In Our (Virtual) Backpacks

It’s been a long time since we were filling our Lisa Frank backpacks with glitter crayons and construction paper in preparation for going back to school. Things have changed a bit since then, but one thing still remains - we love to learn! We’re doing less long division now, and more reading, and these are just a few of the books we’re dying to read. 

Creative Confidence - David & Tom Kelley

The Kelley brothers combine their vast knowledge in innovation, design, and creativity to help readers tap into their max potential, whether they work in a “creative” field or not. We’ll be taking notes on what they have to say about productivity and creative problem solving.

Creativity, Inc. - Ed Catmull

Ok, we’re really excited to read this one. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, tackles the topics of originality, communication, creative culture and taking risks within the setting of one of the best animation studios in the world. 

The Art of Non-Conformity - Chris Guillebeau

This book has been out for a while, but is still on our “to-read” pile. Chris writes about embracing a counter-cultural life, whether in work, travel, or goal-setting. Unsatisfied with a status quo life, he sought a change and hopes you’ll follow. 

The Fringe Hours - Jessica Turner

We’re all looking for more hours in the day - for work, for friends, for creative projects. In her book, Jessica shares how she made the most of the “fringe hours” in her own life to pursue the things she was truly passionate about (like writing her book!). 

Personality Not Included - Rohit Bhargava

We love the brands we do because of their unique voice. Not only is this book a good reminder for us to stay true to our own fun and quirky personality, but also a helpful reminder when working with clients who are still trying to capture that voice.

Worth Every Penny - Erin Verbeck

This book gets into the nitty-gritty of pricing your work well, building lasting relationships with clients and continuously putting out top-notch work. A must for any small business!

There’s our summer reading list. How about you? Any great career/creative work book recommendations?

On Mentorship...

A year ago I spotted an adorable clay mug in a Fort Collins boutique. Shocked at the price tag, I decided to take a pottery class and make my own. I showed up for the first day of class and rolled my eyes as the instructor, Steve, meticulously spent the first hour teaching us how to roll out even slabs of clay and seal joints together properly.

"Let's get on to the wheel throwing," I thought impatiently. After all, I was here to make a mug that would soon be filled with cozy beverages sipped by a warm fire (never mind that I don't even have a fireplace). 

Next week's class, Steve shepherded us over to the wheel where he walked us through centering the clay, positioning our fingers correctly, and building up the sides of our pieces. I only half-listened, eagerly smushing my off-kilter ball of clay into an even more off-kilter vase/bowl/alien monstrosity. My clay flew off the wheel in a frustrated lump.


Again I tried, again I ignored the instructor, again I made something unrecognizable to the naked eye. Steve attempted to reiterate the finer points of his earlier lecture, but I was convinced that I knew best and that my pottery techniques would work just as well as his.

Weeks later, at the end of class, I left with several small bowls, some art pieces, a plaque, but no mug. It was starting to look like I'd be drinking cozy beverages from a mason jar after all. 

I learned from that experience that it's okay to admit that you're not the best and that you really don't have all the answers. I could have humbled myself and learned how to throw a mug the right way, but I wanted to try it on my own and it didn't work out.

I'm a big proponent for learning from your blundering mistakes but I'm also an advocate for learning from mentors and experts that have put their time into their work. At Tandem, we design and film in a way that makes sense for us, but we're always learning new tips and tricks that make our work better, more cohesive and more effective.

So...don't be afraid to admit that even though you know a lot, you still don't know everything and it's okay to reach out and ask for help throwing that mug.