The Crazy One

Ep 65 Listener questions: Branding navigation, hamburger menus, design systems, inspiring change and more.

July 29, 2018 Stephen Gates Episode 65
The Crazy One
Ep 65 Listener questions: Branding navigation, hamburger menus, design systems, inspiring change and more.
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The Crazy One
Ep 65 Listener questions: Branding navigation, hamburger menus, design systems, inspiring change and more.
Jul 29, 2018 Episode 65
Stephen Gates

In this episode, we will answer listener questions about if main navigation should just get you around or project a brand image, if there such a thing as “necessary evils” in design, my take on having Design Systems in a large enterprise, how to inspire change in small organizations, and How travel inspires my creativity and approach.

SHOW NOTES:
http://thecrazy1.com/episode-65-2/
 
FOLLOW THE CRAZY ONE:
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook 

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we will answer listener questions about if main navigation should just get you around or project a brand image, if there such a thing as “necessary evils” in design, my take on having Design Systems in a large enterprise, how to inspire change in small organizations, and How travel inspires my creativity and approach.

SHOW NOTES:
http://thecrazy1.com/episode-65-2/
 
FOLLOW THE CRAZY ONE:
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook 

Stephen Gates :

What's going on everybody, and welcome into the 65th episode of The Crazy One podcast. As always, I'm your host, Stephen Gates. And this is the show where we talk about creativity, leadership, design, and all kinds of things that help to empower creative people. Now, be sure to subscribe to the show, so you get the latest episodes whenever they come out. And while we're there, take just a couple minutes to leave a review and let everybody know what you think about it. How did we get to Episode 65? I mean, if we were a person, we'd be retired by now. This is nuts. I guess I just had to kind of take a minute and soak that in. I don't I don't know where the two years has gone. I don't know where six five episodes have gone. But here we are. And I thought you know what, let's do another one of my favorite shows, which is one of these ones where we answer listener questions. Normally I go through I create these shows. I mean, probably not necessarily in a vacuum. But look, I love the moments where this is more of a conversation than a lecture. Well, it's more of again, how do I have less of a script, stop overthinking things so much and just be able to respond Do what people want. And as always, whenever I do one of these, if you want to get your question in one of these shows, send it to me, I am always happy to answer stuff over email or put it in the next episode like this. And as a disclaimer, sorry if I mispronounce somebody's name incorrectly, I've done in the past, I always feel horrible. But whenever I find out, like I always say I'm sorry. So again, I do my very best to be able to do that. But again, if I get it wrong, just I don't know what call me out on social media, make yourself feel better, do whatever you want to do. But for today, we've got five questions to go through. Got some interesting ones. Some things I definitely have got some thoughts on. So let's start with the first one. The first one comes from Michael Bose and Michael asked should the main navigation of a site just your around or should it project the brand image and philosophy? It's a really good question. And I think it's a really good question that not enough people really take the time to think about because I've always been of the mind and I think they goes back. Really, I mean, Good Lord 15 years for me maybe a little bit more. I think that you can use any interaction to build a brand. I think that can be the navigation in the way that it's set up. I think it can be animation in the way that something comes in. It can be imagery, it can be sound haptics, um, anything can reinforce what a brand can do. And so I think whenever it comes to navigation, though, there are some things to think about. And you know, what, honestly, I'd probably broaden it out a little bit more than that. I think any digital interaction, whenever it comes to branding, you need to think about this stuff. The first is to make sure that whenever you're doing it is clear, and you don't get too cute. Because I think that there is a tendency to get really caught up in your own world to really be able to just think about what do we want to do? How are we different? How are we? And you need to think about that. I think if you're writing something like the body of an email, you can get much more clever Where you can get much more interesting. navigation is something that is functional. So I think you need to always balance the brand against the utility and how are people going to use it? Because I think that if you get too cute, a couple things will start to happen. I think one people just don't know what to do. Because the branding your nomenclature, the way that you talk about stuff just overwhelms common sense. I think that another one is, again, you need to think about, is this going to be something that's only going to exist in English? That was something that I had to learn the hard way? Because sometimes you'll use branded words or you create words or do things like that, that can't be translated into other languages. This was a big one back whenever I worked on w hotels, there was this era that I guess I only can describe it, it started before I got there, where the brand just kind of talked like Elmer Fudd and it was because like, we thought it was gonna be really cute to try to use w in words as much as you could. So as an example, something like Valentine's Day was it love it was love does uuv does my Elmer Fudd comment. But the problem was

