Interactive Day San Diego was full of surprises. J Street in downtown was converted into a street fair, we learned about the marketing world from guests like Josh Higgins from Facebook and Jenny Thomassian from Google, and we rode electric scooters all around East Village.
But more importantly, I learned many lessons that I took back to my work here at IMI. The most memorable lessons I learned at Interactive Day San Diego are to not be afraid to think outside of the box and to find a way to make your passion your career.
Brandon Farbstein, Empowerment Speaker and Innovation Expert
The opening keynote speaker at Interactive Day San Diego was Brandon Farbstein, an 18-year-old motivational speaker who shares his experiences living with a rare form of dwarfism. At just 3’9”, Brandon may be small in stature, but he’s large in personality and knowledge.
During his IDSD talk, he shared different ways that he has had to think outside of the box. One story that really stuck with me was when Brandon met with his doctor and wanted a mobility device to keep up with his friends. The doctor told him that his only options would be a wheelchair or a mobility scooter, neither of which a high schooler wants to be seen riding.
This sparked something in Brandon and he started to think: why limit yourself to conventional options? He knew there had to be a better mobility option, and just because wheelchairs and mobility scooters are the norm doesn’t mean those are his only choices.
He then decided to build his own custom Segway, a scooter that he can ride on with his friends. His custom ride is bright yellow, has awesome lights, and is much cooler to ride than a traditional mobility device. In fact, people are even jealous of his wheels!
This story shows that if you want to make a change or do something different, you can’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Brandon could have simply accepted his doctor’s recommendations, but he knew that that wasn’t the right option. By being innovative, courageous, and resourceful, he built a solution that is perfect for him.
Your Passion and Your Day Job: Mutually Exclusive?
While some of us may not be lucky enough to make a living doing what we love, there’s little reason why your passion or side gig can’t also be your day job. Throughout the day, I heard multiple speakers at IDSD talk about their passion for creativity and how they turned that into something that pays the bills.
Josh Higgins is currently a designer at Facebook, but has had quite the colorful past. He got into creative design by making band posters for his own band and friends’ bands in high school and learned how to create a brand and message using graphics. Long story short, he then got recruited to work on the Obama reelection campaign in 2011. He created many memorable campaigns, including the website, graphics for swag, and much more. Fast forward to today and he has created countless amazing things for Facebook (including the iconic “thumb”!).
While Josh’s resume is certainly impressive, what’s more impressive is how he turned his interest in design into a career. He wasn’t afraid to take a risk, learn more about his field, and teach others the importance of creativity. Through content marketing, I try to echo those same values and hearing him talk about how he turned his side hustle into his full-time career was admirable.
Interactive Day San Diego taught me a lot about how to think creatively and not be afraid to take risks. In order to love your career and what you do, you have to be willing to create your own solutions and pursue your passion.