Reed and Jared did an absolutely fabulous job with this very pointed talk about the similarities between magic and design. Reed (Jared Spool’s son) entered the stage nervous, or so he made you believe. It was perfect as you related to him appearing vulnerable. He then put on a superior performance both in character and design as he made a thimble appear and disappear and so started IDEA10 day 2.
They then drilled into, “What does it mean to be a master?” “You have to start at the beginning. Being a beginner sucks but you need to practice, practice, practice. Once you learn how to complete tricks then you can mimic the masters. Once you figure out how to mimic the masters then you can innovate. Take baby steps on innovation.” In other words, “Observe, mimic, practice, practice, practice, innovate, and repeat.” Be willing to fail at something. Be willing to experiment. Be willing to just simply try.
Next up they asked, “How do we get on a plan to mastery?” Let me preface this with Jane McGonigal’s TED talk. In it she said it takes 1000 hours to master something. One thousand hours. Reed speaks about how the more “I know about anything, the better prepared I am to handle what comes up. The more I know, the better I become at my art.” What surprised and delighted me if as a performer he even claimed to understand the behind the scenes tech. As a former stage hand and sound technician who has worked with such names as Ugly Kid Joe, Corrosion of Conformity, Richard Marx, Steven Curtis Chapman, Coolio to name a few, I was taken aback repeating on twitter several times just how much this impressed me. As most of those named cannot make the same claims. Jared added that we need to consider the “Broken Comb Model”. Gain expertise in various areas. Some will be stronger than others but look to gain understanding not just in UX but in game, business analysis, strategy, IA, etc. Practice by continuing to build on that knowledge. Practice is not work. Practice makes us a better person. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. No one will make a game out of it for you so try different routines and different things to keep it fresh. Magicians talk about what it takes to practice but we as an industry never talk about the time, space, & budget that it takes to practice.
Great talk guys! May just end up my favorite of the conference.