VIDEO: A Chat with Baratunde Thurston

Baratunde Thurston on Funky Geekdom and the Future of Humanity

Baratunde was one of my favorite people to see for the first time at SXSW in Austin last week.

An Internet friend from back in the mists of time, a.k.a. about a year ago, Baratunde impresses me with his ability to merge technical and creative talents into a single powerhouse individual, something that more and more people our age are doing.

What’s your job title? Who cares?! With the rise of the creative class and the necessity of one person taking on a huge sphere of life- and work-skills in order to thrive and remain relevant, those of us who live the under-30 lifestyle have rejected professional pigeonholes in favor of putting ourselves holistically into projects and personal relationships.

That, and we’re all gonna get our Internet brain chips soon.

Watch and learn, yo!

7 thoughts on “VIDEO: A Chat with Baratunde Thurston

  1. So I’m reading this ancient (1969) book titled The Peter Principle – you’ve probably heard the basic idea, that in a hierarchy, people get promoted to their level of incompetence. That is, you get a job, do the job well, and get promoted… until you get to a job you don’t do well, and there you stay – at your level of incompetence. It explains so much.

    As I’m reading, i’m wondering about ways to beat this Peter Principle tendency. Your comments about the creative class and the take-control-of-your-own-gigs-and-avoid-the-hierarchy-in-the-first-place approach seems to be the solution. Nice!

  2. Yeah, I heard about the ideas contained in a book called “The Rise of the Creative Class” in a conversation with @evansdave (Dave Evans’ Twitter handle); we talked about how the concept of a straight timeline type of career really is vanishing, especially for people of a certain generation and most especially in the creative arts and sciences.

    I believe that people must, as you said, take control of their own professional lives, shaping and pruning them until they get exactly what they want out of their work and their lives and the balance between the two. It is indeed a struggle, an exercise in compromise and patience. But for me, it’s been so rewarding to think about other ways of getting MY work done, that is, the work I care about and that I feel will make a difference.

    Because shouldn’t we all be passionate and love what we do, regardless of salary or title?

  3. Nailed it!

    When I’m considering a gig, I ask if it sounds like fun and if it’ll make a difference. If the answer is yes & yes, off I go! (And I include “will I learn something?” under the “does it sound like fun?” category).

    The Peter Principle is a funny book, but it’s also sad. Not sure if I’d recommend people read it or not. But your blog on the other hand – definitely in the must-read category!

  4. Man, the more I delve into this subject, the more I think of people like Chris Merritt. He’s the consummate creative futurist; he’s got his finger on the pulse of everything and is doing everything himself, from writing and recording his music to coming up with really creative, effective online/offline marketing tools. And still, he takes the time to keep me informed on monkeys with robotic arms and scientists who give themselves silicon chip neurosurgical implants.

  5. Wow, I checked out Chris Merritt’s site and will definitely pony up $5 for his Demo’s of Nod. Really interesting stuff!

    Hey, you might get a kick out of a little design book I wrote (and self-published) a while back, titled The Simplicity Cycle. You can get the PDF for free at (or just google Simplicity Cycle, of course).

    It basically looks at the design process from a perspective of complexity, goodness and time. I think you’ll dig it.

  6. Thx!

    I do have a Twitter account, but I don’t really do anything with it (yet). I’m thinking I should probably give it a second look, eh? My handle there is TheDanWard, natch.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s