Senior Project

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Respect for those who lead field trips

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 Today I got the unique experience of leading a group of second graders around the refuge during a field trip. One of our naturalists who was suppsoed to take them became ill, and the only other person available was not fully trained and supposed to be a shadpw. Having accompanied two field trips already, we partnered up and took on the kids.

I was very nervous, because, although I new enough about the animals and goal of the refuge to handle short encounters with visitors, I found quickly it was not enough for the enquisitive minds of grade schoolers. I leaned heavily on what I'd heard from my field trip mentor and deftly changed my plan of action upon relaizing how these children undertsood and processed information.

Watching someone else handle children and actually working with themyourself are two very different things. For one thing, they talk. A lot. And they talk over you and each other. Quickly, I had to learn how to ignore off topic questions and comments while still giving attention to every child so that they would not become disinterested. Focus on the question of a child who's off topic and suddenly all kids are unfocused and shouting. Ignore them completely and suddenly they've become little satalites being thrown out of the earths gravitational pull.

Keeping their focus proved difficult in multiple ways. When watching an older, retired man teach the kids, I could see they respected him and knew no to be too disobedient. With me, they saw a younger girl, and took that as an opprotunity to run and not listen, especially the little boys. I couldn't talk to them like my mentor. Instead, I ended up trying to be a cool kid, talking to them like they were older. My talks became more playful, such as when I was teaching them about what to do when faced with a predator. Guiding them through the actions I told them to scare me away and then screamed in terror when they yanked up their coats and growled, "GO AWAY MOUNTAIN LION! GO AWAY COYOTE!" 

I was fun to work with them and become more playfull. Sort of like acting.


Comments

Leading a group

Hi there Olivia,
Are you practicing up at leading groups? Did you learn anything abut leading groups from Zack, Hanna, or Leah on the Malheur trip? I hope so. How did it go? Were those 2nd graders any easier to handle than a group of Catlin Gabel juniors and seniors?

So what do you do there at the Refuge when you are not involved in leading groups? Do you do any desk work?...any trail maintenance work? If guiding was your third experience in three weeks, you must have other duties that have taken your time. Your mentor, Jenna, wrote me that you are doing "great" at the refuge and they are going to miss you when your project ends. So what do you do?

Hi Olivia, Sounds like you're

Hi Olivia,

Sounds like you're doing some great hands-on learning yourself! It's amazing how much we can learn when we are trusted to handle ourselves in a new situation. You did a terrific job of noticing what was and wasn't working for you and of adjusting your game plan.
I hope you enjoy your last week of Senior Project and look forward to seeing you next week.

Wendy

Love the satellite analogy!

I've had many satellite moments in class....It sounds like you're very perceptive on what works/doesn't work for this bunch, and you figured out some great ways to constructively engage them. How often do you work with student groups? How do you adjust your leadership style for older vs. younger kids? What else have you been up to?

Wow

That sounded like a very challenging but fun learning experience for you!

Nice B) You teach those kids,

Nice B)
You teach those kids, make them stronger than mountain lion

Flavors of Sisyphus (the struggle is real, yo!): FAIS week 2

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Going into my second week here at FAIS, I was looking forward to the chaos of week one coming to a close. Dealing with issues on the fly when everything is moving fast had me pulling at my hairs, so to speak, so I thought it would be nice to be able to take things relatively easy. What ended up happening, though, is that I swapped fast-paced but easily fixable problems with slow and incredibly tedious and frustrating problems. Filming is one thing, but editing the video together is a whole mess of issues in and of itself.

I got Mark's footage on Monday, which is fantastic considering how many technical difficulties I had with my setup/equipment/stuff last week when I was filming the performance. That's the good news. The bad news is that Adobe Premiere Pro, the editing software I've been using for the last year, doesn't want to ready the file format that Mark's camera filmed in. The file type, blahblahblah.MTS, is basically raw footage that hasn't been compressed or anything, and since the clips are roughly thirty minutes long, the files are huge. File size doesn't really matter, though, when you don't get audio when you import the file into the editing software, which is what happened to me (and according to google literally every other person who uses .MTS format and premiere pro). I spent about a day trying to figure out what was going wrong and if it was possible to fix, and after the IT office took a look and told me that they didn't know what was wrong or how to fix it (just needed to convert the file type to something actually usable unlike .MTS), I decided to use the school's computers to edit instead. However, the school uses Premiere Elements 10, which can use .MTS but is an incredibly diluted version of Premiere Pro. For the next two days, I tried to learn how to use the program and figure out where all the tools were and stuff. I did eventually figure it out, but all of that is useless if the video you've edited won't render (the video needs to render before you can export it as a finished video file), which is exactly what happened. Somehow, the "render" button was linked to the "play" button, so instead of rendering it would just start the video from the beginning. I realized this after I'd already edited a good deal of the video and wanted to finalize some of my progress up to that point, since rendering the whole video at once would take an insaneeeee amount of time (like 8 hours straight). My dad offered to help me out since he has a program that can convert video files, so I spend most of Thursday with him trying to wrestle with .MTS, and fortunately it worked out and I now have usable files that I can work with on my laptop. I then spent Friday trying to get back to the same spot I was at at the end of the day on Wednesday, and I'm making progress! It's slow going though, and tedious.

I feel like I've spent a lot of time talking/complaining about issues that I've been having and that it might be giving the wrong impression. I'm having a good time. I promise. All the kids say hi to me when they see me and it's actually super cool. 

Also, Greg (the english teacher) is going to have me work with some of the less advanced kids in the next couple of weeks in one-on-one reading sessions, and I'm excited to have something real to do besides the editing. To be completely honest, the overriding impression I'm getting is that there's really not much for me to do, and I totally understand (I can't remember if I talked about this in the last post but whatevs). They've been doing this for the whole year and they've got an efficient system and together they've got the kids covered. I'm an inefficiency, and putting me into the machine, so to speak, isn't exactly easy to do. I also really don't want to put them in a position where they're inventing work for me to do. At the same time, though, I'd love to have something to do that didn't just involve sitting in front of a computer screen for hours at a time and feeling generally useless. I'm looking forward to the one-on-ones.

There are a couple things that I was going to talk about last week, too. First, it's a little weird being back in the same place I went to elementary and middle school. When I'm walking around, I'll run into people or see things that I haven't seen in ten or eleven years, sometimes more. It feels like how I'd imagine coming home after twenty years and finding that the things in your room haven't been moved in any way whatsoever would feel like. Things have changed at the school, definitely, but the feel of it all is very much the same. Sometimes the experience is legitimately surreal. For example, I was taking some papers to the English Office, which is in a hall with a couple bathrooms and a chemical closet, and as I was walking through the hall the smell of the bleach/cleaner that they use was floating around and it was almost an out-of-body-experience (the smells are what really get me, for whatever reason). I actually had to stop for a couple seconds and pull myself out of it. 

As for the Middle School part of campus, I've managed to avoid it entirely. That's not somewhere I'm very interested in going back to at all. I might go and visit at the end of the project, but to be honest I've spent enought time putting it behind me that it almost feels like it would be a disservice to myself to revisit it. Maybe that's not the way I should look at it, but so far I haven't been able to see it any other way. (I'm also terrified of running into Mme. Jourdan, my 8th grade math teacher, who is actually the most intimidating person I've ever met and ever will meet, but that's neither here nor there and will happen eventually no matter what).