Unknown Speaker :

that

Stephen Gates :

W's don't just exist in the United States, they existed in Asia, they existed in Europe. And those were words that had no translation. And that they were something that you could understand and would kind of roll your eyes of the joke about whenever you wouldn't be able to see it. But whenever I got another languages, we had created this whole kind of nomenclature that made no sense in another language. So I think that's one of the things where you need to make sure that you're being thoughtful about where you're doing these sort of things. But again, I think like W is also a really good example because as you talk about animation, transitions, audio, different things like that, like we actually worked it out so that the animation that you would see on say, like a W hotels, much more energetic, much younger, probably faster, had a little bit more of kind of like a bounce to it whenever it stopped a little bit of that sort of like carryover motion versus if we worked on something like St. Regis St. Regis was more bespoke it was more heritage, the transitions were slower, the animations were smoother, instead of sort of like overshooting and snapping back the way the W would have that energy, you know, you'd get to a St. Regis and it would sort of do a really nice sort of elegant, ease out and just sort of settle into place. So I think that there are all of these things that can but the thing that I would tell you to do is to think about, what are the moments where you feel like you can really have that impact? Because the other problem is going to be? If you think that every touchpoint has this impact, then you just overwhelm people. So I think, look at the couple that matter. Look at the couple that you think people are open to it, look at the ones where you think you can make a brand differentiating sort of moment or experience there and put the effort there. I would probably argue navigation is more than likely not one of those, I think unless it's like the About Us section or something like that. Maybe you get a little bit there. But in general, like I said, be judicious about this. But the other big part of this is to make sure that you're again, being thoughtful. About that navigation. And I think that there were two big ones that I see on this right? I think one is to make sure that it is consumer centric, not business centric and the way that you organize it, because I think this is this is a big one, right? And it's one of the ones that interestingly, for me, I want to do design transformation work like one of the canaries in the coal mine, the coal mine that I look at, is the way a company really organizes its main navigation. Because the thing that you find is that if the navigation of the site mirrors the organization of the company, you're probably in trouble. Because what that means is that the work is probably incredibly siloed, that the navigation has been broken up so that each of these different teams can own this different part of the site, as opposed to if it's consumer centric, then you probably have a much healthier, much better organization, because it's much more blended in its approach. But I think that that's what I said is, on the one hand, it's a real interesting tell because as I've said before, like this is why I use phrases like the work is the truth. Because again, you can look at something like navigation on a site, and it tells you the truth about a company. It betrays and exposes the way that it's organized, it portrays and exposes its thinking. But this is also why it really betrays the customer interaction. Because you're forcing a corporate structure on a consumer interaction. You're forcing them to think the way the company is organized, not that the company is organized, or expressing itself the way it consumer thinks. And so again, I think, be thoughtful about that. But also be thoughtful about it. We'll get into this in the next question. I'm just going to touch on it now. Don't use a damn hamburger menu. Like they're just. You don't actually you don't let's just move to the next question. Because it's this. This is the part of the next question. So let's just go to that and we can explain as we go. The next question comes from Daniel Gill. And you'll see what I mean about linking these two together. So his question was, is there such a thing as necessary, evil InDesign. I've been seeing that the hamburger menu is much maligned in design lately, but Apple, Google and many others still use it. I wonder why the hamburger menu is an interesting phenomenon. I think the hamburger obviously grew out of it. So if you don't know what a hamburger menu is its design slang for anytime you go into mainly mobile experience or an app experience, and the menu is portrayed by three horizontal lines, and so everybody basically said that you know, that looks like a hamburger. It's the bun the meat in the bun right so that that is referred to in design slang as a hamburger menu. Just for those if you've never heard a call that mango press all your design friends, but hamburger menus are interesting. I personally hate them. I think that they are a lazy solution because they often become a dumping ground for out of control navigation. I think that they are the symptom of organizations and design teams that do not have the discipline or clarity to be able to narrow down The experience into something that is clean and manageable. And so I think as a result, I'm not a big fan of it. I know that you know, Daniel to your question, Apple actually killed them out of their design standards out of their Xcode library A few years ago, if you ever really amazing talent, there's a guy named