With a friendship forged in Poland, Jonathan Gall and Werner Puchert explore ideas and concepts that make designers and entrepreneurs like us tick. Join us as we feed our insatiable curiosity seeking answers to the questions relevant to our listeners from inside and outside Central Europe.
In this episode, Werner and Jonathan start by talking about their never-ending quest to find balance in their separate lives. In addition to an update of the status of their respective work situation, they discuss the importance of taking breaks, especially in a context where travel is not encouraged.
What will happen if you did a podcast a day for 366 days? Finding Frequency is a one man's journey to dial back into life to see the extraordinary in the ordinary one day at a time. This is episode #63, Big rig driver, and a salute to an uncle who died earlier this year. I could not be with my family during this time and created this episode for him.
Rest in peace sir.
Werner Puchert is a South African ex-pat living in Warsaw Poland.
Music, from Artlist.io and cover photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash.
Do you feel constantly having too many things that you absolutely have to do? We feel you... So many of us could fill their entire time awake only with tasks, whether they are professional, personal, or from hobbies. The paradox of that condition is that it gets in the way of actually achieving any of those tasks. Not only because of analysis-paralysis but also because it leads us to spend a considerable amount of time balancing our focus between them all. And unfortunately, we end up disappointing ourselves by comparing what we did versus what we wanted to do. It is to talk about this subject that Werner and Jonathan joined forces this week.
What is not to like about reading? What other media can engulf you in the wilderness of Alaska or the mind of a world leader at a critical moment of history, all from any place you would find fit for it. However, at a time when it's never been easier to have access to written content, it's also particularly difficult to commit to long-form reading due to distractions and the lack of habits. The Internet has predisposed to fast-food reading, making long-form more difficult to digest or even ingest.
The world has been upside-down for some months now as COVID-19 is transfigurating whole communities and creating a dreadful sense of fear in our collective psyche. So, in that context, what could happen in the mind of two solo-entrepreneurs at the dawn of the most important sanitary crisis of the past century?
Hey there, how are you doing? It's the question that Werner and Jonathan ask each other after a few were both were amending their own lives and businesses. This is what this episode is about, an episode about love and goals, about work and friends.
As an independent, either solo-entrepreneur, freelance or consultant, you constantly have to negotiate and prove your value to your (potential) clients. It is a painful exercise that very few are prepared to face at the start of their adventure. Unfortunately, this quickly can become the main culprit for the anxiety and stress that characterize too often the solo experience.
This week, we all discovered that the simple detail that was missing for companies around the world to suddenly discover the wonderful advantages of remote working was... a global pandemic. Now, millions of workers are supposed to become immediately productive in an environment that they, often, never associated with work.
Every single January, most of us go through the same ritual: full of hope, we set up ambitious goals for ourselves for the new year. Then comes the installation of new productivity apps encouraged by pervasive App stores, persuading us that this is the solution. We all know what happens too often next. A few months later, we wither in disappointment and self-doubt.
Ah, the freedom of freelancing, of being your own boss! The concept of running your own business is enthralling, however, very few take the steps towards self-employment. And of those, a good amount drops out of the adventure after just a few months. Are you wondering if you had what it takes to become a successful solo-entrepreneur? Then, this episode is for you. Werner and Jonathan discuss the lessons they learned during their entrepreneurship journey, reflecting on both their successes and failures. And let's be real, especially the failures, so you folks don't make the same. From understanding the crude realities of being a solo-entrepreneur to learning how to sell your skills, you will learn at least one or two useful pieces of information in this episode.
And we’re back! 2020, new year and new iteration for our beloved show Bloc Thinking. Starting today, during each episode, we will focus on a question that you asked us, during more focused shows that will last less than 30 minutes. Short, focused, efficient but with the same energy that characterised our duo.
It's the end of the year and the traditional time for assessments. Both Werner and Jonathan reflect on what went well in 2019 and what they need to work on and improve in 2020. Werner talks about his desire to focus his efforts on structure and process while Jonathan shares how 2019 went well for him and how he wants to continue to do more of what he did during that year. They then talk about the future format they want Bloc Thinking and how they want it to tie better into their professional lives. The show ends with Jonathan sharing a piece of important personal news with the Happiest Place on Earth as the background for that story.
Werner and Jono just got back from Berlin and Amsterdam respectively. Jonathan was invited to speak about a project he's doing in West Africa, and Werner attended the inaugural Event Design Collective Mastermind. Both events provided them with an opportunity to reflect on business in Africa and at home.
Jono and I want to create something else with this platform. Maybe it's time to do something real, something that could gather our listeners around a topic we all care about. Let's face it; we are tired about talking about senior, junior, UX vs UI ... maybe we should be talking about creating sustainable businesses and how we can avoid getting screwed over by the man.
Buying the right gear and software for your business can cause headaches and unnecessary strain on your budget. Yet, sometimes you have to take the plunge, and we don't blame you if you get excited about that new piece of kit. Werner's excitement about a recent purchase, to support an upcoming project, takes us on an unplanned detour into the world of AV hardware and the software.