On my way back to my car at the end of the day on one of the days during the first week, I ran into a pair of middle schoolers (I want to say 8th graders?), a small middle-eastern kid who is the brother of a girl who was in my class, and this tall blond kid with a bowl cut. As I was passing by, the small kid is trying to ask me "did you know that nothing was the same??" (like the drake song) and I'm playing along or whatever and then he throws leaves at my face, which I kind of expected because he had his hands behind his back. I was like "dude, what are you doing" and he was like "ha ha got you" and I was like "what" and then the blond kid with the bowl cut cuts in and says "hey, are you JEWISH?" and at this point I'm thoroughly weirded out so I say "What?" and then the small kid, who is jewish, also says "what?" The blond kid with the bowl cut, who clearly thinks he's super tight or clever or funny or all of the above, says "HEY is it true that all jewish people know eachother????!?!?!?!?!?! ahahahahaha." I'm rolling my eyes 'cause the whole thing is beyond ridiculous, and ask him where he got the idea that I was jewish, to which he replies "well you have a big nose!" Like it's supposed to HURT me. I then did the only acceptable thing that anyone could do in such a situation, which was to put my sunglasses on, turn around, walk away, and say "thank you" like the whole thing was a compliment. Why waste my time on someone whose opinion is beyond meaningless to me and is clearly a bad person? 

I forgot to take a picture, but honestly there wasn't anything to take a picture of, so I'll try to make up for it next week.

-Nick

Comments

Middle schoolers are the

Middle schoolers are the WORST, Nick! I'm so sorry that they were mean to you! I had a friend once that started out teaching middle school in the inner city in New York. One day when he was walking through the rows, a 6th grade girl drew something inappropriate on the back of his khakis. He quit almost immediately and applied to med school. Don't let them get you down!

I want to meet Mme. Jourdan!

Wow, what a week. I really hope that you prove yourself to be a convenience rather than an inconvenience. Schools can always use an extra pair of hands, especially this time of year. Let's hope the reading sessions go well. Sometimes, you just need to gain the confidence of your mentors. Once they see how much you can do, they might put you to work.
The video editing thing went right over my head. I can ALMOST use the video feature on my IPhone, but that's about it. I am going to mention this post to Nance- she might enjoy reading it.
And then there are all the English class references. Thank goodness I share an office with Nichole and Leanne. If not, I actually might not know who Sisyphus was…
Seriously, Nick - your posts are thoroughly enjoyable and well worth reading. Keep it up, and hang in there. Let's hope the next two weeks prove interesting and free of snarky 8th grade boys!

Week Two at PICA!

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Hey guys!

This week I was able to branch out a bit more in my work projects. I’m still working on the spreadsheet of faculty contacts for PICA. This week I focused on branching out to California schools like UC Berkeley and Mills and appending addresses to the faculties. Pretty much every school has a different way of managing postage. Some campuses are small enough that you can address it to the main address. Other schools require that you add department or office. The project has proved pretty challenging in this way. The list is getting pretty comprehensive at this point with 169 contacts, all including focuses, email addresses, departments, and schools.

This week I also got to help sort out merchandise! PICA ran a kickstarter recently and sold tshirts, tote bags and hoodies as part of it. We realized pretty recently that we had run out of tote bags so it was a good time to check what we had left. Jamie the graphic designer, Noelle the marketing and communications manager and I pulled out all of the shirts, hoodies and tote bags from the supply closet and counted them all. I got a pretty interesting history of PICA merchandise in the process and a little bit of retail experience. Oh and I scored a PICA hoodie out of the deal.

Funny enough, we found two recent tote bags in the process of reorganizing and cataloging. Later that day a man came in with a tote bag coupon. He got the choice of a solid black pica bag and a beige pica bag with larger lettering. After consulting his wife he ran with the black bag. Lots of smiles all around.

After digging through multiple databases (JSTOR, EBSCOHOST, and this one cool site full of New York Times scans) I finished the artist visa project with enough print sources! Thank you to PSU for library access. The foreign artists are going to be incredible for TBA this year.

I’m also working my way into the graphic design part of PICA! I opened up Adobe InDesign CS5 for the first time at work to make some well formatted labels for press archives. The routine was pretty straightforward but I got to use the official PICA fonts and practice their style.

Later in the week Jamie showed me the PICA redesign style guide. The whole thing is contained in a gorgeous 30+ page pdf including detailed descriptions of logo usage and reasoning and process to changes from the old style. Seeing design so well thought out was incredibly inspiring. If you’re interested in new PICA look you should totally check out the website. Definitely a high point in my week.

I missed Friday of this week to fly out to Space X and TieCon but I made it up on Sunday.

Today (Sunday) I got to help put together a Field Guide event. Field guide is an exploration of performance work from an insider view. Instead of simply viewing a performance then leaving, in a Field Guide event participants engage with the artist, the work and each other. In this case, I got to FLOCK, a dance space in the same building as Disjecta and helped set up then participated in CONTEMPORARY CHOREOGRAPHY & CREATIVE PROCESS Tonya Lockyer on Tahni Holt.

I got to FLOCK around 6 and helped Roya lay out chairs, tables and helped sign people in for the event. As a Field Guide group we discussed what dance could be, what lenses we bring to dance and examined the medium as a whole. We then developed our own dances based off a series of images, similar to the work of Tahni Holt, and performed them in different spaces around the building for one another. Afterwards we watched pieces from Tahni’s work in progress, then engaged in a Q/A session. Afterwards we all ate together and talked about the work and made other chat. As someone who doesn’t use dance as a medium the whole experience was an eye opener to process and the culture of dance.

Comments

Hmm ... food art! Nice! Just

Hmm ... food art! Nice! Just kidding - although it does look delicious. Looks like you're doing some great work and using lots of your various skills, Thomas. Nice!

It's awesome that this

It's awesome that this project is taking you all around town, Thomas. I live really close to Disjecta - it's pretty far north!

Craig's Senior Project Week 1

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For all who don't know my senior project involves working at EQ, a small swimwear manufacturer based in Portland. The reason why I chose this project was to experience the process in which clothes are made and help me better understand it. Next year I am attending the University of Oregon and pursuing a major in product design so I thought this experience would benefit me later on. Because of EQ's small size I can easily view every step of the process, which goes into creating a finished product unlike large companies such as Nike or Adidas. On my first day, I arrived at the address my mentor Ellen had sent me not truly knowing what to expect. The building, pictured below, was surrounded by barbed wire and coated in a crumbling brown paint. As I approached the door I realized the building was covered by signs for the an animal charity know as PAW, so I figured I must of gone to the wrong address. I got back in my car and drove around in circle for twenty minutes until I came to the conclusion I had already reached the correct destination. When I finally entered the building I was greeted by Ellen who later revealed they shared the building with the animal charity advertised on the front of the building. Following Ellen through two sets of doors I came to my second surprise, a room stacked to the ceiling with lamps of all shapes and sizes. What appeared an old decaying building, actually turned out to be the home of a swim wear manufacturer, animal charity, and lamp warehouse. The entire building is owned by the lamp dealership but because the owner is a swimmer he was more than happy to allow Ellen to use his space. He additionally uses the fabric scraps from the swimsuits for transporting his lamps. After these strange occurrences, the day was quite peaceful. Through the course of the day I spent my time learning numerous techniques involved in the process of manufacturing finished pieces. Overall I have cut fabric, performed heat transfers, tagged, and thread, burned and tied draw cords. My first task while on the job was to burn and tie about fifty draw cords for bikini bottoms purchased by a group of lifeguards out on the east coast. EQ manufactures bikinis, one pieces, and speedos. Ellen’s main idea for the company was to create comfortable swimwear that was protective and well made. Being relatively small the company receives individuals orders from its website but most pieces are sold through swim outlet. The timing of this project was perfect because spring is Ellen’s busiest season as most people buy new suits for summer. Most orders are from individuals, swim teams, or lifeguard groups but EQ also created the suits for the US national under water hockey team, a sport I had never heard of before working for Ellen. Its played much like hockey but underwater inside a pool, players wear snorkels and fins while hitting a puck with small sticks. Overall this first week has been great and I’ve already learned more than I initial expected.