Mike Stern, who is Apple's senior design evangelist. Go follow him on Twitter. He's an incredible resource for for to to keep up with everything that's kind of sort of going on. With apple in design. If you ever go to WWDC, he's more than likely the guy that you've seen on stage giving the design sessions. I've been incredibly lucky to have worked on him with him with a number of different projects. He has a really funny running vendetta and often several very kind of funny tweets about wanting to kill hamburger menus. But here's the bigger thing that I would say because I think to to sort of step back into the question you would ask you to kind of set are there necessary evils? I think that while you may look a hamburger is a necessary evil, I would make the argument to actually say there are no necessary evils. I think that there is a balance point, right? Because on the one hand, you need to pay attention to really what is the operating system design standards and patterns, because there is a reality that there are certain ways if you're on iOS, if you're on Android, if you're on mobile web, there are certain ways and certain standards and the ways things are built. That means that people understand what those are. So the lift on you is lower, meaning you don't have to come up with crazy icons, you don't have to come up with crazy things. Because if people see a certain icon, like if you see a gear icon, you know, it's for settings. If you see those three horizontal lines, you know that it's a menu, if you see a person, you know that it's profile. Now, those are cultural design rituals that we carry from experience to experience in this sort of digital world. They're all things that we've either consciously or subconsciously agreed to use to represent that thing. And so some of those are indicated and triggered by by people like apple or by Google with what they do with Android, for certain, you know, setting certain design patterns, so be aware of those. But I think the other thing is that don't ever feel like you're a slave to those. I can tell you, again, having worked with Apple, and Google and things like that, you can go in and break pretty much anything that you want. But as long as you have two very, very important things. One is that you have a reason why are you not going to follow the standard. And that too, you do it consistently, because the problem happens whenever you get inconsistency, where it's like, okay, we're going to break it here. But we're going to use the standard here, where I do something different here. But then another place, we're going to do it totally differently. So I think that there are really no necessary evils. And if you think that something is bad, like I said, I feel like hamburger menus are lazy. I think that they are not a good navigational experience. I think there are much better ways of being able to handle that. But that being said, I can be totally wrong. Maybe in your instance, it's makes complete sense. But if it does make sense, make sure you do it consistency consistently, make sure you do it smartly. Make sure that it is clean and clear. And then that becomes part of the motion of your app. Because that's the thing is I think, as long as a decent percentage are based in these sort of ritualized norms, where I can come in and understand it, then I think you're okay. I think if you break it in a few places, but you break it consistently, people will relearn. The problem comes in. And I think that that's This is why you see this debate between necessary evils and sort of just like wild design, is that if you're making me relearn something too often, or if the percentage I have to relearn is too big. You better be delivering candidly a shit ton of value for me to invest in this one particular special way of why you do things, as opposed to the fact that you could just lift literally just lift what other people are doing, and reuse it. So again, it's like so many of these things. The answer is yes. Use your brain. And I think that's the thing is decide what do you want to keep? What do you want to change? Whenever you do it, change it consistently having good logic and reason to do it, demonstrate it understand that there is a difference there, you might have to explain it. But I would also argue that for me, like tutorial screens are the ultimate. I don't know what they're the ultimate like white flag or sign that your design isn't very good, I guess. Because there are these things like the best interfaces I've ever designed are a balancing point between something that's new, grounded in something familiar, so that you can take something that people understand and evolve it, change it, tweak it a little bit. So as soon as they do it, it feels familiar. But it's all together something new. And I think if you're able to find that, then the necessary evils sort of go away, and they really get to just becoming something a little bit different. So we had those two questions which were interconnected. May were there one a one B, but again, I think, you know, this is the crux, I think as you look at design systems, which we'll talk about one of the later questions today. This is all something comes up. And I think this is where you need to have clarity about what is your opinion? What do you want to do? And because again, I know that the ones that just simply blindly follow. Like, the worst thing you can do is I don't know why if you're a travel company to try to design a travel app, like what you think Apple would want, they don't want that. You shouldn't want that. Again, is it all about best practices? Sure. But again, think about that. So actually, you don't let's reorder these. And so for the next one, as I kind of hit on design systems, I actually have a question on design system. So this one comes