Album de Statistique Graphique

Album de Statistique Graphique


The Album de Statistique Graphique is a set of annual publications of data visualizations in France in the late 1800’s. I first heard about them from Michael Friendly a decade ago and have always been on the lookout to find them. Over the course of my thesis I did find a couple copies in research libraries, but the particular libraries required signing agreements that I would not share the photos (why do libraries do this?).

Now, finally, they are on-line, easily accessible, in high quality scans courtesy of David Rumsey (thank you!). And they are amazing! You can access all of them with a search query.

While I would like to systematically review the Album, that would be a significant multi-year project given the depth of data, the quality of the visualizations, and the time period they are situated in. (Probably of similar scale and scope to Sandra Rendgen’s…

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6 Predictions for Creatives in 2019

6 Predictions for Creatives in 2019

With the first few months of 2019 behind us, it looks like the old adage is true: the only constant is change.

For creatives, that’s good news. As organizations look to navigate new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, they are increasingly relying on the help of those who can think creatively, innovate and adapt.

Hoping to get a pulse on where things are headed, we asked a handful of seasoned digital creatives across a variety of disciplines to help marketers, designers, and other creatives spot opportunities this year. And we got what we hoped for—completely different perspectives that all hold equal merit in our consideration of the current landscape.


1. A shift to work that’s less slick, but more impactful
Charlie Weisman, associate director of business development, Big Spaceship

“Looks aren’t everything, a couple of years ago an agency could get by simply making good-looking work. Today every design detail big and small needs to derive from data-driven insights. A proper agency still needs to be able to make beautiful creative, but leading with an understanding of the audience’s culture and behaviors will yield the most effective results. In some cases, this might even mean intentionally trading polish for authenticity.”

2. A concerted effort to break through the ‘sea of sameness’
Rina Miele, creative director and designer, Honey Design

“The biggest change in 2019 is focus, projects used to be all about aesthetics & things were more linear. Lately I feel pushed in other directions, including the use of a multitude of new tools beyond just visual design and the oversimplification of look-and-feel itself. Both are in service of a better user experience, but I feel design is losing its essence, it’s soul. Design is less about art direction than it used to be. This is a new challenge — keeping projects looking different in a sea of sameness. We must stay vigilant in maintaining a brand’s personality and perspective when most products look, feel and interact similarly. It is much more difficult to find that ‘je ne sais quoi.’”

3. A wave of totally new immersive experiences
Bryan Le, group director of design, Huge

“5G [high-speed wireless network technology] will make us consider the mobile experience and the range of application is going to change design significantly.

“5G will be leveraged with artificial intelligence and machine learning to create an evolution of personalized, dynamic content. Speed and bandwidth will change how we capture data and provide experiences. I can imagine applications in retail, critical situations for emergency responders, improvements in logistics and in supply chain operations. Cities will become smarter and communicate directly to people. Design can now fully utilize the environment and the space a person is in, in ways that were only ‘blue sky’ concepts before.”

4. The return of playful, emotionally-driven visual storytelling
David Navarro, executive creative director, Ueno

“We should stop talking about the label ‘digital.’ We’re working in a digital world where technology is part of daily life. The medium matters, but the principles of design scale across different touchpoints. Designers needs to think holistically, medium agnostic, and then apply the specifics to each execution.

“A change I am already seeing this year is intention beyond the systems, where visual storytelling is coming back. With type, editorial layouts, use of sound and motion, micro-interactions create rich experiences. A few years back everything went systematic and templatized. That transformation from chaos to systems was great for the maturity of the industry, we had to catch up to make digital design a real business-oriented medium. Now it’s time to bring the feels back!

“Experiences are at the service of the businesses, but also understand that, as humans, design can be emotional and stimulate the playful brain.

“Let’s bring change. Let’s ‘play’ again.”

5. The end of ‘take all we can get’ data collection
Tina Glengary Cordes, owner and strategist, Ambeti

“We need to get smarter about privacy. Society is creeped out by big tech and big data. That data is rarely used for the users’ good, this data is generally used to benefit the company not the user. Companies using our data isn’t going anywhere, but let’s make sure we get something out of the equation.”

6. A more diverse, inclusive workforce
Mike Ramirez, senior integrated producer, Phenomenon

“The biggest change in digital design in 2019 will be the makeup of the people doing the actual design work. Because of inclusion and diversity initiatives, we will see work across the spectrum that is more informed, accessible, and delightful due to the changing face of the modern designer bringing new perspectives to the work.

