Kevin Nicholson

Guest Kevin Nicholson

UX-focussed Designer & Front End Web Developer specialising in on-brand marketing website production using Craft CMS, combining decades of Graphic Design experience

Season 07 Episode 4 – Mar 12, 2024  
42:30  Show Notes

Motivation, Burnout, and Imposter Syndrome, with Kevin Nicholson.


In this episode we discuss motivation, burnout, and imposter syndrome including our experiences and strategies on how to handle

Show Notes

  • Kevin's origin story
  • How important is doing work that you enjoy doing?
  • Routine work vs cool projects
  • Luck is when preparation meets opportunity - Roman philosopher Seneca
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Don't beat yourself up, go for a walk, talk to a colleague
  • The industry changes so rapidly its impossible to keep up
  • We're all partial stack developers
  • There's always somebody better than you. The person you should compare yourself to is yourself.
  • Burnout
  • Ideas to get over burnout
  • The ancestor to every action is a thought - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Feast or Famine
  • Money management
  • The juggernaut of fear, guilt
  • Schedule time for yourself (self care)
  • Set boundaries and limits
  • Inspiration

Show Links

Accuracy of transcript is dependant on AI technology.

It's like a juggernaut, isn't it? A juggernaut of fear. If you keep getting things lined up because you're fearful that you haven't gotten anything lined up and all the projects take off at once, then you've got the problem of, well, how

am I going to get this done? Welcome to another episode of the website 101 podcast. The podcast for people who want to learn more about building and managing websites. I am one of your three co-hosts. My name is Amanda. Hello, listener. Thank you for

joining with me. Is Sean Smith. Hey, Sean, how are you? Good, good. How are you doing? I'm doing very well. Thank you. And my Mike Miller is with us as well. Mike, how are you? Hello. Yeah, I'm good. Good to see you guys and talk to you.

It's nice to see you both. This week, we've got a pretty cool topic that I think absolutely affects everybody in every industry, but definitely every web developer I have ever spoken to. We're going to talk a little bit about motivation in web development, how to keep up on top of

and because a lot of times it's like our rare own worst enemy in preventing motivation from happening for a lot of different reasons. Joining us today to talk about this topic is our friend, Kevin Nicholson. Kevin joins us from the UK where he is a designer slash developer of marketing

websites. He's part of our own little personal Slack group. Hi, Kevin. How are you? Yeah. Hi, I'm good. Thanks. How's it going? Very good. Thanks for being here today. is going to be awesome. And we're going to do a bit of, we said earlier, we're going to be talking

as sort of like a round table thing, because we've all experienced this throughout our careers. Yeah. Kevin's going to help us out with that. I've been looking forward to having Kevin join the podcast for a while. Yeah. After the sale, I asked so many questions on Slack. So payback time.

That's all right. Slack, the Slack group is really just us helping each other, whether it's Kevin or the other people who are in our Slack as well. Kevin's very active and helpful to all of us. I mean, we help him, but he also

helps us. So, you know, what goes around comes around. Cool. Kevin, can you give us a very brief origin story? Like, how did you get into web development? How long have you been doing it? Sure. Yeah, so I studied graphic design and many years

ago, probably just after the Mac came out, in fact. And got a job at an agency, did a lot of brand work. All types of... graphic design and eventually moved into web development initially flash and later on

working with content management systems and a lot of front end work actually. I was finding that the clients that where I worked at, a lot of the clients they had, they're in the high, what do you call that, I suppose, luxury sector industry and their branding had to

be bang on when it came to executing the stuff. files on a website and for print, especially a website. And I found the project management a bit exhausting when it's trying to manage developers saying,

no, the lighting's not quite right. And then that question of how can it be? So 15 minutes later, I'm still asking that question and counting the gray hairs. Yeah, so I've sort of had a fair share of some of the CMS

same essays following the that we've been discussed on the show. And obviously got my favorites and favorite front end tools like every developer I guess. So that's how I pretty much got into web design

and development, which I do today. Cool. So yeah, Kevin's definitely been around. He mentioned Flash, which no longer exists. And that's actually something I know that Mike was working on back in the early days as well.

Yeah, I was a big fan of Flash too, when I got started. By the way, I found a Flash site last week. No. A friend of mine sent it to me a site that said this site requires Flash blah, blah, blah.

That's. that you get because nobody has flash installed anymore. It's rare to see that in the wild. That's crazy. True. Pretty cool. So they're paying for hosting to not have a site? Yeah, I know.