from a rune maracas on and this question is, what is your take on having design systems in a large enterprise setup. The advantages are having reusable UI components, which aids in consistency, usability and familiarity. This in turn helps designers improve efficiency, and focus on larger problems to solve agree with that. Disadvantages. Our designers sacrifice user context for efficiency and consistency. they're forced to pick up UI components from the available library. They start weaving the screens From the library set and stop solving user problems, so a ruin, I would say this is something that I've been focused on a lot over the past couple years for a few different reasons. I think one was over the two and a half years that I was at City, spending a lot of time and money and effort in developing the city digital design language, which is what's being used for all their new experiences, because I felt like the ones that they had had issues and we needed to evolve that. But I think also for me recently has been working to help to launch at envision our design system manager. So this is a space I've spent a bunch of time working on. So as usual, I have thoughts. Like I said, briefly, I completely agree on the advantages because I do think that having reusable UI gets you to consistency. We just talked about this in the last two questions. You need to be able to generate consistent experiences and this is increasingly challenging as we have multiple different teams. We have agencies we have multiple people in different locations, all working on the same thing, but the end of the day, it has to get stitched back together to look like one particular thing, too is that usability and from arity these are really sort of interconnected because usability I think, is really good. Because, again, if I have a design system, I can put research into it. I know it works. I have metrics that are signed against it, which then breeds familiarity. People know how to use this stuff. I think that with the disadvantages that you see, I would say that you might want to rethink the way that you've built or the way that you're using your design system. Because at the end of the day, you really have to balance consistency without losing creativity. This is the ultimate battle and doing something like this. Because if you think about it, we as designers need to think and evolve because we've gotten a little bit too caught up in the new in that every time we do something, even if it's something as goofy as designing a new button. We sort of like the end end, we've created every pixel, we've touched everything. We've designed every bit of it. And in a lot of ways the problem is as design has evolved, we've gotten To a place where we're being asked for speed, we're being asked for consistency, we're being asked to operate inside of organizations that want all those things, which means that a lot of that individualized design is not where we should be seeing success. And I think this is a challenge, because I've seen more than one designer who, whenever they start working with a design system will feel like it is the death of creativity. It is the death of design, because now they're just pulling pieces apart and sticking them back together. My argument to that has been two things. I think one is what I said before, if you built the system the right way, that is not true. But also again, the thing that we should mostly be focused on above everything is the experience that we are delivering. And at the end of the day, I would be much happier in designing something that really moves the needle that really helps my customers, as opposed to just designing a new button. So I think that as designers, we need to recalibrate what makes us happy and then it is not going to be that end to end design. much in the same way that if you think about it, not very Long ago, we had to rethink giving up pixel perfection, meaning that in many cases as we look at percentage based design grids, as we looked at, you know, responsive design, it is not about the fact that everything is going to look 100% the way that my comp does all the time because again, as we have percentage base wits and other things like that, things flex so the way our thinking is evolved there, it needs to evolve here. Now specifically to whenever I said, you might need to think about building your system differently. The reason why I say that is because whenever I built systems, I built it with atoms and so for if you don't know what atomic design is, I did a whole episode on it. Go back listen to it. short version is it basically is based on a lot of sort of like the idea of what happens in atomic physics, right? So that there are atoms, small building blocks, molecules a little bit bigger organisms a little bit bigger, and on and on, but these basic building blocks for much more complicated organisms as you move through the system. I build a system as atoms so things like colors, fonts, buttons, I build molecules. which are then simple combinations of those. And I build organisms, which are the key reusable parts. But I'll be honest that I stopped there. And I know if you read anything from Brad frost, if you're anything everybody else who does amazing work in this space, this is the part where I personally diverge a bit, because I have found that whenever you get into building templates and building pages, there are problems. One being that if it is an organization of any scale, you're never going to be able to build enough templates. Because everybody's always going to want something special, a little bit different. And to be able to say that we've thought through enough templates that we have every instance kind of covered is a little bit too hard. And I think if you try to then start forcing too many of those