“Additionally, brands have a huge opportunity to define the ‘aural identity’ of products and services. The proliferation of podcasts and voice interfaces create an opportunity for brand consistency across existing and emerging consumer touch points.”

from Adobe 99UAdobe 99U

The Better Way to Pull the Plug on a Creative Project

The Better Way to Pull the Plug on a Creative Project

In college, I started a department blog where a group of students and I would interview  faculty, alumni, and our peers about their work and practice. We covered critiques and openings adventured off campus to offer readers a peek at post-collegiate life. A few months into it, I couldn’t help but be proud of what we had created. The blog had taken off, albeit within our small department. I was thrilled.

So, when I received a Twitter DM to meet with John Maeda, the prolific designer who was then president of our school, I proudly marched into his office, prepared to tout the successes of our fledgling publication.

John listened gratuitously as I patted myself on the back. He offered kudos for getting stories from our school out into the world, but also gave me a piece of unexpected advice: “When it’s time for it to die, let it die.” Sure, things were good now, but eventually our blog would serve its purpose and become irrelevant. The worst thing I could do, he said, was to try to keep it alive once its time had come.

“We were just now hitting our stride—why should I begin bracing myself for its decline?”

I was hurt, then angry. I had created this new platform that was having a positive impact on our community and connecting our department to a larger dialogue happening online. Of all people, I thought this alleged technocrat would be our largest supporter. We were just now hitting our stride—why should I begin bracing myself for its decline?

But he was right. Eventually, the project lost steam, students lost interest, and it became a struggle to get the site updated on a regular basis. I stretched myself too thin trying to fill each gap left by someone who dropped out of the project, which led to compounding resentment until I, too, quit. The blog sat atrophying online, a digital tombstone where lay the ambitions of a group of overzealous students who eventually found other ways to fill their time.

Recognize the warning signs

If I had been in the right headspace to not take John’s words personally, I might have been able to recognize the early hints of necrosis before I, too, started to suffer its effects. Perhaps our team could have ended the blog gracefully rather than over bitter emails to contributors, frustrated that no one had the bandwidth or will to keep it going.

Over time, I’ve gotten better at recognizing the signs of death and, with it, when it becomes time to euthanize a particular project or endeavor. On a team, it can manifest in the form of people coming in later, leaving earlier, caring less. Perhaps it’s a spike in bickering or conflicts that arise out of seemingly nothing, alluding to a larger conversation that’s not taking place. Optional calendar invites become expected no-shows. The question becomes less of how to go above and beyond, rather how to just keep going.

“In choosing to end things before that imminent demise, we were hoping to salvage our relationships, along with any other potential collateral that would’ve come with a slower, less controllable, inevitable end.”

I’ve seen it reveal itself in a slew of side projects and well-intended but overly ambitious New Year resolutions, in laborious newsletters, and various relationships. Despite recognizing the signals, most of them suffered explosive, graceless endings, which had the inadvertent benefit of making it easier to walk away.

Make the call

I found myself back in that same predicament at the end of last year with a studio I had founded with a few partners back in 2016. I had noticed the telltale traces a few months prior but had hoped that winning more projects, sending more invoices, and buying more snacks would keep that unavoidable end at bay.

This time, however, I had a partner willing to pull the ripcord. Andrew, a partner and co-founder in the studio, recognized that the end, while not nigh, was inescapable. Maybe not this year, but next year or the year after that. We wanted different things for ourselves, had different goals and ambitions, which would eventually lead to us going our separate ways. We valued our relationships, the work we had done together, and the lessons we had learned along the way. In choosing to end things before that imminent demise, we were hoping to salvage our relationships, along with any other potential collateral that would’ve come with a slower, less controllable, inevitable end.

“Although it might be tempting to wallow in the sadness that comes with many endings, be sure to take time to celebrate the successes you’ve accomplished, too.”

Rather than delay the inescapable, confront issues head on. At the first signs of cessation, talk about them and work to get at the root cause. There might even be a cure that can slow down or stave off death entirely. If not, work to maintain open communication as you develop a plan for ending things as gracefully as possible.

Take time to reflect

Be sure to carve out time for yourself to contemplate everything you’ve experienced through this undertaking. You can do this on your own, or you can invite friends and collaborators to participate in this process. In the case of the studio, we hosted a facilitated retro with our team where we did a year in review, discussed our highs and lows, exchanged critical feedback, and wrote thank you letters. It served the dual purpose of helping surface up insights from the experience to take with us moving forward, as well as offered a bit of closure—a rarity when it comes to endings.