Comments

Whaaatt? That hockey sport

Whaaatt? That hockey sport sounds exhausting. I need to see a video.

Are there animals at the charity next store? You should go volunteer and walk some dogs on your lunch break!

Animals

There aren't really any usually. They're usually busy on the weekends when I'm not there.

Perfect

Craig- This seems like a perfect fit for you. I am excited to read about how you are challenged and all that you learn this month. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog and seeing your presentation. Good luck!

Week One Completed

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  Wow, I don't even know where to start with this week.  I guess I will break down how I have been spending my time, before moving into a specific experience I had this week, then I will end off by looking forward at the weeks to come and what my senior project has in store.  Unfortunately, this week included a lot of time away from my senior project courtesy of the AP Chemistry and AP BC Calculus tests, however that did not deter me from spending as much time possible by Dr. Gupta's (my mentor) side.  While with Dr. Gupta, my days were evenly divided this week between Marquam Hill and the Center for Health and Healing on the waterfront. 

 
The different locations entailed very different experiences.  When on Marquam hill, I spent my time at the catheter lab.  Here I changed from my formal attire, which I have been wearing on a daily basis, into scrubs (thus allowing me to blend in with all of the residents, fellows, nurses, and technicians).  At the catheter lab, or cath lab for short, patients that are looking at the possibility of heart surgery have their heart examined using a host of different probes attached to the ends of catheters, basically long wires that can snake up the veins and arteries to get to the heart.  Dr. Gupta, and his fellows, can then enter through either the femoral artery (located in the groin) or the renal artery (located at the wrist) to check the pressure in the different compartments of the heart, check the coronary arteries (arteries that feed the heart itself), and even biopsy the heart.  I have attached a picture of the catheter lab, and you can see the massive x-ray machine used to watch where the catheters are going once inserted and take pictures of the heart and its associated veins.
 
When I wasn’t up on Marquam Hill, I spent my time down on the waterfront in Dr. Gupta’s clinic.  Here I consulted patients with Dr. Gupta on the viability of trans-arterial heart surgery.  These surgeries can take many forms, but the most prominent I noticed during my first week have been stints and valve replacements.  Additionally, the FDA has just recently approved a new procedure in which a clip can be used to fix a leaky mitral valve, putting what Dr. Gupta and his team are doing on the very cutting edge of cardiovascular catheter medicine.  Anyways, patients would be evaluated through echocardiograms, CT scans, angiograms, and frailty tests to determine whether a catheter based surgery would dramatically increase their rate of living.
 
So far, the work in the clinic has definitely been my favorite part of my senior project.  The range of patients coming in don’t vary by age too much, with the average age landing somewhere in the mid to upper 80s, but the life experiences they have and the stories they tell are absolutely incredible.  Just today, one of Dr. Gupta’s patients (who was 92 years old) was telling stories about his time working on lights for The Tonight Show.  He even brought in a clip of The Tonight Show where Johnny Carson, then host, brought him on and gave him a proper goodbye.  Other patients have told stories about stadiums turned into relocation camps for the Japanese during World War II, and the list of interesting life experiences does not end there.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the personal element behind Dr. Gupta’s job: all of the different people that come in and all of the different stories they tell.
 
As for moving forward, I know I will be spending a lot more time in the catheter lab watching procedures performed and a lot more time in the clinic meeting with patients.  However, Dr. Gupta has mentioned the possibility of me being able to actually watch a trans-arterial valve replacement (TAVR) or a mitral clip, which would be fascinating to see first hand.  But that about wraps up what I have to say for my first week.  Next week I will check back in with a more personal-experience driven blog, but I think to be able to vicariously experience what I’ve been doing, the little technical details add a lot, so I think this first blog needs to reflect what I have been learning this first week.  Any whom, until next time. 

Comments

Thank you for the post!

I appreciate the background information. Can you get close-ups of any of the equipment? Are you in the Cath Lab on a regular schedule? (I'd love to see it when I visit.)

Thank you for the comment!

Hi Becky!
So I'm scheduled to be in the cath lab with Dr. Gupta tomorrow, the 12th, and the 22nd. Other than that I will either be watching procedures or at the clinic down by the water front. I haven't seen much of the equipment up close, but I will try to get some up close and personal pictures in this upcoming week. Do you know what day(s) you're planning on coming in to visit?

Final Week at CoCoDesigns: Suzanne Kasler and Serving Up Style Preparations

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My final week at CocoDesigns was filled with officework, but not exactly the boring kind. I researched furniture and other interior companies that I personally liked, and sent them donation requests for an event Lora participates in every year called Serving Up Style. Serving Up Style is an interior design competition in which 25 local designers compete for awards before a judging panel and general audience. All proceeds from the event are donated to Molly’s Fund Fighting Lupus, a charity dedicated to assisting those with lupus through increasing public awareness of the disease, organizing outreach, promoting early detection and more. Last year, the sponsors for Serving Up Style included HGTV and Houzz, a popular online interior inspiration website. I spent a lot of time looking through websites and drafting emails to companies whose products I liked. ABC Home, Avenue Road, Caitlin Wilson Textiles and Oly Studios were among the companies I contacted. I even got my own @cocodesignspdx email address to seem more official! I’m sure this definitely helped my ethos in this realm!
 
In addition to the emails I sent and the research I did this week, I also showed Lora one of my favorite consignment stores in Portland, and accompanied her to the Parker Furniture 2013 Market Show. The market show at Parker was an interesting experience. Around twenty company representatives from companies such as Hickory Chair, Arteriors and Eastern Accents were present. We got goody bags, but to my disappointment these only contained brochures for the companies and discounts, rather than actual physical “goodies.” Guess they have to make money off the event anyways! My favorite company there by far was Eastern Accents, who makes bedding and other textiles. In their display, they had a throw pillow with an embroidered zebra that caught my eye—however, after some research I found out that it was selling for over three hundred dollars. It was a nice pillow, but I’m not sure if I could justify that purchase at this point in my life, or ever, really! I guess I’ll have to keep dreaming.
 
The main event of the Parker Furniture Market Show was a presentation by Suzanne Kasler, who is a very famous interior designer. She currently has lines for Hickory Chair, Ballard Designs, Lee Jofa, Safavieh, Soicher Marin and Visual Comforts. She also has her own interior design book named Inspired Interiors. She talked with everybody who attended the show about her design process, and walked the audience through different rooms she designed for her own use and for her clients. Her major point was that inspiration for interior decorating can come from many places, including unexpected ones, if a designer keeps their mind open. Her signature look usually contains white walls with accents of color, usually light blue, and classically styled furniture. She definitely has her own style and doesn’t deviate too far from it, which is probably expected from somebody at her level of interior design. Lora mentioned that she can pick and choose who she wants to take on as a client, meaning she doesn’t have to just take any job somebody offers her. Now that’s luxury! I attached a picture of myself and Suzanne in the photo gallery. I’ll be talking more about my experience with her in my presentation, so stay tuned!
 

