Sunday, 5 October 2014

Chat with Alicia Souza - The Illustrator

Learnings from the Learned #1

This series is dedicated to all those amazing achievers who never seize to inspire us! Here's starting with the lovely Alicia Souza. Do i need to introduce her? I hear most of you shout NO. So, skip this part and jump straight to the interview you guys, because i will introduce her for the benefit of others who are still not in love with her awesome illustrations

Alicia Souza is a young illustrator based out of Bangalore. She started off working for Chumbak (a Bangalore based startup selling Indian souvenirs and knick knacks) and then went on to become a freelancer. She now also runs her own e-commerce store. TED Talks, Corporate Workshops and so much more. Alicia Souza is a bunch of joy who speaks through her drawings. Can you believe her Twitter profile says, "I draw"? Such infectious passion i tell you. 

1.  You draw & always draw! so much! Considering freelancing is so self-driven, how do you manage to stick to it and not get bored?

In the beginning it was hard and a lot of conscious effort was put into sitting at my desk, especially when I'm generally a very fidgety person. Over time, I learnt to mix in a schedule that suits me and my hyperness. I also tend to work in accordance with my moods. So if I don't feel like drawing, I just don't and when I do, I make up for the times that I don't!

2. How do you manage your social profile? I mean your strategy to manage your social channels is so amazing! Your responses are quick and your content is constantly flowing. How do you manage this despite your busy schedule?

 In the beginning it was, again, challenging to fit it in a schedule and to take time off to put up a drawing but now it's a habit. Like brushing my teeth. I don't think much about it and it's part of my day. Also it helps that everyone on my page is super lovely and supportive! Makes it less of a chore and more of a joy!

3. e-commerce is so challenging today and you are now a part of that world! What is your biggest learning as an e-entrepreneur?

 I feel like I'm still learning! Adapt! that's my biggest learning. Learning to be flexible when things don't go according to plan because goodness me, they don't! But it's also so much fun because of it. 

4. Do you have a cut off time in a day when you just stop working no matter what!? Does taking off time from work help spur your creativity?

 In the beginning I used to not take time off and then I started getting family and friend obligations. in the beginning it used to be off on Sundays and I used to keep thinking about how much I could've done but then I realised how much MORE I do when I get back. Weekends are like mini-vacations away from my desk. Also, yes, I have a cut off time of 'Charlie whining for playing company'. He's like an alarm clock. And yes, it also helps because you get content to feed your drawings.

5. Do you have any plans of using your skills to raise social awareness? 

Yes, I'm already working with a dog behaviourist and pet store to print these one-page-booklets on little pet information. All the proceeds from buying them go straight to an animal shelter. It's something I've always wanted to do, so I'm glad:)

6. How do you come up with such entertaining names for your dogs?

 Charles-Brown Whimperbug Souza: I always loved the name 'Charlie' and was reading Peanuts when I got him. He responded first to the name, so it stuck. And 'Whimperbug' because he was such a whimperer when he was a puppy. 

Lola-bear Schnitzel Souza: Well, I initially wanted to call her 'Polar Bear' because she looked like a little white bear cub when I got her, but got refusals from everyone about the name, so it turned to 'lola-Bear'. 'Schnitzel' was because my friend who picked her up at the time had just gone to Prague and was obsessed with them. 

They grew into their names. 

Thank you Alicia Souza for doing this :) 
Hope you all enjoyed reading this! You may now like, share, comment or just smile 
Have a great day!

P.S - All images belong to Alicia Souza, permissions taken!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Is your feedback system people-friendly?

The addiction for feedback has always existed among achievers or to-be-achievers (be it an individual or an organization) But, how many of us have taken the "Human Factor" into consideration for the same?
Let me elaborate. Most of our feedback is so skewed towards the extroverts. Would you agree? In Webinars, the person who clicks on the raise-hand button is prioritized over a person who has keyed in his/her question in the chat bar. The person who has commented on a post is taken more seriously than the one who has merely liked something. Did we miss pondering upon the fact that, there are so many silent listeners out there, some of them being our biggest customers? Why did we just assume being loud is a sign of importance?
Needless to say, today our content (be it at a personal level or at an organizational level) is exposed to a varied set of listeners out there - there are the extroverts who respond, debate, challenge and discuss, there are the ambiverts who may prefer to take the discussion offline or online and then we have the introverts, who prefer introspection over an open discussion. When you take feedback how receptive are we to all these people-types? It's not stereotyping i am talking about, it's the inclusiveness that's important. It will make you stand out as an organization.
Here's a practical example of how i used this thought to get feedback for my blog
For the enthusiastic extroverts who love an on the spot open discussions, I have the regular comments section.
For the lovely introverts, i have a silent response section, as i prefer to call it. I do not need you to talk or give me your details. Just tell me how you would categorize my post

For the introverts who do mind speaking up in person, or for the extroverts who do not have time for an open discussion, i have a section to take this off the blog - having them send me a feedback to my mail. A lot of people do respond here.
The bubbly ambiverts are the ones who vacillate on their mode of communication. So, they always have options to choose from. I let their mood do the choosing for them.
I can now firmly say, i have accommodated all kinds of people into my feedback system. Will they now communicate more? I can't tell, after all we are humans overpowered by so many external and internal factors. But, once they want to, have i facilitated them enough? Oh yes! Moreover, this may involve a little more time & effort, but hey! it's worth it. You never know which silent listener can actually change the way you do business and take it to a whole new level.
When organizations take this thought into consideration, i am sure it will act as a strong differentiator in their favor, not to mention how considerate and inclusive they prove to be
Do you think this thought makes sense? Please comment below to share your views on the same. You could also drop me a personal message if that works for you
Thank you for reading!