flows into these templates, it starts to become too cookie cutter or you start actually sacrificing you know, honestly, what, what is the best part of again, understanding and really looking at each flow. That being said, though, you can tip the other way and if everything is every single time, we're rethinking everything in We're just staying at the atomic level every single time. Again, you're not driving consistency. So it's the balance between those two of how do I build a system up enough? That No, we do not need to rethink, you know, an address input field every time? No, we do not need to rethink a calendar picker every single time. No, we do not need to rethink a navigation structure, like there are certain things that definitely should be standardized. But it really is this idea of like freedom and a framework. And I think that's what I want to look for. Because if you go too far, the other way becomes too prescriptive, everything becomes too templatized. And you're absolutely right, it kills too much creativity, and it makes your group look like a commodity. And this is where again, I tend to really focus is on what is the value proposition my team gives back to the company. And if it is that I'm just taking these parts off the shelf, and then all of a sudden, it's like, I don't know what WordPress or something where you just pick from a little bit of each column to put it together. Then we're losing the art and we're losing kind of the the innovation in this and then we're going a little bit too data blind or we're getting a little bit too lazy. So make systems that really work this way. Because the other thing that I've discovered is also, whenever it gets to templatized, or whatever it gets it the same thing. If you don't have atoms, and you only have organisms, the other thing that I've seen is your design system becomes an excuse. And it becomes an excuse for your design team, which is not what you would expect. Because they would say, Oh, I'd love to be able to solve this problem. But I only have these, whatever it is two forms to pick from. This is the one that is not really perfect, but it's it's the one that fits it the best. And so what happens with that I think this is what happened whenever I had gotten to city was that the designer we just had become an excuse. Because since they were so restricted, because they've been so templatized people are going off to start to build other systems, they were just simply being ignored. Everything was a one off. And so then we lost control of consistency, because we're trying to be such a police state around consistency. But this is that sort of thing of like finding that balance and find the balance with like I said that freedom and a framework approach. Give creatives the space to be creative, but also real align them around what actually matters. Designing a button is not what fucking matters. What matters is creating a really great experience, what create what matters is delivering, you know, things that actually solve problems for people. That's what matters. And again, you can work to be able to make button design and things like that better if you need to. But that's not what really matters at the heart of what we do. Create a team to be able to work on the system. So it's a living thing that can respond to problems. That's the other part of it is you create a system, and then just simply create it and then just put it out in the world without a way for it to evolve. It absolutely is going to struggle. Because again, there's going to be instances that you didn't think of, they're going to be things that need to be modified, there's going to be other stuff that comes up that needs to change. Somebody needs to own that it needs to be a living thing, because like I said, whenever you launch it, and it becomes this stagnant monolith, then it becomes really, really hard to work with. I would tell you to get a tool I personally would recommend the design system manager that envision is just launching because this helps you distribute and manage your design system. Because that's another part of it is to give it in to those designers to give it to those teams in ways that are easy to work with. But then also make sure that it gives you something that makes it easy for you to version it to push out changes, we got to push out updates to keep everybody on the same page in a way that is really easy for that team to be able to do that. Because again, that's where it can get a little bit ungainly and you can start to struggle. But the other big part of all of this we did I did not hit on is to make sure your tech team is working in the same way or all this can fall apart. If they're not using componentize code. If they aren't using that same approach if they aren't using a push model so that whenever you make a change in the code, it doesn't push down through the experience. You're still basically where you are a ton of rework a ton of inconsistency, and you're not really going to pick up the benefits that you should be getting from something like this. So the next question comes from Stephanie Lopez haina. That feels like one of those last names I may have mispronounced it ha why at a we're gonna say that. Hopefully that was right, but if not, she can correct I'll make it up to you somehow. But so Stephanie asked how to inspire change in small organizations, especially when you're at a new company. Because I think that she's going through this thing where she's It was a much longer question. So I'll summarize a little bit. I think that she's sort of feeling like she's incompatible with the existing process and structure that it seems like there's sort of a, you know that she is a strong proponent of design thinking that she had learned in school where it's this is all about collaboration, rapid