I'm currently designing for the future of 3D printing at Shapeways.
Outer space, 80's thrash metal, and drawing things for Instagram are my jam.
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Last week was a great week for me. It was the kind of week that gets a little star next to it in the memory bank until I'm too old to remember anymore. I was fortunate to have the chance to visit Vancouver, BC to help with the Shapeways booth at SIGGRAPH 2014, a conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques.
This was an incredible experience because I got to spend a few days alongside four awesome coworkers from the tech, marketing, and community teams while advocating for and explaining our service to a lot of really cool folks from all over the world - all while experiencing the city of Vancouver for the first time.
After a few days to think about the trip, I think the biggest take-away for me was the fresh perspective I gained from the whole trip. It was a sort of slap in the face wake-up call and reminder about how good things are right now. I work for an amazing company in Shapeways. The service we provide makes a real, positive difference in people's lives, and the problems I get to solve are challenging and new. It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in the midst of the day-to-day grind of New York City, but that's why I'm so grateful for getting to step outside my normal role for a few days.
I'm not exactly sure if I can ever repay my team and especialy those that made this experience possible for me, but the one thing I know I can do for certain is continue to focus on and be passionate about improving our customer's experience every day.
A friend recently made a comment to me about my personality that I found disagreeable. I wanted to argue the opposite to be true, but opted instead to hold my tongue and understand why he saw it that way.
I think it's a crucial part of my job to listen to feedback, accept critique and understand opinions from a range of sources. I've found so far that the best teams are comprised of honest yet sincere members who know the value of taking criticism and learning from it. I'm glad I chose to internalize the little nugget of feedback my friend gave me, because now I know a little more than I did before.
I made a pretty simple observation about myself recently. When I get bored, I become unhappy. I feel like this is probably common sense, but I think this may be one of the first times I've consciously thought about it. I'm noticing it because this week has been a pretty fast paced week for my team and I. And honestly, it's been really nice.
Moving fast while building things is ideal for me, but I know it isn't for everyone and every situation. I know some talented, smart people who prefer to be methodical, well-prepared, and always thinking two steps ahead. I assume this is the best strategy when the stakes are high, the scale of the problem is large, and the moving parts are numerous.
For me, the rush created by an upcoming deadline and the pressure of high expectations can be an exhilarating yet stressful test. I personally live for it because I know that with it come lessons to be learned which benefit me in the long run, and a short-term, immediate boost in self-confidence and morale from completing tasks and accomplishing goals in quick succession.
While moving with speed and efficiency is typically a must for small teams to succeed, and a blessing for larger teams to experience at all, I'm thankful for being a part of weeks like this one. I'm thankful for being a part of a team that can dial it in and move with a coordinated sense of urgency on multiple fronts when we need to. I hope the lessons I'm learning now can help me make sure it stays that way in the future.