When Coffee Meets Banana

It all started with a poop joke. 

Since college, I had attempted to keep my social networks and “online persona” professional. No f-bombs, or gushy love posts, no politics, or even opinions, really. Just a bit of “how’s it going? and “hey, I like these things!” posted here and there. 

But, this morning something hit me. An urge from deep within that had to be let out. Had to be released.

I was sitting in the basement, finishing off my banana and sipping on my dark roast, when my stomach gurgled aloud a joke that made me laugh so hard it sent me running to the bathroom. 

Coffee + Banana = Poop Emoji

When I returned from my throne, I sat down to sketch it out - laughing again at the absurdity of it, and garnishing it with a little personal development question - “What’s your morning routine?”

I was genuinely curious, and I knew that if I just posted the question online, I probably wouldn’t get much interaction, so this joke, though corny, was just the thing to spice it up. 

Then I took the picture, edited it on Instagram, and hesitated before sending it live. This was the moment. I was crossing that professional barrier into the world of fart jokes. I’d hear about it from my parents, and people around me. I’d get comments like, “Really?! You’re making me think of you pooping this early in the morning?” (enjoy that image btw)

But, I knew that it scared me, and if it was something that scared me, I had to do it!

So, I hit send and opened the doors to new areas of creativity and expression in my art, comedy, and life. No longer will I have to maintain a false sense of online professionalism. I am free to now have fun. 

I know you’re probably thinking, “Oh no, he flushed his professional persona down the toilet!” But, I know you know better. You’re much more clever than that ;)

What’s next?

Now, I embark into a brave new world of creative confidence.

The concept of Coffee Meets Banana isn’t just about poop. It is about turning your routines into outcomes, and your ideas into actions.

This blog will chronicle my journey of turning anxiety into art, in all of its various forms. From improv to photography, from writing to illustration, I will explore and document the creative life and how to walk the line with confidence.

It is time for me to shit, or get off the pot. 

Would You Sleep on a Bed of Cash?

 

At fifteen years old, I remember sitting in the center of my bed counting stacks of cash, when my Mom walked in and asked me what I was doing.

Slyly positioning myself between my treasure and her diabolical plot to steal (save) for my future, I eloquently explained that I was in the middle of a life lesson on making the abstract tangible. 

"Well Mother, I am in the process of turning the elusive concept of wealth into a physical reality that carries weight, gain, and loss. With which, I will be able to better manage, understand and feel the gravity of my financial decisions."

Or, to put it as a teenager...

"Look at all this money! Why would anyone want a credit card?! This is awesome! I am never going to get a credit card, ever. Period. This is awesome."

(I know, I say awesome a lot)

Yes, my days of caddying, snow shoveling, grass mowing, babysitting, and helping exhausted shoppers buy way more than they expected to at Target, had paid off. And boy, did I think I had it down. Holding cash was so obviously better than carrying a little piece of plastic.

That is until I turned 21 and got a job at, you guessed it, a credit card company. Albeit, a customer-centric and optimistic credit card company. But, when it came down to it, that teenage voice still lingered somewhere in my subconscious. And at the end of the day, this just wasn't the industry for me.

Looking back, it is hard to deny the impact of that self-taught, teenage economics lesson. Playing into my discomfort and eventual departure from my first job out of college.

With this concept, I got to thinking: 

"What are the other life-changing lessons we learn all on our lonesome?"

And, more importantly, how can we focus our self-directed education in a way that improves our lives without incurring debilitating debt?

That, my fellow LPs, was the topic of last night's discussion. 

Across the country, there has been a massive rise in self-education. From sites like Khan Academy, to Coursera, learning no longer has limits. 

It is also a road that continues to expand. With NextDoor in Chicago, and The Society of Grownups in Boston, IDEO seems to be leading the charge in not only engaging city communities, but also wrapping these concepts into existing businesses like State Farm and Mass Mutual.

I read earlier today that the INTJ personality type's favorite pastime is, "taking courses" - so I'll admit, I may be a bit biased on my love for this ongoing rise toward self-directed education. But, since you're on this email list, you should be excited too, because that is what The Launchpad is all about!

Flash back to bed, I pull a Scrooge McDuck, and dive into the cash-laden sheets before hiding my booty in a safe amongst the dust-bunnies. Far from the grubby hands of my four brothers.

