The value of diversity in its many forms

“Language, age, geography, personal hardship, they all inform how we solve problems in crazy, subtle ways….It turns out if you’re British or African American from the South (not as a rule but generally speaking), you’re likely to keep your ketchup in the cupboard. If you’re not British or not African American from the south, you tend to keep your ketchup in the fridge. And you could think – who cares? It actually does matter because suppose you run out of ketchup. If you’re out of ketchup, and you store your ketchup in the fridge, what are you going to use? Mayonnaise or mustard because those are the things you think of that are close to ketchup. If, alternatively, you’re a ketchup in the cupboard person, and you run out of ketchup. What is next to the ketchup in the cupboard? Malt vinegar. The more diverse backgrounds you have, the more associations you get, the more paths towards solving a hard problem.” – Scott Page, Professor of Complex Systems, The University of Michigan in the Reply All Podcast, Raising the Bar.

Preventing IE from using Compatibility View

In the past few months, I completed four web sites, three for my full time job and one for a freelance client. The first one I completed actually launched last, and this week, our IT department pointed out that the site doesn’t work on several computers within the network because those computers had IE set to compatibility view so they could use other apps.

WHA??

I had built in backward capability but hadn’t planned for this wrinkle. I tried adding this META tag, but IE still ignored it:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" IE=EDGE" />

Luckily, I found Dale Lane’s blog, and he gave me the answer. You have to put this META tag right under the head tag or IE will ignore it. Why? Who knows.

If you’re using WordPress, open header.php and paste this under the opening <head>tag.

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" IE=EDGE" />

Refresh, and you’re done.

Thanks to Dale Lane. I was unable to find contact information for him, or I would have thanked him myself.

Boring Enough to be Heard

“I don’t feel like I have had to invent a fiction about myself or become something that I’m not. I definitely feel like it took me a while to learn the baseline things you have to do if you want people to hear you. That’s why I’ve had the same haircut for the entire time that I’ve been on television and that’s why I wear literally the same jacket every day. I keep all the clothes I wear on TV in my office on a little hanging rack. My girlfriend calls it all the colors of the German rainbow. Grays, blacks, a slightly greenish gray for the days that I’m feeling particularly festive. I’m not trying to accomplish anything in the way I look other than to be boring enough for people to hear me.” – Rachel Maddow in Lenny

Finding Focus

For the past year, I’ve been obsessed with improving my focus. For all of us, time is limited. How can we better make use of the time in our lives to achieve our goals. I found this effort to be of two parts:
Literally better manage your time
Better manage your expectations and attitude

How are you using time?
To better manage my time, realize how you’re using it. How long are you spending on social media? Watching television? I manage social media accounts for a series of companies, so I can’t completely unplug. However, I can control my time after I make my work-related posts.

Literally better manage your time
Better manage your expectations and attitude

Duolingo on a dark day
Duolingo on a particularly dark day. This app works intuitively to teach you vocabulary and grammar in your target language. Plus, it rewards you for the time you spend learning.

Finding goals and rewards
I’ve always wanted to learn another language, and in December 2014, I found Duolingo. An obsession was born. I funneled time I would have spent watching TV or reading Facebook into level 20 French. What I love about this app is that it rewards you for working with it every day. It’s addictive in the best possible way.

Stop beating yourself up
Nothing is more demotivating than angry self-defeating talk. Don’t do it. If you spend an entire evening on Instagram, brush it off. Get back to your focus without bemoaning the loss of it. This works especially well if you play sports. Missed a shot? Throw an INT? Forget about it. You have to. Focus on what you do well and realize mistakes are part of the process.

Find your own mentors
If you lack actual people to help mentor you, worry not. The internet is full of good advice. For me, podcasts helped me enormously. The Deeply Graphic Design Podcast was especially helpful for career insights.

Get out of your comfort zone
I joined four Meet Up groups in 2015 and started attending networking events I previously would have avoided. The result: a much more satisfied Cher. I’ve had wonderful experiences, met awesome people, and gathered some powerful personal and career advice. I look forward to more in 2016. “Find your people.” #doit

 

 

Old and Functional

IMG_1027I love old things…especially old functional things like dishes and lamps. Really cool old things can be found in two places: vintage stores with knowledgeable proprietors and yard sales. You’ll find the best bargains at yard sales because store owners in the know will price their cool things accordingly. This lamp is a mixture of both. The shade I swapped from another lamp that I purchased in Adamstown, PA. The lamp was purchased at Building Character in Lancaster, PA. It was paired with a white shade of the wrong decade that made it look sad. Old and sad but not old in that cool way we’re looking for. I know a gem when I see it. It was $12.

The miser in me didn’t buy it immediately, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of it to carefully consider it. Regardless, I came back the next day and scooped it up. It had been waiting for so long that the rotting price tag fell off the bottom as I carried it to the register. I dashed to Home Depot for supplies and rewired it immediately carefully cleaning every part with a Magic Eraser and Simple Green. I also picked up an LED bulb, which is essential for preserving your old vintage lampshades. Why? They emit very little heat, and they last a long time.

I spent less than $28 on this lamp, and I use it every day. The pink color reminds me of 50s bathroom tile, and if you look closely, it has a similar texture. The shape reminds me of a seahorse. It makes me smile every time I turn it on.

Novak on Convictions

“You play a lot of mind games with yourself. It is important to always believe you can play your best, perform your best. It is important at the end of the day that your convictions are stronger than your doubts.” -Novak Djokovic

Zadie Smith on Work

“The greatest antidote for everybody in every walk of life. This can happen on a small scale right on the playground when some people are mean to you. The best antidote is work. Is being involved in a subject which is not yourself. Which has some texture which you need to work on and think about. I’ve just learned over the years that I’m always happier in that place than in that echo chamber. I’ve just taken myself out of the current loop, which may make you look absurd in some ways.” – Writer Zadie Smith on work, productivity, and unplugging from social media on the Women of the Hour podcast