passion

From passion to action

Every month, we organize Webcamp KK where a group of web professionals, designers, developers, photographers, film-makers, animators, entrepreneurs and people who are passionate about web get together to share and learn from each other.

Over the past 15 months, we have a small but passionate core group of members who would meet up despite their busy schedules. We are very grateful to have people who share their knowledge and insights, who volunteer to help organize events and those who show up to give their support.

When asked what is Webcamp KK all about, some would say it's a gathering where people share and learn from one another. Some would see it as a networking platform where you get to meet passionate people from different industry. At times, it might look like a techie meetup or when the stars aligned, a session filled with creative passion and entrepreneurial spirit.

I would instead like to think that Webcamp KK is where people who have passion in their craft come together to share, learn and ultimately collaborate to create awesome work together. A place to nurture raw passion into effective action that impacts everyone.

Transient

This isn't a change in vision or direction for Webcamp KK but rather a confirmation that we are heading towards the right goal. In our last gathering, Team Sprocket and Asgardian School of Art showed us what is possible when your work is driven by passion.

So for the final Webcamp of the year, we will be getting action-takers to showcase their work to inspire us to also act on our passion and work on something great.

I really really love building on the web

You probably have heard this a million times. Follow your passion. You should find out what you are passionate about and do that. I myself blogged about passion quite often.

But Mark Cuban have a different view on all this fuss about passion. He believes instead of following your passion (which you can have many), you should follow your effort, things that you spend most of your time on because time is a resource that you don't own.

by Hugh Macleod
by Hugh Macleod

This makes sense because if you are putting in a lot of time and effort into something, you are definitely passionate about it and most likely you are quite good at it too.  

I took a trip down memory lane and realized that besides sleeping, eating, being lazy and gaming, I've spent quite a significant amount of my life building stuff on the web.

Here's a short summary on some of the fun, failed, lame and stupid stuff that I've built.

Highschool years

  • A browser plugin review site. Back then, browser plugin was the craze.
  • Phrozz.com - Attempted to start a hardware review site with my classmates back then (John & Ed) hoping to get some free hardware.
  • Website for my school (KKHS). Also did a Flash intro (yuck) and interactive flash tutorials. Manage to win 1st for design, 2nd for content in the SabahNet Homepage Competition. First sign?

At college/university

  • dx's playground - Personal site to mess around with PHP. 
  • Website for the college's student government so that I can stay in the hostel.
  • Mamak.phrozz.com - A site for my Warcraft 3 Guild (Mamak). Scraped Blizzard's site for guild members' rank to display on the site. I think it was on Postnuke.
  • My thesis in university was basically building a 'better' CMS (Content Management System)

Entering the workforce

  • My first job introduced me to Coldfusion. Built some HR system and CMS with it. I made a simple framework to make it more bearable.
  • Managed to convince my boss to let me use PHP. Build CMS for clients.
  • Also did some Visual Basic, C# and ASP.net. Decided to go freelance and quit my job.

Flexnode

  • Eventnode - Web app to organize events/outings. My first app built with Ruby on Rails.
  • Reservation system for a resort. My first paid gig for Flexnode.
  • Biznode - Failed attempt to build a project management app like Basecamp.
  • Ravejoint - Managed to convince John to join me and build a food/restaurant review site. Plan was to sell ads from restaurants. Didn't work out.
  • Switched to consulting and built yet another CMS for Freeform. (KLue, Junkonline & Tongue in Chic)
  • Showtimes.my - Our take on how movie showtimes site should be like. Probably our most popular site.
  • Zoecity - Joined a US start-up that is based mostly in Kuala Lumpur. Built a few products ranging from social network to news aggregator to social sharing service.
  • Startnow.com.my - Attempted to build a site for entrepreneurs and action-takers. Another failed attempt. No traction at all. 
  • 2 months contract with Says.my. Awesome company and culture.

I left out a few projects here and there but I think it is safe to say that I'm following my effort and it's definitely my passion too.

I'm not a rockstar web developer by any standards but knowing that this is what I love to do and I'm good enough to make a living out of it, is all that I need to keep going.

