How To Build A Home Recording Studio For $500 Or Less

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by Nathan Meffert on March 1, 2014

I’m setting up a home recording studio because I’m sick of losing the music I write. Ever since I was a kid, it’s come, and it’s gone. I’ve written a LOT of music – and never taken it very seriously.

Some of  that music has stuck around longer than other. But, in the end, it all slips into the ether of time and space – in the form computer files named “Untitled”, scratched up CDs or tapes. No matter what the medium, the result is the same – music made, music lost.

That’s not cool. I should be taking care of my ideas in every form they come in. Who knows what they’ll become.

So – if you’re ready to start taking better care of your musical ideas – here’s a little guide to help you out. This is based on the past few months of my own research, and I hope I can save you some time and heartache. Enjoy! [Read More…]


Nick Lore and Buckmister Fuller invented the field of career design together.

When Nick and Bucky sat down together to create the blueprint for what would later become the Rockport Institute’s career design program, the two were also architecting the future of the job search. Much like Fuller’s geodesic dome (and most of what he touched), this wasn’t an improvement on some pre-existing idea. It was a disruptive technology. Career design was (and still is, in my opinion) the Model-T to the traditional job hunt’s horse and buggy.

I am so grateful to Nick for giving me an hour of his time recently and being passionate – and generous – enough to submit himself to a full brain probe in the form of this interview.

Before reading on, take 30 seconds to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can I honestly describe my work as “passionate play”?
  2. Do I look forward to going to work?
  3. Does my work support my own personal growth and contribute to my self-esteem?
  4. Is the line between work and life “a bit blurry”, or is there a stark contrast?
  5. Do I experience a sense of purpose and feel that I am making a positive difference in the world through my work?
  6. Am I using my talents fully at work?
  7. Does my work fit my personality?
  8. It it easy for me to see work challenges as positive opportunities for growth?
  9. Is my work at least 80% fun and pleasurable?

If the answer to ANY of theses questions is “no”, then this interview is for you. Enjoy.  [Read More…]

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Post image for User Experience (UX) Design Essentials Part 2: An Interview with Chuck Longanecker, Founder of Digital Telepathy

Digital Telepathy founder Chuck Longanecker has got his design hands in the websites for Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Chef and 4-Hour Body, Summit Series, Eric Ries’ Lean Startup, Adobe’s Creative Suite 5, and Joie de Vivre Hotels. I felt like I knew the guy. I’d interacted with his websites enough.

With just a *little* digging, I was able to track him down – and Chuck was gracious enough to agree to a Skype interview.

As always, I went into the interview with the intention of turning the man and his methods inside out for the world to see. I think we came away from the interview with some really great insights and some very actionable advice for the designer-entrepreneur set.

In short, Chuck is building VERY cool stuff at the turning of the tide in digital tech. Read on to see why.  [Read More…]


Announcing the “Make Good S**t Happen Map” (Beta)

by Nathan Meffert on October 9, 2013

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“A minimalist guide to thinking like a designer, innovating like Elon Musk, and making amazing s**t happen”

I’ve spent the past few years conducting interviews, reading countless books, and running my own self-experiments with one singular focus: to demystify design, innovation, problem-solving for the 99.9999% of us who didn’t attend a world-class design or business school.

The map is (almost) ready for prime time.

If you want a minimalist guide to thinking like a designer, innovating like Elon Musk, and making amazing s**t happen, this is it.


I am a firm believer that the ability to innovate is a human skill. I am a strong proponent of “democratizing” creativity. Kids are born with it, and we spend years pounding it out of them, only to sell it back to them with an exorbitantly high price tag in grad school.

If this trend continues, we will all become dinosaurs soon – whether economically, socially, artistically, or ecologically. [Read More…]


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Brandon Schauer is the CEO of Adaptive Path, one of the country’s pioneering user experience design firms. Since 2001, Adaptive Path has worked with NPR, PBS, Wells Fargo, Intel, UN Relief Aid and others to help put remarkable experiences at the center of sustainable and profitable business models.

Brandon also leads MX conference, a conference and training for UX design leaders.

A mutual friend introduced Brandon and I in mid-2013, and I knew that we would hit it off immediately, since we both shared a strange and twisted fondness for spreadsheets (an uncommon affliction in the design world).

