Friday, January 30, 2009

Design Speaker Series at the Ontario College of Arts & Design (OCAD) - Part 1

On January 29th, 2009, Hitesh & I heard Jane Fulton Suri - Creative Director at IDEO speak at a Design Speaker Series at OCAD.

IDEO ranks high in my list of prospective employers. Jane was a very balanced speaker. She spoke about using empathy and a human centered perspective to solving problems in designing/improving:
  1. Product
  2. Space
  3. Service
  4. Strategy
  5. Organization
During the Q & A, she made a comment that echoed in my head - Hire Curious People!
Well, that certainly is true in today's world.

Jane's book - "Thoughless Acts?" is pretty interesting. It is based on observations on intuitive design.

Lately, I have been intrigued by Design, User Empthay, and User experience approach beyond my expectations. I strongly believe in," if you want something bad, the entire universe conspires in your favor".

Let's watch the rate at which the Universe will bring me closer to my goals :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I am Going To Stop Being a Vegetarian.

I have been trying to loose weight from very stubborn body parts. Luckily, my good friend Dave Chen is a work-out freak and has helped me loose weight in the past. In my opinion, Dave should pursue 'Fitness Consultant' as an alternate profession.

I turned into a Vegetarian when I met my husband. I had been a non-vegetarian (and I loved it!) for at least 25 years and gave it up without any qualms! This statement is actually for my husband's benefit (and knowledge:))
I occasionally eat fish (if my taste buds can remember the taste!). Let's say I am semi-vegetarian. Although, most of the times I cannot enjoy meat anymore. I have tried a few times, but because I am not used to eating meat anymore, I have been unsuccessful in the past.

I have to admit that I feel healthier ever since I gave up meat. However, at times I do feel that I am missing essential proteins in my diet.

I e-mailed Dave to seek help. I am willing to go to any extent to shed some weight. Dave's first condition is that I stop being a vegetarian. Once I agreed to that demand, he sent in a list of rules:
  • Rule #1: No food after 7:30pm - eat your dinner anytime before 7:30pm.
  • Rule #2: No carbohydrates after 4pm - you are allow to have carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch.
  • Rule #3: You can only meat and some vegetables for dinner.
  • Rule #4: Control your portion of food for each setting.
  • Rule #5: Drink at least 2 liters of water a day - must keep yourself hydrated at all time.
  • Rule #6: No junk food or sweets (anything processed such as donuts, cookies, chocolate bars and etc).
  • Rule #7: Consume only whole wheat food that contains high fibers.
I think it will he hard, but I think I do need to shock my body.

It is time I trusted a professional and watch the results. Let's hope this "stop being a vegetarian" works out wonders for me.

Do We Really Need to Wear Socks in pairs?

Yesterday, I met up with one of my favorite professors from Rotman - Alex Manu.

Alex Manu teaches Strategic Foresight, Innovation, and Business Design at Rotman. He is an unconventional business school professor. A few interesting facts about Alex:

  • Alex always (and read always) wore White - he taught us for 4 months and we always saw him in White clothes.
  • He did not stress on the usual "seek A+" trend - he always said," if I can have 1 brilliant (and practical) idea from this class, I have done my job". Essentially, he encouraged us to think in an unconventional way.
  • He was always friendly and un-intimidating - so much so that it was easy to forget that he is a professor.
  • His power points were stellar - he conveyed his ideas with pictures and minimal words - I mean a maximum of 3 words on a power point.
  • On the last day of our class, he served 3 types of wines - a) $20 wine, b) $100 wine, and c) $500 wine. The main idea being that he wanted to introduce us to good, bad, and fine wines.
As I was talking with Alex, I noticed that Alex was wearing a bright orange sock on one foot and a bright green sock on the other! I immediately started laughing and asked him why was he wearing different colored socks. His answer was that he always wears two different socks!

After another 5 minutes i.e. when I couldn't figure out why he would be inclined to wear different socks, I asked him whether there was a particular reason he wore socks in such a manner. Alex said that when his son was 6 years old, he asked Alex why did he have to wear socks as a pair? Why couldn't his son wear two different colored socks and head to school?

Alex had absolutely no logical answer for his son. Ever since that day, Alex has been wearing different colored socks. In fact, Alex suggested to retailers that socks should be sold as singles!

The conversation made me realize that there are so many things we do in our day to day lives without questioning their logical explanation or existence.

Perhaps, we should look for logical explanations rather than accepting things as norms.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trip to Mexico - December 2008

Hitesh and I traveled to the warm and sunny Cancun, Mexico and Riveria Maya (~ half) in December 2008 to celebrate my birthday.

Mexico is amazingly colorful - houses, crafts, and clothes can be extremely colorful ranging from bright yellow to bright blue :)
Also, Mexico has the bluest water and white beaches. I have nothing but good things to say about the experience. People are extremely friendly and accommodating.

Although, Mexico is a part of North America, the culture is strikingly different than both, USA and Canada. In general, people looked much laid back and happy.

My top 5 favorite moments from the trip:

1. Walking the lost city of Chichen Itza (and trying to understand the Mayan culture).
2. Trying to the ride the waves in the ocean.
3. Boarding the local ferry in the night from Isla Mujeras to Cancun (and listening to the local music on the ferry).
4. Getting a beach massage at Playa del Carmen.
5. Getting the braids done in Cancun.

My top interesting moments from the trip:

1. Number of times we were spoken to in Spanish and mistaken for locals - ALL the time.
2. Number of times we had to haggle for a product or service - ALL the time.
3. Number of times we saw a family of 7 ride an open pick-up - ALL the time.

I had a fantastic time in Mexico and I hope to go back soon :)