Day 9: Operating Principle Cards

Principle Cards For the past few days I’ve been dealing with the Amazon side of things, handling negative feedback from disgruntled customers. This has thankfully been a rare event, but it’s amazing how much impact that one negative comment can have. My mind goes into overdrive! Is it something that can be fixed? Is it something that I could have prevented? Is this a signal from the universe that I shouldn’t be doing this?

It’s already a huge step out of my comfort zone to make stuff for all to judge, so it takes a lot of long, deep breaths to quell the doubts that arise from each bump. Intellectually, I know that a few poor reviews do not determine my value as a human being, but it is difficult to not react.

For today’s product-of-the-day, I thought that making physical reminders of my core operating principles would help me deal with the momentary surge of doubt. I already have the principles; I keep ’em on my Trello board in the left-most column. I had a form factor in mind: the Task Juggler Card Experiment. It was relatively simple to slam these out, though it wasn’t particularly quick.

Card Sheet 8UP Print to the EdgeCards Broken DownCard in Dock I picked the typeface Rosewood, an “Old West” font that I find amusing and played it against Orator, a no-nonsense typewriter typeface. The combination appealed to me. Each card is 3.5 x 2″, which is the standard size for American business cards. I happen to have some Avery “print to the edge” business card templates for my inkjet printer, so I designed the cards to work with it. Although I have more than 8 principles, that’s what each sheet holds; I decided to call it “Series One”, anticipating that I might add more cards in the future.

The design is quite bare, though it still took about 3 hours to make these and another hour to make this blog post. While it took more time than I would have normally allocated for the weekend, the process of working on these was also therapeutic. Most of the time was fiddling with the wording to capture the intent behind each principle accurately. It got my mind off of negative feedback and back to positive action for the future, and I reaffirmed that I truly believed in these principles.

As a product, the cards also suggest future directions. For example, I can produce packs of these cards inexpensively by using normal business card print services, and include them with the index card docks when I eventually start selling them for realsies. The cards, with their single-color design, are good candidates for simple letter-press debossed cards. Perhaps the principles themselves are the chapter titles for a book I eventually write?

Who knows? For now, they’re yours to download and fiddle with :)

» Download Dave’s Operating Principle Cards

Adobe Acrobat Reader is recommended for printing. The built-in "Mac OS X Preview" and "Chrome Browser" PDF viewers do not always draw dotted lines correctly.


Groundhog Day Resolution Posts for 2014

I am challenging myself to create a new product every day for the month of February 2013. The Challenge Page lists all the products in one place. Check it out!