Thursday, July 28, 2011

Before and After

Drawn in the airport in Thailand on the way to Nepal in August, 2010
Snapped at my farewell momo party about two weeks before I actually left Nepal, in July 2011.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Hot Dog in Kathmandu

"What does a hot dog look like in Kathmandu?" You've been wondering, I know, so I thought I'd save you the pain of asking. You can thank me by taking me out for a dog when I'm back (in twoish weeks...whoa.)

Cool As Ice

This excellent new wall art near New Road in Kathmandu reminded me of myself, so I figured I'd better post it ;-)

Also, BOOM:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Winners

You guys!

It has taken way longer than I anticipated to announce the winners of The Chase Gaze doodling contest.
This is mostly on account of I didn't feel like bloggin' fer a little bit.

The judge's pick winner was:

This awesome drawing is by Beth Glick, who sells her other fantastic artwork on Etsy. She's going to get a cool prize!

And the winner of the "Sidelongest gaze award" was:

Michael Neumann drew this. He also makes great webcomics and videogames. He is also getting a great prize.
Many thanks and props to all eight of you who submitted drawings. You are the real heros. And by that I mean you are all great doodlers and you should make sure never to lose that skill.

Also, here's an honorable mention that didn't get entered into the actual contest because it isn't actually a drawing. David Bontrager submitted this hilarious thing though:

I assume this is some stone-cold fox from a sitcom in the mid nineties that I didn't watch because my attention was occupied by Sister,Sister and The Nanny reruns, But hey, he's giving a sidelong glance, to be sure. Nice submission Bon Bon :-)
So, go back to the original post to submit your votes for "people's choice award." You can vote for your own drawing, and if only one person votes, then whoever they vote for will win!

Yayyyy contests.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Chase Gaze: A Doodling Contest

"People who do great things look at the same world everyone else does, but notice some odd detail that's compellingly mysterious."
--Paul Graham

My Denver buddy Jesse D. made a great sketch of my Facebook profile pic recently, in which I am giving a sidelong glance to a stuffed cat (right). This prompted me to doodle myself giving a sidelong glance to whom else but the scrutineer of my doodle (above).
Do I not look great giving sidelong glances!?
So here's what's happening: A Drawing Contest!

The  Contest

Submit the best possible drawing of me making a sidelong glance that you can doodle in five minutes or less. Use your imagination. Or photographic evidence of my existence (if you can find any). If you're real lucky you can get me to pose live! (As if I could sit still for five minutes.)

The drawings will be judged by someone who is impartial (to your drawings) but very very partial to my actual studly looks and sidelong glances.

Submit your drawings in the comments thread of this post, or email/facebook message me if you want to submit them some other way. I'll upload all the submissions into this post without the names of their artists so we can have a people's choice vote via the comments.

The judged winner and peoples' choice winner will each get Some Nifty Thing that I'll bring back from Nepal and mail to you when I return in about (gasp!) six weeks.

Pencils ready....


Update: The submissions are rolling in. Here they are in order of submission:

To vote, make a comment on this post and include the # of your favorite Chase Gaze doodle.





Monday, June 13, 2011

Development Agencies and the Bold Filter

Some weeks ago I read a piece of advice for tech startups that struck me as also being great advice for development organizations.

The suggestion was that any startup should have a goal that all other goals are subordinate to; a filter that all company actions must be able to pass through to be deemed worthwhile. It should be something simple to express. Something you can print in giant bold letters and stick on the wall of the office so that when people get lost in the world of spreadsheets and memos and way too many emails they can look up at the sign and ask themselves: "Is what I'm doing right now serving that goal? Can I draw an unbroken line from what I'm doing now to the ultimate objective of this organization?"

Even for profit making organizations, this final filter in bold print should never be "Make Money." Everybody wants that. Reminding yourself of it won't help you do better work.  For Facebook the sign might say "Connect People." For the New York Times it might be "Educate and Inform."

According to Kathy Sierra's guest post on Hugh MacLeod's blog, the final filter for many companies should be "MAKE USERS AWESOME." She argues that all marketing jujitsu is doomed to fail if the product (term used loosely) you're selling doesn't help its users be better in a way that they want to be better.

 J., of Tales From The Hood, touched this idea in a recent blog post, when he wrote of humanitarian aid products:

"...the main point is that if the people we say we want to help don’t want the thing, then it doesn’t work."

For humanitarian aid and development organizations, the ultimate filter should be "Help People." But everyone in the aid/development sector wants that. It isn't specific enough. NGOs should carefully examine Why They're In Business, and figure out what makes their organization helpful to people, exactly. Are you trying to empower people financially? Provide food security/sovereignty? Promote sanitation? Reunite families that have been separated by political/military conflict?

Whatever the organization's ultimate goal, they should know it well, and the workers should regularly double check whether what they're doing at the moment is aligned with that raison d'etre.

Having visible reminders of your crucial, simple goal can help keep people in touch with each other and with the real importance of what they're doing.
Everybody likes to be reminded that what they're doing is important.

Workers are happier, and do better work, when they know what they're working towards.

Customers, whether social network users, newspaper readers, or recipients of humanitarian aid, are happier when the organizations they work with help them be awesome.