Celebrate your wins

Although it might be tempting to wallow in the sadness that comes with many endings, be sure to take time to celebrate the successes you’ve accomplished, too. Chances are, you’ve learned something new through this experience, and that’s worth acknowledging. Perhaps that’s by embarking on nationwide tour in the form of a “full-fledged, joy-filled celebration” or sharing a heartfelt letter on growing up. We chose to release a public Drive folder to share the tools and processes we developed along the way in hopes that they might help someone else just starting out.

Lay it to rest

When it’s time for it to die, let it die. Perhaps your project has fulfilled its purpose, which then—congratulations! Thank it for its service, then lay it to rest to make room for another endeavor.

But maybe it hasn’t fulfilled its purpose, and in that case, thank it for the lessons you’ll take with you into the future. Giving yourself agency over that decision lets you choose what that end looks like.



from Adobe 99UAdobe 99U

99U Speakers Agree: Empathy Is the Skill of the Future

99U Speakers Agree: Empathy Is the Skill of the Future

When we set the theme for our 2019 conference — The Creative Future — we imagined a future where creative skills are more pervasive and prized, and how that might reshape the world around us. As we prepare for the event in May, we’re asking our speakers to share a skill they think is important for all creatives to navigate what’s to come.


When we asked our speakers to share a skill they thought was futureproof, they surprised us with how many responded with a passionate call for empathy. We’ve rounded up why they value the drive to understand the thoughts and needs of others and why it will be so important in whatever future lies ahead.

Tina Essmaker, creative coach and cofounder of The Great Discontent

Empathy has been the foundation of my work, regardless of my role. When I was a social worker, empathy was the starting point for meeting my clients where they were. In my current work as a coach for creatives, empathy is vital to building trust and rapport.

Our work is better when we understand who we’re making it for—which empathy helps us do—and we work better together when we’re open to many perspectives and experiences outside of our own.

“Empathy is important today, but it will be non-negotiable in the future.”

It’s a skill we can get better at with practice. Start with a genuine desire to understand someone else’s experience, and put aside your desire to be right. Be curious and open. Give people a safe space to talk about their experiences. Ask questions with the aim to understand and learn more. Then truly listen.

Jake Barton, principal and founder, Local Projects

I try to mix empathy and imagination. Empathy, so that I can project myself into my audience’s perspective, and imagination to project what would create awe and wonder within their experience. These two superpowers together will always be central to all creative fields because you’ll always have people whose minds or hearts you are trying to reach. Empathy and imagination are the key to reaching them.

David Schwarz, founding partner, HUSH

They say you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. We may not know exactly where we’ll be in ten years, but if you can imagine what it might feel like, you’ll likely get there a lot faster. I think people call this visualization.

“In the end, we’re all people and we all want the same things, so be empathetic, listen to the people around you and to encourage them to be genuine.”

Our futures feel increasingly complicated. We live story to story, moment to moment, swipe to swipe. It’s hard to keep focused. The ability to visualize things can act as a powerful psychological preparation tool.

I think this skill might have a relationship to empathy. As with any skill, practice is simply the only way to get better. It’s all about the preparation of your mind to make it familiar with a scene that hasn’t yet happened. You are putting the puzzle together in your mind, before you even open the box.

Alain Sylvain, founder & CEO, Sylvain Labs

It can sound clichè, but being empathetic is so fundamental to being human. Everyone is looking for ‘the next’. The next idea. The next innovation. The next promotion. The next client.

Empathy is important today, but it will be non-negotiable in the future. Millennials and future generations don’t see the same divisions when it comes to work and life. Life doesn’t stop at your office lobby and work doesn’t stop at your kitchen table. That’s why salaries and traditional benefits no longer attract or retain the best talent. In the end, we’re all people and we all want the same things, so be empathetic, listen to the people around you and to encourage them to be genuine. Encourage their side hustles. Encourage their entire life—not just the 9-5.

At Sylvain Labs, we make it a point to encourage side hustles. For example, we had a strategist that was a chef in a prior life. He was obsessed with hot sauce so we tried to commercialize a line of hot sauce. It failed terribly, but it brought our team closer together. And the hot sauce was fire.


