Christopher Murphy · 27 September, 2020
Summary: Get into the habit of documenting your progress. Taking frequent screenshots (or photographs) evidences your journey and learning. This not only shows the value you have acquired, it also evidences your growth.
When you’re developing a product +/ service, you have to get into the habit of capturing screenshots as you go. This allows you to document your progress:
- for grant applications;
- for product storytelling and marketing; and
- for your portfolio.
It’s so important to keep some form of record. You might not be thinking about it now, but in ten years, or twenty, you’ll be thankful that your younger self took this advice.
A Forgotten PlayStation (2004)
In the early 2000s, I was invited to be part of an exhibition curated by the team at PlayStation. (PlayStation! Amazing.) The exhibition, Interact 1, gathered some of the world’s best designers (and me).
As a young designer, beginning to make a name for myself, this was an incredible opportunity. PlayStation was (and remains) an iconic brand and to be a part of an exhibition curated by their team was a career highlight.
The trouble is, I have no record of it.
I was invited to participate in Interact1 by one of the mentors – my friend, Adrian Shaughnessy – and I exhibited alongside a who's who of design talent.
Two decades later, apart from the work that I created – an audio-visual (or, more accurately visual-audio) sequencer titled 'Baudot', that I built in Flash (which sadly no longer works) – I have absolutely nothing to show for it.
Flash has been discontinued and the sequencer no longer works. All I have are some low fidelity screenshots. I'm frankly embarrassed.
Don’t make the same mistake. Screenshots take up very little space on today’s increasingly spacious hard drives, so err on the side of taking too many and not too few.
Here's the first version of the designtrack website (above). Our focus, whilst tangentially similar to what we're doing now, was very different.
Our name has also changed: we are no longer designtrack, we're The School of Design.
Included below is everything I submitted for Propel 2020: my application form as a plain text file; and the slide deck I presented at my Propel interview. You'll see that my mission has completely changed, during my time on the programme (because my thinking was changed by the programme).
Ordinarily, I'd keep all of this material private and use it for future grant applications, but I'm sharing this to help others and to show how helpful it is to have documented my progress.
I can look back at this material and I can see that my original idea, whilst full of potential as a startup, wasn't where I wanted to end up. Seeing that is a useful reminder of how much progress I've made over the last nine months.