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Research Framework

Research framework that shows how to perform varying levels of resaerch

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Biomaterials (part 1 of 3)

New medical technology from a combination of 3D printing and mineral isolation.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Showcasing nature

How photography shows us nature in new ways.

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2023 Retrospective and 2024 Goals

My 2023 summary and goal for the new year

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Design and Nature Reimagined: Can we create a living battery?

Every leaf that you see on a plant or tree is a tiny, living, solar battery. For years I've wondered why we haven't invested more in figuring out solar storage by mimicking leaves.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Immortal Ginkgo?

How a ginkgo tree may hold a secret to (almost) immortality.

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Scarring

There was too much skin. Or, maybe it just looked like that at first glance? As if twice the amount needed to cover her arm had somehow gotten put only on one.

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A walk on November 8

I read a post yesterday where a woman said her dream job was to take a 3 - 4 hour walk every day, come home and write a 3000 word essay about it, and send it to an email address that never wrote back. Something about that made me feel very seen.

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Mermaid

I was a mermaid once.

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Viral

The video came with a warning.

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How bioswales manage stormwater

Bioswales help cities manage stormwater in a way that's more cost-effective and sustainable.

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I only did fun things and it made me miserable

How my focus on fun actually taught me about discipline.

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Vancouvite

The trail that day was cool, shaded under so many trees. The sun filtered softly through, casting a light and shadow pattern along the path.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Going Bananas

As weather patterns become more erratic, storms become more intense, and desertification grows, we are seeing increased instability in food production.

And this instability may be coming for bananas.

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5 reasons you should work with me for your product research and design

  • I have 10 years of industry experience
  • My work produces cash money
  • I get stuff done
  • People say I'm delightful
  • I care deeply

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Sustainability work at Netlify

How I put together a team to work on sustainability initiatives within Netlify and convinced leadership to provide sustainability funding.

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An introduction to the impact of native planting

Native plants in your garden help support wildlife and are easier to maintain than non-natives. Learn what makes a plant native to an area and how you can get started planting native plants in your garden!

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Design and Nature Reimagined: GMO trees for faster growth?

As trees mature, they tend to take up more CO2. Is there a way to speed up their growth?

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The curious case of the urn-shaped flowers: Naming is hard (part deux)

A deep dive into the beautiful little urn-shaped flowers that are native to my region (and apparently a lot of other ones, too).

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The curious case of the urn-shaped flowers

Going on a tiny research deep-dive to understand why a few seemingly unrelated native plants have such a similar and unique flower shape. Botany done by a non-botanist, this should be fun!

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Photorespiration: the opposite of photosynthesis

Photorespiration is protective process that plants use to slow water loss. What is it and how does it impact plants? Science-y stuff written by a non-scientist. Fun!

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Nature belongs everywhere, Part 2

Previously we talked about what rewilding is and how it looks in different landscapes. This week I want to talk about the benefit and impact of rewilding.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Nature belongs everywhere, Part 1

Rewilding is becoming a growing movement throughout Europe to catalyze conservation efforts. What is rewilding, and how does it change our landscape and promote biodiversity? This is part 1 of a rewilding series I'm writing.

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Pricing Research: the power of good questions

Why Twitter's pricing strategy will likely fail.

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Conserving old forests should be a first step in climate mitigation

Which is better? Conserving old growth forests or planting new trees?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Growing buildings

Including nature in our built environment creates spaces that are healthier for us and the planet.

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Design and Nature Reimagined: The universe beneath our feet (Part 1)

Fungi are everywhere, and the more I've seen it the more entranced I've become. So let's look at how fungi works, and how we might learn from it. Part 1 will include cool fungus facts (a phrase I never thought I'd say), and Part 2 will reimagine how we might learn from fungus.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Can art give us hope?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how art influences us and the way we influence it. I think that having nature inspired art is a wonderful way to both appreciate nature, and even discover things that you hadn't noticed before.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Can the soil save us? (Part 2)

We're continuing with Part 2 on how the soil can save us, based on the documentary Kiss the Ground. Previously we talked about the importance of soil and the scary realization that desertification was expanding on a global level. The open question for all of us is; what can we do about it?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Can soil save us? (Part 1)

The other day I was watching the Netflix show Kiss the Ground, which is all about soil. I enjoy documentaries, and although climate documentaries can be overwhelming, I don't know all that much about soil and thought the movie might be informative. But I watched it two weeks ago and am still thinking about it! Here's a little bit of what I learned. Buckle in, cuz this is only Part 1 of 2...