Hear from creatives shaping the future at the 11th Annual 99U Conference, May 8-10, 2019 in New York City.


from Adobe 99UAdobe 99U

9 Lessons for the First-Time Manager

9 Lessons for the First-Time Manager

Congratulations! You’ve been bumped up to a leadership role for the very first time. Maybe it’s something you’ve seen coming for awhile, or maybe it’s come about because the scaling startup or creative studio you work at suddenly needed a management layer. Whatever the case, you feel like you’re on the path to greatness and everything’s coming up roses and dollar bills.

That is, until reality hits and that promotion glow gives way to panic: How the heck do you manage a team?

Julie Zhuo, VP of design at Facebook, was just 25 when she became a rookie manager at the rapidly growing tech giant. Her knowledge was limited: “All that I knew of management could be neatly summarized into two words: meetings and promotion,” she says.

Now, years later—after countless rounds of feedback, wasteful (and useful) meetings, deer-in-the-headlights experiences hiring (and firing) employees—Zhuo has outlined her experience as a first-time manager in a new book called The Making of a Manager.  

We’ve summarized a few of the book’s most actionable insights, including how to get the most out of your team to the importance of being direct in your feedback. Read on, and may all your meetings be a good use of time.


1. If ‘everything is fine,’ someone is lying.

When an employee tells you ‘everything is fine’ for too many one-on-ones in a row, it’s time to probe deeper. It may mean that an employee is actually too shy or scared to tell you they’re struggling. You can’t help if you don’t know so earning the trust of your team is your top priority. As a manager, it’s on you to build a pattern of positive reinforcement toward transparency, criticism, compassion, and vulnerability. Then, when someone shares that things aren’t “fine,” they’re demonstrating that you have a good trust dynamic between the two of you. Sure, the situation may not be fine, but the relationship is great, and that’s the more important thing.

2. Fuel strengths.

Ambitious people often want to know where they fall short so they can fix it. While pointing out flaws is valuable, it’s an exercise that overlooks what people are hired for: their strengths. When your employees jump to the “needs improvement” section of their reviews and skip over the “strengths” section, redirect their focus. Highlight the specific value they bring. It’s more powerful to strategize around strengths versus weaknesses. Make sure your employees know that the value they bring is what you see in them and what you expect them to grow. A next-level manager can do this, not only with individual employees, but with whole teams.

Facebook VP of Design Julie Zhuo was 25 when she became a first-time manager. Photo courtesy of Jeff Singer.

3. Define ownership.

Make sure everyone knows who is responsible for what. When responsibilities aren’t clear, things fall through the cracks. Individual team members, unsure if they dropped the ball, get defensive and next thing you know you’ve got a toxic environment on your hands. No matter how blue sky the brainstorm, make sure that every meeting ends with clearly defined ownership of next steps. A follow-up email with marked out to-dos isn’t a bad idea either.

4. Lose the ‘compliment sandwich.’

Being nice is a good thing, but delivering critical feedback between two fluffy compliments isn’t as nice as you think it is. “Lobbing over a few superficial words of praise to temper a hard message comes off as insincere,” says Zhuo. The best way thing to do, is to be direct and dispassionate. Be firm and own the critique. Ultimately, you’re giving it because you believe they can do better. And that’s the best compliment of all.

5. Get a receipt when you deliver feedback.

Zhuo advocates creating a constant cycle of feedback and she’s careful to make sure it achieves the desired outcome. Make sure the message is being received as delivered. Everyone feels vulnerable and self-protective during feedback, which can lead to defensiveness and misinterpretation, Zhuo suggests making employees repeat back what they’ve heard at the end of feedback rounds. Then, she always follows it up with an email summary.

6. Diversify your team like a stock portfolio.

As a manager, you have to exist in multiple temporal realities. Your job is to keep things moving in the short term, while still planning for the long run. Zhuo advocates for managing your team like a stock portfolio: keep one third working on projects that happen in a few weeks, another group working on medium-term projects, and the third executing the early steps of ideas whose impact won’t show for years.

Zhuo’s book, The Making of a Manager, tackles the big questions facing people in their first management job. Book cover by Kimberly Glyder.

7. Don’t prolong a bad fit situation.

Many new managers think their job is to support individual team members to success. It’s not. Your job is to help your whole team achieve great outcomes. If you find yourself sinking a significant portion of your week (30% to 50%) into supporting people who are struggling, you’re missing a bigger problem. “If you don’t believe someone is set up to succeed in his current role, the kindest thing you can do is to be honest with him and support him in moving on,” says Zhuo. “When you decide to let someone go, do it respectfully and directly. Don’t open it up to discussion (it isn’t one) and don’t regard it as a failure on the part of your report.”

