👋 Hello! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is Plan Your Next. It’s a newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
Every Sunday, I aim to make this newsletter as timeless as a New Mexico desert dressed in white. If you’re new here, join us!
What’s new this week?
Since we’re traveling, not much! But I’d like to highlight a couple of people:
Happy New Year from Phoenix, AZ!
This past week, Alie and I have been on the road in our old—but reliable—Subaru Outback, traveling through Arizona and New Mexico.
This is our first trip outside of SoCal in an entire year. We watched the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, stayed in a tiny Airbnb studio in Santa Fe, and saw another sunrise over White Sands Desert. (pictured above) We’re now heading back to Los Angeles this morning, refreshed, but definitely not in the same refreshed state as a pre-pandemic trip.
While the trip was fun, you can’t escape how much life has changed in a year. There are no restaurants to visit, no real interactions with people, and an inability to touch a handrail at a remote State Park in Santa Fe.
When I reminisce on past trips, it’s unthinkable how much I took for granted.
Similarly, it’s how I view the internet. I grew up building my own computers and remember fondly accumulating America Online CD’s offering free minutes to get online. To me, the internet has been as much of my life as has art, design, photography, and everything else that defines me creatively.
When I see creators remarking at how brilliant the internet is at changing lives, I feel I’ve taken the internet for granted. It’s obvious how it’s changed my life and the lives of others. Without it, I’d probably have ended up as a fine artist solemnly huddled into a small studio, barely scraping by. Who knows?
Rediscovering Twitter this past year has opened up new friendships, connected me with old friends, and given me a more interesting sandbox to play in. But, I originally joined Twitter in 2007! What the fuck happened?
It feels like I took the internet for granted.
I laughed when HBO’s Silicon Valley Richard Hendricks claimed to be building the New Internet. While technology is inching forward, we’re rethinking how it can replace traditional schools and enable individual autonomy for creators.
On the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Duncan Trussell compared the internet to being the new fire:
People who invented fire. Think about how many people died trying to figure it out. People must have been trying to eat it, thinking that they could absorb its energy into them, while they burned their faces off. The internet is like this new fire.
The possibilities of the internet have always made us a little crazy. Maybe we haven’t tried to eat the internet, but it’s given us the ability to connect to others like never before.
What’s changed recently are the tools and opportunities for non-coders. Content creators are building software products around their businesses, DTC brands are operating without engineering teams, niche online communities function as alternatives to Facebook, and even writing online have all become much easier to do.
From my perspective, it’s easy to see a tide turning. Remote work is becoming the norm, allowing many a more flexible way to live.
Something has changed this year, and it’s only gaining momentum. Please don’t take it for granted.
⚡️ Inspiration for this week
A Window of Opportunity is a rare set of circumstances and a brief moment of time in which an otherwise impossible outcome is potentially achievable. I can personally point to three times in my life that changed my course because I could identify the potential opportunity to capitalize on.
Keep in mind that these opportunities are unique to you. They live in the crosshairs of knowledge, skills, and relationships that only you occupy.
David Hoang—a design leader at Webflow—wrote a great piece on keeping track of your micro-achievements throughout your career. The Hype Doc is an alternative to professional journaling, keeping track of what you worked on in the past, what you’re working on now, and what your future goals are.
I love that it’s meant to track the impact it’s had on you, what you learned, and colleagues or clients. Add in screenshots or metrics to make it more useful and personalized.
I started my own and divided each year into four quarters to keep it somewhat simple to reflect.
Ecosia is a search engine that promotes privacy first and plants trees around the world. It’s also available as a default search engine setting on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
Their servers run on 200% renewable energy, and every search request removes 1kg of CO₂ from the atmosphere.
If you’re like me and had to search how much space 1kg of CO₂ occupies, then you’re in good company. At room temperature, it takes up the size of about two bathtubs.
👋 See you next Sunday
Have a great week,