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Robots in the water

Conservation is a huge part of combatting climate change, because once something is damaged or lost it takes many, many decades or generations to build itself back up again. And refusing to clean up our plastic mess, in addition to refusing to stop using plastic, leads to especially harmful pollution in our water.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: How grief can be our gateway to hope

I thought this week I would talk about mental health, climate change, and hope. How do we deal with feelings of grief and loss of what we know?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Understanding the un-understandable

One of the (many) things that makes climate change so hard is the inability to truly understand it. If we don't understand it, it makes it hard to push for change. So, today I want to talk about climate modeling and visualization. How might we use these tools to better understand the challenge that we all face?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: The dirty business of healthcare

Healthcare is a unique place for design, innovation, and nature to come in, because healthcare really isn't something that's really in the front of our minds when we talk about waste.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: A new way to fly

Today I want to look at the possible future of planes. What might we do differently to reduce emissions when using air travel?

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2021 Retrospective and 2022 Goals

It's time again for a yearly retrospective!

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Mass reforestation around the world

I want to talk about trees again, mainly because I love them so much and because I think planting trees is one of the most hopeful acts you can do. A tree is a bet on the future, something that will be most appreciated after you've lived and died, and therefore something that you do for others.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Natural light through the night

As spring comes and brings more light later into the day, I've been thinking a lot about how light plays in our life. It's easy for us to flip a switch as night comes, without even thinking about it. However, a lot of material goes into our lighting and the impact of our lights creates light pollution that confuses migrating birds and nocturnal animals and insects.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Water bears in space!

Hi there! Today we're gonna talk about tardigrades, also known as water bears. Water bears are some of the strongest little creatures out there.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Do flowers party at night? No they go to bed early.

If you know anything about me by now, you may have noticed I love (love) plants. I love growing my garden, and spend a lot of time watching the flowers. If you've ever done this, you may have noticed that some of your flowers close at night. Purple shamrocks, tulips, lotus, morning glory, and california poppies are just a few of the many flowers that exhibit this behavior.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Look to the birds

I often talk about the future and climate change mitigation. How might we change something going forward to reduce or reverse climate change? But an important part of climate justice requires a realistic view. And that view must include adaptation. How might we reimagine our relationship with nature in order to adapt to a changing climate?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Using mushrooms to fight climate change

Sitting with untapped potential, how could mushrooms help us create a better future and mitigate climate change?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Mimicking nature to help us store and use energy

Although we all likely know about renewable energy by now: wind, hydro, solar, and even nuclear energy, one of the ongoing problems we've had for moving toward new energy is being able to store that energy in a battery. Today I wanted to look at opportunities for understanding how nature stores energy and how we might mimic that with our own technologies.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Using mapping to save our coral reefs

This week we'll be talking about a sad subject, but one filled with a lot of hope.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: The beauty of bogs

Today I'm going to talk with you about something you probably never thought you'd read about.... peat bogs! Why peat bogs, Marisa, I hear you ask me through the screen.

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Is Betterment's Socially Responsible Investing actually socially responsible?

Today we take a quick look at Betterment's Socially Responsible Investment portfolio. What's that all about and is it any good?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Solving the plastic pollution problem

This week we're going to talk about plastic. Something that we use every day, and is one of the easiest ways to perpetuate our fossil fuel usage.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: An ocean of innovation

I've talked a lot so far about trees and plants, but there's so much more beyond what's beneath our feet. So today I wanted to talk about the ocean. Think of this as an introduction into how the ocean and climate are related.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Connecting with nature through sound

Hope your day is going well. Today we're going to talk about some ways people are using sound to connect with nature.

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2020 Retrospective and 2021 Goals

It's time for another retrospective! This year was... a lot.

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Design & Nature Reimagined: The Future of Growing Food

I love food and love gardening so I figured this week we'd look take a look at some possible futures for growing food. How can tech, nature, and innovative thinking reimagine how we plant and what types of food we grow?

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Design & Nature Reimagined: Reforesting cities and towns

This week we're looking at some examples of cities and towns that are putting in the effort to reforest their communities in an attempt to make their areas better for themselves and the planet. We see how we're reforesting both outside and inside our lived spaces.

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Getting Involved in Climate Work

I spend a lot of my time thinking about climate change. Over the years, I've struggled over how to have an impact, especially when I'm not specifically working in the climate space. This post is about how my thoughts have evolved on this over the course of my career.

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Getting Started in UX Research

If you're interested in getting started in UX Research, I wrote up what worked for me, and resources I've used.

