Lessons Lately Learned

1: Raising Money is Hard.
Nobody told me (until after I launched my campaign, naturally) that successful Kickstarters can take up to a year to prepare for. I had prepared for a few months, not to mention all the effort I had put into networking for months even before that, so I figured I’d be all right. But I’d underestimated how hard it would be to ask for money. This isn’t a personal complex either, it’s a professional conundrum. How do you ask for money without feeling as if they’ll resent you and without burning any bridges? It’s a delicate balancing act you make, and it all depends on phrasing.
how you ask
So I know now what would need to be done to make a successful Kickstarter, but I’m not planning on doing another soon.

2: In-The-Trenches Management Techniques.
So second week into the campaign, a big deadline at my part-time job at Brown began to loom. I work in the Graphics Lab at Brown (a group of undergraduates led by Professor Andy van Dam) that work on various corporate-funded projects. I had recently taken over management of the team so it was my job to make sure shit got done. But we had to get out the first version of our app onto the Windows 8 store by a certain date and between Murphy’s Law and Zeno’s Paradox, we weren’t getting any closer to finishing. The final week before the deadline was a brutal 90-hour work week for me, although I tried to keep it at 80 for most of the students. Juggling work-induced fevers, RIS, eyestrain and pure exhaustion, the experience of managing a team under those circumstances was invaluable.
From lessons on how to manage different personality types… managing different people
To learning how to gauge someone’s capacity with a single look… one look
To becoming extremely aware of managing my own energy and health…
naptime
it was a crash-course in crisis management.
And in the end, what told me I was successful wasn’t that we got the app released and bug-free. It was the fact that not only did my team not hate me for driving them so hard; but that they showed the same dedication and great attitude that they had when we started.
Love those kids.

3: Why Minnows Grow in Mangroves.
When people refer to places like Rhode Island as “small ponds”, I feel the need to correct them. A small pond indicates isolation and lack of contact with the broader lakes and oceans, but that’s not true. With the kind of social media available to everyone now, there’s no isolation. Rather, it’s more that Rhode Island is a mangrove, a slightly convoluted place with a strong sense of interconnected communities. Small non-profits and businesses, branches of larger national non-profits, tech businesses, academics and students… there’s all kinds of fish, and though we each have our mangrove roots that we typically hang out around, we still mingle. And there are larger fish and smaller fish and everywhere in between, but everyone knows everyone else.
mangrove
Since the Kickstarter started and I had the chance to write an article for Go Local Prov about why I came back to Rhode Island, the Providence community really stepped out to support me and my work. Even knowing the closeness of the business, political, and personal networks here in the state, I was still surprised. And it’s provided huge opportunities that I wouldn’t have had a chance at in another state.
phone call
So work moves forward, lessons continue to be learned… the failure of the Kickstarter hit hard at first, but everyone knows you can’t measure yourself by how you fall, but rather how you pick yourself back up. So Alex and I will just need to continue to put in more hours at Brown while we get the first version done, but we’re still shooting for a new-year’s release!

In the meantime… just as a heads-up, my next post will be about Batman.
Just trying to keep it serious in here, folks.
batman starfish

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About jesspherron

A UX designer, illustrator, and animator residing in the Portland area, documenting the lessons of the highs and lows of being an artist.

5 responses to “Lessons Lately Learned”

  1. yeawon Lee says :

    ジェシカ!私イェウォン!
    おぼえてる?!(◎_◎;)
    私清華大学で同じクラスだった韓国人の女の子(背が高くて金髪)
    一緒にお好み焼き食べに行ったでしょう?
    日本語はまだ勉強してるのかなぁ。
    ブログ探して良かった(>_<)
    昔、手紙も書いてたんだけど
    アドレス無くしてしまったよ。(T_T)

    • jesspherron says :

      久しぶりイェウォン!
      もちろん覚えています!あ、お好み焼き。。。懐かしいね~!
      お元気ですか?も卒業しただよね。日本に住んでいるか?それとも韓国に?お仕事は?ほかの精華大学のみんなは元気?
      卒業したからあまり日本語を勉強するチャンスが少ない。。。忘れたくないなのに!私の義姉が日本人だから、日本語を練習するチャンスがあったけど、私は最近引っ越したんだからそれはもうない。アニメを見るのはいいけど、それは話練習じゃないよね。
      あ、手紙を書いてくれた?ありがとう!FACEBOOKでアドレスをあげるけど、もうだめかな。
      私のブログをコメンットしてくれてありがとう!

      • yeawon Lee says :

        わあ!覚えてくれてありがとう。日本語上手くなったね!☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆
        私まだ京都に住んでる。今年大学院を卒業したよ。
        私途中でさ、アニメじゃなくて絵本コースに変えてた。
        今は絵本作家をめざして頑張ってます。
        10月に韓国帰るんだけど
        日本で6年も住んでたから寂しい気持ちです。
        アメリカに手紙送りたい!前書いてたやつはもう無くしてしまったかも知らないし、もう一回書くよ。(>_<)

      • yeawon Lee says :

        あと、清華のみんなは元気!クボタは大阪で服屋の店員になったみたい。アラムは東京で住んでるし
        マゴオリ先生とクズオカ先生がジェシカの話してたよ!

      • jesspherron says :

        あそうですか。みんな元気でよかった!でも卒業した上でアニメーションを作る人は??イェウォンは?私はアープとコンピューターのデザインをするんだから、私にもアニメーションを作るチャンスは少ないな。。。
        あ、マゴオリ先生とクズオカ先生を見たいな!メールしたいな~

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