“You should love yourself unapologetically and do what makes you feel like you’re presenting something that’s truthful, honest, and valuable to the world through your lane.”
– Jason Mayden
Over the course of the last 12 months or so, the MAEKAN team has become a tight-knit crew predominately centered around a physical location, our Hong Kong studio. In many ways, it’s provided us with a great base to grow and build, but there was a sense of complacency creeping in. We had begun to hit our stride and execute things with regularity, but things were feeling a bit stale.
Two big changes have impacted us recently. One of them is Charis relocating to London to pursue a Master’s degree in Design; this overlapped with us bringing on board Scott, who’s taken the reins in a COO capacity. Both are significant shifts and in my eyes represents a new chapter for MAEKAN.
With Charis out of office, we had to reevaluate our communication methods and project tracking systems. The editorial production process is decidedly unsexy (to most) and a highly demanding job with a ton of moving parts. Shout-out to Nate for orchestrating what I truly believe to be the most efficient yet complex Airtable (think of it as a spreadsheet on steroids) set-up of any media company. What is exciting about this is making the best sense out of the situation we’re in by reconsidering the problems and possibilities. Solving the challenge of remote, high-quality, and collaborative creative work is no easy task and the opportunity to develop robust systems with Charis and the rest of the remote team (Gordon, David, Alek, and more) readies us for global scaling and potential unpredictable occurrences.
The introduction of Scott is a welcome introduction of practical skills and vision. Throughout MAEKAN’s existence, we’ve been so focused on culture and community-building that at times we failed to dedicate the same amount of attention to the business side of things. That’s probably the one question we get the most: how do we keep the lights on? Sacrifice, and a lot of it. We have recognized that our vision for MAEKAN can’t materialize without sorting out the business. Scott’s burnishing the business side of our creative coin and I’m excited to see what the future holds. He brings a much different experience and vantage point that has positively shaken some of us and forced us to rethink how and why we do things, especially with our client work.
This leads me to the nugget of wisdom Jason Mayden dropped in a recent conversation I had with him. I typically focus on the binary outcome of whether or not the work I do is effective. Did this have the intended effect? Yes or no.
I have discounted the effects of respect in this equation, both self-respect and the respect of others. My output is not just effective or ineffective, a truer measure of my work is whether I have created something that I am proud of, have affection for, respect, and I find to be truthful, honest, and valuable.
Respect can work in paradoxical ways. Those who should walk around with ample amounts of it, by their own virtue can elect to dismiss it. Likewise, others who are undeserving of a large magnitude of respect, wear it on their sleeve and leverage it around liberally.
It is easier to say that the work is “good” or the work is “bad”, than to consider whether you respect yourself and whether others respect you. I have been of the opinion that if people are disinterested and don’t respect your efforts, work, or beliefs, then “who cares?”
However, one thing that’s recently been drilled into my head is the power of self-respect and self-love as a purposeful demonstration of value to the outside world. As a creative, the value you put into your work, and the subsequent communication of that value is a critical part of what allows you to succeed.
For the natural salespeople out there who’ve never balked at taking action in selling themselves, this is nothing new. For me, this is a profound psychological shift that I’m beginning to apply to my life. While some aspects were initially unsettling, I’m eager to see how my change in perspective will bring quicker progress.
On that note, to cap things off, we’re putting the final touches on next month’s Unexpected Connections Conference, which serves as an opportunity for us to explore putting together a tangible event experience. One concept we’ve been relegated to in the digital era is that our brand and identity is intrinsically tied to what we share. But the reality is that so many things that interest us, that never make it to the ‘gram, are just as important to our development and success. Our goal is to bring together people of disparate worlds to discuss how their passions contribute to their success.
If you’re in Los Angeles, please come by and say hello on November 7th, 2018. Tickets can be purchased here.