And though it may have taken years for the lesson to be realized, the foundational curiosity, experimentation, and need for interaction was deeply engrained at an early age.

Keep learning my friends! :)

To get you started:

QUESTION:

  • Is there a course on Coursera that you would like to take as a group?
  • Or, one you'd recommend, if you've already taken it?

Thank you so much for reading. See you soon!

 

Cheers,

Martin

Does your personality change over time?

"How am I not myself?"- I Heart Huckabees

Hey LP's,

When we first dug into personality types a few months back, the question was posed: "Does your personality change over time?" 

While I had my opinions, I didn't have enough evidence to give a straight answer. But, today I came across an MBTI Essay I wrote in 2007 for my ISP250 class at DePaul University that sheds some new light on this query.

Read on to see my conflicting test results, internal conflict,teacher comments in ((italics)), and...my final grade. 

Big thanks to my teacher, Ed Childs, who continues to guide DePaul students in their careers pursuits, and who opened my eyes to this world of human behavior and personality studies almost a decade ago.

MBTI Essay - December 2007
by: Martin McGovern

During the MBTI Workshop on December 5th, we began by writing our name with the opposite hand that we are used to.  For me, this was my left hand.  Doing this exercise was tedious, hard, and had the poor end result of a difficult to read signature.  This exercise mimics life in the sense that everyone has certain things about themselves that are comfortable, or that come naturally to them. ((That is right…a lot of students mention the exercise as some students learn best by “doing”.))  It takes little effort to do them well and when effort is applied they can excel.  When writing with your odd hand, you are working outside of your comfort zone and things are more difficult, take longer, and the finished project may not be very good.  However, the MBTI test was developed to help people find out what it is that comes naturally to them.  It helps people find their strengths and their weaknesses and figure out what path might be best for the individual. ((Nice introduction.))

            The categories include: Focus, Info, Decision, and Tasks.  Each is broken up into two subcategories, and this is where your MBTI analysis is formed.  At the end of the first round of testing my MBTI was ISTJ.  This type is best at “Doing what should be done”.  They focus inwardly, are objective, organized, and tend to excel at school and work.  To them the “idle mind is the devils playground”, and everything is set to a schedule. ((Yep!)) This type highly describes my behavior for a large majority of my life.  As a child, I was highly organized, conforming, and diligent.  I was extremely introverted in my thoughts, but I acted like an extrovert in public situations.

            I agree with the description of the ISTJ’s relationships.  How actions, in their minds, speak louder than words, and how in previous relationships I have noticed that my not saying the words often enough had come up.  I disagree with the job assignments that the readings speak of, saying that ISTJ people tend to be accountants, lawyers, or surgeons.  I fit many of the characteristics of this group, but I am also wildly creative, and plan to go into advertising, where things are not set in stone.  ((Interesting…try reading over the INTJ description and let me know what you think. Another possibility is that the Strong Interest Inventory would pick up your INTERESTS in the arts, while the MBTI explains how you like to work on artistic teams.))

One thing that struck me in particular however, is the paragraph about the later years of some ISTJs.  How many of them become bizarre and strange, giving in to the spontaneous parts of their personalities.  Taking this into account, I would say that this category fits me extremely well, because I am referred to as quite bazaar and strange. 

            In the second test, I came out as an ENTJ, however, I feel that it is much more of an argumentative and egocentric type of a personality than what I am, and does not suit me.  I feel that the ISTJ is the most accurate description of me. ((Again, this interests me. INTJ might be the happy medium…give it a read an let me know what you think.))

            This information, I feel, will be highly influential on my personal outlook in the future.  For most of my life I felt that I was an extrovert because of my actions, however, this is not true, I am a highly introverted person, spending most of my time in my head.  These writings and tests have exposed me to ideas that I knew about myself but had not fully realized.  Certain personality aspects that I had thought of as quirks could be used to my advantage in the business world. ((This is true.)) I have always been a highly organized individual with the arrangement of items in my home and sorting of papers, but I can also use those organizational skills to develop theses, form memos, and construct policies in the working world. ((My intuition keeps telling me “read INTJ.”)) I can team up my introverted nature with my extroverted abilities and get my voice not only heard during meetings, but understood as well.