I couldn’t miss an opportunity to pick Brandon’s brain, and I’m glad I took it.

If you have a startup, or are considering a startup, read on. This is “secret knowledge” for achieving the mythical product-market fit. If you are an intrapreneur within a larger organization, this post will help you discover untapped opportunities, and champion meaningful change.

Although you just missed Adaptive Path’s Service Experience Conference (which is wrapping up today), there is room in the UX Intensive on November 4-7 in Seattle. Deadline for submissions is this Nov 1 (less than a month)! Details at the end of this post.

This is one of my favorite posts to date and I am very excited to be sharing it – and to hear your reflections on the world of UX. Enjoy! [Read More…]


How I Unlearned 32 Years of Bad Posture in Four Weeks

by Nathan Meffert on September 25, 2013

Post image for How I Unlearned 32 Years of Bad Posture in Four Weeks

I always knew that a day would come when I’d have to drop everything and re-program my posture.

Despite years of competing in sports that required great posture (notably just about all board sports), I could barely sit still at the computer for more than 30 mins without relentlessly shifting in my seat, slouching my shoulders, and having to get up walk around the room.

A hip injury about a year ago finally convinced me that the time had come. It was an opportunity to deal with the pain, but also an opportunity to deal with the causes.

In the span of less than 10 days, I went from shoulder-slouching and fidgety with a swayback to sitting for 2-3 hours and well on the path to correcting those old ailments. By three weeks, my deadlift had improved so drastically that veteran lifters were complimenting me on my form. By the end of my 28 days, the hip pain had virtually disappeared and I had completely revolutionized my walking form.

This post will explain how I did it, and how you can do the same. [Read More…]


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“Common sense isn’t so bloody common anymore”

- Norman Powell, “Ingwe”, grandson of Lord Baden-Powell, fully initiated Akamba warrior and tribesman

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. But, sometimes a kick in the pants is what’s needed, right?

About a week ago, I received an email from a friend regarding healing back pain. She knew that I had been dealing with hip and lower back pain for the past few years, and have made reversing it one of my primary obsessions for the same amount of time.

I thought it would be useful to reprint the email conversation here for anyone with similar challenges. But, let me preface this by saying that permanent improvements to health are first and foremost an education. First you educate yourself, then you educate your body.

Secondly, keep in mind that anything I recommend or anything that anyone recommends should be taken as a starting point for your own exploration. The only thing I can give you is a few good questions and a few good resources for starting your own journey.

I’m going to give you the tools, but remember that the most important stuff is the “software” that gives you the ability to use the tools with awareness:

Onto the emails.  [Read More…]


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If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

-Attributed to Zen Master Linji

I spend a lot of time in the lean space these days. Most of my work is with an advanced manufacturing company and we are busy designing pathways to lean.

Personally, I find that the design perspective in general opens me to a broader range of problems and solutions and, by extension, a more integrated approach than does the lean method. But, here’s what I really think. I think Taiichi Ohno, the founder of lean, was really answering a design question for his business: How do we eliminate waste (and thereby increase productivity) in a production environment today and for the long haul? [Read More…]


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I was on the edge of starvation.

At least it felt that way, as I looked at my first protein in three days of foraging gently roasting on a stone just out of reach of the glowing red coals. Three garter snakes.

Later, I’d add the minimal meat to a broth of wild carrot, nettle, spring onion, and garlic mustard. The first taste of the finished soup would redefine nutrition in my mind forever. There’s no parallel to the feeling of nutrient dense wild food disbursing to a truly hungry body.

And yes, this was voluntary. I’d actually spent several years preparing for that trip. It was my first true wilderness survival experience and, little did I know, I was learning lessons in entrepreneurship at the same time. [Read More…]

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The Samurai Sword and the $500k Visual Thinking Test

by Nathan Meffert on April 25, 2012

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We just closed on a capital investment plan for a business I advise. Feels good to think that things will be getting drastically better in the near future.

Drawing heavily on visual thinking and the strategies from The Back of the Napkin, I was able to create an awesome visual that compared two different investment scenarios. Based on the executive summary, I was able to pull out a set of variables that we had data for and draw up a graphic that really told a story.

In fact, it told such a good story, that our team gained an incredible insight into the businesses itself.

Here’s how we did it. [Read More…]