Tim Ferriss inspired Q&A

As part of the 30 day writing challenge, Marc Jenkins suggested answering the following questions inspired by Tim Ferriss. So here we go…

When someone asks you what you do, how do you answer that?

This is harder than you think to answer because I’m not sure myself. It’s hard to sum up what you do for 40 hours a week in a few words.

The general rule of thumb is if they’re in the web industry I say I’m a front end designer and outside it, I say I’m a web designer. Ironically I think web designer is a more accurate description of what I do.

A more specific answer is I wireframe, prototype, design and code the front end of websites. Most the sites I work on use WordPress and Magento although I don’t really specialise in either, my focus is the front end. If these have a better collective name than front end designer, please let me know.

When you hear the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind and why?

As I sit here twiddling my thumbs, the real answer is probably no one. Steve Jobs was someone who revolutionised computing making it easy to use, focusing on simplifying everything. I try to do that when I design websites (both with the interface and code). But I don’t aspire to be him, he was obsessive and cruel.

What is success? To be rich, famous, happy or something else? It’s different for everyone. I have no interest in being wealthy or famous. For me, a successful person is a happy one who is proud of their achievements.

People who are rich and famous may give a persona they are happy and many aspire to be them. But that could just be their outward persona, who knows how they really feel – people are good at hiding their real feelings.

What are you not very good at?

Definitely taking criticism. Possibly because of my insecurities around my design skills. When it comes to design, everyone has an opinion. I just keep reminding myself, design is not personal and feedback makes things better – just remember to filter the good feedback and discard the rest.

I used to be quite shy but in the last couple of years that has flipped. I’ve setup a meetup and spoke at eight events, including WordCamp London.

Dancing. My dancing is restricted to the bathroom while brushing my teeth.

What is your favourite or most influential book? Why?

I’d love to read more books but unfortunately I struggle to complete them. After the 30 day writing challenge it’s going to become one of my goals.

I do have a favourite article though. It’s called the McDonald’s Theory by Jon Bell. The synopsis of the article is people are scared to suggest things. So if you make a terrible suggestion, others will begin suggesting places because the worst suggestion is already on the table. The name of the article comes from trying to find somewhere to eat at lunch – nothing is worse than McDonald’s, right?

What’s a good documentary you’ve watched recently?

I can’t remember the last time I watched a documentary. TV is my relax time so the list of shows I watch are embarrassingly bad. Is First Date’s a documentary?

I do enjoy watching the occasional David Attenborough wildlife show. Whether it’s on Africa or the deep oceans. It puts things into perspective.

If you could go back and give your 20 year old self some advice, what would you say?

I am very happy with my life at the moment so I wouldn’t change a thing, in fear of ruining now. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many places, work with some great people and meet the perfect person.

I would probably suggest chilling the fuck out and being more confident, although those have both come with time.

If you could put a billboard anywhere, what would it say?

“Bring solutions, not problems.”

I first heard this from Neil Boughton, the technical director at iWeb. Since then it has stuck with me as great advice. At work it can quickly become a downwards spiral of bickering and moaning. Instead, if you have no suggestions for improving it, don’t say anything. Moaning gets you no where.

Other contenders from my girlfriend include:

What’s something that you’ve changed your mind about recently?

In the last few years I have become a lot calmer. I care less about the smaller things and see the bigger picture. A recent podcast by Paul Boag mentioned the same thing.

Life is short, worrying about every little thing will only make it shorter.

Also, Italian food has climbed the ranks to third in the world’s best cuisines. Just after French and Indian.

What are you excited about right now?

I have a now page that I try to keep up-to-date with what my current priorities. Here are a few specific things I am excited about:

If you write your own Q&A post, let me know. I’d love to read it.

Posted on 15th April 2016

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