Wizards, books, and epic win!

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Last week I found out that, although it’s not always the easiest work I’m doing at the moment, it shouldn’t be so stressful that I can’t keep up. I have to remind myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why this week is mostly about epic wins, great books, and wizards. Sometimes you just need more wizards in your work-life!

1. The startup book

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When you set on a journey like this, other people’s entrepreneurial ups and downs are a treasure trove of inspiration. That’s why I was so excited about when I got ‘The Airbnb Story’ as an unexpected present. It’s comforting to know that two out of three founders of one of the world’s most famous multibillion IT company studied design in Rhode Island and had no background in IT development whatsoever before they started creating the Airbnb website.

It reminded me that while coming up with features is important, the user experience should the ultimate focus of the project.

2. The dirty side of networking

Do we secretly feel dirty, when we are networking? According to studies made at Harvard Business School, the answer is yes.

Four separate studies show that when it comes to so-called instrumental networking, where people try to make connections with the purpose of advancing your career, they feel morally dirty. The studies also show that when people thought of instrumental networking they quickly had associations to words like 'wash', 'shower', and 'soap'. Surprising, right?

You can read more about the studies here.

3. The pitch

This week I've been working on one massive task: The pitch! For a while, research and meetings have been taking up a lot of my time, so creating a pitch was a great, creative challenge. What I've found out in the process was quite remarkable: While I've never made a product pitch before, I'm used to having storytelling as the focal point of my work. Focusing on the storytelling aspect of the pitch definitely helped me a lot, and I'm happy to say that it's 95% complete now.

4. The epic win

This week I have returned to one of my favourite sources of inspiration, gamification, and I was reminded of one of the best features when it comes gameplay: The epic win!  According to game designer, Jane McGonigal, an ‘epic win’ is an outcome that is so extraordinarily positive, you had no idea it was even possible before you achieved it.

This week my epic win has been test-pitching my concept to a small audience of two for the first time. In that moment all the hard work, research, and exhaustingly steep learning curb were so worth it! It had come together in a nice little presentation, and it told the exact story I wanted to tell for so long. After the presentation I walked out of the room with the biggest smile on my face, knowing that I’ve just had an epic win.

I honestly think we need to put a little more gamification into our work life like this. If nothing else, we should at least seek out and recognize the epic wins we have at work.

5. The wizard

Speaking of gaming: My office mates at Random Dragon Games is making a new game - with wizards! Everyone was invited to contribute to new characters. Here’s my entry.

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