Tuesday, 19 December 2006

The Horror of 'Passionate' people

I'm checking out a lot of CVs at the moment as we try and recruit a few people. (Any interesting and interested IAs who for some reason are reading this, drop me a line if you fancy a chat). And I'm starting to hate anyone who is 'Passionate' about something in their CV.

I am 'Passionate about interaction
xxxx is Passionate about usability
I am passionate about creating compelling experiences
I have a passion for online.

For goodness sake. This is surely an overstatement of your views? I'm passionate about my wife, I'm passionate about winning the final goal at table football with my mates in the pub. If you're passionate about information architecture, where do you go for the other bits of your life?

I confess. I am not 'passionate about creating compelling experiences'. I like doing it alot, and I can do it pretty well, but let's get some perspective.

here's some that pop up with a quick blog search:
"Passion for UCD principles with an understanding of human factors, usability heuristics and methodologies, industry best practices, and social research methods"

Absolutely top class award winning global interactive marketing agency is looking for an experienced online information architect with a passion for creativity."

"Passion for design and eagerness to collaborate with other creative people Passion for and commitment to the profession of visual communication"

"Showcase your creativity, strong work ethic and passion for web design at a company where your talents and career can thrive!"
We are looking for people who have solid research or industry background on information retrieval and extraction, are proud of their contributions and have a passion to apply their knowledge to a consumer product."
" As a Web Strategist this is a passion topic to me"
"We are looking for candidates with a passion for security"
"User experience is your passion: you can predict and describe user behavior"

I think Teachers are allowed to be passionate about their jobs, maybe doctors. But when people start having a 'passion for network architecture' it's just wrong.


Tuesday, 12 December 2006

blogging about blagging it

I'm always amused chatting to people about their jobs, and finding out how many are absolutely terrified of being 'found out'.

These are senior people. Heads of this, directors of that, managers of the other. All of them intelligent, thoughtful people who've worked hard and pretty diligently.

Yet all of them are often sure that they've only done it by pulling the wool over other people's eyes. That it will only take one person to notice their invisible emporers clothes and life will suddenly come crashing down. What a relief! No more pretending!

Even people at the 'top' like Russell Davies have little tricks on how to keep the curtain from falling.

It seems like the people who appear to know the most, are the ones who are most comfortable with how very little they know at all.

Whenever i read a book about something new, at the end of it I have a few minutes of feeling slightly cleverer, then almost immediately a crushing sense of how little i know - by learning a little about a subject area, suddenly you realise there is a whole new vast world of knowledge that you didn't even know existed, and by discovering it, you've made your current level of knowledge proportionately smaller.

It's funny, when you're a teenager, you know everything and no-one listens. When you're a 'grown up' people listen to you, actually pay you for your views, and you're starting to realise how little you know.

I can't think of two occupations more susceptable to this than IA & Planning, as from what I've seen people who do these jobs live in 2 states. 1) admitting "it's not a real job, but it's loads of fun so i hope no-one realises too soon." or 2) frantically trying to convince people of how essential and valuable it is.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Similarities between planners & IAs

Here's a quick take on what i thik the similarities are between the two disciplines before i head off to bed.

Work Similarities:
A desire to commission and facilitate research
A desire to deal with 'real people'
A belief in 'user/consumer input'

Personality trait similarities:
Huge variety in backgrounds (reducing on the IA side as more and more come via specific degree courses)
Broad range of diverse interests
Tendency to 'over think' problems
Insecure, but confident in intellectual abilities
Slightly 'odd'
Elements of artistic tempremant
Desire not to be pigeon holed

Work Differences:
Planners desire to create great advertising that increases the value of the brand
IAs desire to create great user experiences that increase the value of the brand

I think most, if not all, of these traits apply to all the IAs I've met, and the few planners I've met too.

Friday, 1 December 2006

London IA Book club

Went along to the London-IA meet up last night. It was fine, never been to one before, so wasn't really sure what to expect.

In the end Leisa turned up with Karl from Flow and his client Alan. Plus Leo, Theba, and a bunch of others that i unfortunately didn't get to meet as i had to scoot off.

Had some interesting chats. No-one really seems to care that much about my current obsession with planning, which is pretty reasonable. Especially as the title of 'planner' seems to apply to lots of different jobs. (eg, Alan the client fella said 'we have planners' then described a mini-project manager)

The IA book club is a go-er, with B.J. Fogg's Persuadability being the first book. It's a bit pricey, and a bit old news, but it's definitely interesting. We'll have it at each other's offices so that we get to have a bit of a poke round each other's offices and can actually hear each other. Few bottles of wine etc.

Need to set a date, probably in the new year, to give time to buy it and read it etc.

Other things that cropped up - use of the word 'creative' purely for design departments, wrong wrong wrong. Design Smackdown - more of which later. Diversity of backgrounds.