Jono's hit a downer this week. I'm sure you've had the same in your business or freelancing practice. We share some honest thoughts and cheer each other up as we continue to be grateful for this adventure of 'self-determination' that we're on. We also have a small reading challenge - if you're like to join us.
We gave each other a homework assignment, read 'Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future' by Peter Thiel. We share what we gained from this reading this book (and how it might benefit you).
Running your own business has its ups, downs and challenges. Jonathan and I share what we've been doing the last few week's wrapping up with Jono's review of the recent Framer Loupe 2019 event he attended in Amsterdam.
Ahmad Kadhim Head of Design @mytimesaved (Canada) joined us as a special co-host. Together we explore what it means to work remote and to leverage the freedom in a meaningful way. We ask whether formal studies still makes sense. What about having a varied background with a diverse set of skills? Is it an asset, or might it weigh you down?
Jono is on his way to Framer Loupe, and I still love Omnigraffle. Figma, Sketch, Framer and Jonathan's awesome new business cards - yes he is a product manager. What do all this mean? We huddle together in a room to discuss all this and bid each other safe journeys.
Starting your own 'sideshow' requires some structure and planning, especially if you have to do it with limited additional investment. We dedicate the bulk of the show discussing a tool we created to help you structure your ideas and bootstrap your gig. We also spend a few minutes, at the start to reflect and pay tribute to a South African legend and what his work meant to Werner and Jono.
Listen to your body; keep track of what you are eating and how you are keeping yourself busy. In the episode, Jonathan sign's up for a gym membership, and Werner explores the world of intermittent fasting and tightening the belt on email and interruptions from Donald Trump. Design your life, your work, your health, and love.
Productivity. A topic covered by a serial procrastinator and a man who takes his focus to the next level. Jonathan and I chat about our strategies and the software we use to keep ourselves focused and on track. Well, mostly.
We reflect on some of the topics the speakers at Product Camp Gdynia sparked this year. Fads, methods, product development, foreign accents and Werner's awesome new pencil are just some of the topics covered in this episode.
Sometimes you just hit the record button to catch up with an old friend. Jonathan Gall and I reflect on our respective professional journeys since becoming self-employed here in Poland. The pitfalls and insights after beyond the safety of our former cubicles.
Maciej Saganowski is the mastermind behind Ultimo Studio a boutique consultancy located in the North of Poland. His experience in Sales and Marketing has given him a strong business understanding which he believes will be a crucial skill as designers move from general UX roles into Product Design and Development.
A prolific explorer and entrepreneur Damian Madray moved to Silicon Valley where he co-founded The Glint; a collective of creators with the aim to bring people together to connect in deeply authentic ways. This paved the way to his new project, a start-up titled, Presence. It is here that he is focusing on, what he calls an 'enquiry' into how Experiences can be scaled in a sustainable way.
Iryna Oleksiuk and Adam Liwiński is part of the volunteer team designing TEDxWarsaw 2019. Iryna takes care of event-experience while Adam, a TEDx veteran, is the project owner. We peek behind the (Polish) red circle to give you a taste of what (and who) it takes to create this event along with a few handy tips for the next time you get on stage.
Psst. Listen to the clip after the end credits to find out how Adam prototyped his apartment :)
No one ever said that it's going to be easy starting your own business. Meet Joanna Skorupska, for a candid discussion on getting fired, discovering the maker movement and finding your calling in life (sometimes in the most remote and unexpected places).
Joanna is the founder of Radicalzz studio, where she has made it her mission to accelerate the sustainability and innovation practices in the field of products, and service design and development.
Starting the new year nice and easy with a few good books and perhaps some Tacos and a good Mexican beer. This episode was recorded in San Diego California and is a rundown of my favourite books of 2018. If you love reading about design, and topics related to becoming more aware then this would be for you. It's also a handy primer, just in case you get locked up, and you're not sure which book to choose from the prison library. Happy 2019!
Ever contemplate the similarities between Design and playing Jazz? Not only the interplay between musicians but also the courage required to get on stage to do the work. For Marina Terteryan a Service Designer and musician all the way from Los Angeles, Armenia it's an obvious analogy. We talk about a brave grandma, brave parents who moved to make a new life in America and to be bold in Design.
Paul Bulencea, is a Romanian Experience Designer, with an unquenchable need to play and explore the universe. He is the co-author of the book Gamification in Tourism and one of the founders of the College of Extraordinary Experiences a remarkable, physical interpretation of Pine and Gilmore's "Experience Economy". Paul was also recognised by Forbes in 2018's 30-under-30.
I invite you to look at design through the lens of Culture, with Olga Skoczylas. Olga is a Cultural Economist and co-owner of the Design Agency 'Cultural Design'. In this episode, we cover culture, what it means and why it's important but we don't stop there. She has this innate obsession to create domain names and attach projects of all shapes and sizes to them. To that point, the conversation takes an unexpected detour past blockchain, brutalist design, innovation and art.