prototyping, user centered design, but the company is much more about sort of that classically oriented approach with much more of a linear process where everybody just has stakeholder input. There isn't very much collaboration with the team and there is sort of that, that hierarchical need to know kind of horrible thing. So I think this is I think this is much more common than people think. I think it is not just something that is common to small companies, though, I think the thing that I would say is it is much harder to solve and make progress against if you're a small company. The reason why I say that is I think that if you're at a large company, it's very easy to find other people who think like you do, it's very easy to find a project that you can work on, start to do that show some success and work from there. The smaller company is really the limiting factor in this. And the thing that I say is that, you know, if you want to inspire change in any organization, there are really three things that you need to go back and look at. And so I would tell you to start with these things, three things, and I'll try to give specifics as I go. The first is to look at the tools you use. And so this is what are the tools that you're using that actually allow for collaboration. And this could be as simple as post it notes. This could be as simple as, you know, again, or using online whiteboards. Are you using, you know, Google Docs? Are you using, you know, our vert boards, which is a great way for us to be able to do things like that, but are you using things that encourage that? I think that a lot of it is looking at the space that you occupy? Are you doing ideation in one space? Is everybody really distributed? I mean, basically, are you setting up some space that is going to allow for ideation and conversation Which again, for small companies may not always be possible. But I think the biggest one really is it comes down to the norms that you establish, meaning that if you are a voice in the process, how do you start and again, the temptation here is going to be to boil the ocean, right? Like, let's change everything at once. That is not going to work, especially if you have somebody like this fewer people, smaller company, probably a little bit more in deeply entrenched ways of doing things. What I would tell you to do is to think about how do you find one part of the process, whether it's research, whether it's brainstorming, whether it's doing a whiteboard session to sketch things out, again, like you're going to know the people I know, some of those might be a wonderful idea. Some of them might be a complete dumpster fire. So what I would tell you to do is to think about the one that you feel like would probably be the most likely to be successful. And start there and try to bring everyone into the process where you are the guide, but you are asking them to voice opinion and because the thing is, this is that classic comfort is the enemy of greatness sort of moment. And I think a lot of people go like, yeah, that's the problem. But this is the other part of it is then in tons of people, I talk to tons of people, I coach, everybody wants to be like all for the problem and all for innovation until it's hard. And then all of a sudden, it's hard. This is the part where again, leadership and things like that, where the rubber meets the road. But find that one area, find the way where you feel like you can start to introduce them to something a little bit different. Now progress is going to be slow victories are going to be small, but what you want to do is to try to make some dent somewhere, get a little bit of success, then take that one thing and add on a little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more. Because here again, as you've if you've heard the episodes or you talk where I've heard me talk about leadership, creativity change is like falling in love. It's a lot of little things that add up to something big. This is the epitome of that because I think what you can't do is just sit there and say, I have this way of thinking it's better. why doesn't everybody get with the program and just either judge them for it, belittle them for it, or again, just kind of like begrudge for the fact that they don't work the way that you do, they probably don't know any better. And the uncertainty of creativity probably scares the shit out of them. So I think this is where you need to be the strong one, this is where you need to be the guy, this is where you need to be the one who can get in. And like I said, try to make sure that as a safe space for them to be able to come in and do this. But to do it in a way where there's also going to be some output that successful because I think that's the other key part of this is that if you do it, and it doesn't really go anywhere, then you've got a really big problem. So it's kind of a generic answer. Again, if this is something that you're struggling with Stephanie, the same thing, like just reach out to me, because I think that there may be a place where you need to have a slightly deeper conversation. But that's what I would say is like, have a little patience. Understand the changes are going to be small, and start someplace where you feel like you can really make a dent and start to make a difference and start with that. But here again, this is why you've heard me talk in the past about whenever I talk about organizational change, I talk about it in the scope of years. Not months, not weeks, not days that do the average large organizational change, small organizational change is somewhere on the horizon of one to two years, which is where most people's eyes roll into the back of their head. But that's the reality that there it takes that level of patience to be able to get people to change. And