Weeknotes 22:23

August 24, 2022

Week of August 14-20

New Project Energy Efficiency Hub V2

I started the week on Tuesday after taking a day off on Monday. A new project greeted me as I returned to the office. We are building the second iteration of the Energy Efficiency Hub. We launched the first iteration of the site back in November.

The second iteration will be more robust than the one-page site we launched in the Fall. It will include a resource center and pages for individual task groups. This project will be my third Gutenberg build and I am excited to build upon what I learned in the previous two projects. The new site is slated to launch in early October.

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life

We have to answer a fun Friday question each week at our Friday standup. Several weeks ago, the question was about what we had been reading recently. My teammate, Lynae, mentioned the book, Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life. As she talked about the book and the things she had learned, I knew that I wanted to read it. I checked our local library and put a request for the next available copy.

The book had been returned while I was traveling. I picked it up on Monday and started reading it on my day off. I am really enjoying the book and consuming it quickly.

The book reminds me a bit of Range, which I read a couple of years ago. Range challenges the modern obsession with specialization and shows the value of a generalist. In much the same way, Alchemy challenges the modern obsession with rationalization. The author shows through case studies and stories that humans do not always make rational choices and many of our motivations are not conscious. He argues for the need to apply psychology and to ask childish questions which the answer seems self-evident to tackle problems from a new perspective.

“Most valuable discoveries don’t make sense at first–if they did, someone would have discovered it already.”

“Just because there is a rational answer to something, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a more interesting, irrational answer to be found in the subconscious.”

“We have a culture that prizes measuring things over understanding people.”

“If there is a mystery at the heart of this book, it is why psychology has been so peculiarly uninfluential in business and policy-making when, whether done well or badly, it [psychology] makes a spectacular difference.”

“The fact that something does not work through a known or logical mechanism should not make us unwilling to adopt it. We used aspirin to reduce pain for a century without having the faintest idea of why it worked.”

This book is not an outright rejection of rational thinking or rationalization but it argues that we need to leave room for alchemy; to recognize some things work even though we may not understand why and there is still magic in the world that we need to be open to embracing.

LGND Campfire with Jack Ossa

This past Friday, we got to hear Jack Ossa’s story during our LGND Campfire. Jack went through Goldman Sachs 10,ooo Small Businesses program with LGND founder, Patrick Sims. Jack told his incredible story of how he came to the US from Columbia. He came on a 6-month visa with a dream to work at a top architectural firm. He hustled and was able to land a job with a firm that sponsored the long-term work visa that allowed him to continue to pursue his dreams in this country.

Three years ago, he struck out on his own and started Ossa Studio. He started to do websites and branding for the construction industry because he saw a big need outside of traditional architecture services. He is leveraging relationships in South America with two employees working from Columbia. He hosts a design-focused podcast that explores the intersection of architecture, construction, and real estate, in order to understand the dynamics and trends that shape an exciting and powerful built environment.

I really enjoyed hearing Jack’s story and some of the lessons that he had learned along the way. I find it very interesting how he has combined architectural services with branding and building websites. I got my degree in architecture. I never practiced architecture but I saw a lot of parallels with it when I began designing and building websites.

I also found it interesting to hear the part his wife played in his decision to strike out on his own. She gave him the push he needed and gave him support to take this step of courage. In my own life, I can think of several times that I would not have had the courage to make some risky decisions like Jack did if it had not been for the love and support of my wife. So that part of his story really connected with me as well.

Articles I read

What I watched

  • Creative CSS Layout – A great presentation from Michelle Barker from CSS Day. I found a solution to a recent problem I encountered.
  • Responsive & Accessible Animation with gsap.matchMedia() – I learned quite of few things from Cassie in this video.
  • Accessibility Review of kexp.org – Marcy Sutton does an accessibility review of a local radio station’s site and gives some tips that would be applicable to many sites.
  • Blown Away: Season Three (Netflix)
  • Assembled: Ms. Marvel (Disney+)
  • SheHulk (Disney+)
  • The Devil Wears Prada (Prime)
  • Purple Hearts (Netflix)

Books I have been reading

What I played

  • Wordle
  • MLB The Show 21 (Braves) – I started playing the World Series over the weekend. I won the first two games in Chicago against the White Sox and then lost Game 3 at home. The White Sox unleashed several home runs and I was not really in the game after the third.

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