as I take one more bite, I stop looking at the screen of my phone, and start observing the phone itself. I have this sort of out-of-body experience where I just observed myself as the user who has made a work around on how to prop up their phone while watching this video. Instantly, I drop my half taco (it’s still sitting there),

pause the video and start writing. This is what I’m writing about: 

My need – to watch a video while not holding my phone. There are many solutions out there to this already:

In fact, I have one of those piggies. Yet, I still don’t use it. Why? because it’s inconvenient. It’s upstairs somewhere, and my food is getting cold and yes I’m just lazy to get it, plus it doesn’t stick onto my case. So I end up using my PDX carpet coasters to prop up my phone.

But what if…. the Lifeproof case – which by the way last weekend saved my phone when I dropped it in some hot sand – had an edge that better promoted sideways standing. If the leaning tower of Pisa from thousands of years ago can do it, why can’t the phone case?

Lifeproof already has a bomber case, but there’s always room to improve, right? Competition is right around the corner.

Anyways, I’m not an architect, or industrial designer, but I’ve done the observation, and documented what the workaround is, at least in my case.

What do you do to prop up your phone(s)/tablet(s)?? Comment below.


How to make your weakness the reason why people like you

This post was inspired by one of those many articles that try to outline ways to become more likable. There are obvious things like, “Smile more”, or “be more positive”, or “be genuine”. But there is one that really struck home, and I think it’s a hard one to do, especially for those who are perfectionists and hugely insecure in maybe the one thing they cannot perfect.

My advice: Embrace this weakness.

Research actually shows that although people may respect you if you appear perfect in every way (no one really is!), it actually makes you less approachable. Only deities are truly perfect (well maybe the Greek ones had some issues)  so people will look up to you but have a hard time getting closer. So – this weakness I told you to embrace: make it your human trait, and then work on perfecting everything else.

This is one silly example, but I think helps explain the point. Maybe your weakness is being really gassy. Let’s say you’re really good at yoga, and one day you let one little toot out during a yoga class. Up until then, people around you might have been thinking, woah, (s)he’s so good. I wish I were that flexible, strong, whatever. But until that toot, they would probably have a hard time approaching you. (Kids are better at this by the way…). And especially so if they are self-conscious about the lack of their strength or flexibility.

So you farted. What to do next? Perhaps turn red and avoid all eye-contact? That might be the instinctive thing to do. However, the best way is to fight the urge, and react lightly: make fun of yourself, or just a whisper of “oops!” and smile. This reaction will bring you down to earth from the clouds in the minds of others, and in fact make you more likable, and perhaps even relatable for some people 🙂

Of course you should strive to be all of those simple like-able traits like smiling and positivity, but this adds another tool in your toolbox. Good luck, and have fun with it!

Turning the gym membership model upside down

This idea came out of wishing my favorite yoga class was closer to my house. My thought process:

  1. There are yoga studios closer to my house…
  2. But I really like the teacher, she teaches at two gyms/studios, but I only have membership to one. The other one is closer to my house…
  3. I wish my membership extended to cover both places.
  4. So can I have a yoga-teacher membership?

That’s what this post is all about. What if… Students were able to choose a membership centered around a specific teacher, and she/he could teach at any studio/gym, the students can attend based on that membership. Then, the teacher simply gives either a flat fee or percentage of her/his class’s income to the gym/studio as rent for that hour of class.
Potential problem: how does the place that offers the room for the class prevent the users from taking advantage of other utilities in the space?
Potential solution: layout the gym in a way there is one entrance area for the yoga room, and a separate one for the rest of the space. The Yoga teacher could maybe pay more per class if the place includes bathroom/shower or other amenities for her/his students, or the students can pay separate for that (if they want). It’s almost like “itemizing” – pay for what you use.

The most desireable yoga teachers stay in business
More flexibility to teach wherever, and know that students will come to you!

Of course, this idea could be expanded to other fields too – teachers, tutors, chefs, coaches…

Crimp this subliminal Ad

This is the first post of my new category …while in the shower. Why, well who doesn’t have those occasional profound thoughts in the shower?
Metaphorical of course, it just means these posts are all about those random creative ideas I have during the day while doing something maybe unrelated. Some people might take their temperature to measure their level of health, but mine is measure of how many if any creative thoughts that pop up without me actively trying.

For instance, the other day I was climbing with a friend, and though I am at the gym a lot, I never closely observe, but do glaze over the climbing holds, subconsciously noticing the sparsely placed logos such as “So ILL”.

(These logos are all of the climbing hold companies). However, if I saw those imprinted logos anywhere else, I would instantly recognize them and rack my brain, where did I see that!! Eventually I would figure it out. What if, instead of just advertising themselves, they imprinted such subliminal logos or other simple ads of other targeted outdoor/active/sports companies onto their climbing holds. When I climb, I focus on one thing, getting to the next hold, and if at some point I sit there, breathing hard, pondering my next move, I might be staring straight at a hold maybe containing “Mountain Hardware” or “REI”. I may not actually think about my next trip to “REI”, but I still see the logo amidst this uniquely heightened sense of concentration.

I think this sort of subliminal ad placement would be even more beneficial for startups who want to get their name out there. And the imprinted logos are not distracting, same color as the hold. Look at this example: can you see the name “rock candy” in the top left of the hold? Barely, right, but it’s there. And if you climb a lot, the reinforcement works.

Not a bad idea… now how much should a hold-making company charge for it?? I’ll leave that up to the MBAs