Maybe we should hit those people up. Kev, you do work as a freelancer, basically. You run your own shop, and you work with clients directly, right? That's how your business goes? That's right. So my skill set, if you like, is trying

to provide a smooth transition between the design, the content flow, and the development, obviously, on bigger projects that probably requires what it does and requires. Separate teams to implement that.

but on smaller sites it's where my sector section of the industry, so to speak, is I think I can manage that for the smaller clients who need that sort of a smooth transition. So yeah, that's kind of where I'm at.

All right, well, let me dive into the questions. We're gonna go into a whole bunch of different stuff about burnout and mental health issues and stuff, but I just wanted to start it off by asking,

and I guess for anybody, really, but how important is it that the work you're doing is work that you enjoy doing? And what I mean by that, some people who listen might have a job where they are, they're...

They have a boss and whatever, and they are told to do certain things that maybe it's not a project that they are terribly interested in, but they have to do it to sort of pay the bills. How much do you think that affects motivation as far as wanting to do the work you do?

Because I feel like the four of us can in some ways pick and choose a little bit, I guess not really, because it's not like we get people. We're immune to the feast and famine cycle, which we will get into later.

But anyway, how much is that an important factor, being able to do things that you really really psyched about anybody want to jump in there? Yeah, I mean it is important because it helps with, well, the show is about the motivation.

It's easier to get motivated if you're into the subject or the task that you're doing. But of course, as we all know, sometimes you have to do stuff that you perhaps not so confident in or don't really like or don't fully understand or you think somebody else can do it better

and should you be doing it. But I suppose at the end of the day, if you've got people around you who you can sort of call on to get things done when it becomes tricky, that's always good to have somebody

to ask from that point of view. Yeah, overall, it is important because nobody wants to be doing something that they really hate over and over again. So not when you can sort of manifest a different approach in some way or the other.

Yeah, I think there's a big difference between doing something because you're enjoying it and doing it so you can pay the bills. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, but I think that, see, I usually kind of go back and forth. I mean, I like the industry. I like doing web development. So in that regard,

I like most of the projects, almost all of the projects that I'm working with. But some of the projects are cooler and some of the projects are more interesting. But those are the projects that are like new technology. It takes more time to research. It takes more time for testing. And

maybe it's a new client that's really awesome, but it's like you're learning and feeling each other out and a lot of back and forth and meetings. Like you just you haven't you haven't like gotten into that groove yet. And so while those projects may be like cooler and better and keep you interested,

they can be really tiring. So I've been very thankful that it's like the majority of my career. I'll have like a big project. like that and then it'll just sort of fall in my lap a couple of projects that are just like

really easy to crank out and it's just sort of like just easy friend and development. People that I've worked with before, we know how we each other operate, let's just get it to really done fast. And so it's not cool stuff but it's like okay cool it's still web development,

it's the stuff I'm comfortable doing like let's just knock it out of the park and then usually by the time that ends another like cool big new different project is like landed in my lap and it's like nervous and can I do it and and and giddy up let's go and and yeah so it's I think that if

you're if you're open-minded and if you you know accept all of the options I think that they can have a pretty good balance it doesn't always have to be a cool project it doesn't always have to be cutting edge. I 100% I agree like the the easiest way to pay the bills is to have regular

that it doesn't stretch your skills as it's easy and it's not it's not difficult because you're not trying to do something out of the park. It's stuff that you could just do without thinking. It's kind of routine, right? That's

easy to pay the bills but not that we don't all put in 100% effort all the time. Every project. 100% but it's nice when you when you get a full project that is stretching your skills or it's doing something

something cool or maybe it is an existing client and then they've got this cool new feature they want to add and you're like, well, how do I do that? Or maybe I get to use this cool new JavaScript feature or this cool new CSS option that I always wanted to

try out in the wild. So yeah, I'm with Amanda. A balance is important. Yeah. In our industry, it seems like more often than in other industries, you know, people might have say side projects going on. Like Sean, you just made a really cool side project

yourself for your photography, this website. I don't know if you want to put that in the show notes. It's super awesome about the subways around Toronto. T T C mapper dot C. There you go. And it's a thing you did on your own time. And like,

I feel like very I've done projects like that and often people do these little side projects. I wonder if that's as a way for them to exercise their creative drives because it's such a creative field we're in.

