8 Steps to Success (Part 2)
Tina Ross Eisenberg — "If there is one thing that I want to teach my children it is that they need to surround themselves with like-minded people. Like-minded, smart, kind, driven people. There is nothing more contagious than being surrounded by people that are as enthusiastic about similar things as you, or are interested in sort of similar things. Because really, it’s contagious. That’s why I started Studiomates - mo co-working space here in Brooklyn. I really believe that we spend so much time at work, I want to be surrounded by people that I really enjoy being around.
To me there is nothing better than lunch, because we eat together, we have lots of conversations about design stuff, or what’s going on in the industry. There are 30 of us: designers, develops, editors, copy-writers - we are sort of all in the same field, but it’s still interesting enough that we feed off of each other. I am convinced that I would not be where I am right now if I wasn’t surrounded by my Studiomates because they really inspire me on a daily basis and some of the projects came out of lunch conversations here. It’s really, really important that you surround yourself with like-minded and kind people.
Point number six is the importance of collaboration, which kind of ties into my previous point in that if it wasn’t for my Studiomates there are a lot of projects that would not have happened. I remember this one lunch conversation I had with my Studiomate Cameron where we were talking about ‘To-Do’ apps. There are so many ‘To-Do’ apps out there, and I’ve tried many of them. We just had a general conversation about the different apps and I went into this rant on what I would envision my ideal app to be. He just sat there chuckling and he goes: "Tina just design it! I’ll build it for you." I’ve been building apps and designing apps for clients all my life. It had never occurred to me that I could actually do this. So there you go! Even though I had it at my fingertips (the skills), it never occurred to me to actually do it. So the next day I sat down and spent like three hours designing ‘Todo‘, and then I sent the files to Cameron. Twenty-four hours later we had a working app. That was one of those moments where I realized that surrounding myself with the sort of people that compliment your skills and help you build things together? There’s nothing more powerful.
So number seven is a lesson that took me a long time to learn, and that is to ignore haters. I really want to teach my children to get there earlier than I did. It took me well into my mid-thirties to get good and let things just bounce off me. I run a fairly popular design blog called ‘SwissMiss‘ and every now and then I have this hater come out. He leaves really, really not-so-graceful comments on my blog (let’s put it that way). I am very lucky because I have a very respectful audience, so whenever there is a hater coming out it’s unusual, but whenever the haters come out I pull up a little meme dude ‘Hater’s Gonna Hate‘ (in our industry it’s an insider joke) and I would just sit there and breathe and remind myself that there are people who build things and there are people who tear things down. That guy is obviously on the other side.
I remember looking at this (animation of) a guy strutting (this was shortly after I had launched Tattly), and I took a deep breath and said ‘You know? Haters gonna hate! They get none of my time. I am not going to let this get to me. It’s a waste of energy that I can put somewhere else.’ I reached out to the designers of this little strutting GIF animation and I asked them ‘Can we make a Tattly out of it?‘ And they said yes. So now I just monetized the hate! Now I’m selling a ‘Haters Gonna Hate‘ Tattly.
My last point, I think, is really important; and that is that we owe it to the people around us to inspire others. When you are happy, when you are on the right track, when you are doing something that is very fulfilling to you - you are going to be inspiring other people. I feel like we all owe it (to ourselves) to really get to that point in our life where we are able to pass that enthusiasm, and energy, and happiness on by inspiring other people. The way my crazy, eccentric aunt was inspiring me - I’m just doing it in a more virtual way. Through the tools I am creating online or through blog - I hope, even if I can just be a tiny bit as inspiring as she was to other people - then it’s all worth it, and you can have a lasting impact."