Comments

Email ethos

Too bad you won't be able to attend Serving Up Style. Maybe Lora will share pictures? I'm sorry to hear your swag bag was disappointing, but it sounds like Suzanne made up for it. I had a great time visiting with you and Lora last week, and I can't wait to hear about your fledgling dorm room design business!

Dream [Beam] Team

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And just when I thought I was used to hanging out in the Beam office, it's already over. Did I blink? But wait. I'm not done yet! I still need to give a presentation to the office on all that I've learned and researched! I guess I'll be going back, then. (Can't get rid of me that easily, no no - they'll all see me Monday). But actually, I'm pretty sad that my senior project is wrapping up.
 
Just when I was comfortable enough to make my own cup of noodles without my palms sweating (okay still a little sweating)! I mean, really. I've learned a lot though, and I really appreciate how welcoming and friendly everyone has been in the office. It's a little scary sometimes (all the time) being the youngest doing anything, and especially when everyone else has a college degree and I just learned how to be a human, like, a year ago (and probably still have a ways to go).
 
So I thought I'd tell everyone a few things I've learned about "growing up" and "being responsible" and "working in an office."
 
1. Wear layers because it will get pretty cold or hot in your office, depending on the day.
2. Move around or you will get cramps in weird spots.
3. Sitting all day is kind of a bummer.
4. Natural light is awesome.
5. Google sometimes auto-corrects INCORRECTLY (once it corrected "a lot" to "alot" and I gasped in horror. Shame on you, Google).
6. Trying to be seen and heard a little as possible (office ghosting) is exhausting and not very fun.
7. Adults like to goof off too! Oh my god!! (Everyone needs a break, I mean really).
8. Being late is always uncool, unprofessional, and generally annoying. (Kind of already knew this one, but still. It's true).
9. People actually care what you have to say, even if you're 100% winging it and were born during the Clinton administration.
10. Write it down. Always write it down.
 
Here are some things about property development that I've managed to store away as well:
1. Politics are always involved.
2. Micro finance is deceptively simple. Financing is ridiculously complicated and I applaud all who somehow manage it.
3. If you want to make it, you have to be innovative, creative, and confident.
4. There are 9,000 plus things that can go wrong in a building, and as a developer you have to fix it.
5. Property development, when done correctly, can be a social experiment in place-making (and all the better for it).
 
And here is a list of things I'm really going to miss:
1. Feeling like a champion of the office world (haha, jokes, but I'll miss feeling so professional since usually I'm just being a goob on campus).
2. Getting to know the people in the office better.
3. The dogs. The office dogs are the greatest and I want them both.
4. Learning new things, meeting new and interesting people (I would say my knowledge of property development has increased 5000%).
5. Having my own office. (Can you tell how much I liked my office? I'm ridiculously in love with the concept. It's a power trip. I am on a power trip. I resent this because lets be real, I'll probably not get my own office again for like 30 years. What a let down. Thanks, Beam, for raising my expectations. But actually, thanks Beam! For everything.)
 
A big thank you to Brad, Joey, Liz, and the rest of the Dream Beam Team (rhyming always intentional) for helping me!
 

Ultimate regret: I never did purchase a pantsuit or a briefcase. (Sorry Hillary!)

I'll see if I can swing a pitcure of the office staff on Monday. 

Comments

I like your list..

Sitting all day IS a bummer. Get a job where you have to move a lot (like teaching...)

Yes--your lists rule!

Great to have the Layla sense of humor injection. But all your points are spot-on. Always write it down, 9000 things can go wrong, and the financing is pretty hard to figure out, ain't it? Somehow I think you'll have your office before too long....

Office love

One can only dream.

An Office Ghost Tells All

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Week three at Beam is already over. What? How did that happen? (The Earth revolved on its axis yada yada yada - we all get it ok, SCIENCE). But seriously time flew by! My week hasn't been so different from the others, so I thought I'd give you a rundown of what my day looks like.
 
7:30am: Wake up and panic because I'm going to be late for class. Realize I am 2nd semester senior. Remember my name. Remember Senior project. Get nostalgic about how time has flown. Decide (eventually) to get out of bed. Grumble about being a "slave to the clock" and then chuckle at own joke. No one hears (it's not really a joke - probably still semi-asleep).
 
7:55am: Dressed and ready, but still unaware. Make tea. Drink tea. Eat food. Emerge from haze. Realize clothing is on backwards/dirty/inside-out. Groan. Change clothes and remember to brush hair. 
 
8:15am: Lounge around then remember I actually have to commute to the east side and panic about being late again. Leave house immediately. Get in car and realize I've left all belongings in the house that are necessary for the day - including keys.
 
8:20am: Back in car, bag on passengers seat, keys in hand. Take a moment to recognize my own togetherness. Back out of garage, almost hit stupid cement wall that has been there since the house was built. Curse cement wall. 
 
8:30am: Still on Burnside. Complain loudly to self about traffic, because thats what real adults do. 
 
8:40am: Finally across the Morrison Bridge. Panic about having to make the same unlighted left turn to get into Beam parking lot. Sit for 5 minutes while cars pile behind. Decide to grow a pair. Check intersection exactly 457 times. Inch forward. Take deep breath, charge into intersection that has been clear for at least 1 minute. 
 
8:45am: Gather things in parking lot. Walk one block to Eastbank Commerce Center. Curse rain for ruining your cute flats - vow to wear more practical shoes tomorrow (forget vow and wear different but equally impractical shoes the next day). 
 
8:50am: Walk into building. Straighten out hair and still half-grown out bangs. Try to make bangs look presentable. Fail miserably, get very angry. Put hair back in bobby pins. Wish I were Rapunzel. Walk to office.
 
8:55am: Say hello to Joey if he is at his desk. Say hello to anyone passing in the office. Attempt to appear calm and professional. Pet office dogs for longer than is necessary to avoid eye contact. Walk down the hallway to office. Turn on light, set down bag. 
 
9:00am: Walk back out to Joey's desk. Wait for him to finish call/conversation/doing a real job and stare at walls/pretend to read framed articles about Beam which I've have already read at least 7 times. When it looks like he's done, act casual but ask him what I'm supposed to do today. Exchange pleasantries. Figure out good time to meet later in the day. Say okay to whatever time is offered. Go back to office.
 
9:10am: Sit at desk. Turn on computer. Open google. Open all relevant word documents to research project. Wait 500 hours for word to load. Curse computer. Sit angrily waiting for computer to do anything. Finally. Go back to chrome. Open 12,000 tabs of articles and searches. Begin sifting through information. Stop occasionally to type something up. Hyperlink. Research. Repete. 
 
9:55am: Wonder what the heck "dividends" are. Decide government is fickle. Silly contractors. Read article about Mayor Bloomberg or something else off topic. Refocus.
 
10:10am: Computer begins to overheat. Ignore. Computer shuts itself down. Mentally curse all technology and pout (why CAN'T a girl have 94 tabs open, OKAY?). Restart computer. Plug in charger which requires crawling under desk. Worry someone will walk in on you with your butt sticking up in the air. Worry about indecent exposure. Try to get out from under desk as quickly as possible. Too quickly. Hit head on edge of desk. Again.
 
10:40am: Decide it is time to stretch/go to bathroom/take a break. 
 
10:50am: Do some more research and try not to get off topic. Fail occasionally (can't resist articles about angry city hall meetings - its like a soap opera but real). 
 
11:15am: Someone will inevitably come into the office to say hi/see how it's going. It will scare me to death because my back faces the door. Try to play it cool, like I didn't just squeak in fear. Say hi back. Exchange pleasantries. Go back to work.
 