We're all literally creating things all the time. Like I don't wonder if you're an electrician, do you go home and sometimes wire up things something the way you want to do it because you don't usually get to do it where you work.

I don't know if that happens. Maybe it does. The electrician making circuit boards in his free time. Yeah, I kind of ambe as sometimes of that approach that you could go into somebody's place. change the socket, you can tell I'm not an electrician,

and just get paid for that by the hour and there's no sort of slippage, you know, like you could have, oh this technique doesn't work, that technique doesn't work. So in terms of doing the sort of bread and butter work,

it would be nice to have that sort of fluent work that you do the hours and you get paid exactly, you know, rather than, I've just gone down a rabbit hole, but we do sometimes. Yeah, yeah. And I think it's, you know,

when you do venture out doing other things are a challenge, that can put you in good stead. I mean, I think we were talking about sayings and quotes of famous people and there was one by Seneca that luck is what happens

when preparation. meets opportunity and I think sometimes, you know, when you put in the work and you're ready, you've kind of done those, done the hard work, gone down the rabbit holes and another opportunity or something will come up that you think, yes, I can do this. And

you know, you call it luck, call it what you want, preparation, but definitely food for thought. Yeah. Well, you kind of touched on sort of imposter syndrome there, maybe we should jump into that because that's something that everyone's familiar with these days. I experience

it periodically, just like everyone else does, I think. And yeah, so imposter syndrome being, I feel like relative to my peers in this field, I'm not qualified to be doing what I'm doing. What am I doing here? I'm not, you know, good enough, that kind of thing. Any thoughts on that? How to

deal with it? How to remind yourself that everyone experiences that, you know, anybody? Amanda, let's start with you. I'm going to put you on the spot. Do you ever feel imposter syndrome ever? No. Got it. Okay. Awesome. No, I mean, of course, everybody does. So there was in the

autumn, we went to a conference that was happening in Toronto, and it was a tech conference, and it was like, they were very proud. It was like the first one, the first one back in person after after COVID finally ended. You can't see it,

dear listener, but I'm putting finally ended in air quotes. And I told a bunch of Seneca students about it and it's like, hey, I'm gonna be there. And if you're interested in, and, and Dehneka actually got its, you know, tickets for students,

it was really great. But over the course of the weekend, there were a lot of heavy topics. There was somebody was talking from an agency, and they had some like, they were talking about some project they did for a car manufacturer, and it had,

it included like, like 18 different micro sites that all had to be like branded the same way. And so they were talking about like, components and, and there was somebody else who was talking, the big topic seemed to be server side

rendering, because like, for a while, everything was single page applications. And let's do everything page changes and loading content and JavaScript on the front end. But now it's like server side rendering is the big thing. And it's like,

well, why? Like, I don't understand what the big deal is. Everything has always been done on servers in the past. I don't get it. And then the second day, was somebody who was she is big in the coming up with like CSS specifications and standards.

And she was talking about like, you know, the different. Jim Simmons? No, I think it was Leah Varrou. Yeah, there you go. Okay. But and she was talking like literally like had to, before she could talk about like how new standards are implemented, she like took a step back and

explained how a browser will parse through a style sheet to figure out is it the selector? Is it the property? Is it the value? And it was and and my mind was blown because this is stuff I've never thought of before. It's like I use CSS. I use this tool. And thank God, there are smarter

people out there who are like, like driving the technology, figuring out how this stuff is going to work. And by the end of the weekend, I went in and taught the next day and I had like had to tell my students, it's like, I'm like, how many of you thought, Holy shit, what is going on?

I am in over my head and like, almost everyone put a hand up. And I was like, me too, like do not think that like there were definitely times during the conference where I looked over, I think I'm sitting beside Mike the one day and I looked over and I was like, is it too late to get into

baking? Like just to completely just change my entire career. So it, it happens absolutely to everybody. Yeah, it is difficult. And I think one of the. things to help mitigate the feelings is to share with other people that you know

and you can trust that they're not gonna like mock you for it. Our small little Slack group is really good about that. I didn't attend the conference that Amanda was talking about but I remember her coming into the Slack room and

saying imposter syndrome. Okay so yeah it happens to all of us. Sometimes I beat myself up and other times it's like okay stop beating yourself up and hire somebody who can do this that you... just because you can't do it.

Like it could actually be because you don't know how to do something or it could just because you're having a bad day and you know, go for a walk, talk to somebody who understands what it's about.

