I launched the New Deal on July 1st. Since then, I've appreciated and enjoyed several things about it. Firstly, I'm not really sure what I'm doing just yet, but the friendly folks I've talked about about ideas have been very receptive and downright encouraging. I'm deliberately trying not to plan too much, but am focussing on lots of note-taking and doodling, meeting with advisors and talking about what's going on, and research, research, research.
I'm deeply encouraged by how the cultural heritage sector has transformed even in the few short years since I was much more closely involved. There's a completely different tone now, of openness and fun and reflection that I don't remember seeing before.
I've found the people I've reached out to to be genuinely receptive and constructive with me, which is an absolute thrill and a treat. I've already made so many new connections it's almost overwhelming!
I've been spending my days:
That final point might be a bit odd to hear, but, if you have more than $10k in the bank, you should do it too. It's a way to make sure that your family (or friends or heirs or charities) are the ones who end up inheriting what you want them to have.
I'm enjoying formative thinking and work again. It's a place I'm very happy, actually. I'm at my most constructive and creative when I'm designing how something could be, and working out what all the moving parts probably are and how they interconnect. It's also going to be useful to do the fundraising thing, I suspect, because that will force me to consolidate all the tendrils and ideas I have flying around today.
And, I get to sit in my dressing gown with a cat by my side in the morning. Can't beat that.
June 20 was my last day as art director at Stamen Design. I worked on about 70 different projects in the two and a half years I was there. It was a blast.
When I left Australia in 2003, the day after the US declared war on Iraq, I had in mind that I would head for London and try to land a job at the BBC because of all the interesting people and projects happening there at the time. One of the main reasons I left home then was because I decided to test myself in an international arena. My simple plan was to travel the world for 10 years, learn as much as I could, and then return home to start a company based on what I’d discovered.
Now, about 11 years later, it turns out that plan is coming to its final stage, at least in part. Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked on some amazing projects -- Flickr, Flickr Commons, Internet Archive, Stamen -- for superstars like Caterina Fake, Stewart Butterfield, Brewster Kahle and Eric Rodenbeck. They are all outstanding in their fields, lovely people, and definite influences on the way I work now. They have variously taught me about polish, value, ego, scale and leadership.
Today, similar to how I jumped in 2003, I need to jump again. It was back in 2008, inventing The Commons on Flickr, that I fell in love again with museums, libraries and archives, and the people who take care of them. It’s time for me to really push on that, to work on it deliberately to see what I can do to help gather and preserve culture around the world.
So, I’m very excited to announce the launch of my own design company. It’s called Good, Form & Spectacle and I can't wait to see where it takes me. In particular, I want to thank Raphael Grignani, Elizabeth Churchill and Georgia Rogers for your support and encouragement. Sincere apologies to Mum (and Dad) too, for not starting this thing in Australia, but San Francisco.
I’m looking for clients, so -- ahem -- tell your friends. The ones who do culture stuff.
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