12:15pm: Decide it is acceptable time for lunch. Eat at desk because I'm too chicken to eat with everyone else/not actually sure what they do. It's whatever. I'm independent and cool. Right? 
 
12:17pm: Try to eat as quietly as possible so that I don't disturb the office. No one can hear me anyway. Still try anyway.
 
1:00pm: Meeting with Brad & Joey or just Brad or just Joey. Variety is the spice. Try to appear cool as a cucumber. Fail. Pretend to understand what they are talking about. Nod. Write a lot of things down. Hyperventilate because I am completely winging it. Try and sound knowledgable. Second guess self in front of them. Mentally face-palm. Curse teen angst. 
 
1:15pm: Researchresearchresearchresearchresearch.
 
2:15pm: Get back cramp/butt cramp/foot cramp. Walk around office for a while. Go back to desk.
 
2:30pm: Write things up. When Word freezes, I am zen. I am calm. I am zen. I am calm. Hurl computer at the wall. Mentally. I am zen.
 
2:55pm: Pack up. Congratulate self on being a "grown up". 
 
3:00pm: Say bye to Joey and dogs/anyone else I see in on the way out.
 
3:05pm: Try to start car. Fail. Curse Car. Try again. Drive home.
 
3:30pm: Fall asleep on couch and/or binge watch old seasons of Project Runway. Decide to like Tim Gunn, once and for all. 

Comments

Mirror, mirror?

If you had a mirror on your desk, you could see when people come up behind you like the "Foe Glass" in the HP series. I am still very vague about what you're researching and where your research is going to end up. Will look forward to hearing about it when I see you weds.

Love Tim Gunn.

Your day sounds just like Ben Franklin's . . .

I love the play-by-play! Yes, it appears you have discovered much about what makes "real adults" tick, but there's more out there than traffic!

I hope during your last week your typical day will include less hyperventilating and cursing, because you will be confident because you will remember what an amazing job you're doing. OK?

Thanks for your wonderful blog, Layla.

Your fan,
Nichole

P.S. I kind of lke Tim Gunn. . ..

PowerPoint & I are like THIS

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Despite all the rumors, I don't actually just sit around in my office all day taking naps on the thoughtfully provided couch (can you tell I'm still excited about the office?). No no, I type furiously fast and keep open more tabs than Peter Shulman (didn't think it was humanly possibly - but computers are pretty darn impressive - and not human, so I guess that makes sense). I've spent the last week continuing my research, and delving deeper into the realm of property development. Taking the outline of topics that I created last week, I tried to flesh out topics and to further expand my knowledge.

 
On Monday, I presented to Brad and Joey what the heck it was I DO all day. They asked questions, and made some comments and suggestions for me to work on. Brad then asked me to be ready to present to him again by Friday. Gulp. As much as I feel like I've learned, I still get nervous about presenting information even though everyone has made it perfectly clear it doesn't matter that I'm basically winging it (teen angst, I guess). I talked a lot about the importance of sense of place and how that plays into creative cities, districts, businesses, etc.
 
Then I made another presentation. And it was incredibly long (45 slides or something like that). And I spent all day (Friday) on it. The title was "All About Attitude" because Catlin has taught me a catchy title is always worth it (even if it's cheesy). So needless to say, Microsoft PowerPoint and I are basically in a committed relationship at this point. I may have strayed with the alluring vixen that is Keynote, but eventually I returned to my beautifully loyal PP. The presentation was the culmination of all my research. There were several slides on what "live/work" space is and how to categorize different types of live/work, more on creative cities and districts, micro-housing (and micro-finance), and crowd-sourcing. These topics are all going to be amalgamated into an even bigger research project, that sort of synthesizes everything I've found so far into a more cohesive piece (that I will potentially be presenting to the school or the office. Some platform or another).
 
Other than research, on Wednesday, I attended a luncheon with Brad and Jonathan that was honoring William J. Hawkins III for his work in historical preservation with the McMath Historic Preservation award. There were several architects and other members of the developing community present. Though I only knew Brad and the other members of Beam, it was fun to be introduced to different people and to just kind of absorb the whole event. There were a few presentations with a lot of references that sailed right over my head, but I found it interesting just the same. The other bonus for me was getting out of the office for a spell (don't think I'm complaining - my office is still the greatest of all time - I just also happen to like sunlight, thank you very much).
 
This week, Brad won't be in the office, but Joey will be helping me navigate my new project (or expansion of the other projects) and I'm looking forward seeing how far I can push this.
 
UPDATE: I still have not purchased a pantsuit. It's really not essential, but sometimes I just want to feel like Hillary Clinton, you know? 

Below I've attached a PDF of my last presentation for Brad. 
 

Comments

Research! You're doing fine work

Hi, dear Layla!

Thanks for attaching your presentation, which was pretty impressive, by the way! You chose some great photos to illustrate your information. It's clear that you've learned a huge amount this past month. Glad to know that you've formed a strong commitment to your software package ;-)

One of the things that I consider a challenge in neighborhood development is what happens when the first few waves of artsy, largely younger people have established themselves, as in the Hawthorne district, and then the area grows so popular that a much more mainstream group of people seeks to snap up the real estate, and completely change the price, the vibe, and the look of the area. When I first moved to Portland in the early 90s, there were some motorcycle bars on SE 37th and Hawthorne, followed by a feminist bookstore and a flourishing of cool cafes, and now we have the Peet's and Starbuck-ization of the neighborhood, which is rather less artsy than it used to be, in some ways. Housing prices went up so much that small businesses got priced out, and apartment rents were too high for many creative people. It's complicated, this development thing!

Miss you, and I'm glad that you're learning so much!
--Sue

I'm just glad I helped you find your way yesterday

It was great to see you, even for just a few minutes! Keep rocking that Power Point!

Questions

Impressive powerpoint. You should check out prezi... it's my new favorite! So, I'm still unclear about the brief for this presentation... was it meant just for Brad / Joey to show them what you know about Creative Communities or are you taking this 'on the road' as part of presentations that the firm will give to future clients?

I'd like to come visit you next week. What's your schedule? 9-5? 8-4?

Answers

Brad really wants me to delve into the questions "what makes communities work" and "how can they be creative" whatever that means for a particular area. I don't think I would present this for clients, but rather this research is going towards branding Beam. I think this is sort of Brad's brainchild (the whole work/live situation) and no one in the office can ever really research it because they have a) real jobs and b) real work to do. This is important, certainly but it's hard to research in depth when you are supposed to be accounting, managing properties, dealing with clients & contractors and all that jazz.

I work from 9-3 or sometimes later, depending on meetings/when I can meet with Brad or Joey.

Week 2 at CoCo Designs

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This week, I got to look at pictures on the computer and compile lists of them. If this was on paper this would be called “collaging,” but since it’s not and the internet loves to be unique it’s called “Pintrest,” “Tumblr,” or “work.” A client wanted a less expensive version of a chair, so I spent a solid two hours trying to find similar models that wouldn’t break their budget. Furniture websites are pretty, so I got sidetracked a couple times during this task. Namely, my mentor and I discussed Kim Kardashian’s wardrobe choices while pregnant. Some comparisons to pregnant Jessica Simpson were made (I’m so sorry, Kimmy). We also both agreed that Kim and Kanye are perfect for each other because they’re obsessed with themselves. Their kid will turn out wonderfully humble and balanced.
 
