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Inspiring Videos

If you do creative work like me you would find the following videos helpful. I’ve grouped them to make it easier for you to choose what you want to watch but I recommend you watch all of them.

Personal growth

Growing as a designer is like growing up as a person. To become better at something is to take heed from those who have done it. One of the most important advice I had came from this video interview of Ira Glass. He talks about how we who do creative work get into the game because we have taste but there is a gap between our taste and the quality of the work we do. We’ve all experienced this and I think Glass’ advice is especially important to those who are starting out.

Masters at work

Watching masters going about their craft and sharing their insights helped me better understand their thought processes and develop my own mental faculties. Becoming better at something requires the right mental skills and habits, and those who came before us are great sources.

Music is a major part of my work process. I have Arvo Pärt in iTunes and Für Alina is something I play often to calm my mind when it’s turbulent. Here’s a documentary showing how he composed his music.

I grew up with the manga SlamDunk. The author is Takehiko Inoue, one of the most respected manga artists in Japan, up there with Toriyama Akira and Fujiko Fujio. This video follows him intimately and shows us how much brain cells a master kills to create his work.

When Steve Jobs contracted Paul Rand to design the logo for NeXT Computer, he was fascinated by how Paul Rand worked with his clients. A designer myself, I believe we need to take pride in our work and develop the ability to make our clients trust us.


Japanese aesthetics have a great influence on me. I’m a fan of Kenya Hara and Naoto Fukasawa, the design masterminds behind MUJI. Here’s him giving Googlers a lecture on how Shinto sensibilities have shaped the Japanese aesthetic sense.

Edward Tufte on the iPhone interface and how exccessive interface chrome which he calls computer administrtion debris gets in the way of information and that clutter is not too much information but failure of design.


Steve Jobs read a study on the locomotive efficiency of animals per unit of kilocalories. Condors are at the top of the list and humans at the bottom. Put the human on a bicycle and he blows the condor away. Products should empower people. Kathy Sierra talks about the mistake we make when we try to create badass products when we should be creating badass users.


Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle lecture was my main inspiration when designing Foound’s pitch for the 2010 Echelon LaunchPad which we won and led to tremendous investor interest. I learned from Simon how inpsiring people meant showing people what you believe in is more important than what you have and how a dream is more powerful than a plan.

First introduced to me by a friend, Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow was a great influence in my work as a product designer. It was him who taught me about creating products and services worth talking about and how to form a tribe for people who share the values I believe in.

Special mentions

I want to mention Jiro Dreams of Sushi because it had a powerful effect on me when I watched it the first time in the theatre and several times on video after. The film shows his dedication to his craft. He’s like the Steve Jobs and Anna Wintour of sushi. You can’t watch it legally for free so I’m just posting the trailer.

I was so inspired by Jiro I actually went looking for him in Japan!

Please comment if you have inspiring videos (or anything) of your own and wouldn’t mind sharing. If you found this useful please share the article and vote it up on Hacker News.