Continual Improvement

Butterfly Beads

I try, very, very hard to not fall into the trap of having to have things work perfectly the first time. I aim, instead, for small improvements, little steps, incremental progress. I can math well enough to know that compound interest is magic and I feel that the same concept applies to most things. You put a little effort into a project, over a period of time and the results will impress you. We covered this approach in a unit, in school, on Japan. They call it Kaizen and use it to mean the incremental improvements in corporate and manufacturing settings that keep a company steadily climbing. They contrast it with the Western approach where people aim for perfect in one go. I can’t do perfect but I can do a little better, often.

This applies to my site and my polymer clay life as well, of course. I’m going through the tedious process of converting materials from here into better formats and layouts. Some of it needs updating because I’ve improved and the clay work explained on here needs to be corrected. Other items need updating because I’ve learned how to use better tools for production content making.

First up: I updated the quickie Skinner Blend Plug tutorial. I added a section on how to make the blend, created new pictures and laid it out more effectively. I may need to take the image sizes down a notch but overall I’m pleased. For added fun, I ran the images through a slide show program and posted that on my Instagram so you can see the whole deal as a simple video. Once I shrink the images a bit, I’ll make an animated gif version for here.

#the100DayProject

The Internet is full of clever folks – sometimes at least, right? – and one of them got #the100DayProject going as a prompt on Instagram. It started April 4th and I hopped in on the polymer clay version with #100DaysOfPolymerClay. If all goes well, it ends mid July and life goes on.

I’m not particularly awesome about finishing these sorts of projects up but I do like them and, hey, while I’m keeping up I am putting up way more content than if I just skipped the whole deal. These are my Day 1 to 6:

#the100DayProject

The Etsy Captains Summit

Welcome

Well, I made it to Toronto and the Etsy Canada Captains Summit. The iconic Etsy orange sign greeted us when we got to the MaRS incubator in downtown Toronto. The facility is super nice and there were lots of other interesting companies hosted there. Etsy is my jam though.

Etsy Canada Office

I admit I had a bit of a fangirl moment outside of the Etsy office. Even if it is just the mini-Canadian one. I mean… I’m at Etsy.

The Hot Seat

We got to take a look around the office. Sometimes drawing the curtain back wrecks the magic but this was more of a fun thing. It was neat to see the interview set up from some of the Etsy CA videos. The actual workspace office looks a lot like every startup office I’ve worked in that thought open concept was a good thing. The lunchroom / craft table was exactly what I expected from an Etsy location. In other words, the whole place was just what you see online: cheesy, tongue in cheek, aspirational quotes on the walls. Crafts and swag and orange everywhere. Slightly crooked but well meaning plants and succulents in unique, embellished pots all over. Canadian, indie food things*.

Etsy Saskatchewan Rocks

In the first round of talks, Etsy Saskatchewan (that’s my team!) won a happy prize for our rebrand last year. It almost makes the two days and hundreds of facebook messenger messages discussing everything worth it. Plus it comes with Etsy money to spend which is I can always use.

There was a lot of workshop stuff over the two days. Sections on how to manage teams, organize events, keep track of finances. Individually organized sections on topics nearer and dearer to us: self-care, resource sharing, regional issues, securing sponsorships, using social media effectively. All with the cheery, slightly zany Etsy touch.

An Etsy Eatsy Lunch

I traveled with my partner and my daughter this time so I used the outside of work hours to hang with them – they hit the zoo, the science centre and a work related factory tour while I did my thing – and missed a little of the Etsy socializing. If I’m fortunate enough to attend again, I’ll make sure and do the social events. Etsy did do one of their Eatsy offerings on the second day. They brought in TO locals, Jack and Lil, to cater lunch. It was a sort of South African fusion food thing and it was pretty darned tasty. I’m not a big eater but I did my best to try everything.

We got home and my head is full of ideas and inspiration again. Coming up right away – next week in fact! – is the Etsy Saskatchewan Spring Pop Up in Saskatoon. I’ll be there. It runs 10 to 5 on April 8th at Sation 20 in Saskatoon. You can get more deets on the event page and if you’re there, stop and chat!

* Maple filtered water is something that did not need inventing. The packages were adorable but it was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be: slightly sweet, mapley water. Do I lose my Canadian cred for not really liking maple flavour?