After researching chairs for a bit, Lora and I met with the owners of a financial planning firm. The two owners are opening a new office in the Lincoln Center, and we showed them the design plan Lora had created for their office. I convinced them into choosing the wood floors I liked the most. Victory number one for Valerie. I guess a caveat to that victory is that I convinced them into the color of wood, but the style Lora had picked out had hand-scraping on it which they didn’t like. But that wasn’t my fault, right? So I’ll still take that victory. Plus, they told me (technically “us” but I’ll take this one too) that they’ll trust whatever I (“we”) pick out for style. This means they don’t need to okay their hardwood floors. Lora and I picked out their floors after our meeting. Trust is a crazy thing! I put some pictures of the flooring showroom down below.
 
Additionally, I think I conquered my fear of telephone conversations this week. I had to call different furniture showrooms to ask for pricing, customization and other options for furniture, and I successfully interacted over the phone without crying. I didn’t even cry when a photography company yelled at me over the phone for a deadwall Lora forgot to fix. Victory number two for Valerie. A deadwall, in case you were wondering, is a blank wall without any decorations or furniture in front of it. It’s visually “dead.” Designers usually put décor on these walls. This brief foray into customer service made me realize I have dead walls in my room that I need to fix ASAP. 

I am now trying to install a gallery wall in my room. See picture gallery for an example. This specific project isn’t going so well seeing that I am an art snob and will only buy original pieces that cost a fortune (if anybody has any abstract artwork or block prints they’d like to sell me, please let me know! Warning: do not be offended if I’m too snobby for them/if I am impossible to please). I gave up trying to buy an original abstract piece today and decided to painted my own piece instead. Think the documentary "My Kid Could Paint That!" but with a 17/almost 18 year old. Less cute and more starving artist. This is not really a solution to my problem of finding art because I'm already insanely critical of art overall, which makes me even more critical of my own (victory number this is not a victory somebody please help me) (I have been researching gallery walls all week) (I still don’t have one) (help) (how am I going to be able to live in a dorm after this internship) (I am going to stop typing right now and find more artwork that I will probably not buy because it will be too expensive) (See you on the flipside… hopefully)

Comments

Good genes and expensive taste

I'd count those four as victories for sure! I love the idea of the gallery wall, too. I'm realizing that I have a house full of deadwalls. Sometimes I like a little negative space, but the gallery wall pic is inspiring. Hang in there, Valerie. I'm sure you'll have the most glamorous and orderly dorm room ever!

Week 2: Swing down, sweet chariot, stop, and let me GLIDE

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I had a very busy second week working with GLIDER. Between juggling the two projects I've had to work on that I described in my last blog post, Eli was in and out meeting with investors, on the phone with potential business clients, etc. (he even added over two more hours to his work day.) Meanwhile, Justin and Cameron are as busy as I've ever seen them. So I'm glad to be of any sort of help, and I'm learning a lot observing Eli managing this company.

The first project I worked on was helping Eli research and compile a list of businesses with over 100 employees that have been seeded by venture firms that Eli is connected with. I had to find out the names of their CEO, COO, VP of Sales, VP of BD, and their sales operations managers are (which wasn't easy, the information on linkedin often differed with the information on databases like crunchbase and on the company websites.) I think that next week either Eli or I will be reaching out to some of these people to try to pitch GLIDER to them so they can use it in their actual businesses, as an alternative to having to manage their contracts and sign deals the way they currently do.

The second project I've been working on has been helping Justin with content for his blog, The Future Of Work (http://futureofwork.glider.com/). The blog is meant to be a stand-alone project that discusses how "smart enterprise" tools are disrupting enterprise as usual. The premise is that, today, because of how seamless and successful consumer tools like Facebook and Twitter are, workers expect the same quality of performance from the tools they have to use at work. Often times, the IT departments of their work give workers tools that they'd prefer to substitute for technology they are more familiar with, so when workers bring in their own technology to be more efficient to work (BYOD = bring your own device), the IT departments and CIOs can be the last to know. Services like GLIDER that are making work much easier and far more efficient are disrupting entire industries. I spent the majority of last week working on a blog post that discussed this (it'll get published next week), with links to various articles and a big shout out to one of my all time favorite comedies, Office Space. I also helped on a running series called "The Business Setup" that showcases the different technologies that modern businesses use to be more efficient, like Github or Hipchat. I've learned a lot of interesting things by managing this blog, like the "Flesch-Kinkaid Readability Test," which uses a formula that involves ratios between words in a sentence and syllables in a word throughout the text to indicate how comprehensive and difficult the reading is. For example, on a 1-100 scale, a blog post should score above a 50 (fairly easy to read or skim). The text in blog posts can't be like text from Dickens or in Heart of Darkness, which would probably score close to 0, if not in the negatives.

Next week should be a little less busy. Besides the senior/first grade trip to the zoo, the GLIDER team is going down to San Francisco for another tech conference that would introduce them to more VCs and angel investors called "Under the Radar," so I'll be working from home those days. We also move into the new office in the Pearl next week, which I'm excited about (more food options for lunch), so I suppose I'm helping Eli move furniture on Monday.

A quick anecdote about the week: on the second floor of my building, there's a modeling agency and I always see the two women who scout potential models walking out of the building at the same time as me whenever I'm on my lunch break. So they invite me into their office one day after work to have my picture taken and meet their boss, and when I come in to see the open casting call, I literally see some of the cutest girls ever, who aren't even that much older than me. So I come in, everyone's all smiles, I'm making nice conversation with this blond girl on the couch waiting to have my picture taken, when they tell me that I'm too short. (Really hurt my pride with that one.) It's not like I've ever felt any desire to model, but I feel like it would be funny to have girls see my face going into an Abercrombie. Knowing me, the whole thing would be very ironic. Anyway, this story has made for some funny jokes in the GLIDER office, and hopefully I get into more funny encounters in the new building in the Pearl. 

Here's a video featuring GLIDER from the Wall Street Journal: http://live.wsj.com/video/what-does-it-take-to-be-the-next-hot-start-up/B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F.html#!B800F8EB-BBAC-4262-A09C-8B9F7316F78F

Here's an article about GLIDER from Tech Crunch about GLIDER's launch at Disrupt in NY: http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/29/glider-launches-at-disrupt-ny-with-saas-that-automates-approving-and-signing-contracts-adds-intelligence-to-deal-flow/

In the picture below, Eli is writing something up on the whiteboard and Cameron looks super engaged.


Comments

Heart of Darkness shout-out!

I was glad to read the bit about the readability test, and see some of our brunch conversation make it in your example!

I'm also glad that the project is going well, and that you're keeping such a positive attitude about the stuff you're learning. Way to go, Ben!

And great to see you yesterday!

Nichole

Interesting links...

Hope to be able to read your published article this week. Like Meredith, I would love to be able to hear more specifics about what you are working on, if you can tell us without violatting confidentiality. Do you feel that GLIDER is meeting all the requirements for being a successful start-up, as outlined in the WSJ piece?
And I loved the story about beiing "discovered" as a model!
I plan to come with Meredith on Friday, if I can find a sub for the AP exam I am supposed to proctor!

Project deets

Hi Ben,
I'm looking forward to visiting on Friday at 11. It sounds like a fast paced and evolving environment. I'm glad you are able to help work on developing connections for Glider. I'm fascinated by the readability ratings for blog posts. It sounds like you're thriving and enjoying the start up culture!
Take care,
Meredith

Not all Avian Species are Created Equally...