We've all had those days where it's like you can swear that there are grumblings in the machine or sunspots or affecting things and it's just like literally nothing is working. It's and that's usually when those feelings of

I have made every wrong choice in my life. Totally. I think it's, I suffer a lot and I try and remind myself that in some way. it can be a good thing. I mean it's contextual in that often it's at the level that you're working

with that you come under fire from it rather than you know if you sort of rewind and go back to when you first sort of wrote basic HTML it'd be like wow that's easy but it's often kind of glued to the you know the level at what you're working at that precise moment and I think call it sort of

motivation or just a little niggle of anxiety and if you're an athlete a champion athlete and you'd have had to put in lots of hard work to get to that level. But you can just stay, think I've done the hard work, I'm going to be a champion for

the rest of my life. You've got to keep pushing and I'm sure that whether it's impostor syndrome or the niggle of I've got to, you know, up my gain, otherwise somebody else is going to take my title.

It's got to apply to all sorts of people. So I think it's a case of realising its contextual and as Sean said, you know, just maybe going for a walk or just trying to un… What's the word? Break that bind between you sort of fixated on this, almost like an obsessive behavior

about it and just do something that you think is not the, you know, the be all the end or hopefully anyway. Do you want to hear more website 101 podcast content? Of course you do. Now you can not only listen to us, but watch us on our YouTube channel.

Watch YouTube for website 101 podcast. Isn't it crazy how so often we are our own worst enemy? Yep. Like it's, it's all, it's all up in your head and it's always this negative self talk and it's always.

And the thing is, if you ever heard a friend saying that thing about themselves out loud, you're always going to be their biggest champion. And why would you say that? And why can't we do that for ourselves more?

One of my favourite YouTube tutors, he was really up there. Even he was saying, I get it regularly and you think, yeah, but you've got hundreds of thousands of followers. So I guess it's... It's being able to manage it and stop it so that you start getting the sell rate and

just use it as some sort of motivation tool rather than it being a negative impact, which is obviously harder said than done. Yeah, I think people that, especially getting into this industry and whatever, should realize

that it's such a rapidly changing industry, you just cannot keep up with everything. Like I jokingly sometimes refer to myself as a partial stack. developer as opposed to a full stack. I love that one.

Because there are things I don't know. But the truth is there's always a bigger fish. There's always someone who knows more than you do. So I just don't, I try not to let it get to me anymore that I don't know XYZ technology.

I know I'm good at the things I'm good at and damn it, that's good enough. You know what I mean? Yeah, sometimes you need to sort of recognize that. And often focusing on what you have achieved and what you can do and when you've come,

you know, your journey. If... if you sort of stop and just ignore the actual problem that's right in your face and just think, well, look what I have achieved and can be sort of rewarding or just a reminder

that you're not totally useless. Yeah. Oh, 100% you know, Mike and Kevin nailed it there. I was like, there's always somebody better than you, but the person you need to compare yourself to is yourself.

And if you take a look at your old projects and you'll look at the code that you were doing there, even if you. If you weren't commenting, which all of us don't comment enough, I guarantee it, you'll

look at what you've done and what you can do now and what took you so long to do in the past, but now you can do without referencing the documentation. Or if you do need to reference it, you know that, oh, okay, I just need to do this.

Use a switch statement here or an arrow function or whatever it is. You know how to do it. Six months ago, a year ago, two years ago, it was the hardest thing for you to do. And now it's nothing. Yeah.

Yeah. So I want to move away from imposter syndrome for a little bit. And I want to talk about burnout because we've definitely all been there and felt that. Like, do you just... just coast and just like wait until you get over it or does anybody have any tips and tricks to like

you know get your get your act back together? I famously talked about being burnt out at the beginning of covid. I have no excuse now but I'm still struggling with the motivation after I got over the burnout. It's been like over a year and I'm just my motivation is not where it was before.

So yeah I don't know how to get my mojo back. Yeah, it's tough. It's like, it's something that goes along with the feast and famine of actually getting work. Part of that is also the being, I'm not good enough, and then

the other side of that might be, I'm working so hard, I can't do this anymore kind of thing. It kind of fluctuates back and forth between those, right? Yeah, I mean, I think exercise is can be good. I mean, I heard a radio program the

day and they're saying that it's possibly the fact that it doesn't improve mental ability, but just to... change of seed and to get your heart going. And I say this, but I really should do something.

