Buy the Fun Pass

Happy Caine

Happy Caine (Photo credit: Leslie Kalohi /

I’m so enamored with the story of Caine and his arcade.  I love the imagination of it, I love how it has appealed to the innate generosity in so many people world-wide.  I love that it has inspired a renaissance of creative, hands-on play in kids of all ages.

Nirvan Mullick

Nirvan Mullick (Photo credit: the1secondfilm)

But today, I want to focus on a different part of the story.  Today I want to talk about Nirvan Mullick.

Just over a year ago Nirvan needed a new door handle for his ’96 Corolla and went to a used auto parts store in East LA to find it.  When he got there, he met Caine, saw his cardboard arcade and bought a fun pass. Continue reading

What could you stop doing?

This post is reprinted from my weekly try-it e-mail series.  If you like it, sign-up here to have each week’s exercise delivered straight to your inbox.

Have you noticed how easy it is to add something new to your schedule? One more client, one more project, one more meeting. Each new thing on its own seems inconsequential, so in a burst of enthusiasm (or guilt) we say yes.

Then we wonder why we feel so tired all the time.

Normally this is where you would expect a lesson on learning to say “no.” That’s good advice, and we’ll probably cover it one of these weeks, but for now I’m asking you to do something different. Continue reading

Choosing to Live in Color

This week’s summer showcase post is from my friend and LHF Greenhouse member, Jade.   In addition to being generally awesome, Jade blogs at the Madness of Monotony and recently had a piece about creative uses of snap-pops featured on Freshly Pressed.

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Do make time for regular trips to Oz?(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time when my life was overflowing with creativity. Not simply my own, but everyone around me. Writers, artists, actors, musicians, songwriters, designers … I couldn’t throw a paper airplane without hitting someone whose talent filled the space. My spare time was filled with art shows, community theatre in all its forms, or performances of local musicians.

At the time, I didn’t realize how unusual my life was, or how fortunate I was to be surrounded by so many incredibly talented people. I didn’t realize that most people’s reality was so much more … mundane. I know that may sound judgmental, and I truly don’t mean for it to, but it’s like seeing the Wizard of Oz and going from Technicolor back to Kansas in plain old black and white.

Sure, I worked, but it was secondary to everything else. My job didn’t interfere.

Until it did. Continue reading

How to Compile Your Brain

Have you ever wondered why software companies are able to crank out so many innovative products while also creating cultures where people really want to come to work?

I think it’s because of the compiler.

Unlike in other professions, a programmer’s workday includes mandatory down-time.  After writing a batch of code, programmers have to take a break while the computer compiles–translates their work from human readable language to machine readable language.  Without this step, the program won’t run.

While the computer does its work, programmers are not expected to feign busyness.  They are allowed, even encouraged, to slack off until the computer finishes.  Thus, when they return to work, not only has the computer had time to compile, but so has the programmer.

The rest of us also write code for a very specialized computer everyday:  our brains.  But unlike computer programmers, we don’t have mandatory compiling opportunities built into our day; we need to create them.  Continue reading

The Myth of Wasted Time

A child watching TV.

A child watching TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a confession:  I watch TV.

I live in a house with a gold-plated Direct TV subscription, HBO, and Netflix–and those babies are not going to waste.  I watch at least an hour of TV most nights and sometimes as much as 5-6 hours.  There are shows I love almost as much as these people love Battlestar Galactica.

Now, most people who write blogs like this one will tell you a TV habit is a no-no. Why “waste” all that time consuming the creative output of others when you could use those hours to write more blog posts, create more websites, or start a movement to change the world?

This advice sounds reasonable–until you consider that by the time I get to the TV part of my day, loading the dishwasher is a challenge, never mind stringing words together into cogent sentences.  All the self-flagellation in the world isn’t going to change that. Continue reading