Walkable cities, crowdfunding, creativity, tim ferris, 4 hour work week, edward norton, design life, amber eyes blog, podcasts

The last 2 weeks in podcasts: walkable cities, creativity and crowdfunding

January 25, 2016

by — Posted in Travel & Lifestyle


Here’s two more weeks worth of podcast summaries (so you don’t have to listen to them all!)

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also send me links if you have any recommendations!


Big Ideas: What Students Really Think of University (based on Australian data)

Richard Hill believes students currently aren’t getting the education they deserve. Universities have largely become money-making machines; rather than institutes for enlightenment, higher education and debate.

Young people hear about the life-changing experiences university provided for their parents; and are eager to undergo this right-of-passage. Instead they are met with isolation, lacklustre courses and tutors and ever-higher fees.

The market is so competitive that entry standards have dropped. Fees and living costs in many countries are so high that most students are forced to work part-time; guaranteeing they will be tired, stressed and unable to focus on their studies.
Many students are completely dissatisfied with their 3-4 year experience; and find they also have no support once they graduate.

This is a pretty hot topic recently. I’m personally glad that I went to university to study design for 4 years. It was expensive and exhausting and I won’t be able to pay my loan back for a loooong time, but I really took advantage of the classes and everything there was to learn. I also grew up a lot, made plenty of mistakes, made lots of friends and met my amazing boyfriend at uni.

There were plenty things wrong with my university though. I think this is changing now, but I wish there was a lot more emphasis on real-world skills, career paths (the obvious and more alternative ones), the international market etc…

Currently there seem to be a lot of alternatives to the traditional Uni option; online classes, internships, entrepreneurship etc… It just depends on your learning style and your priorities.

What are your thoughts on the current state of higher education?

Curious Minds – Walkable Cities (ft. Jeff Speck)

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who is passionate about walkable cities. He works with cities to help them re-think commuting and happiness.

More people are choosing to live without cars, with millennials wanting lifestyles similar to what they grew up with on TV (Friends etc…). The ageing population in many countries want quality of life and less things to take care of.

Walking and biking helps the environment, health and the economy. For every mile driven, cars create $1 worth of negative economic impact.

Statistics prove that it’s actually much safer to live in inner city slums, than to live in the richer outer suburbs, due to all the traffic students.

Jeff Speck’s advice for city and transport planning:

– always involve the public from the beginning (hold community workshops)

– draw every idea and put it on the wall. You can’t see the validity of the idea until you draw it.

– anyone can do it – design-thinking through drawing

This is definitely a topic that’s close to my heart. I grew up in a town with terrible public transport options; where everyone drove as soon as they turned 15. I never liked the idea of cars; they’re dangerous and really inefficient.

I always dreamed of living in a proper walkable city – so Wellington (New Zealand) was a really great place to live for 6 years. It’s a bit difficult to call Tokyo a walkable city because it’s so damn huge, but it’s super easy and efficient to get around. Once you’re in an area the focus is on making walking as efficient and stimulating as possible. There’s so much to keep you occupied while you’re walking around doing chores or having a fun day out.

It’s sad to think of most places in NZ (especially Auckland) being so inefficient, inaccessible and just really badly designed overall. I hope things improve in the future!


Design Life #8 – Setting Goals for Side Projects

– you need balance

– start even if you don’t have an end-goal in mind. Just get your ideas out and the project will evolve naturally

– stay motivated and focused

– start even if you don’t have a name or brand idea for your project

I think these are important things to remember. Sometimes designers are so focussed on branding/naming/briefs/goals that we lose sight of the most important thing; just making! Make something, make anything, and just enjoy it. It may turn into a commercial side project later but it doesn’t have to.

This reminds me of two side projects/hobbies I’ve had in the last few years. In Korea I started making feather necklaces for myself, and a year later I decided to start selling them on Etsy. I’ve recently just started creating more necklaces and I’m hoping to market them more successfully. Hopefully I’ll also start selling them at weekend markets in Tokyo.

Our first few months in Tokyo, I decided to start playing with ink drawing and watercolour painting (inspired by a few artists I follow on Instagram). I hadn’t painted anything since high school so I was excited to learn and experiment again. 6 months later, and I’ve turned some of my flower illustrations into postcard prints which I’m hoping to sell on Etsy and at markets. It wasn’t my intention to turn this hobby into something slightly more commercial, but I thought it would be fun to try!

podcasts, feather, earrings, amber eyes, jewelry, accessories, etsy, podcast, design, create, handmade
My feather earrings: buy them on Etsy


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My illustrated prints: buy them on Etsy


The Tim Ferris Show ft. Edward Norton – Mastery, Must-Read Books and the Future of Crowdfunding

It turns out Edward Norton does a lot more than act in awesome movies! He has a degree in Asian history, spent a summer working in Japan and is inspired by samurai movies. He’s also really into Buddhism, Zen and Japanese aesthetics. Recently he started a new philanthropic crowdfunding platform; Crowdrise. He started a very successful campaign to help refugees, inspired by the HONY photographer’s series on asylum seekers.

He is very enthusiastic about the current changes in the world and the re-balancing of power. Everybody now has control of money and power (which can add up to large amounts), so everyday people can decide where to spend it and how best to help people. So in a way, resources are spreading to where they are needed through the small contributions made by the public.

Best quote: “Most people think that they can’t achieve great things, but collectively we can.”

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Image via HONY

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