Prior to yesterday I was working at IDEO, one of the most creative and inspiring companies in the world. Today I am working for Quinn Popcorn. This is a pretty big bullet point in the Quinn Popcorn timeline and in my timeline as well. (I found the above photo in a Google search. It’ss perfect and filled with some of my favorite IDEOers.)
Defining what I did for work was never easy. IDEO is a design and innovation company. We work with companies to help them create products, services, spaces, and experiences. If that sounds pretty broad, that’ss because it is.
While at IDEO I worked for companies ranging from big pharma to craft breweries and everywhere in-between. Every project starts with a promise to solve a serious problem and/or to create something no one else could have thought of. This promise terrified me for years, but eventually I realized that we always get there. Working in a small room with 3+ teammates every minute of every day we were totally steeped in the challenge. We traveled and talked to regular people who use the product, have the condition, live a certain kind of life, have passion for the thing, are experts in that field, etc. The walls were always completely covered in hand written notes, sketches, ideas, photos, frameworks, etc. Over a very short period of time we would build a very strong and very specific intuition. I never started a project knowing the answer, but I always ended passionately sure of what needed to be done.
There is a startup logic shared by everyone who has not been in this position before. It goes something like this, get your company going while working the day job and transfer over once it is on its feet and you can make your salary. That’ss a few notches beyond optimistic. In reality, you are basically bailing out two boats. You can do it for a while, but it’ss exhausting. When you focus on one, the other starts sinking. Eventually it gets to the point that the only way you can keep your boat high and dry is to get in and give it all you’sve got. The other boat can float without you. (Did I stretch that metaphor a little too far? Still with me?)
Quinn Popcorn has had the perfect start, but we have an incredibly long way to go before we are ‘sfloating’s. After 5 great years I just left the job I loved, but it feels right. Kristy has built a solid foundation and now I get to put everything I learned to use. We are both determined to clean up food, but there are many small battles to win. First up, we need a new website!