Owning Your Cognitive and Creative Freedom

Starting today, I will be shifting my focus to regaining my cognitive and creative freedom as an Entrepreneur. This means that instead of treating personal projects as side projects, they will be what I dedicate my time to daily. Over the next year, I will work with a group of people to launch small products as part of a tribe we are calling Tiny Factories. We are all writing about why we feel we need to make this jump and you can read more about the other team members’ Tomo and Weiwei. For my take on why now is the right time for me to jump, keep reading!

Growing up, the notion of having a job that required me to invent new things sounded fantastic. Because invention seemed to require exploration, which guaranteed I would learn. Especially when I was a kid, I was always wondering why things worked that way they did. So when I discovered a designers job was to design all these things that I was questioning, my path became clear. As my interests matured Design felt like the best available path and was a way to start regaining my creative freedom.

Chart of creative independence

As I advanced in school, it quickly felt like the point was to game the system; convince the teachers I knew what the textbooks said down to every word, even if there was no understanding of the why or how. So the older I got, the less exploration, and thus, learning took place. So it wasn’t until college where my creativity was reset. Now I could start inventing again with this newly found lens of design. And in doing so understand how the physical and digital world could blend. It was a safe place, so safe, in fact, there was almost no connection with the real world at all, other than two internships. But even those felt safe, and it wasn’t until graduation that I discovered how little creative freedom I really had.

timeline for creative education

Eight months after graduation, any sense of creative freedom was snuffed out again. Every contract I signed stuck me into a little box and told me to focus on one task. But what the last three years ultimately showed me is that all the designers I was inspired by weren’t just designers but Entrepreneurs. They built companies around their products, and today it feels like that has all but disappeared as many design teams move in-house. But for me today, I’m regaining my cognitive and creative freedom permanently. For me announcing Tiny Factories is the first step in starting to make that a reality. Our team will be working on shipping a product a month for the next year. Along the way we will be creating a community and eventually funding other indie makers too.So with my design experience in hand, I’m excited to begin working with Tomo and Weiwei full time.

If any of these thoughts are interesting to you, I would be delighted to hear why and even if they aren’t, I would still be interested. Feel free message me on twitter.