sionate about ideas… and that
my ideas need outlets.
I went into this project feeling
blue, and I was surprised at how
quickly those feelings of sadness and loss disappeared once I
started the 90 in 90 project. The
daily ritual of allotting myself
the space and time to explore
my thoughts was liberating.
Giving form to my ideas through
writing or sketching was more
than fun—it was pure joy. I realized that my head was full of
ideas, and the 90 in 90 project
gave those ideas a place to go.
I discovered that my feelings
of sadness and loss were not
caused by the project’s coming
to an end, but by the loss of my
The design profession has
a built-in outlet for ideas, but
projects and professional work
are riddled with boundaries and constraints. So many
ideas are abandoned and left
on the cutting-room floor. After
three years of working in the
mobile industry, there were
tons of ideas that I’d left behind
because they didn’t fit into the
project’s particular constraint.
I hadn’t lost them, though.
Those ideas were trapped in my
mind, left to haunt and torture
me; stuck, unexplored, undocumented, with nowhere to go. I
realized that ideas belong in the
world. The act of writing about
them—giving them form—gave
my ideas somewhere to go and a
sense of life and vibrancy, movement, and velocity. Ideas need
a space to be explored, shared,
and built on, and creative outlets provide that environment.
Work had become my primary
creative outlet, and I realized I
simply needed more outlets…
90 in 90 served as a creative
escape; plus, it allowed me to
rediscover other dormant creative outlets—drawing, photography, painting, and writing—
and the role they play in my life.
I quickly realized that I need
these outlets, these places and
environments to explore ideas in
order to feel happy and fulfilled,
for my own well-being. This
project allowed me to revive
these outlets and nurture them.
I now realize that my daily basic
necessities are sleeping, eating,
exercising, and creating.
A Template for
Back when I studied fine art in
college, I had a painting professor who assigned the class the
task of painting 30 paintings
in a week. Seven days and a
demoralizing critique later, she
told us the point of the exercise
was not to produce brilliant
work, but to give us a template
for a creative practice. She
believed in the law of averages:
The more you paint, the better
the chances of creating something great. She encouraged us
to be prolific, knowing that success would follow.
When I started 90 in 90, I felt
stuck. I knew I had ideas that
I wanted to express and share,
but I didn’t know where to
begin. I wanted the ideas to be
good, brilliant in fact, and the
pressure I put on myself to share
only brilliant ideas became paralyzing. For a good long while, I
had allowed my ideas to wallow
in the shadows of my mind, and
it became the ultimate downer.
Inertia set in.
Committing to creating something everyday for 90 days was
daunting, but the alternative
was to become a hostage of the
ideas trapped in my head. In
the end the choice was easy: Sit
around and feel bad, or direct
that energy into something
productive. Starting 90 in 90
was like taking a deep breath
and leaping forward. It created
Some of the ideas from 90
in 90 are brilliant, others are
pretty good, and some of them
simply stink. Instead of getting hung up on evaluating my
ideas, I focused on the practice
of producing an idea every day.
I couldn’t predict when brilliant
ideas would strike, but I realized
the process and the practice of
making a space for my ideas
would allow something great to
happen. When you’re generating
lots of ideas, you increase your
odds of something magical happening. I became prolific.
Moreover, by committing to
this project for 90 days, I was
bound to get better at it each
day. Thinking about mobile user
experience became habit forming, almost like an itch I had to
scratch. It helped me clarify the
things about mobile user experience that matter to me and also
to find my point of view.
Silencing My Inner Critic
and Finding My Tribe
The decision to carry out this
project online, in a public forum,
was initially one of the most
terrifying aspects. I was scared.
What if my ideas were dumb?
What if I wrote something stupid? What if everything I posted
had been previously articulated
and discussed? Did I really have
anything interesting to say?
These questions ate away at me
until I remembered something
my old figure-skating coach