8. Know the goal of every meeting or cancel it.

Remember those meetings you and everyone around you used to dread? Now that you’re a manager, they’re happening on your watch. Make sure your meeting has a purpose—whether it’s making a decision, sharing information (it better not be something that could have been sent over email), providing feedback, generating ideas, or strengthening relationships. Once you’re clear about what the meeting is for, you’ll be able to prep correctly, make sure the right people are there, and—if it turns out it’s for relationship building—order pizza.

9. Delegate to show trust.

Giving people big problems to solve is a sign of trust. Early managers yearn for control. They want to prove they can do the new job. And they often become micromanagers, terrorizing their reports as they try to anticipate, solve, and dictate every situation that comes across their desks. Don’t just give your employees space; give them trust. Your goal is to delegate until you put yourself out of a job. You should be building a deep bench of the next generation of managers so when it’s time for you to move up there’s someone ready to take your spot.  



from Adobe 99UAdobe 99U

How to Promote Yourself Online When You’re a Total Introvert

How to Promote Yourself Online When You’re a Total Introvert

I’ve always been quiet. In school, I barely raised my hand–not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I didn’t want everyone turning to look at me as I spoke.

It still happens sometimes–the rush of nerves and feelings of anxiety that come with being the center of attention. While I never really had to, I’ve taken every type of Myers-Briggs test to confirm what I’ve known all along: I am an introvert.

For me, being an introvert is no better or worse than being an extrovert; it just means that I interact with the world in a way that demands more energy and requires me to spend time alone to recharge.   

That said, if there’s one thing that’s challenged my introverted self, it’s self-promotion. As a designer, I’ve always known the importance of visibility and discoverability, but the idea of having to develop an online presence has always made me cringe. How could I talk about my work–let alone myself–when I don’t want attention?

Before I got started, the online design world used to feel like a popularity contest for likes. Now, five years after my first tweet, I see social media as a place for building meaningful connections with others.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.


Be choosy about the platforms you’re on

Researching various online platforms was the first step in figuring out how I wanted to use social media. I read articles, created accounts and tried several platforms to see what resonated most.

I made a public Instagram account and after two weeks, I realized it wasn’t working. I was constantly feeling pressure to post the perfect photo and began stressing about every image. The question I felt most helpful to ask myself was:  “Do I feel drained or inspired after my interactions here?” If the answer was “drained,” “overwhelmed,” or “anxious,” then I knew it was not for me. I also kept in mind; how does the community interact with one another? Is there a code of conduct? What format does the content follow? All were important to me.

“While I still shy away from receiving too much attention, I know that sharing my perspective and narrative is important and might inspire someone else to do the same.”

After further trial and error, I decided a public Twitter account would be the best way for me to branch out into the world of social media. The short format, minimal imagery and micro-blogging appealed to me. Having this public account would allow others to find my content by searching. I particularly liked that I could follow others in and outside of the design field and contribute to conversations on a variety of topics.

Seek meaningful interactions

Trying to define myself through this small part of the internet can be exhausting and nearly impossible, so I post as a way to get to know others and for others to get to know me. Being a designer with an active online presence is about more than just exhibiting my portfolio. It’s a way to show my interests, personality and insights, which would usually only come out in person.

Even now I constantly curate and reflect on who I follow and why. In doing so, I notice that I am able to build conversations around topics that I am passionate and curious about. This creates community. My friend Joelle and I met this way; we emailed and met in person after continuously overlapping in deep conversations about education and the lack of opportunities for young designers from underrepresented backgrounds. What may have started with a simple like or one brief comment, in time, allowed me to build a friendship and community around common interests and causes.

See every share as an opportunity to teach or learn

Writing out my thoughts publicly takes a lot of energy — and even now this is exciting and scary for me. While I still shy away from receiving too much attention, I know that sharing my perspective and narrative is important and might inspire someone else to do the same. How do I manage these two ever opposing feelings? Very slowly. I worry less about being liked online and focus on what I can learn and share. I express myself through funny re-tweets that show my sense of humor. I talk about music and writing, and things that I am involved in because I am proud of it and believe in its impact. I post about typography simply because it makes me happy. I think of sharing as an act of courageous learning because I push through my shyness to connect with people while learning from others as well.

“Initially I [thought] that my posts were boring because no one was liking them or because others did not follow me back. Then I let go, remembering that I post to overcome my shyness and share more about myself.”