so our final question is a bit of a fun one. And you know what, sometimes I like the people who don't I get a ton of work questions. I mean, like, I think that they're great. But I also think that a lot of what informs my perspective, I think a lot of what informs what I do is what happens outside of work. I think that the work is work is the product of a lot of other things. And so the question comes from Twitter, and it comes from somebody named Mac more. I'm assuming that I see here again, like nobody ever has it like nobody ever liked it like named Joe sends me a question. So this is m A with like a line underneath it. So I don't know if that's Mach, Mac. Anyway, somebody who knows that can tell me what it means. This is the show of I don't know how the hell they pronounce people's names. But the question was, how does travel inspire your Creativity and approach to work. And I think travel has been probably one of the most formative things about my work. It's been some of the most humbling things about my work because it opens you up to so many other things like I mean, the first place to travel I that I can remember had a really big influence on my work was that I've been working on American Airlines. We'd been hired and asked by Cathay Pacific to come to Asia, Hong Kong in particular, to help them with their brand. And I remember the studio we've been really, really successful with American after September 11, trying to rebuild the brand. And so we kind of felt like we we really understood this space. Took a bunch of designers did a whole bunch of work for cafe put it together. I got on a plane flew. I don't know what it was 1619 some crazy amount of hours, landed in Hong Kong went and did the pitch, showed them all the work at the end of which they very politely because the way that they are culturally, but they very politely basically said that this was cute, but it was what Americans would think an Asian Consumer would want, it may still be one of the most polite, yet devastating critiques of my career. Because it had never dawned on me being the very arrogant American, I guess I'm not sure quite what it would have been. Just think that kind of my singular perspective was the one that mattered that the way that I saw the world was the way that everyone else must see the world. And it sort of set me down a path because I think that in that moment, when you have that realization that you are not your consumer, that you're part of the world is not the entire part of the world, and that there are a lot of other perspectives there. I think travel then really becomes addictive. And so for me, travel is one of my greatest inspirations. I think I'm at a point in my career where I am ridiculously lucky. I mean, just to the point where I don't even feel like I deserve it sort of lucky that I'm able to travel the world, to do talks, to do speeches to do these sorts of things. And it used to To be, you know, I've just be happy if I could travel around the United States now it's kind of like where do I want to go in the world and and to be able to have people want to bring me there to be able to talk is just bananas to me. But here's the great part about travel. Because what I think that travel does so well is that it lets you meet new people. It lets you see new perspectives. And for me, it's the the fascinating thing is I don't care what part of the world you're from, I don't care what language you speak, I don't care, any of those sorts of things. We all share the creative condition and want to create ideas. This is again, why the people I tend to hang out with very rarely do the same thing that I do. They are a street artists, they're tattoo artists. They're chefs. They're like they're all but again, we all share the creative condition that allows us to be able to kind of be bound around that. But again, I think that the best ones that I'm around the best people in an industry that I see also really value travel. Because like I said, it brings in Those other perspectives. But it's what influences that creative process, which is where I start to really dig in and find fascinating. Because if we all say that, generally people have ideas sort of the same way, maybe the lens you look at maybe the way you connect the dots is a little bit different. But creativity is essentially creativity. And no matter where you're from the world or what language you speak, you can generally quickly bond around that. The influence in the variable then comes as you look at really the cultural and historical perspective that has that shapes those lenses, because, you know, this is why somebody that I meet in Spain or in Barcelona, it's why I end up going there so much. Because Barcelona in Spain, to me is really fascinating, because in a lot of Europe, if I go to Paris, London, places like that, in general generalization, you see work that is very similar, very similar quality and very similar perspective to what I find in New York and Los Angeles. Spain to me is very interesting because like Spain is much more insular. You don't tend to see women carrying Louis Vuitton bags you don't tend to see, you know, a lot of influences of a lot of cuisines and a dominant way. Spain is much more insular because you'll see them carrying Spanish designers, you see them valuing Spanish culture, you see them being much more closed off as the wrong word, but they don't simply look to other cultures to be their inspiration, in quite the same way. So as a result, I think the food that you find there the ideas that you find there, the people that you find there tend to be different than what you would tend to find in something like Paris or London or New York. And so those are the ones that I tend to really like to seek out. The ones that are wildly creative. I mean, look, the reason