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       "There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in pludering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry" 
-Benjamin Franklin

 

      If you reader, were to ever find yourself in a life or death situation where your very survival depended on the pure wit and intellect of either a Turkey or Chicken, Don't get cute, pick the chicken. This is just one of the countless pearls of wisdom I have gathered in my first four days working at La Finquita Del Buho, a CSA organic farm in Hillsboro.  
     
        My mentors, wife and husband Lyn and Juvencio have run La Finquita Del Buho (Little Farm of the Owl) since 2000. The farm follows the CSA or Community Shared Agriculture model, meaning people within their community buy shares of the farm in exchange for regular shares of the harvest. Currently La Finquita Del Buho has over 65 members and they continue to grow. The CSA is an interesting model of farming, one with many benefits. For one, the virtue of having consistent members means the demand will always be predictable, allowing for maximum efficiency. However the noticeable drawback is that the farm has to always meet a certain number for their output to satisfy their customer base. This pressure forces Juvencio and Lyn to work extremely hard and efficiently, an act which I have seen plenty of this week.

   

         I arrived at the farm on Monday Morning around 8:00. Pulling up the winding gravel driveway I was greeted by the seemingly always cheerful face of Juvencio, the farm’s co-owner. The best way to describe my co-mentor is that he’s a man’s man. He’s the type of guy who has an unrelenting energy that never succumbs to weariness. He’ll do about any job, no matter the difficulty, and always with the same steady endurance. When he’s not head down in work, we’ll shoot the breeze and talk about life. He has made for a great mentor these past few days, and I’m fortunate to learn from him. Anyways descriptions aside, Juvencio and I first drove to see his new pigs. We fed them cow milk and grain, both of which were quickly demolished by the animals. We next turned to harvesting Bok Choy and Chinese Broccoli, which was quite a fun task. The rest of the day and by extension the rest of the week (Farming is certainly a repetitive job) saw me watering, seeding, harvesting, transplanting, among other things. A noticeable highlight came when we installed a new pipe system for a bed of recently planted crops. The pipes are fairly easy to install, and they make life much easier, as they eliminate the need to hand water plants, which is as Juvencio puts it, “A full time job”. Working my way back to the cryptic title of this post ( There is a method to the insanity) , on Thursday Lyn and I drove to pick up 17 week old Turkey chicks, that she plans to raise for Thanksgiving. She told me that Turkeys are extremely fragile, and that out of the 17 she expects to raise less than half of them to full maturity. Upon getting them out of the box I understood why. Lyn and I spent upwards of twenty minutes training the Turkeys to drink water. This basically consisted of picking up the chicks and dipping their beaks in water. Without us, I’m sure they would have died right beside the water dispenser.
         On Saturday I met Lyn and her partner Polly at the Saturday Market in Beaverton at 5:30 in the morning. Lyn and Polly have sold plants at the market for years now. When I arrived to the market, various merchants were frenetically setting up their booths. With the help of Lyn’s son Diego, we quickly set our booth up with little issue. We (Rightfully) expected a huge turnout because it was the opening day of the market. I manned the cash register for the day, and I saw hundreds of faces. I had no idea that plants could be so popular. Needless to say the booth saw a lot of business.

 
           
            I have greatly enjoyed my first week at Lyn and Juvencio’s farm, and I have already learnt a ton. It’s tough, laborious work but it’s rewarding. Most importantly I don’t feel like a glorified paperboy, which I feel sometimes happens with internships. Instead I have made a real difference here at the farm, and I feel like I have been more of a help than a burden. There is something inexplicably romantic about turning one's own sweat and work into a palpaple result. It surely is an honest man's work.  Moving forward I am excited to learn more about the art of organic farming, and I hope to continue making a difference here at La Finquita Del Buho. Until next week! 

Comments

Ben, you're certainly keeping

Ben, you're certainly keeping very busy on the farm. It seems that you're learning a lot of useful skills. I didn't know the difference between chickens and turkeys that you have discovered.

Teaching those turkeys...

Would love to see a photo of you training the turkeys! Loved your blog post and opening quote! Good weather so far for a farming senior project - maybe I'll see you at Farmer's Market next week! (although I usually go to LO). We miss you in c and c!

John Kitzhaber is the Batman

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Before they became their current job, most politicians started off as lawyers or executives. But what about the people who started off as doctors?

I am starting my second week of working at MandateMedia, a small Portland-based company that conducts research on how technology can be better used to assist political campaigns. That sounds counterintuitive- when somebody says political campaigns to me, I think of knocking on doors, speeches, and debates. Since when is technology important?

It turns out that, in the 21st century, technology can be extremely useful. Facebook and Twitter are cost-effective ways of reaching large groups of people. More importantly, they give ordinary people an outlet to voice their opinions and organize, meaning almost anyone can participate in the political process now. MandateMedia spends a lot of resources on learning about how to write the best Tweets or Facebook posts. For instance, I have learned that the best Facebook posts are posted in the late afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, contain a photo, and start off with an incendiary sentence. There is actually a great deal of social science involved in message delivery, and when political power is on the line, people will want to find ways to optimize their messages.

MandateMedia also sends the mass emails that almost all political campaigns rely on nowadays. If you have ever signed up to receive emails from a campaign in Oregon, then you have likely received one of MandateMedia’s emails. About half of MandateMedia’s clients are from Oregon: big names like Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden, Peter DeFazio, and Sam Adams. The other half is national clients, such as the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

There are five “real” employees at the office. We work in a small space in the basement of a house. Kari is the lead guy, and he brings a lifetime of experience to the company. Kari has spent most of his life in politics. He managed his first major campaign when he was a student the University of Southern California, successfully managing the campaign of his roommate to become student body president. He also happened to have a side interest in technology developed when he worked several summers at Intel as a high school student. The other employees- Carrie, Meaghan, Suvi, and Ben work on managing the advertising and social media uses of campaigns, fundraising, and political strategy. The workplace is pretty laid-back, and the team feels like a family. Everyone has an interest in politics, so there is constant debate about major issues such as red light cameras.

This has been a really cool opportunity for me, because it combines my two primary interests in computer science and political science. My work so far has actually been in computer science. I have been working on a program that reads the statistics for different mailing groups of the mass emails that campaigns send out. These emails are sent to various groups, such as “environmentalists” or “abortion activists.” I am writing this program in a programming language called Python. My job is to record and analyze the statistics of response rates of different groups to different emails. Things have been going pretty well so far, as I have a basic version of the program done already. However, it will clearly take a few weeks to finish this project. Fortunately, on Friday I managed to find a bug in the email server code that was slowing my program down. I wrote to the company that manages that code, and they have responded and rewritten their coding!

Of course, the coolest part of this experience for me has been being around people with so much real-world political experience. Kari told me a neat story on Friday about John Kitzhaber. Kari was at a governor’s debate in 2010 at Oregon State University between Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury. It was a pretty uneventful debate, there were maybe 30 people there, and nobody was really killing it in the debate. There was a homeless man with a long beard and wearing rags sitting in the back. Suddenly, the homeless man started coughing up blood. One person in the crowd saw him, and shouted “is there a doctor in the house?”

While Bradbury was still delivering one of his statements, Kitzhaber looks up, without even changing his own facial expression, and starts running. He runs up to the man, kneels down, and starts pumping his chest. He directs somebody to call 911 and asks for a wet towel. At that moment, Bradbury knew he was not going to be governor.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks here. It has been fun so far, and I am sure I will have more great stories to tell.

Comments

Great first week!

It sounds like Python should hire you next!
Questions for you:
Is Mandate Media involved in any of the campaigns on the ballot this week?
Is most of the work done in the office, or do they work on/attend campaign events too?
Can you learn how to make one of those cool LEGO signs for my office? Maybe a Catlin tree?

