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Unicorns & Dancing Pandas: Origins

So this is it, the first e-mail of the newsletter with a funny name.
Unicorns & Dancing Pandas, what’s up with that? I think it’s only fair to start with that story.

It was a rainy Monday morning in London, I had arrived in my office 15 minutes later than my usual time, since I didn’t get much sleep the night before - this is what a 7-hour flight delay does to you - and I was brewing my first cup of coffee when I heard from a colleague about a major power shift happening in the company I was working for.

After a few days things got official in an all-stuff meeting. The new leadership was talking about how things were going to be different in a very old-school, strict and almost insulting way. When we got to the part about goals, I’m pretty sure that someone said the word “Unicorn” and it was right about that moment when I felt a notification on my wrist.

I pulled my phone out and it was my wife. She had sent me a very sweet gif with two Pandas dancing. I smiled and I remember whispering to myself: "Unicorns ha? Unicorns & Dancing pandas." And there you have it. Now you know.

On the subject of mental health

2020 was a shitty year for a lot of people and I was no exception.
Corona virus attacked humanity, I lost my job during a time that no one was hiring and lockdowns were happening (are still happening) globally.

Imagine traveling to London every 4 weeks for 4 years straight and one day, not only you can’t travel to anywhere, but you can’t even leave your home without sending a text and if you do, there’s a good chance to catch a deadly virus.

I wasn’t enjoying anything anymore. Nothing was enough. I was depressed and let me tell you, depression is real and it’s scary. Ironically, the thing that played a huge role for me and helped me fight it, was another, stronger emotion: The fear of personal failure.

Yes I was depressed, but I also was without a job and the fear that I’m a fraud, I’m not relevant anymore and I don’t matter as a professional, was slowly crawling in my head before I go to bed every morning. You see, before the ‘rona, I was receiving at least 5 job leads/offers in my LinkedIn profile per week. The Product design market in London was booming and then...absolute silence, nothing, nada.

So after a month of me doing absolutely nothing, I got up, took a bunch of sticky notes and started planning my next moves. I designed a portfolio website and I learned how to not code it in Webflow. I was ready in a couple of months (yes, I certainly took my time) and I landed a few contracts and then a few more and then I accepted an offer for a full time position at an awesome company (we'll probably talk about that in a future e-mail).

It wasn’t easy, but there wasn’t any other choice because you see my friends, I am not a failure and neither are you. If your life got a little bit fucked up as well during this dystopian black-mirror episode that we live in, let me tell you something: It’s not your fault. You’re not a fraud and you’re probably pretty awesome, judging from your taste in newsletter subscriptions.

If you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I think this article can help.

Something new & shiny

I see a new trend emerging in the web. As our work is now being done mostly from home and we’re spending more hours listening to music, watching videos, shopping and connecting with other people online, it’s only natural for us to become the next trend in web design.

Yes, I’m talking about us. People. Just look at how Spotify is using deep learning and your listening data to create a personalised experience with The Weeknd.

What have I been up to lately

Except of trying to improve the world’s top localisation platform, I also started a Podcast with my friends and we’re talking about the web, design and all things tech. I'm really enjoying it because it’s like we’re going for coffee and talk about things that inspired and helped us. You can also watch the episodes on YouTube!

Another thing I started during the second lockdown, was a YouTube channel. It started like a way of pushing myself to practice my UI skills but then it turned out to live product design sessions with theory & practice. I used to go live every Sunday but after a few Sundays, I realised that I need more time to do things right and stay consistent.

In fact, my next live is scheduled for this Sunday 31/01 at 21:00 and we’re going to talk about why you should always have a style guide, even if you’re creating a small website.

I’d love to see you there!

Χρειάζομαι Style Guide? - Design with klou on YouTube

2 exceptional TV Shows & a great movie

Zoey’s extraordinary playlist
I hate musicals on TV. I didn’t enjoy Mama Mia or Lalaland, but I’m in love with this part-time musical, which is a very sweet story of a coder in San Francisco that can hear other people’s thoughts, translated into theatrical musicals! How freaking awesome is that!
You should definitely check it out.

High Fidelity
I’m just going to tell you 3 things about this fresh TV adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel:
New York City, exceptional music and Zoë Kravitz.
You just can’t go wrong with this recipe.

Movie of the month: The White Tiger
A story of a servant that became the master. Harsh truths about India’s caste society, great scenario and I loved the protagonist. Another good book that turned into a great movie.

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