Living with jxnblk

A few years ago I moved into a basement apartment with @jxnblk. I was only around two weeks a month as I was splitting time between LA and DC. During this period of time Jackson taught me a lot about living life, being a designer, and being a better person.

  1. Pick one small thing and do it every day. Over and over. Focus on quantity not quality. Quality will come as a direct result of quantity. This is the quickest and most efficient way I’ve found to attain the agency to build anything you can dream up. You don’t have to work in 5 hour stretches. An hour of dedicated work a day will go a long way.
  2. Have fewer things. The fewer things in your life, the more mental energy you’ll have for other stuff. Our shared apartment space consisted of a small desk, a folding table with four folding chairs that were kept in a closet when we weren’t using them, and a set of speakers. That was it. My room contained a twin mattress on the floor. Jackson's contained a futon that he only put down as a bed at night when we went to sleep. My LA house was not so minimal and the contrast in my mental energy for creativity was noticeable immediately.
  3. If you don’t have furniture you probably have enough space to bike around in circles inside.
  4. Read a lot of science fiction.
  5. Cats are fascinating and misunderstood creatures that you can learn a lot from.
  6. Not everyone has great eyesight. Type shouldn’t be smaller than 16px and most copy should probably be even bigger than that because if you don’t want everyone to read the words you put on a page why put them there at all. Some fonts are tough to read for dyslexic people. These people matter too, in fact, all of your users matter. They are the most important thing to design for.
  7. You should constantly try lots of different products whether or not you’d ever be inclined to use them in real life. You can find design lessons in many places. But you must go looking.
  8. Working with people is more fun and rewarding than trying to be a wizard rockstar all by yourself.
  9. Biking in circles around your apartment will generally lead to an immense amount of fun. And an excellent way to learn how to do a trackstand.

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