30 Days of Thanks: Design

30 Days of Thanks: Design

From the chairs with no instructions, to the sweaters that require no ironing, to the kitchens that anyone can navigate. Experiences and products are everywhere and go least noticed when designed well.

The fact that you knew to pull on that door rather than push on it without ever having to read a sign.

The fact that everyone knows how to operate a chair without instructions even though all chairs do not look exactly alike.

To the ATM machines that now take seconds to operate.

Great design can communicate years of information without having a paragraph of text.

To the business development person who spends more time being a resource and less time being a sales person.

To the floor manager who spends more time figuring out what you need and less time on what you’re asking for.

For the thousands of poorly designed experiences, there are a thousand more wonderful experiences that get unnoticed.

This thank you goes out to the thousands of wonderfully designed experiences that go unnoticed, because that’s what they do best.

30 Days of Thanks – Skype!

Year after year, I’m thankful for the same things…

  • Family

    • In less than two years, we’ve welcomed two new additions to our family!
      Nicholas I. Gomez and Taylor E. Nguyen!

  • Friends

    • This year I’ve made so many new friends at school, work and even out of thin air! I can’t imagine going a whole day without some of them!

  • Food

    • Sweets are definitely my weakness.. I’ve been able to limit myself from too much sugar consumption.. but there are just times when you need to down a dozen of the best cupcakes in the world!..just kidding, I shared them! They were from Georgetown Cupcakes!

      I was so lucky to experience Uchi in Houston,TX this year with my sister for my birthday! It was right after the Schipul Zombie Photoshoot (just imagine splotches of red ‘blood’ around my face and neck as I enjoy some uncooked fish)
  • and other things that start with the letter “F”… like flip-flops

However, this year I’ve added another item to be really thankful for..and no, it doesn’t start with the letter “F”.

For the year 2012, I am also thankful for SKYPE! It’s such a great way to keep in touch with the people we care about, especially getting to ‘see’ them even if they’re miles and miles away. And ‘the best things in life are free‘..right?

And I guess no matter how you try to explain it.. a long-distance relationship is a LONG-distance relationship when you’re not in the same city as someone else.. whether it be family members, friends, co-workers, or so on.  Not being a big ‘phone-person’ (check me out with my Samsung Behold).. Skype is definitely the next best thing for me when it comes to having a conversation with someone.. ‘face-to-face’.

All in all, I’m very thankful for the life I have..filled with so many people that I genuinely care for and for all the memories and experiences we’ve all shared with each other. Until next Thanksgiving!




30 Days of thanks 2012 – Day 1

Since I work at a web marketing / technology company the first thing you might expect me to be thankful for might be my iPhone, wireless internet EVERYWHERE, downloading 10 megs of data in less than a minute (as opposed to over an hour when I was a kid) and stuff like that. I’m taking a different approach.

I’m a blessed guy. I know this, and I’m very thankful for it. I wake up every day, my legs work, I can breathe without pain, I can see clearly, I have food to eat whenever I want (so says my scale), I’m employed, married to a gorgeous woman who is WAY out of my league and a nerd to boot, and so much more.

I realize that much of the world doesn’t enjoy the simple luxuries I take for granted. It’s a wonderful and fragile thing. That’s another thing I’m thankful for: the life I live and the things I enjoy are so accessible to me remain so. I’m thankful I was raised by and around people who instilled values in me that have helped me make the best decisions I can so that I am where I am today.

I have a Pastor friend who says “Anyone is capable of anything at anytime.” I like to keep this thought in the front of my mind because it helps me remember that I’m just a few bad decisions away from losing everything important to me. Which brings me to the one thing I’m most thankful for: Even though I don’t deserve it I’m thankful I’ve been given mercy and grace in my life so that I can try to be the best person I can and love people the best I know how.

Photo by Brian Potter

PlasmaCar Races 2011!!