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Leveling up: Progressing in your UX Research Career

This post is for people interested in growing their UX Research career. I discuss how I've grown research programs and grown into a Senior Design Researcher role. This is a live post, so I'll be making updates and additions based on questions I get. If you've got a question, send a tweet to @marisamorby and I'll answer it and update the post!

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Creating a "good first issue" for new OSS contributors

Tips on creating a good user experience for first time contributors to OSS.

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Neuroscience, Behavior, and Anxiety: Growing once you're grown

Do you suffer from anxiety? I do, and am fascinated with how neuroscience, behavior, and anxiety are all related. This post goes into how this is all interconnected and some ideas that might help you manage your own anxiety.

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Learnings on scaling research insights and operations

Takeaways about scaling research from a Research Ops town hall I attended in the summer of 2020.

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How to validate product ideas

When you've got a good product idea, how do you know that it's actually something you should pursue?

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Asking better questions: leading vs. open questions

One of the biggest problems on research calls is asking leading questions. They can easily derail an interview and make any insights you get biased and often wrong. They'll lead you down a path that doesn't actually solve problems, because you've seeded the interviews with leading questions.

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Asking better questions: Tips for getting clarity from participants

When running research calls, your insights will only be as good as the goals you set and the questions you ask. I want to take some time to talk about how I approach research calls and get more context and clarity from our research participants.

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Collaborating with nature: Reimagining our cities with vertical forests

We need bolder visions to help us imagine what our cities and towns could be. This post starts to explore what that could look like, starting with a few examples that already exist or are in design.

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Taking back the streets

Streets were originally meant for all people to use. With the rise of the car, people got pushed further to the edges, and an entire legal system was set up to defend drivers of cars rather than those impacted by them. How can we change that narrative now?

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Reaching your goals

I often have trouble posting and sharing content, even though I really want to. I got some recent advice from my coach to help me think about it a bit differently. I wanted to share the two biggest things that stood out to me.

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How to create a research program

Often, research teams at small to mid-size companies only have one or two people in charge of identifying, conducting, and sharing research and insights. This is my in progress guide to creating a research program when you don't have a large team to work on it.

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UX Design: The trouble with easy

We often hear that we should make things "easy" for people using our product. The trouble is that when we do that, we rob people of the joy of overcoming small bits of friction. See how to think about friction in a different way.

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How Design Shapes our Future

Let's use our imagination and dream up a better future.

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We all belong in the climate conversation

Joining the conversation on climate is for everyone, because it will impact all of us.

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Designing a better built environment

We can design a better world if we're willing to ask better questions and make real change.

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Designing for people: How research and design can help us create smarter cities

I had the opportunity to give a talk at the Portland Junior Developers meetup. This post is a link to that presentation, where I shared some ideas on how can we use research, design, and tech to create better cities.

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2019 Retrospective and 2020 Goals

Insert your own funny 2020 vision quote here... everybody happy? But for real, let's look at how things went in 2019 and goals for 2020.

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Why are people in America so angry?

I recently had a conversation with someone that asked me, "Why are Americans so angry?" And that got me thinking, so I wrote down why I think we're all so upset.

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Finding hope as our world changes

A few months ago I was lucky enough to go to the Cooper Hewitt Design museum in New York. The exhibit I saw was what I've been waiting for. It made me sad, excited, angry, and most of all—hopeful. It changed me in such a way that I still think about it almost every day. I want to share some of what I learned with you.

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When systems design meets user design

Researching and designing cars is no small task. But in order to build products that are sustainable and safe, we must learn to ask the right questions, and consider how the product will work within the entire system.

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Dealing with climate anxiety in a dying world

How anxiety can give way to productive anger.

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Embrace the process

It's common to think that processes are hard, disruptive, and annoying. But each step we take to complete a task is part of a process. Whether or not that process is effective is up to you. Learn how to create effective processes with a little team research.

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Designing for your worst user

Some people who use your system will be bad actors. As researchers and designers, how can we design to deter this type of behavior?

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How it feels to give away your LEGOs

How working in a startup and constantly redefining your role can be terrifying, fun, and ultimately help you grow.

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Output vs. Outcome

Outputs and outcomes are thrown around in product management a lot. In this post, I talk about why you need to measure outcomes if you really want to succeed.

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How to create a research program, even if your company doesn’t believe in research

Not dedicating time to research is a bad business decision. In this post I talk about how to create a research program from the ground up, even if you've never had a research program before.

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2018 Retrospective and 2019 Action Plan

Another year has come and gone, so it's time for reflection and goal setting!

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Gatsby Swag Store Case Study

The process we went through to create the Gatsby Swag store.

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Investment is a funny thing

How does investing in something improve your life?

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In the beginning (again)

Some thoughts on running my own business, the second time around.

