Candor by john cheng

As a leader my responsibility is to tell hard truths to my team and to my CEO. I can only do that when folks truly believe that I have their best interests at heart and my intention is to push them to being their better selves.
— Jesse Hertzberg

Sometimes I wonder if people truly want candor in the workplace. Is it even possible to be candid when you are low on the ladder? My hope is that I can be candid and that everyone above, horizontal and below me in the workplace can be as candid as possible. If not, then everything just gets muddy.

Read more On Candor by Jesse Hertzberg.

Build a culture centered around speaking the truth, and you create an environment that nourishes courage, encourages risk taking, and regularly pushes your business through new thresholds.
Look into the companies you admire and you'll notice candor sits at the core of the culture of these great organizations. Without it, ideas are squashed before they see the light of day, while those ideas that do surface don't face hard questions from day one. Candor is also the one problem solving technique that works in any situation.

Cool Hunting: Magician Doug McKenzie by john cheng

Cool Hunting follows Doug McKenzie, one of the world's premiere close-up magic artists, around New York City to blow the minds of passers-by. Learn a little bit more on what his perspective is on magic.

Magic lives in the spectators head, so you can definitely create a real magical moment.
— Doug McKenzie

Rethink Homelessness by john cheng

How do we explain homelessness to children? Have you ever thought about it? Do you tell them that it's because they're bad people? Do you tell them that it's because they didn't go to school and get an education? That they're all crazy? How many assumptions have we made about people that we have never talked to? How often do we really think about their stories and the hardships that they have gone through? Are you really as nice and compassionate as you think you are? I'm definitely guilty of this and everyday I hope that I can grow to be more compassionate and understanding.

What Makes A Good Leader? by john cheng

Simon Sinek asks in his TED Talk; What makes a good leader? In his talk, he explains what makes a good leader and why. He explains the concept of leaders taking risks and caring for the group, while at the sacrifice of themselves, in order to maintain the well-being of his followers. There are many leaders in this world, but just because someone holds the position of authority doesn't mean that they are good leaders.

So why is it that our culture is so contrary to this concept? Why do we celebrate modern day leaders who sacrifice others for their own personal gain? The goal here however is not to answer why, but to instill the concept of what good leadership is in ourselves. Once that concept is instilled in our hearts, when the torch of leadership passes to us, we will look to bring others up before ourselves instead of the other way around and become the good leader that we once so desired to follow.

Like Water by john cheng

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
— Bruce Lee

30 Second Habit by john cheng


Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.
— Robyn Scott

Milton Glaser in Conversation with Steve Heller by john cheng

Milton Glaser has a conversation with Steve Heller about design, where it was, where it is going, and what it should be.

Glaser brings up many good points about modern day design and our incorrect approach of designing from a marketing point of view. What we create that will market well, may not necessarily be good for the thing itself we are designing for.

This is a great video to meditate upon as a designer to really delve into the reasons behind we design and what we are designing.

Design language has disappeared in our time.
— Milton Glaser

Givers and Takers by john cheng

People tend to have one of three ‘styles’ of interaction. There are takers, who are always trying to serve themselves; matchers, who are always trying to get equal benefit for themselves and others; and givers, who are always trying to help people.
— Adam Grant

Stefan Bucher by john cheng

Last night I had the opportunity to attend Roski Talks with guest Stefan Bucher. There were so many things that he said about his life experience as a designer/artist that completely resonated with me.

One of such things was a question that he posed to himself wondering whether or not he wanted to just be a graphic designer. This is a question that I find myself pondering everyday and I think as a result, it has pushed me to try different things. Just the mere fact that another designer who is far more established in his career, felt the same way as me, was very assuring and encouraging.

Greed control was another topic he touched upon. To be able to assess a project and have the ability to say no based not on how much money it can make you, but based on well you can design that specific project. He moved forward to say that it is not a power game and not about being an entitled designer, but instead understanding how much control you have over the project to get the best possible product. To make it even more clear, he illustrated that more greed = bad work. As greed increases and money becomes your motivation, the quality of work decreases, but of course only in the context of discretionary. If you have bills to pay, a family to feed, that is a luxury that cannot be afforded sometimes. However there are moments when it is possible.

The last bit stuck out to me was his take on producing work. There may be time and time again where you spend hours upon hours on a project only to get a "meh" result versus other times where you spend 15 minutes and get the most brilliant solution. There should be no shame in the amount of time spent on a project. Its a difficult concept to grasp, but to make it more clear he alluded it to folding a paper crane. You may one day fold a paper crane in 2 minutes and it is the most perfect of paper cranes, however that crane was benefited by 10 years of folding prior to that. The only reason why you were able to create the brilliant piece of work in 15 minutes is because of all the time and effort you placed into your craft for however many years prior.

Ass to chair adhesion..
— -Stefan Bucher

This concept was a good lead to move further into work ethic. Always be producing work, because if you wait for inspiration to come, it never will. You have to sit and work and create on a schedule for those ideas to flourish. Sit down and make sure the, "ass to chair adhesion," forms. You're already sitting there, you're not gonna get up now, so just make work!

Thank you Stefan Bucher, you are a great inspiration to me!