Thanksgiving is best celebrated by pushing co-workers and family members down a steep garage incline, don’t you think?   Well, we do…

This year’s annual PlasmaCar Races were thrilling adventures in gravity-land, fully of (joyful) screaming, competitiveness and camaraderie – all on the backs of small children’s toy vehicles.   Take a peek at more PlasmaCar Racing photos on our Facebook fanpage here.

It’s a tradition best explained by being there, I suppose.   But this video might shed some light on our love of sharing a holiday with family and co-workers on the seat of a speeding scooter.   We hope your Thanksgiving was an exciting one, too!!

PlasmaCar Race Day from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

As nobody before you and nobody after

Amelia Earhart

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.   ~Amelia Earhart

I am admittedly an odd duck with probably far too many random hobbies and a bizarre sense of adventure.   And by adventure, I mean everything from trying out that weird unidentified leafy veggie at the Asian grocer to flying glider and motorized planes to climbing a mountain in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Growing up, I idolized Amelia Earhart as only a young budding aviatrix could – she was fearless, passionate, hard working and totally unique.   She made waves in the male dominated aviation world all while rocking a unique fashion sense, supporting other gal fliers and being a mad publicity genius to boot.   My hero.

To me, Amelia’s legacy is that of pushing boundaries in everything you do and discovering the adventure of every moment of every day.   No matter the turbulence or how far away that landing strip might seem, “adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

What are we doing here? We’re reaching for the stars.   ~Christa McAuliffe

I Shall Pass This Way but Once

The old saying goes:

I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

These words can be found in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People (pg. 32), but they are not originally attributed to him. Similarly, that book is not the first place I have heard this virtue. I first heard those words from my father, and have heard them repeated here in the Schipul offices.

I don’t remember the circumstances of my first exposure to this virtuous statement, though I can only imagine it was one of the many times that I failed to appreciate an opportunity for kindness. My dad sat down with me and shared “I shall pass this way but once”. He went on to explain the broader meaning of the tale. It’s not about passing through a town or place or really anything specific. It’s about every moment, every interaction, every opportunity to do good. It’s not about buying gifts or planning celebrations. It’s all about the little ways you can show kindness, much like those Liberty Mutual commercials.

It’s easy to glamorize doing good things, to fantasize about writing huge checks or volunteering every weekend somewhere or even just planning special events for your family every night. But this message is about doing much less and achieving much more than those things. It’s the tiny, seemingly insignificant things that you can do to help someone else out that can matter so much more to them. You don’t have to spend money or give all your time, you just need to act in a good and kind nature.

But this is only the first half of the message. The latter portion is a bit more intimidating. As we grow older, we begin to recognize the missed opportunities of our past. I’m only 25 and I can count stacks of occasions, of moments, when I could have been better. As my father explained to me, life comes with thousands of opportunities, but you only get one shot at each one. I can’t go back in time and hold the elevator for the woman I can hear walking down the hallway. I can’t go back and offer to clean the dishes from a meal that I did not have to cook myself. Each opportunity presents itself only once, and we must seize each as an opportunity to show kindness.

Thanks Dad, for reminding me often that I shall pass this way but once.

Inspired by Looking Beyond the Window

Looking in Florence, ItalyI am a small town girl, who grew up in small town Texas. Really. CNN said it was the smallest typical small town in America for the Millennium 2000. It was a great place to grow up safely where the rest of the world didn’t set the pace. My mom chose it so she could care for my father in his later years of aging health care and not worry about their little girl when she couldn’t keep an eye on her every minute. It worked, I have some great memories even if I grew up rather quickly. But, it didn’t do much for my world view and experiences.