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Dirty Work

The knives next to the sink had the most colorful handles Steven had ever seen.

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Confessions of a Quitter

I struggle with starting projects, and basically never finish them. So I’ve always considered myself a quitter, until now. Here’s how I changed.

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The 6 Step Framework for Handling Bad Feedback

How you handle bad feedback is what separates successful freelancers from the ones that crash and burn. Instead, turn something bad into something useful.

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Are You Confusing Your Visitors? Interactions for Happier Users

Got an email sign up list? What happens when people sign up? Check your site flow to make sure you're not confusing site visitors.

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Two Changes You Can Make for Better Facebook Marketing

I get frustrated trying to market on Facebook sometimes. But here are two things you can do that will make your marketing even better!

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The One Page Website: How to Do It Right for Local Businesses

Dealing with a website can be frustrating, but it's necessary. Enter the one page website. Include these three things to keep you customers happy.

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How to Prepare for the Future of Remote Work

How can we prepare ourselves for a future with no office? I talked with four remote work experts, and here's what they had to say.

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How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home — or Rome

Want to work from home, but not sure how to convince your boss? I'm here to help you have that talk.

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How to Make Your Freelance Business Paper-Free

If you're tired of all those documents, hard files, and a pile of papers on your desk, here's how I run my business completely paper-free

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4 Ways to Make Your Business Stand Out and Get Noticed

If you're trying to make money in this crazy online market, you've got to stand out. Here are some easy tips to get noticed.

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The Top 5 Enemies of Focus and How to Overcome Them

With sites like YouTube, Tumblr, and BuzzFeed, it's amazing that any of us are able to focus and get work done. If you struggle to focus like I do, I've got some ideas that are going to rock your world.

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How to stop struggling with your first potential client call

Are your panties in a twist over this first potential client call? I know that feeling. Stop freaking out, I'm here to help you out.

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Forget Resolutions, I'm Doing a Mantra.

Resolutions are great for some people, but not me. Instead, I'm only picking one thing to do differently, and it's going to change my whole year.

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The Lie We've Been Told: You Have Natural Talent

Talent isn't what you think it is. It isn't something you're born with. It's something you earn. Learning this has completely changed how I view learning and practice. It's also taught me how to do the right types of practice to really grow.

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What I've Learned in a Year of Permanent Travel

I've spent the last year on the road. These are some of the things I've discovered.

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Just Take My Money: How Bad User Experience Can Cost You Customers

All I wanted to do was give them my money, but they wouldn't take it. A bad user experience like this one can cost you customers.

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What Can't You Learn?

When I try new things sometimes I end up getting in my own way. But I'm figuring out that we really can learn anything — it's all about mindset.

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How to Get Your Customers' Attention

How do you grab your customers' attention in a busy world? And how do you keep it? The answer is probably more entertaining than you think.

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When to Say Yes to a Project — Even If You Want to Say No

New projects raise lots of questions. What if I make a huge mistake or don't know what I'm doing? Here's how to decide whether or not to take it on.

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How to Tell a Great Brand Story

I love a great story, don't you? Here are some tips on creating a great brand story that will make your customers happy.

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Wondering How to Grow Your Business? Start a Conversation

Here's how to start a great conversation with your current customers and get them engaged.

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Your Brand Will Die If It's Missing This

Trust is the cornerstone of business. Here's how to make sure your customers trust you.

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Pay Attention to Yourself

We all hate getting caught up in the fury of a moment and making an ass of ourselves. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure this doesn't happen again.

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Why Building Self-Confidence Matters

Building self-confidence is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Read these tips on building self-confidence for a happier life.

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You’re Full of Crap... Dealing With Difficult People

Some people are full of shit. Sometimes we have to deal with those people. Here are 6 ways to make that less painful.

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Stop Beating Yourself Up: Self-Compassion

Don't be an asshole. Especially to yourself.

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I Totally Didn’t Agree to That: Managing Expectations

How to stop being blindsided with extra work, missed deadlines, or confused clients.

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What Just Happened... How Perceptive Are You?

Like getting what you want? Being perceptive can help with that.

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How Do I Keep Up With Change and Not Lose My Shit?

Tired of the things around you always changing? Feel like you can't keep up? If you want to survive in a world with constant change, you have to adapt. Here's how to start.

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Gardening for the non-gardener

Sometimes house plants can be really difficult to maintain. They usually die from being loved to death... overwatered. So, I wanted to share tips on how to get started with gardening even if you don't have a lot of space. If you have a window that opens or a little balcony then you've got yourself a little outdoor garden!

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