I still haven't got over Christmas yet, but I definitely think that can help doing it for a jog or whatever it is that you do, that you can get some sort of relaxation and also sort of push your body.

I was just gonna say about having that like work-life balance. You know, when I was in my late 20s, early 30s and I was single and I was, you know, started doing the freelance stuff, like there'd be nights where I would download a movie

very much illegally and I would watch it on my TV, but I would like sit there and be working with my laptop, literally on my lap. Well. And I would like sit there and be working with my laptop, I was watching a movie because I didn't have any other nobody like nobody was around.

I was just living by myself. So it was like, you know, what else am I going to do with my time besides continue working? But you do that for so long and then it's it's just like it's become a slog.

It's like so it's I just don't want to do it anymore. So I feel like, you know, if you've got the social circle, if you've got people around, if you've got, you know, other hobbies, other things to like take up your time to like give

you a little bit of that break. It would prevent burnout from happening. I think having hobbies or activities that keep you busy outside of work also helps so that going to work. doesn't feel like a job. It can feel like it's my career. I'm still enjoying it and I have this balance outside that lets me do other things.

I mean, I think often your mental approach to these things can help. I mean, I've read a few self-help books or motivational books, whatever you want to call them. It's differing sort of views. For example, one author who I thought was really good, Dr. Wayne Dye was, I'm sure I heard him say, the ancestor to every action is a thought.

So, if you were buying furniture for your house, you'd... you want to go and get good stuff, not rubbishy stuff. And he said, why then, when we're filling our heads with thoughts, often we fixate on

getting the rubbishy thoughts. And you just wouldn't do that if it's your sitting room and you're chucking in loads of rubbish furniture, you want it to be good. So treating your mind like a sitting room or whatever it is, so to speak.

I like that. So recently we had Mitchell Kimbro on from SoulSpace talking about... you know, what to do when work is slow. So check out that episode. But any thoughts about the feast and famine cycle that we've been

talking about throughout the show? So you sometimes got a lot of work and then suddenly you don't have a lot of work. Like how does motivation play into all that? You know, what? Do you have any tactics, I guess?

Does anyone have any tactics as far as how to deal with that? Mitchell gave us a lot of great, great ideas that we're going to implement pretty soon, but we plan on implementing. Yeah, any day now, I'm going to get to that.

Yeah. I think that what's helped me the most in the past has just been planning for it. You know, you know, it's coming. You know that eventually it's going to hit you. You know, eventually work is going to dry up a little bit.

So, I mean, well, it's very tempting when you do have all of the work, which means that you do have all the money, it is very tempting to be like, hooray. Finally, I can buy the new this. I can subscribe to that service.

Finally, I can like do all of these things that I've been planning, but it's, uh, yeah, always always in the back of my mind, I've got that fear of it's, it's going to come. So I've, yeah, every time, every time client

money comes in, I'm so able or attentive, I put aside this percentage for taxes. And I put aside this percentage for vacation pay. Yeah, nice. And just just to, just to make sure that, you know, in the future and, and yeah, there have been a

few times where it's like, I needed to dip into the vacation pay account, even though I was a non vacation, I just wasn't doing anything. Yeah, I also do the tax account. And immediately after I get it,

it goes into a separate bank account, and it sits there until I need to make my quarterly tax installment payments, but I don't do the the vacation one. It's probably a good idea. Before I do that, I need to build up my emergency fund, which was depleted. So I guess the vacation

pay for you is kind of like an emergency fund. Well, I mean, and I've used it like one. I have used it like one, but it's like it's an in the beginning. It's so hard in the beginning, just trying to get over that initial, you know, I've got 10 bucks at the end of the month. So it's

like, you know, I can I can go to Chipotle a very long time ago. Chipotle only costs $10. Or I can like, I guess I can put it aside into this account. But the thing is, it's like once you start doing

that, once you get into the habit of it, it gives you that little bit of peace of mind, which gives you the a little bit of the safety net, which gives you a little bit of the, it's not quite so panicked when when things are in more of the famine, which I think makes it maybe a little bit

easier to be a little more adventurous with some of the projects. maybe some of the personal projects and you know I've got time for it. I've got all of the finances covered. Let's do something for me. Let's do something kind of fun which you know could

hopefully lead back to being more motivating. Yeah I think another way to deal with Feaster Famine is to set up some sort of passive income where you get regular money from clients for not a lot of work and that could be something as simple as your hosting clients although there's a