            It seems that since I have started college I have been almost trying to fight these natural tendencies that I have, whether it is because of exhaustion or just pure laziness.  Because of this my grades have begun to slip a little, and I have a constant feeling of unease because of the disorder around me.  I could use my organizational abilities to manage my time better and schedule my relaxation so that I no longer fall behind deadlines.

            I most of all want to remember the paragraph about acting out in bazaar and unusual ways.  Sure, most of my life I have conformed and done what was expected, however there has always been a part of me that was just a little strange((It could be the case…but, the INTJ character tends to be that way in general, but in their heads.))  I followed the rules, but I would always put a person twist to them. ((See, this is less ISTJ behavior and more INTJ.)) I have to remember this when I enter the workplace.  I can do the projects efficiently and accurately, but I should never forget to add my own twist, especially because I am going into advertising.  On the 15th, I will be doing a publicity stunt for the movie Alien vs Predator R, I can use my eccentricities to liven up the act and gain people’s attention.  I have to keep my mind open and make my mark.  Become noticed both now in the small scale, and later on when I reach a higher-level position.

((Interesting, interesting, interesting!
 The summation of the workshop was fairly thorough and you provided “your own twist” quite often, including perspective. More importantly, though, is the way you analyzed how this will play out in your current and future roles. I hope you take a look at my suggestion to read over the INTJ. Based on several comments you made, it makes me think this might be more your preference. Regardless, I think you understand how this information can benefit you down the road. 14 out of 15))

END

Flash-forward now to 2015, I've talked about re-testing as an ENTJ. A result consistent with previous tests, but the introvert/extrovert conflict still continues today. 

How about you...
Is there an aspect of your personality that you feel has changed or evolved over time? 
Introvert to Extrovert. Indecisive to Decisive, other...
 

Respond to this email with your thoughts or questions. I read every one and use the info for future topics.

Thanks for reading :)

Cheers,
Martin McGovern

The Moth & Flotation Tanks

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.” 

― Jane Austen

LPs! 
It was a busy week for the Launchpad. If you didn't make it out to The Moth on Monday, or the Floatation Tanks on Tuesday, you missed out. But, don't fret - there is always next month. Here is a snippet for those who missed it...


What is the one word you would tell yourself, if you could only tell yourself one word?

"Here?" My mind and body didn't feel connected, yet over-and-over this question rattled in my scull. Staring into the pitch-darkness of the chamber, my ears plugged, I floated atop the heavily salted water, feeling a million miles away.

Floating in space, there were moments I would even lose track of where I was in the tank. But one thing was absolutely clear, even if my body drifted away, my mind refused to budge. It was here to stay.

Come'on, just pick one!

"Impossible..." Even Monday night held more opportunities to elaborate. On stage at The Moth Story Slam, I was at least given 5 minutes worth of words to play with. Some words made the crowd laugh, others made them uncomfortable, but I could always follow-up the awkward ones with a string of distractors to mute their meaning.

You only get to choose one bitty word...one word...what will it be?

"Stuck" Even the question gets more words to describe its meaning. I'm at odds with my verbose nature. Restricted. It dosn't seem fair.

This has been an intense week already and it is only Tuesday! I've organized two outing, been called first to step on stage, quit social media for a month, and now I'm forced to sit silently for an hour, in a flotation tank in Lincoln Park, left with nothing but my thoughts for company.

Really? You can't even think of one?

"Pick" So, I started reaching. Grasping at words. Each spitting into a phrase before I could stop the syllables from pouring out. Yes, No, Maybe, So, Words, Words, Words!!! I had to stop and pick one. Something good enough, nothing perfect, just pick and move on to the next thoughts. I can always think of something better later. I'm sure of it...

What will it be?

GO!

You may think Isolation Tanks are weird - and they are. But, Tuesday reminded me to be mindful of the times when I'm overwhelmed and the steps needed to take back control in those moments.

  • Asking, "How did I get here?" will bring up so many rationals and justifications that you will start to feel that getting back on track is impossible... 
  • At this point, you'll be stuck, but unfortunately the world has not stopped around you.
  • Paralysis of choice is a real thing, but eventually your thoughts and responsibilities will continue to build up until you have to pick something!
  • Leading to the final step of taking action: GO! At which point the whole cyclical process will start again.