One of the greatest gifts of my Mom gave me was the encouragement to learn about other cultures and travel when possible. So much so, that it required faith and living out her dream. On the eve of a summer study abroad for Architecture in Italy, she was hospitalized for a heart attack. A phone call from my sister while I was packing interrupted the hundreds of little decisions about what to pack in only a backpack and carryon for 10 weeks. A long night, and several conversations later, and I was on a plane at her pleading. Mom never traveled across an ocean, but dreamed of it for her daughter. In all that was going on, she told me “Go! Learn about the world and have a better life that I dreamed of for you! Live out my dream for me.” It’s hard to argue with a 115 pound (when soaking wet), wiry, Texas born and bred Mom. And, her cardiologist promised to take good care of her.

What I learned on that first trip abroad was to experience everything different than in my world, appreciate the differences and similarities. I came back inspired by history, art, architecture, culture and the people that make all these things so vital. Umm… good red wine and cheese as well, but that is another post. I learned with historical significance what we do in this world, in this lifetime, affects those who will come after us and builds on the body of work for our humanity. Could I have learned these things without traveling abroad, yes. Would I be the same person, no. My mom somehow knew this more than I did. She knew I needed to experience people and living differently. I know my place in this world is here in Texas, but I also know in small ways, I am connected to a larger picture and have so much more to learn from others.

Mom did get released from the hospital and we shared great stories about my travels and many more trips and escapades. She lived vicariously until her heart couldn’t keep up with her spirit anymore. Her eyes shined with each story and photo and in retrospect, yes, Mom was right. Mom, Thank You for inspiring me to experience more about the world other than what is outside my living room window. Even when I had to leave your side under extreme circumstances, you inspired me to be a better neighbor to human culture.

Life’s too short to read bad books

If there is one thing that we Schipulites all have in common, it’s a love of reading. (I would also add cupcakes, LOL cats, and “that’s what she said” jokes, but some people hate joy.) We all have books around our desks, track our reading across multiple platforms, and have standing permission to grab a hot new business title from the local book store. In addition, we’re all pretty tenacious folks who hate to give up on something we start.   Some might even call it “stubborn”.

It’s those traits that can sometimes lead a person to be curled up on the couch, book in hand, slogging through a downright boring book. Oh sure, it’s not interesting and you’re not going to get much from it, but hey – you gotta finish, right? No one likes a quitter! And maybe it’ll turn around in the next chapter or so. If not, well, lesson learned. At least you get to move another one to the read pile.

That was me. Dragging my way though books that just weren’t doing it for me. That feeling of immense satisfaction gained from moving a book to the read stack was so motivating that even the worst books could hold down a spot on my nightstand. I couldn’t quit them. And often I was miserable for it. What was supposed to be a great way to relax and expand my thinking turned into a chore, a bother, and an obligation.

Fortunately I read a lot of blogs too, and one day stumbled upon a feature article over Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust. In it, she shared her “50 page rule” – if the book doesn’t grab you in the first 50 pages, give it up and move on to the next one. It’s not defeat. It’s knowing what you like and not trying to force it.   I loved it. In just a few words I got the confirmation that it wasn’t just me; and permission to put down the bad books. At the time I had just come from struggling with Infinite Jest, the highly-confusing massive tome of a novel by David Foster Wallace. I was just starting with a new novel and already at page 20 I was finding it over-written and lacking in story. I thought of Nancy’s rule and vowed to give it the 30 pages more – and was rewarded with an unexpected page-turner.

Most recently, I picked up a historical look at the game of poker – a subject I am deeply interested in – and began reading on a plane. Even with my handy Nook nearby, full of a dozen or so others, I found myself again trying to force my way through some very dense material. It’s history, and it’s poker – I have to love it right? It’s going to get more interesting, I just know it. Upon my return home, I left the book on my nightstand, ready to be picked up the next evening. When the time came though, I found myself going for the remote instead. Didn’t want to read it, yet didn’t want to give up. And then I remembered Nancy, and her sage advice. Life’s too short. Maybe the book and I weren’t getting along right now, but it didn’t mean we were doomed forever. I could set it aside, grab another, and try again some other day.

So thanks Nancy Pearl, for your wise “50 page rule”. It’s saved me yet again from literary heartache.