of risk involved with that because you know if it goes down in the middle of the night and now you're right but I mean there's things like that it can also be maintenance agreements or if you've got the time and the energy you could set up some sort of uh SaaS software as a service

thing and launch that and then get subscription money from people if you've got the inclination and the skills to do that yeah yeah and I think that this feast and famine sort of begets the burnout as well because if you're doing well and you've got some work happening now but you're

afraid that three months down the road you won't it might contribute to you just like busting your ass trying to get stuff done because you're like oh I gotta I can't I can't afford to kind of like turn this down or whatever even though I don't particularly have the energy to do it or the time

because I'm worried that once from now I'm going to need that money kind of thing right that that can happen in our industry especially if you're self uh self-employed like we are. 100%. Yeah, it's definitely a it's like a juggernaut

isn't it a juggernaut of fear that if you think I haven't gotten a think lined up and equally if you keep getting things lined up because you're fearful that you haven't gotten a think lined up and all the projects take off at once

then you've got the problem of whoa how am I gonna get this done so it's a real juggling act so I I'm fairly sort of new to being running my own ship so to speak so I'm still putting the feelers out but yeah I mean one of the things I

I find difficult Amanda saying about doing side projects when you know things are good is I feel a bit guilty about you know not doing some work when perhaps I could you know take the afternoon off or do

And I've heard a lot that that is one of the key things of being self-employed is the flexibility of time rather than as we're just speaking about the con of where's the next paycheck coming from. Yeah, I think you just right at the end there you hit something that's really important that'll help with

not the feast or famine, but kind of going back to burnout is you are self-employed, schedule self-time, time for yourself. So for me I'd never work past three o'clock on Fridays. Never three o'clock on Friday. I'm done. I'm outside. I'm watching TV. Whatever. I

Rarely work past five or six in the evening only if it's a true emergency I don't let myself work even when I'm busy. I was like, all right. I've got him if I was working for the man I'd be walking out of the office at six o'clock and I'd be done, right?

So I'm the man. I'm walking away from myself. I'm done at six o'clock or five o'clock. Whatever I want to be It's really really important and Mitchell touched on this on our last episode where he's like

you need you need to do self-care and for me that's what it is it's setting limits and later this week I am gonna need to be available later in the week but it's scheduled with the client for a specific reason yeah and it's not the

norm and it's not normal and I set limits for my clients like I won't answer my phone after five o'clock yeah same with me I'm done I don't respond to emails Occasionally I do, but I hit the time delay, so it goes out the next morning.

Yes. I don't let clients know that I'm working in the evening. They don't need to know that I am not always available and neither should any of you. Yeah, precedent, precedent setting is very important.

Setting the limits. It's really, really important. I think it's really, there's a problem in our industry that I feel like I haven't heard this so much lately, but it used to be a big thing that like we were people like us were

pressured by our peers to. try to keep learning and keep growing your skill set outside of work hours, which I think is important. Like learning some new coding technology or whatever. But I think for a while there are people who are kind of like,

oh, if you're not taking time, you know, you're free time after work to grow and learn more, then you're not doing everything right. I'm really much against that. And I feel like this ending your day at five and spending time with your family is perfectly fine.

Yeah, probably good. I think that learning culture thing is just something that a lot of 20 people in their 20... without kids and a spouse. It's something they can do. And Amanda touched on it. She's like,

I live alone. What else am I going to do? I'm going to watch a movie and code at the same time. You don't do that anymore. No, not caught. No, no. Amanda gets tired. But remember when COVID and when the lockdown first started, I don't think it happened to us very much because we already

had the clients knew when to contact. But my partner who worked in an office and he would get emails, he would wake up to five or six new emails in his inbox, whereas people were sending them at all hours of the night because there was...

People who were used to being around others all the time and suddenly they weren't and they just they they themselves didn't know when to turn it off and when to shut it down and sure like I remember a lot of people who worked in offices talking about how it was becoming this new

Culture that people were like replying to emails at like all hours of the night and it was just like No, yeah Schedule send if you're gonna reply to the you got to do the schedule since it goes out at 9 30 in the morning or something

Okay, well this is awesome. We're gonna wrap up pretty soon I think, but Kevin, you're a hell of a designer. I know that. I'm thinking of your design work. And I want to- Oh, stellar. Yeah, and I want to ask about inspiration.