why I go to Spain is that these are people that value food and design. I mean, these are my people, like come on. And so but it is it's starting to look at the cultural input it's trying to look at like in Catalonia, they've been trying to secede from Spain for 400 years. It creates a very interesting mindset, and a very interesting history that influences their creativity in the way that they do things. You know, again, even in Spain or the unemployment rate for people under I think it's like 25, or 30 is almost 50%. Again, creativity takes on a very different shape. But in all of this, I would tell you to just travel as much as you can go to as many places as you can do as much as you can say yes to as much as you can to let it get you there. But it, it only works if you're open to those experiences, even if there is something new and uncomfortable because I know so many people who have traveled the world, but are not worldly. It's a little bit like in fashion. You can buy fashion but you have style fashion is what you buy style is how you wear it. Then I know tons of people who've been to tons of amazing places, and they ate at McDonald's whenever they got there. They wanted the same experience that they had at home, just in an exotic destination. For me whenever I travel, if I'm in Asia, I want to be the only Western face I see. I want to go places where is only locals, I don't want to go to tourist traps. I don't want to go to places where the menus are in English. I want to meet and become friends with local people I want to go where they go, I want to know what they think is good, not what they think I would like. Huge, huge difference. But it's amazing what happens when you travel the world, meet somebody new smile, stick your hand out and say, Hi, my name is Steve, what do you love? That approach to travel is what makes all the difference. That approach opens your eyes. It lets you see the world in a very, very different way. And that again, I think that absolutely makes your creativity and what you do infinitely stronger. Because your perspective is bigger. Your perspective is constantly changing. You're you're constantly seeing things in ways that you hadn't seen before. And that's how you grow. That's what we want as creatives that's what we want. I want to know that the work I do tomorrow is better than the work I do today. How do I do that? And so for me, this is the foundation of my career. My foundations aren't giving My ideas, this is why I speak this is why I do a podcast because it forces me forward. And whenever I force myself forward, I need to feed that space, I need to find new inspirations to do that. Travel is an amazing input into that. But travel can also be something it's much closer to home travel can also be, what is the circle of people that you have that inspire you? What are the circle of people who push you for who challenge your thinking? Because I think that's the other thing that I find is that also too many people rely on only going to go and get inspired wherever I go someplace different. You need day to day inspiration to you need people who are going to make you better push you to be better to do those sorts of things. And it can't just be that once a year, twice a year kind of thing. There needs to be the rituals you need to be and have those sort of people. So get on planes go places, do stuff that makes you uncomfortable order food you net you've never heard of or never tried. Just try it wants to see if you like it, and then see what happens out of that meet people whenever you go there. Put yourself If out there be vulnerable to be able to do that. But also think about like I said, What's the day to day version of that? How do you get that every week? How do you strike yourself with the people or find those or seek them out in a lot different forms. This is where social media is amazing. They don't have to be in your town. They don't have to be even in your country. But you can find these communities you can find your tribe and whenever you do, that's how so much of this creativity gets better. So hopefully you found these five questions viable Look, if you got any more send them to me I love doing these shows. I'm always happy to answer as many emails as I can as quickly as I can whenever people send them to you so if you got questions, bring them on. But like I said before, make sure you subscribe to the show so you get the latest episodes whenever they come out because I don't always do it on a completely regular basis. Whenever you're there. leave a review let people know what you think about the show. You can find more about the podcast related articles and notes from all of the episodes head over to podcast Stephen Gates calm Stephen as always as S T p h n gates GTS like that. Bill Gates No, I'm not a relation. Stop asking. Follow me on social media. You can like the show on Facebook, go search for The Crazy One podcast like the show. I'm posting articles and things like that. They're all the time ask me questions, email, social media, anything like that, feel free to follow me Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, those are the big ones. Sorry, I'm not friends with people on Facebook, unless we're friends in real life. Not a personal thing. That's just my sort of thing. As always, everybody down and legal wants me to remind remind you that my views are just my own. They don't represent any of my current or former employers. These are just my own personal thoughts. And finally, I say it every time because I mean it every time. But thank you for your time. I know that time is truly the only luxury that any of us have. And always incredibly humble that you want to spend any of it with me. So hopefully, this helped. Hopefully you send me some more questions and Until then, stay crazy.