There may not be "one perfect word" of all the words in the English language, but it has been 3 days since the float and this one is still rattling around in my head. From choosing to go on stage, to jumping into that flotation tank, I can sit around thinking about the thousands of options of what to do next, or I could just GO!

My question to you:

  • What is one thing you've been putting off that you will GO and do this week?

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you at the next one.


Float On,
Martin McGOvern



      

Wehn You Hvae A Hrad Tmie Cmonmiucitang

Were you expecting a Launchpad email on Monday?

Did you even notice that it never arrived?

  • That Girl
    • A few years back, there was a girl I was interested in, who I found wasn't so interested in returning that interest. However, thanks to the thousands of ways in which we can connect with each other in short spurts, half-communications, and broken conversations, my ability to realize this fact took far longer than I think either her or I would have liked...
    • Why did this happen? 
      • Because of how we communicate, via text, too often tone, purpose, focus and even honesty are all masked behind our interpretation of the words on the screens. How often have you had to pull a friend over and ask, "What the hell did she mean by that?!"
    • Sure, she could have been more explicit and said, "please stop texting me". And I should have been more specific in saying, "would youlike to go on a date with me?", instead of, "wanna hang-out this weekend?" 
      • But, be honest with yourself right now - When is the last time you've been that honest or specific via text? Or, better yet, when is the last time you've been purposefully vague?
    • Think of all the different ways you'd have to actively ignore someone in order for them to go away...off the top of my head, I can come up with:
      • Email
      • Text
      • gChat
      • Hangouts
      • Skype
      • Facebook Posts
      • Facebook Messenger
      • Twitter
      • Twitter Direct Message
      • Snapchat
      • Instagram
      • WhatsApp
      • Facetime
      • what else am I missing?
  • Combating Clutter
    • Two years ago, I only had one messaging app on my iPhone home screen. Now, I have an entire folder labeled 'ChApps', or the "The Chat-Apps that I use to keep in touch with all the chaps in my life." (see below)
      • Note - somehow, this always gets changed to "Assless ChApps" whenever my friend "borrows" my phone, though he won't admit it.
      • Also, stop judging me for my floral Dr. Who TARDIS background. Yes, you...I see you judging!
    • This folder doesn't even include my work email, personal email, Idea Lemon email, dating apps, snapchat, skype, tumblr, instagram, etc. 
    • It can get a bit overwhelming...
  • Why Are You Telling Me This?
    • During Monday's Launchpad (Beach Edition), our topic was "Failure to Communicate"
    • We discussed all the different ways that communication has changed over the years and the effect that it has had in our personal lives. 
    • Even the gap between me and my little brother, a difference of only 4 years, has had extreme shifts in communication style. I don't think I've ever had a phone conversation with him in my life, other than when I call the house and he tells me mom isn't home.


So, as usual, here is a quick summary of the thoughts that popped up, for those of you who missed it. Sadly, this email communication will not come anywhere close to the 'real thing', but hey, at least I remembered to include you ;)


  • TEXTING SUCKS
  • WE ARE PUTTING UP WALLS
    • A 20 minute phone conversation has turned into a 3-day text-a-thon. We perceive relationships we are in as having been "developing" for far longer period of time than they actually were. 
      • Sure, you've been texting for 3 months, but if I totaled up all of the messages, you've likely only had a handful of actual conversations .
    • People are hiding behind their screens
      • 1. In public, sitting on trains, in cafes, walking, with buds in our ears not interacting with the world.
      • 2. In conversation, spending time "crafting" the best message, rather than having real conversations that are thought out and developing in real time. 
    • When texting, you don't have the interaction in front of you, or the one on the phone - this is a dulling down of your interactions, increasing distractions and leading to you never actually paying attention to anyone.
      • The last time I had a phone call with someone, I caught myself checking facebook, weather, email, etc. and even lost track of where I was in the conversation, because a buzzfeed article about cats looking celebrities or something was far more important than the person who took time out of their day to dial my number and sit down to chat. 
      • Multiply this by 2, because chances are they are doing the same on their end, and you've got one detatched conversation going...basically like anytime you meet a friend in a bar who won't put down their phone. 
      • Try this next time you are out with friends - WATCH THEM SQUIRM!
    • When it impacts your performance, what do you do?
      • During a performance review, I was once called out for being too slow to respond to emails and messages. I was told that all responses needed to be send within the same day, or no later than 24 hours after the initial message.
      • In that same review however, I was praised for always being attentive and engaged in meetings, quote "not spending time staring at his phone". Maybe some people can do both, but I've not quite gotten that down.
  • WE ARE GETTING LOST
    • One message on gChat, another on Facebook, another via email. Where did we leave off? What were we talking about?
    • People are trying to have conversations via Snapchat? ...I haven't figured this one out yet. I like selfies, but there is a limit to the number of times you want to see this mug. And how can you have a conversations via images and quick quotes? snapchat this!
    • My brother also likes to do something called "GIF Fights" or "GIF Convos", where the entire conversation is done via memes. Here is a guide if you need it...it's kind of like "movie emoticons" ...https://imgur.com/a/HHbML
  • AT YOUR MERCY
    • Everyone has a preferred method of communication. God forbid you try to talk to someone via the wrong medium of communication - you'll never know if they got it!
    • Personally, I'm never on twitter...shocking! So, if you DM me, I likely won't read it...sorry, not sorry. 
      • ps - I hate that phrase, but someone used it earlier today, so why not...