Hi Blythe, I don't think

Hi Blythe,

I don't think MandateMedia is specifically involved in any of the campaigns in this special election. I can't think of any discussions in the office about it, but I will definitely ask Kari tomorrow.

Most of the work so far has been in the office, but it also isn't campaign season right at the moment! I have heard stories from Kari and co. about campaign events they went to, so I am sure that during busier times they attend events.

I think the Lego sign was professionally made! It is really cool and was the first thing I noticed, too. It is definitely on my bucket list of things I want to learn to do.

"All the elements of business: market research, strategic PR, profit and loss - I'll have that report to you on monday!"

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Pyramid Communications is a strategic communications firm that works strictly with non-profit organizations and charity foundations. I am shadowing on a new project with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, but some of their other clients include: KEXP 90.3FM, Northwest Evaluation Association, Northwest Health Foundation, Sierra Club, Seattle Foundation, and many, many more. A lot of the clients are from Seattle since that is where the firm is originally based. Besides Seattle and Portland, they also have an office in San Francisco. Pyramid focuses on five pillars: education, conservation, native, health and wellbeing, and culture. To sum up their work their stated cause is to: “We integrate strategy and creative services with our fluency in arts and culture, conservation, education, health, and issues facing tribes and Native communities. We help organizations nourish communities with sustainable food systems, foster early learning opportunities today for a stronger workforce tomorrow, and invigorate local economies by supporting small business.”

            While I'm at Pyramid, I will be working on three different projects. One of my projects (and I think the most interesting) is shadowing the Portland team as they work with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. This is not the first time they have worked with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, but this is a new project that is based around fundraising. (I’m not actually sure if I'm allowed to talk about it, so I will leave it vague). The second of my three projects is to interview employees of Pyramid to get them excited to start blogging. Here is the overview of the project that I wrote in the project brief: “The project is to interview a selected group of Pyramid employees, hopefully a person from each branch of the company. The challenge is to build excitement and identify opportunities for staff engagement with the blog. Pyramid wants its employees to contribute to Pyramid’s blog in order to demonstrate the distinctive nature of the firm, and to display their in-house expertise and experience. The goal of this project is twofold: firstly, for Koby to speak with people that are involved in every aspect of a projects completion, and secondly to hit upon themes that employees can blog about later.” The third mini-project I will be working on is looking at other firms in order to get a firmer grasp of how Pyramid is different from the rest.

            Pyramid is very different from other PR/advertising firms around. First of all as I mentioned they work specifically with non-profits. As Sarah (one of my co-workers) put it: We make the world a better place through strategic communications.” When I was talking with Tripp (the head of the Portland firm, and the man I contacted to get the internship) he said that there is a very intentional environment at Pyramid. He encourages his employees to ask questions because it helps them think as a team, and when a wider base of knowledge is used, they produce greater results. When you walk into the office, this environment is very evident: there are no cubicles or dividers and there is a seating area for casual meetings. It is very evident that everyone that works there does so because they really believe in a cause to strengthen our community.

 

 

Comments

Excitement about blogging?

Hey Koby, we miss you in C and C! I'm glad you are having a good time with your senior project. I am curious how you get people excited about blogging- sounds like a good project for you. Have fun and keep sharing about your experiences- we are reading!

Blog

Hi Koby,

Is the blog up and running already or no? I tried finding it on the website and couldn't. If so, post its URL.

That sounds like an ideal project, since you will get to meet many different people in the company.

The blog is called 'The Word"

The blog is called 'The Word" here is the link: http://www.pyramidcommunications.com/about/word
at the moment there aren't very many relevant posts on it. People just randomly post when they have time/have something to write about. Part of my project is to get people to post mroe often so to show that Pyramid has in-house experts on all subjects.

Coco Designs - Week One

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My senior project has been pretty cool, and here’s why: I am pretty cool, and interior design is pretty cool. I mostly follow my mentor Lora around. On Monday, we met and talked through our plans for the month. Lora has a good amount of clients right now, but as I’ve learned, there’s a lot of waiting around in interior design. Here’s a list of some of the things you need to wait around for as an interior designer:
 
1.     Contractors.
2.     Architects.
3.     Furniture companies.
4.     Showrooms.
5.     Clients.
 
I’m probably leaving many people/institutions off that list. Lora needs to wait for contractors and architects because many times there are rules governing what she can and can’t do in a space. For example, in her new office on SE Main, management told her she couldn’t remove fluorescent lighting, paint plumbing fixtures, or remove a sink that came installed in her space. She has to roll with these limitations and figure out other creative ways to make spaces look nice. Instead of removing or painting the sink, Lora decided to customize a bamboo screen divider, which covers up the sink. One thing that I’ve re-discovered in this internship experience is my love for creating things. That doesn’t sound very eloquent, but essentially that’s what it boils down to. I helped Lora decorate her office, and for it I had to hand-sew drapes. Lora customizes a lot of her personal pieces, which is a lot of fun to help her with. She painted the table below (which she found on Craigslist!) to look like hammered metal. We’re not totally done with her office, but we’ll be working on it more on and off next week.
 
Helping Lora decorate her office is really the only thing that I have personally done. Otherwise, my project mainly consists of shadowing Lora while she goes to showrooms and visits sites she needs to design. On Tuesday, Lora returned fabric swatches to Parker’s Furniture, a major furniture showroom on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. While we were there, we looked around and got pricing for custom-order furniture. Something is considered “custom” when non-company fabric is used. Many furniture companies have sets of wood finishes and fabric swatches for each piece of furniture. When clients want to use a fabric outside of this range, it costs more for the client (the custom price is the price of the furniture piece with the most basic fabric plus the cost of the custom fabric) and it almost always takes longer to manufacture. Not all companies and furniture pieces have this option, so it can be a hassle to be able to buy a chair with a certain kind of fabric. This was a major issue/point of stress for Lora at Parker’s Furniture—one of her clients wanted to buy a very specific piece of furniture in a specific fabric, but the sales associates at Parker’s Furniture didn’t know if this was possible. It’s hard to make people happy!
 
Later in the week, I also visited a trade-only showroom with Lora. This kind of showroom is much different than Parker’s Furniture, which I was familiar with before I started my project. Anybody can walk into Parker’s Furniture, walk around, and order whatever they’d like. However, in trade-only showrooms, only interior designers and other people in the design community can purchase from or even go into the showroom. The trade-only showroom was a lot smaller and didn’t have the quantity of furniture on display that Parker’s had, but it was filled (and I mean completely, utterly overflowing) with binders full of furniture (and women) and fabric swatches. This showroom was overwhelming. Lora told me it could take weeks to look through every single fabric swatch in the showroom. The sales associates in this showroom were very warm, and I hope I’ll be able to go back to look around a little more soon.
 
Until next time!

Comments

Waiting for...

Hi Valerie. Yep, we designers are pretty cool! As an architect, I can relate to that frustrating phase when you have to wait for everything, especially for clients to make up their minds. I hope Lora delegates more responsibilities to you gradually. Keep us posted!

Binders of...

...women? That table looks stunning! It sounds like you're having a lot of fun with Lora and a great time showing off your creative skills. I wonder if you're getting any cool tricks for your dorm room next year? Maybe pay attention to technique for making tiny, cramped spaces more spacious and inviting. I would have never guessed that interior designing/decorating would involve so much...waiting around. Good luck searching for the perfect pieces next week!