Andrew Lacanienta is a Doctoral Candidate in Experience Design at Texas A&M University. He is a close friend who makes a yearly pilgrimage to our side of the world to attend the College of Extraordinary Experiences at Czhocha Castle, Poland. We took some time out of the College schedule to talk about his insights on Experience Desing and focused our conversation on the Theory of Structured Experience Design.
What if you could practice what you preached? Well, Seth Minard, a former Interaction Designer at Cooper is an Example of that. Seth has turned the focus of his design practice inwards to re-design his life. Perhaps, transformation starts with the designer, before attempting to design experiences for others?
We have a few short announcements and thought we'd try a Mini-Episode. Jonathan's business is growing which is GREAT! However, it has a ripple effect on his involvement in this project as my co-host. We discuss this along with some news about our workshop at Product Development Days.
Wojtek Kutyla values the ability of a designer to play the role of enabler, and we ‘absolutely’ agree with his approach. If you building something with a team of people they, we, are all busy with the act of creation. In his words, he has a sneaky plan to replace the old dinosaurs with teams with an user-centric approach.
This week we are joined by Olga Kovalenko. She has found her niche in digital marketing and join us from Kiev, Ukraine where she applies her trade at Trionika as Marketing Team Lead. Here she focuses on email marketing; she's fast to point out that the humble E-mail is not dead [yet], and still remains a key part of the digital communication mix. She recently finished a PhD that focused on unpacking the value of micro-copy within digital communication, amongst others.
Toto Castiglione, pragmatic leader, designer and Team Leader at Netguru takes some time out of his holiday to speak to us. He is a multi-disciplinary professional big picture thinker passionate about solving problems. He shares some insights around becoming a leader in a fast-growing company, some of his favourite tools, the importance of motion in design and a few notes on his favourite projects. Join us for a conversation with Krakow's favourite Italian [Net]guru.
Mariusz Ciesla is a Polish Product Designer who has an uncommon multidisciplinary background. Mariusz is a designer, a developer, a photograph and even more. Before all, he is someone who is curious about all things in life. It led him to work on an amazing journey, working on projects at the edge of technology. Another side of Mariusz is his love for teaching and mentoring, something he does across Europe. During this interview, we touch those points and also the challenges of his life as a freelancer in Berlin.
Rafal Cymerys is a talented software engineer from Krakow (Poland) who realised that he was more than just a technologist; he is an explorer! Rafal is part of a team of brave explorers who are leading the way into the new and uncharted frontier of voice technology.
After moving from Estonia to London, Sergei Golubev has made a name for himself in the world of Design. He built a great career as a designer and a major learning platform for UX Designers in Europe. Leading The School of UX and The UX Conference in London, at only 32 Sergei is definitely someone to keep your eye on.
Hubert Turaj is the founder of Edisonda, well known and acknowledged UX Design outfits from Krakow Poland. He and his team have managed hundreds of multichannel experiences, starting out as a small circle of friends to a close-knit group delivering work for multinational like ING, ABB, Autodesk and Goodyear. Hubert appreciates the value human-centric design, not only in the work they create for their clients but the close-knit team bond they share within the Edisonda team.
You have an opportunity to make a difference and be a designer of the extraordinary, no matter the medium. For Olga Rafalska and Paulina Kacprzak, it’s building a platform where designers can learn, share and co-create
Responsive in many ways, from web design, podcasting, newsletters and a custom Pocket Books range Justin Avery is a Designer unable to sit still. Originally from Australia, sprouting roots in the UK, he is a thought leader and the creator of www.responsivedesign.is a rich treasure trove of knowledge focusing on the design and development of responsive web solutions.
If you want to create experiences people love you have to leave the studio to observe, engage and listen. Kasia Gawlik, born and bred in Warsaw (Poland), is a UX Research Manager with over 15 years experience in Research.
Nicole Saidy is a global citizen and talented digital nomad passionate about travel, design, collaboration and mentorship. She has more than 7 years experience in front-end design, user experience, active prototyping, digital products and shaping new designers through her activities as a mentor within the design community.
Shaping products through the art of storytelling is just one of the many things that drive Nicolas Vérité. He has over 20 years experience and has held various roles from product owner, scrum master, agile coach to a product manager.
Yuri Vedenin is the founder of UXPressia.com an online platform for visualising and managing Customer and User Experience. He hails from Belarus and represents an interesting combination of UX Designer, Entrepreneur and Engineer.
Meet our friend Sophie Freiermuth, a Senior User Experience Designer and independent consultant from the UK. Sophie whips products into shape and embodies the confident servant leader needed to shape effective teams and product. This show is chock-full of truth, advice and tips for designers currently shaping their careers.
With a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to change, Lynn supports individuals on their journey of personal mastery, and guides teams, organizations and communities to co-create environments that bring out the best in people.
SuiLin Yap wants to change the world for the better by building stronger economies. Whilst on this quest she also finds the time to be a Product Manager at Facebook in Seattle where she takes care of B2B analytics solution.
He might not be the French president but he is an 18 year UX industry stalwart and owner of Charming Robot in New York City. Dan shares his thoughts on the parallels that can be drawn between theatre and User Experience Design.