I really really love building stuff on the web. What about you? Is your effort inline with your passion?

What's your evil plan?

Finally got to read Hugh Macleod second book, Evil Plans. It is about why you should be doing things that you really love and care about. Hugh's Evil Plan is similar to a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). He also shares some interesting marketing strategies he used. Must read for anybody he wants more from their work.

"It has never been easier to make a great living doing what you love. But to make it happen, first you need an EVIL PLAN. Everybody needs to get away from lousy bosses, from boring, dead-end jobs that they hate, and ACTUALLY start doing something they love, something that matters. Life is short." -Hugh MacLeod  

Coming up with an EVIL PLAN is definitely fun and exciting but remember it is still only a plan until you do something about it.

Love makes your work irresistible

Mark Sanborn says that the way to make yourself and your work irresistible lies in the four-letter word, LOVE. If you are passionate about your work, others can feel it. It shows up in the product you design and the service you provide.

Our lives and work are marked by love when we seek to give instead of receive, focus on how we do something rather than just doing it, see a task as a privilege rather than an obligation, make relationships a priority, and move beyond simple action to the accompanying emotions.

He also provided an acronym to infuse this irresistible ingredient into your work. He calls it P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E-S. Patience, Recognition, Appreciation, Counsel, Time, Instructions, Compassion, Encouragement and Service.

When we deliver them with love, our products and services become more attractive, leading to better customer response, greater employee retention, and more.

Read his manifesto to find out more about how you can make a difference in your work by loving what you do, who you are doing with and who you are doing it for. LOVE is the difference you need to stand out.

Get a life, not a job

Everyone needs to read this manifesto by Paula Caligiuri. All of us need to start managing our careers instead of leaving everything to our bosses and companies. We need to build careers not just jobs.

“Working for a big name company” and “paying your dues” are lousy pieces of advice without understanding the strategic relevance of the role you occupy and the criticality of the skills you possess.

You can't rely on your employer to provide the job security you want. You have take matters into your own hands and plan your own career plan. Take ownership of that plan now to take control of your life.

The thing that matters

Sometimes we get too carried away with our everyday life that we lost focus on our goals and passion. But no matter how busy or tired we are, we should always make time for things that really matter to us. I'm sure everyone have their own goals and achievements they would like to accomplish. You might want to earn a certain amount of money by a certain age, or complete a monumental task given to you or even just losing weight to look better. These are the things that matter to you.

Life is too short not to do something that matters - Hugh Macleod

If you have the time to chill out, eat and sleep, why isn't there time for you to do things that actually makes a difference. Stop messing around and focus on the thing that really matters to you. You'll probably be happier too.

Job Security or Satisfaction

When choosing a career, many people will often choose the job that is more secure. This job security is the reason why those who wish to start their own business are still working for people. It feels safer to rely on a regular paycheck. In this day and age, where recessions are more common and the economy more volatile than ever, the only factor you can control to keep your job is your own skill and ability. Job security is over-rated and the thing that matter most is job satisfaction.

You want a job that continuously challenge you and gives you the opportunity to grow and learn. You want a job that you will endure the commuting in order to do work that matters. You want not just a regular paycheck but the chance to constantly better your own ability.

This doesn't mean you have to quit your job and start your own business. There are plenty of jobs out there that are satisfying and pay well. The point is to stop thinking about job security but think about the satisfaction you get from it.

Hobby vs Passion

Hobby is something you do in your spare time for pleasure and relaxation. People look forward to it because it's the time they can finally get away from their hectic schedules to do something they enjoy.

Passion on the other hand, is something you love and would gladly lose sleep over to do it. It is the fuel that keeps you awake 3 o'clock in the morning, the drive that keeps you going even when everyone else thinks you're crazy.

It is inspiring when you see someone strive for their passion. They quit their job, lose friends and money all for their love and belief. But it's devastating when you mistakenly believe your hobby is your passion.

Passion is something you are willing to give up the chance to earn more money in order to do it, while hobby is something you are spending money on to feel better.

So if you planning to quit your day job and focus on your passion, make sure it isn't actually your hobby. The good thing is, if it's really your passion, you'll figure out how to make a living out of it.