Tagged With creativity

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Life's more fun with nicknames. That's why we name our wireless networks "Julia Louis-Wifus" or "23cm tops come to Apt. 3B". But say you need to name a whole set of things, like software versions, conference rooms, or just placeholders in an example. At that point you can't just make up random names one by one. You need a system.

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"A good composer does not imitate; he steals," Igor Stravinsky supposedly said. Faulkner allegedly phrased it as "Immature artists copy, great artists steal." Steve Jobs put it most simply: "Good artists copy, great artists steal." The saying regularly inspires artists, thinkers and dorm-room poster designers. But in practical terms, what does it mean?

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I treat my earbuds rough, so every year or two they break. And every time, as I walk around the world without a constant soundtrack of Spotify and podcasts, I think to myself, "I really ought to do this more often." And then I have ideas.

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Everyone who works in a creative field, or wants to, should subscribe to the monthly newsletter Three Cents. In each issue, writer and editor Manjula Martin writes three brief essays and lists some well-curated links about creative work. It's helpful for learning industry norms and expectations, and it's a great way for freelancers and work-from-home creatives to feel less isolated.

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Hackathons are all the rage. Lots of companies run them as a way of engaging staff, kickstarting innovation and breaking the monotony of every day routines. Seek has now run a number of internal hackathons, scheduling one every six months as a way of kickstarting innovation in system design, business process improvement and finding new ways to work with customers.

I spoke with Seek's managing director Michael Ilczynski and Glen Cameron, the company's head of delivery about business hackathones. Here are some of his tips.

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Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Jack Zhang, co-founder and CEO of cross-border payment platform Airwallex.

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So, you've been coerced into what seems like another no-win parenting scenario: It's LEGO time, and your aspiring Frank Lloyd Wright doesn't want your help in building an amphibious rainbow tank with 16 axles (plus wings). Even still, he's insisting on your participation because his genius must be witnessed (the brilliant ones are always so demanding).

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I spent 10 years "writing" a TV show about Silicon Valley. I spent hundreds of hours talking about it, collecting ideas in a giant Evernote file, brainstorming the soundtrack -- but not much time writing it. Because every time I thought I had a handle on it, I thought of a better version. Over the years, I adapted my unwritten pilot into an unwritten book, movie, web series and comic strip. I chased every idea at once, until the project loomed grand and unwieldy in my head. I was building up a mountain of idea debt.

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Some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives. Those journals served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and cathartic release for the people writing them. Even if you don't think you need either, keeping a journal has benefits you can enjoy immediately. Here's why you might want to sit down regularly to jot down your thoughts.

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It's a little hard to focus these days. More weird, wild things happened this week than we would expect in a week (month?) of, say, 2015. If you have a creative job or hobby, how do you put the world's happenings out of your mind so you can settle in and create something amazing? Or do you embrace the emotions you're feeling, and feed that fear and anger and sadness into a sort of mental meat grinder that can turn them into something beautiful?

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Marvin Gaye might have been best known for albums like I Heard It Through the Grapevine and What's Going On, but when you look closer, you see an artist who struggled with depression yet somehow found a way through that to release some of the greatest soul music to come out of Motown.

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Is creativity something people are just born with? For many of us, creative thinking isn't purely intuitive -- it's also plain hard work. As writer Iris Shoor explains, coming up with fresh ideas isn't always a natural gift -- it's a skill that can be learned.