Learning about (and from) this guy!!

This is Bruce Mau.  He is a noted designer and super awesome thinker. I’ve been working through a few of his essays and books related to him and his design practice.  This dude is blowing my mind!!

Getting to learn more about him is also emboldening me to become that grizzly, eccentric dude that I’ve always felt was within me… but that the man kept down.

In particular, one essay from Bruce that I’ve been spending a lot of time with has been his “Incomplete Manifesto for growth”. It has a bit of a Mary Schmich’s “Wear Sunscreen” in it – can almost hear Baz Luhrmann’s recitation in the background.

Some highlights of the Manifesto:

1. Love Your Experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth.  Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials and errors.  Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure everyday.
2. Everyone is a leader
Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge.  Learn to follow when it makes sense.  Let anyone lead.
3. Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black.  Free yourself from limits of this sort.
4. Make mistakes faster
This isn’t my idea – I borrowed it.  I think it belongs to Andy Grove
5. Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t
It’s not good for you.

When I read the manifesto I hear parts of my idealistic self shine.  I remember back when I was just starting my post-secondary and I was beginning to learn about some of the “realities” of life, people, and work from my professors.  I was completely astonished by their negativity and defeatist attitude.  Reading Mau’s Manifesto, I’m hearing a successful and thoughtful designer who chose to orient his life on different principles than what was commonplace – fully aware that they are counterintuitive to the dominant cultural & vocational norms.  This is the type of leader, employee, designer and person that I was to be.  Someone who writes manifesto’s and continually strives to life up to that which I’m aspiring to become.  I don’t want to be competent at playing the angles – was want to create my own trajectories.

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