Liz

Let’s talk about how much I suck at business lately….

A couple weeks ago, I saw a tweet come through my Twitter timeline from my buddy Tim Smith, a designer and podcaster saying, “2014 was my worst year in freelance. My business revenue declined by ~10k.” I immediately related, but hesitated to reply.

Who wants to talk about their failures? Business being slow is actually pretty embarrassing to me and the idea of broadcasting it out to the world sounded terrifying. I sat at my keyboard for a few minutes looking at Tim’s tweet — my hands poised over the keys. I wanted to reach out!

It was extremely brave of Tim to be so honest! I saw someone I admire standing out on a limb and I knew he didn’t need to be out there alone, so I typed out the words, “the last 2 years have been crap for me! Trying to turn things around this year!” and hit return. Of course Tim, came back with a compassionate and encouraging response. It was a good feeling to connect and reach out to someone about something I haven’t shared with many people.

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Then he proposed something that I did not expect “want to talk about it next week on The East Wing?”

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The tiny step of sending a single tweet out that would only be seen by those who follow both me and Tim on Twitter had my knees shaking, how could I possibly handle talking about my business failures live on a podcast and then having the recording of that live forever online?! There is just NO WAY!

Then Aaron Irizarry had to speak up, “But it can also be liberating, and encouraging to others who might be feeling the same way” Great, he hit right at my heart with that one. If Tim’s initial confession about his struggles hit me so hard and made me feel a little less alone, how could I turn down the opportunity to reach out to other freelancers and small-business owners in the same way? I took a deep breath… and then agreed to do it.

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On Tuesday Tim and I recorded The East Wing Episode #7: If I Don’t Produce, I Don’t Eat together. It was both fun and terrifying, like karaoke… but with less whisky. Tim lead the discussion through talking about the things we’ve done right in business and then where we have fell short. We fielded a few listener questions and more than a couple times Tim said “you don’t have to answer this question, but…” I pushed myself to be honest and was inspired throughout the show to continue doing so because of Tim’s frankness. I took away from it, that being open and honest about my struggle is always the way to go. There are people out there who will be able to relate to you and who will have compassion, not judgement.

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If you want to hear our full discussion, head over to goodstuff.fm/theeastwing and follow Tim on Twitter to stay on top of all the awesome podcasts he is involved with!

I’m a Sex Geek — deal with it.

IMG_2074It says it right there in my Twitter bio, I am a Sex Geek.

It’s a term that was coined and made popular by renowned sex educator Reid Mihalko and I’ve been one since before there even WAS a term for it. A Sex Geek is much like a geek of any other flavor. Geekiness denotes a persons passionate and intense interest in a subject. Star Wars Geeks, Design Geeks, Sex Geeks, get it?

As a preteen I used to re-read the passages from all my Judy Blume books about menstruation over and over and over.

As a teen I watched the old Loveline TV show when it was on MTV, which now makes me cringe, thinking of Dr. Drew Pinsky sex-negative attitudes!

At 18 I worked on a production of The Vagina Monologues with a troupe of about 20 other fierce feminists!

In college I attended Seattle’s very first (now annual) Erotic Art Festival.

Currently, I listen to 10 times more sex related podcasts than I do design podcasts and I run the Seattle Chapter of Sex Geekdom — a global community for people who love having geeky conversations about sex.

Why is something that is a part of almost everyone’s life such a taboo subject? Why is it considered risky for me to call myself a Sex Geek publicly on forums like Twitter or here on the blog? As the new year approaches, I have decided to be more vocal on my public social media platforms about my life as a sex geek. I volunteer for a number of sex-positive art and activist groups in Seattle and as a designer, I think my knowledge and skills could be utilized within the sex-positive community to help break down some of these social stigmas.

You can follow me on this journey here or by following me on Twitter, @lizandrade.

 

She’s Geeky: My First Unconference & Having Feels about Solidarity Between Women in Tech

This Friday I attended the first day of She’s Geeky here in Seattle. It was my first experience of the Unconference Format and I had no idea what to expect, but ended up having a GREAT TIME.

Discussions that I joined in on throughout the day included subjects such as Impostor Syndrome, Diversity Groups, Side- Projects, Aging in the Tech World and Being an Introvert.

She’s Geeky is geared toward women who work within the technology industry and those who work with technology within other fields. It was a roomful of people who all have related work experiences and all identify within the “woman” area of the gender spectrum but beyond that, we were both as diverse and as similar as humans tend to be.

As someone who exists within a number of minority groups, my feeling of “otherness” is always present. However, the level of respect and support that was present on Friday made this space feel incredibly safe and opened me up to become more aware of how my “otherness” effects how I view those around me and how I am sometimes not as “alone” as I may feel.

It brought up for me again, a feeling I expressed on a recent Pagebreak Podcast, that this is a very exciting time to be a woman in technology… that the level of solidarity that I have seen recently is greater than ever before and that a CHANGE is happening that makes me feel energized and inspired!