Hey y’all, it’s been a while since I wrote my last update. A lot has been has happened in the past few months – it’s kind of hard to believe how much I’ve managed to do in so little time.
I think having so much to do feels natural to me now. The only reason I’m not losing my mind is because I have a calendar and to-do list that help me keep track of things. However, because of my introverted nature, I’ve found myself hibernating more than I used to. We’ll see how long I can keep things going, but I’m definitely planning on slowing down by the fall.
Anyway, onto the monstrous list of things I’ve been doing!
I used to be a bit nervous about the fact that I’m interested in more than one profession. This talk by Jessica Hische helped me to feel a lot more normal. I’ve continued along my path to become both a UX Designer and a Game Maker – both are very fulfilling to me. I’m currently working on a game about the “joys” of being a subway commuter as well as continuing to work on the art and UX for two other games, Prism Shell and Al the Chemist. Five Stages, a game I made with two friend this past January, has been displayed at two events in New York City and will hopefully be a part of IndieCade.
If you want to make a game but aren’t sure where to start, I hope you’ll join me at the next socially-conscious game jam I’m organizing with the Brooklyn Gamery. The Super Love Jam is a 48-hour game jam about sexual identity, gender norms, and the relationships that we form based on our identities. We’re hoping to encourage people to continue making games about important subjects that are often overlooked. I hope you’ll join us!
A little over two weeks ago, I became engaged in a set of interesting conversations about diversity in conference speaker lineups thanks to this tweet by my friend Nicole. Nicole wanted to know why Circles Conference lacked any speakers of color. Many people in the design industry were not okay with her rocking the boat. Responses ranged from irritation to indignation to dismissal (because everyone knows meritocracy is flawless and no one has biases). One person told her to “stop bitching” and make her own conference if she wanted to see more diversity, but that person later deleted their tweets.
Eventually, the organizer realized that the conference really was lacking in diversity and apologized. Unfortunately, the damage was already done; I’ve begun to distrust the industry I once thought was forward-thinking. Due to this incident, I’m going to do my best to speak as much as possible while also encouraging others from diverse backgrounds to show their faces. The industry is changing; the people we put in the spotlight should reflect that change and inspire people of all kinds to join.
Are you a woman and/or person of color who’s interested in speaking? Check out speaking.io and subscribe to Rawk the Web. Submit a proposal to every conference on this list Donna Lichaw wrote. Ask to speak at conferences that don’t accept proposals. Be your own advocate and don’t take no for an answer – you’re not being pushy, but rather ambitious.
If you’re organizing a conference and looking for qualified people from different backgrounds, check out Revision Path and 28 Days of Diversity. You can also find many candidates on this list of 100 speakers who should be seen more at tech conferences. Reach out to your network, whether it be via email or social media. With qualified people of all kinds out there, there’s no reason for the same people to show up at every conference.
I’ve been writing more in order to continue my quest to defeat Impostor Syndrome. The most popular piece I’ve written was about bullying, the Boys’ Club, and its effect on diversity. This piece helped me to come to terms with my experience at a previous job and also created a positive discussion about alcoholism, bullying, and leadership in the workplace.
In addition to the above, I also wrote about several other topics. The first piece was about the frustration of unpaid internships, which is a topic very dear to my heart. In honor of International Women’s Day, the next piece I wrote was about being a woman of color in the tech industry. After going to a Babycastles event, I shared life advice from a Spelunky developer. Most recently, I’ve written a tutorial about using AngularJS to prototype interactive experiences and shared some advice for budding UX Designers. I’m proud to use my writing to make a positive impact on people’s lives and hope to continue doing so.
You may or may not have seen me tweet excitedly about this, but it’s official – I’ve joined the Product Design team at SoundCloud. I learned a lot during my time at Bedrocket and met a lot of wonderful, talented people, however I’m looking forward to working on a product that I feel more passionate about. My first week on the team was really great, and I’m very positive about my future at the company. Wish me luck!
Well… That’s all I could think of at the moment. I’m sure I missed something, but I’m too lazy to blather on any further. Until next time, internet!
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A digital product designer's story of failure, self-empowerment, and redemption. Over the span of two years, Catt Small experienced the highs and lows of product development—all on the same team. She will share ways to improve your persuasion skills, create a better working relationship with your peers, conduct more holistic research, and ultimately create and release a better product.
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