Don’t get nervous when you aren’t seeing the likes you thought you would

Managing the expectations of what happens after you have an online account is important. It takes time for others to learn about you and to find your common interests. These also change over time. Initially I struggled with this, thinking that my posts were boring because no one was liking them or because others did not follow me back. Then I let go, remembering that I post to overcome my shyness and share more about myself.

Engagement is important, but doesn’t have to occur with every post. If you want to expand on your posts and chat with others, find a pace that is comfortable for you. There are times I engage on Twitter daily; other times I am offline or an observer. You decide. Don’t want to reply to every comment immediately? Come back to it when you are ready. Set limits for yourself and follow them to establish a healthy balance.

As I always tell myself: my voice may not be the loudest, but it is equally as important. It’s the shy, introverted voice; the Afro-Latina voice; the voice that loves reading and gets excited about typography. I can still be my true, introverted self online and share as much or as little as I want with others in the online community, without competing for likes.


from Adobe 99UAdobe 99U

Vivienne Ming: Build Purpose to Prepare for the Unknown

Vivienne Ming: Build Purpose to Prepare for the Unknown

When we set the theme for our 2019 conference — The Creative Future — we imagined a future where creative skills are more pervasive and prized, and how that might reshape the world around us. As we prepare for the event in May, we’re asking our speakers to share a skill they think is important for all creatives to navigate what’s to come.


After pursuing research in cognitive neuroprosthetics at UC Berkeley, Vivienne Ming founded Socos Labs, an independent think tank exploring augmented intelligence and the future of human potential. Vivienne will be speaking on the main stage at the 11th Annual 99U Conference, taking place May 8-10 in New York City.

Q. What is a skill you believe to be futureproof?

A. It’s not programming or machine learning. In my work and my research, I find myself repeatedly returning to purpose, or more specifically, the psychological construct of strength of purpose. For a concept that might sound very soft, purpose has very hard, tangible positive returns on life: education attainment, wealth and income, health and wellbeing, and even simple happiness. Purpose-driven people likely always have and always will lead richer lives.

Strength of purpose takes time and commitment to develop. But, there are immediate strategies to cultivate. One of my most valued is to always be ready to walk away if I believe that I’m not serving my purpose. No matter how lucrative the opportunity, how prestigious the job, how profound the potential, my purpose must come first in all of my decisions. I’ve learned that my life is best when it’s not about me.

Q. Why will purpose be so important in the future?

A. There are any number of answers that I could have given to the first question, and the one thing they all have had in common is that they have no unique value in the future. We are obsessed with trying to predict one particular future like it’s an insider stock tip from which we can corner the market on some small set of skills that will be uniquely valuable in whatever post-apocalyptic wasteland or futuristic utopia awaits us.

Instead, the only thing we know for certain is that the future is unknown, and in all likelihood, the rate of uncertainty will only accelerate with time. Qualities like strength of purpose—along with resilience or self-assessment—have always driven positive life outcomes, not because they fit into a specific science fiction narrative, but because they are the answer to a very simple question: How do I build a person for the unknown?

Q. When have you seen the power of purpose at play?

A. As a matter of both my personal experience and the rich research literature on purpose, we understand one big paradox: Purpose by is defined by sacrifice. Your day-to-day experience with purpose is, in a very real sense, more about losing than gaining. It is how purpose plays out across a lifetime that matters. Every time I’ve turned down “Chief Scientist” or similar job at a brand name companies I’ve left behind money, prestige, and power (and it hasn’t always been an easy decision). In those moments I didn’t gain anything. Years over year, though, my life gets better in every dimension. And research shows that this is true for everyone.

Q. What advice would you give to anyone looking to cultivate purpose for the future?

A. Two of the big misconceptions about purpose is that (1) you have to “find your purpose” and (2) there is only one purpose that is meant for you. In fact, purpose is something you get to construct for yourself. Purpose could be spiritual or deeply grounded in the human world. All that defines a purpose is that it’s bigger than you and will take more than your life to accomplish. As the saying goes, “The world gets better when old men plant trees.”

You get to build a purpose for yourself. You pick the tree under whose shade you will never rest. Perhaps it sounds sound exhausting or naive, but imagine a society of people capable of constructing their own purpose. For what would you sacrifice? That is what will carry you into the future.


Hear from Vivienne Ming and more creatives shaping the future at the 11th Annual 99U Conference, May 8-10, 2019 in New York City.

from Adobe 99UAdobe 99U