November, 2020 · 5 min read
I am a part-time florist. Flowers bring people joy and value. Customers spend hundreds of dollars on floral arrangements knowing very well that the flowers will die in a week and be thrown away. Yet, we have collectively decided that flowers are one of the most appropriate and meaningful gifts to give to someone. It’s possible the real value is that another human spent the time and energy to create that floral arrangement from its raw form. Technology allows me to create similar value and joy but on a much larger scale. When I first screenshared the mock up for the AESC product page with Alex, her face instantly lit up. Seeing a fully formed, polished design based on our raw ideas and inspirations, made her smile. That, in turn, made me smile. I’m excited to wake up every morning knowing that I can bring the same joy, delight and value to thousands of others via technology.
Some of my life’s best work was created when I could collaborate with colleagues, peers or classmates on a singular goal that we all put our energies into. We all brought our skills, and talents together in order to get the job done. My work on Sporty & Rich with Emily Oberg is a great example of this synergy. From late night email designs, to strategy planning and execution on the big picture to the smallest details: we were able to work together to create a cohesive final product. Our individual skills and talents together helped Sporty and Rich become one of the most recognized millennial brands in just over a year while revenue grew 25 times. The more we have such experiences and partnerships, the more we realize that, with the right people involved, we can aim for the stars and possibly reach them too. Waking up every morning thinking of all these possibilities drives me.
It’s difficult to master work you are not passionate about. Similarly, it’s hard to feel happy and fulfilled in life if you don’t connect with the people you work with. I make an extra effort in building meaningful relationships with the people I work with day to day. Yes everyone is different, and I tell myself, “not everyone will want to be your friend, Rasin.” However, I try to find common ground, and build relationships from there. One thing I have realized is humans are more similar than we think regardless of backgrounds or upbringings. Knowing that I can build and foster connections via the work I do is extremely motivating.
When I was 15, I first heard Steve jobs famous Stanford commencement speech. Apple was nowhere near as big and he was nowhere near as famous: at least not in Dhaka, Bangladesh where I grew up. His 3 stories resonated with me and I keep those lessons close to my heart, even 15 years later after hearing it for the first time. One point he emphasized was to have the courage to follow your heart and intuition because they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Now, his company, Apple, is a data driven technology monolith. But it’s in their DNA to prioritize gut and intuitive decisions- I’d like to say the same for myself. The data and tools I have because of technology, allow my intuition to make much higher quality decisions. Exploring both these sides day to day keeps me motivated and excited.
One of my biggest obsessions is making the mundane delightful. I implement principles from Walt Disney’s The Illusion of Life and how the subtle things can have the biggest impacts. The reality is, life is filled with mundane things. Hence, Aesop and Dyson are some of my favourite brands. One makes the mundane task of washing your hands delightful with beautiful packaging, design and high quality ingredients, Meanwhile, the other uses cutting edge technology and product design to make the boring task of vacuuming your apartment so much more enjoyable. When it comes to the digital experiences I design, I iterate over and over until the subtle, small details are just as delightful as the larger components.
In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a worldview centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" in nature.
Being able to tell these authentic stories with my work while using technology is what also motivates me everyday. Because the reality is, nothing in life will ever be “perfect” and you will have to accept the idea that these imperfections are what tells an authentic story.