While I was studying architecture, many of our assignments in school involved drafting layouts over and over again—using rulers, pencils and erasers. (Yes, these were the prehistoric times!) Autodesk’s AutoCAD was still in its infancy, and for some people, it was either a revolution in design, or a huge hurdle.
For many of my friends in the industry, who weren’t comfortable with this new way of designing using pixels instead of pencils (remember this was the late ‘80s, early ‘90s), it was a cumbersome experience.
A dream come true
I spent hours and hours using AutoCAD and its sister tool 3ds MAX. I would stay up late every night for weeks at a time exploring and experimenting. Little did I know at that moment, I was putting in my time.
In his book, The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell outlines the concept of the 10,000 hour rule. According to Gladwell, in order to master something you need to put in 10,000 hours of practice. I was doing just that. But not to become a great architect. I was building a foundation for the digital and interactive world.
Daniel Pink also touches on the subject in his book, Drive, in which he wrote, “For true innovation, think autonomy, mastery and purpose.”
During a recent all-staff meeting at Delvinia, I asked the team; Out of these three, which do you think is the most important? Most answered purpose, which, instinctually, I would agree with. It drives people to be creative and innovative when solving problems. If we have a purpose, then we know what road to go on, right?
However, I believe, it’s hard to know what your purpose is, if you don’t know what you’re good at or what your true passion is. Mastering a subject, a craft, even your business is key to unlocking success, purpose and autonomy.
As I look around the office today we have a very diverse group of people. Our team includes artists, anthropologists, MBAs, researchers, engineers and myself, with a background in architecture. Each of us has our own areas of passion and mastery. But collectively as one firm, our true purpose is becoming realized.
We have mastered the art of solving diverse and complex problems in an ever changing world. We can do this because we are masters at understanding how people behave in an increasingly digital world and at designing experiences for real people across a complex world of interactive screens.
Finally, if you are focused on become a master at something you will be successful. Whatever your definition of success is. In business we measure success based on customer satisfaction and revenues. Both of which are byproducts of mastering one’s own craft. Think about the greatest people and companies in history and I bet you can point to the one thing they were a master at.
What are you trying to master?