 

  • HOW DO YOU EMOJI
    • Some people use emoticons to lighten their sarcasm, or detract from what they are actually trying to say, for instance, "haha, I hate you ;)"
      • WTF does that mean???
      • Texting is hard enough to understand and interpret as it is. Using little smileys to contradict yourself only leads to people getting confused, mad, and de-friending you!
    • Instead, use emojis to to enhance your point or tell their own story. 
      • For Instance: If you are in a meeting that is terrible...
  • WHAT CAN WE DO?
    • Curate your communication. Set your standards. Pick the people you want to talk to. (Not everyone is worth your time). Become comfortable not responding! ...except to these emails...always respond to these emails.
    • If you want to have a phone call, have a phone call. If you don't want to have conversations via snapchat, don't. Stop being a yes-person who kowtows to everyone else. Stand up for yourself and your communication style. Be the one who sets the terms. 
      • In other-words, don't tweet me ;)
    • Understand that communication is situational. You put on highbrow communication styles like you put on a suit for an interview. You dress down via text, like shorts at the beach. Be ok with that. 
    • Finally - my favorite video on language. with Stephen Fry
      • WATCH IT! LOVE IT! RELISH IT LIKE A CHICAGO HOT DOG!

MY QUESTIONS TO YOU:

  • Were you expecting to receive an email this past Monday? 
    • Did you notice it went unsent? 
    • Did you care?
  • What was the tone came across from this email? 
    • Was it different than normal, or the same? 
    • How did you feel after reading?

 

That's it! ...Well, not really - there were a bunch of other things we talked about, including:

  • What is a time that you had a bad miscommunication experience and what happened?
  • Are we losing the art of storytelling?
  • Do you think our language is becoming too basic, or evolving into a new and higher form, with different tiers for different emotions. And different mediums for different purposes?
  • What is the good that has come out of our technological shift to text?
  • Why are people running away from facebook?
  • Does anyone want to get hot chocolate? OH NO IT'S RAINING!?!?!

 

SEE YOU AT THE NEXT ONE! 

  • Launchpad Locations Have Gone Mobile!
    • This week, we met at Oak Street Beach
    • On Monday 6/30, we will be meeting in Millennium Park by The Bean
  • Thanks for everyone who came out this week, including: 
    • Omar, Elina, Grace, Victoria, Nishat, and Saba
      • Saba even joined us via Facetime!!! We had some conference-call-style-interruption snafus, but overall it was a great addition to the group dynamic and she was able to participate in the conversation. (see how technology can help! Even if it does eat up my phone battery and make my arm tired, haha)

UPCOMING THINGS TO DO:

  • Victoria invites you to join her on:
  • Martin invites you to see if you can get tickets to this weekend's "Startup Weekend" event that goes from Friday night through Sunday.
  • Also, I'd like to throw the idea of getting a group together to go to the Space Time Tanks - if we have a group of 5, we get a good discount!

Attachments Area:

...oh, did I mention we met at the beach this week? (forgot to attach for those who were there).

HOORAAY LAUNCHPAD!

 

Cheers,

Martin

--------------------

Martin McGovern

Account Executive MARC USA

Co-Founder Idea Lemon

847.254.9228