So I think that's part of being motivated is getting inspiration for anything. It doesn't have to be design work, of course, because there's inspiration involved in development as well. I love viewing the source

and looking at someone else's HTML code. And, oh, it makes me feel alive. Hey. Well, sometimes you learning a new technique or whatever could be very inspiring. Yeah, I think that it's Kevin. us about some of your design inspirations?

I mean I was lucky really. When I studied graphic design during the 90s there was some quite disruptive designers emerging and it was kind of that instant gratification. We had a, where I studied my degree, where the open floor.

So you could see everyone's work and there was definitely some sort of rivalry and you were trying to emulate the latest style at the time. It was sort of grungy type. So from that point of view, inspiration was massive.

And also, as I started my career, very much led by reading some of the things like creative review in the UK and graphics international, just to see what the latest sort of stuff. And also how people have problem solved in terms of graphic design where you thought, wow, that's a proper eureka moment.

And then, obviously going... I mean, this is before UX was a thing, but fast forward 15 years, and looking at content flow and seeing how somebody's engineered a conversation on a page, interesting, wow, that's just,

I mean, my wife probably thinks this is boring as hell, but to me, just see something done elegantly, and it does, it hits the brain. is efficiently is a thing of beauty. And I just want to not copy it,

but I'm inspired by it to try and do my own version. That's not to say that sometimes when I've used some you guys templates and I look at it and think, flippin' out. How have they done this? And then obviously our old friend,

Imposter Syndrome sort of raises his ugly head again. So I guess it's just a case of just enjoying being blown away from what it is rather than, I can't do that yet. I shouldn't be doing this. Yeah, I find that,

cause I consider myself a bit of a designer as well, but sometimes I see the work of other designers and I'm like, oh, is it just that I have my own style that's different or is that guy better than me

objectively speaking? And sometimes I do have that issue. It's like, I don't really know what the answer is here. It can be tough. Yeah. But yeah. Mm-hmm. So not, not. No. No. not design writly related because I am not a designer by any means, but I guess more on

the functionality side. Like when I'm just like, you know, going all over the inner webs and looking at all of the hundreds of different sites that I've probably looked at in the last week, I always try to remember the things that are annoying. I don't like how that worked. And then

if I'm going to be working on a project and the client asks for something like that, I'm going to try to talk them out of it, you know, and at that point I can speak to them as an end user. It's like end users are going to find it annoying because of this. Maybe let's try it this other way

to see how that's going to work instead. I also do that and I occasionally read articles about you. and recommendations and so I can reference that when I bring it up. I want to go back to Mike and Kevin's bit about design.

I'm a developer that dapples in design. I took a couple of design courses online and I like it, but I'm not a designer. So, you know, I did that personal project. I don't know. I asked Mike and like three or four other people like,

did I do okay? How is it? I think it's great, but what part of it sucks? Because I know I feel like... I'm not that great, but I got lots of positive feedback. I'm sure there's things that could be improved.

But again, that's imposter syndrome. You got to go out and you got to do it, and then get some feedback from people you trust. Yeah. I still don't think I'm an amazing designer, but I feel a little bit better about what I did.

So. Yeah, and I think that I'd be the same with development. I think I'm good enough for what I need to do, but I'm not going to be in time, but at the moment I'm way off your skill levels. But I guess I don't need that level to achieve,

to execute my design into a working website. at the moment. So, you know, it's on the flip side. It's me, designer Dev and obviously Sean Dev Designer. You don't hear that term so much? It's partial stack. We're all partial stack developers, except for Amanda.

She's full stack. I think we should set the title for this episode. We're all partial stack developers. I just, I'm going to be using that all the time now. It's such a great thing. All right. Should we, should we wrap this up? I think so. Kevin, thank you.

so much for coming and talking with us today. Yeah, it was great. Thanks for having me. Yeah, it's been great. Yeah, this was excellent. Thank you very much. And thank you, listener, for listening.

Tell your friends. Give us a positive review if you can, wherever you get podcasts. Check us out on YouTube every first and third Wednesday at 11.30 Eastern time. We do a live show. And talk to you next time.

Later. Bye. The website 101 podcast is hosted by me, Amanda Lutz. You can also find me online at And by me, Mike Mela, find me online at or on socials at Mike Mela.

I'm Sean Smith, your co-host. You can find me online at my website,, and LinkedIn at cafe and creations.

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