How people find their niche – serious hobbyists

Its recruiting season soon and time to start writing resumes, preparing for interviews. One question which students don’t need to take seriously is “Do you have a hobby?”  I often see “Reading and running” at the bottom of the resume. As if, anything else too lavish connotes a lack of focus on work and job hunting.

In Nolan Bushnell’s book “Finding the next Steve Jobs“, he shared that his boss, Kurt Wallace hired him in part because he was so impressed with his ham radio hobby. Bushnell is the “founder of Atari, and the man who launched Steve Job’s career”, writes Walter Issacson, author of “Steve Jobs“, the autobiography.

Hobbies aren’t just a sign of passion and creativity, they are also about diverse knowledge. Bushnell cites Stephen Gillett, COO of Symantec, who publicly credited his obsession with online role-playing game World of Warcraft with helping him manage his on-the-job tasks.

Others who start businesses based on hobbies, [you mean besides Mark Zuckerberg, Mchael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs?]

Australian-born American entrepreneur Megan Duckett always loved the stage.  Growing up, she would perform as a dancer, cellist but she knew she wasn’t of the league to perform professionally. During an internship at High School, she applied to Melbourne’s Victorian Art Centre to do the lightings. Instead of going to a college, she went to work as a freelance lighting technician and got into the ecosystem of rocknroll bands. She later went on to work for an events planning company. One day, she got a request to dress up 10 coffins to look like Dracula beds. [She didn’t even know how to sew. But that didn’t stop her.] Soon she went on to make costumes for children during weekends etc. One day, while they were doing their taxes, her husband commented that she was making more from her weekend crafts than from her day job. Today, revenues of her company stood at US$5.4 million. [Bushnell wrote that Duckett sewed the coffin drapery because of her child’s Halloween party but I couldn’t verify this in her interviews found on the internet. Nonetheless she has an inspiring story off the beaten track. Read more: http://www.more.com/reinvention-money/careers/she-got-rich-doing-what

Being connected to the eco-system is really important.  Someone once said, that in Silicon Valley, you can change jobs without changing parking lots.

Unfortunately, a number of young people today, would just want to sit in front of their computer. [When I was in university, I recalled spending my time studying and relaxing with friends. Anything else was a waste of time and distraction from studies. My sociable parents would force me to volunteer at the neighbourhood community centres. My dad would try to strike a conversation around international affairs (on newspaper) at dinnertime. Which eventually helped in my entry into the Foreign Service. So, I didn’t know better either.]

Someone sent me a cute cartoon on how modern man has evolved.  It certainly describes L. In his youth, L would play squash, keep a small aquarium, try different restaurants, meet interesting friends. Today, he’s sitting in front of his computer reading his favourite graphic novel.  Come to think about it, so am I, in front of the screen.

Anyway, a little about the artist, Levni Yilmaz. According to his interviews, it was an accident how he got into cartooning. The evolution of his work from a hobby to a career seemed more out of practicality.  “I had just moved to San Francisco, and I didn’t know anybody. I was a transplant from Boston. I was finding it difficult to meet people, so I started keeping a journal just to keep myself company. I would write down what I did on any given day, and after a while, I started illustrating it as well with these goofball little sketches. One day, I woke up with a hangover, and read what I had written the night before on the bus, on the way home from a rather disappointing party. …  There was no planning, or proverbial lightening bolt of inspiration. I find that most life changing excursions can come from looking at banal events with a slightly heightened sense of curiosity.”   “I stared doing screenings around town that were getting good responses, and it occurred to me that I should try selling DVDs.”  [Drawing cartoons was something he did as a child, and returned to, as a way of letting out steam in his journals before he decided to commercialise it.]

Read more: http://therumpus.net/2010/11/tales-of-mere-existence-the-art-of-lev-yilmaz/

http://rascalmag.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/it-was-an-accident-an-interview-with-cartoonist-lev-yilmaz/

http://www.ingredientx.com/

IMG-20140811-WA0004

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1 comment
  1. I’m still searching for my niche, in the meantime, I plan on trying a little bit of everything!

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