TED rule 2

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,

Second Monday of my project, second TED rule. This week I’m using Stefan Sagmeister, a creative and successful New York-based graphic designer and typographer. You certainly know him for some CD cover or books, you can check his website or wikipedia page for more details.

In his TED talk “The power of time off”, Stefan explains how free time is beneficial for any creative work. From the Google 20% time rule, very popular projects like gmail or google map have emerged; or more recently Google staff are using their 20% time to help Japan after the disaster. But Stefan’s vision is a bit different. Looking at a larger time scale, he prefers to take a sabbatical year every seven years.

As I realized, just like many many things in my life that I love, I adapt to it and I get bored by them; our work start to look the same. Every 7 years I close my studio for 1 year to pursue some little experiment things that are difficult to accomplish during the regular working year.

His conclusions are great!

  • My job became a calling again
  • It was very enjoyable
  • Over the long term it was financially successful
  • Everything we designed in the seven years following the first sabbatical, had originated in that year

I don’t have exactly the same kind of job, but I decided to give it a try. And anyway that’s the idea of this blog! This is my TED rule number 2: I quit my job, and I’m taking a sabbatical year. How exciting is that!

Now I need to tell you a bit more about myself. I’m a geologist, I (was) work(ing) for a software company in the oil & gas industry. I had a great time during 6 years, traveling and living around the world, meeting interesting people, working on exciting high-tech projects. My last place of work was Kuala Lumpur, and -like Stefan- I really enjoyed Asia. So I’ll spend my sabbatical traveling around Asia. On a motorbike.

Stefan explains how his first sabbatical failed. “Without a plan I just reacted to little requests…”. This is exactly why I’m writing this blog right now, the TED Rules project will help me structure my year and improve and rediscover myself , little by little.  It will also impact the other exciting projects I’m doing: a portrait blog of the people I’ll meet, a flickr account for the other pictures and a facebook public page for a more general view of my trip. So I’m quite organized, I already have a plan for some parts and this project will add some organized chaos I need to live! Again referring to Stefan, my main goal for this trip is to take the time for all the experiments I cannot do during a regular working year, from creativity, interactivity, ethics, global thinking… Wow by chance (!?) it looks like the TED themes…

See you next week for more!

Mister Jo


2 Comments on “TED rule 2”

  1. […] if you don’t forget the details. I’m talking especially of Stefan Sagmeister in my TED rule 2. His vision of taking a sabbatical is clearly an excellent idea, but I neglected his advice on […]


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