These days a large part of my energies is devoted to FoundIt, a web application that helps manage one's personal information. Through a one-page interface, one gets a bird's eye view of all of one's key files. One can additionally tag & clip content in order to find information more easily & to be able to re-use it. I find myself returning to issues of personal information management, knowledge management, & information findability: all areas that could do with tremendous improvement.
I find energy & inspiration for my work around me. Sometimes it is through aimless strolling in the streets, taking in the ecology of the place: the people, the artifacts in the urban landscape such as street-side vendors, stores, trash-cans & telephone booths (I love the red London ones, and also their red double-decker buses), racing traffic, red lights: I guess I am a total urban animal, I just love large cities.
The Urban Life
This brings to mind a book I am currently reading called 'The Rise of the Creative class' by Richard Florida. He mentions there, & I paraphrase it here, that the creative class & knowledge workers value individuality, & diversity & openness. So these kinds of professionals are likely to be attracted to work places & living places that exude tolerance for diversity. And isn't that the hallmark of cities: be they New York, or London, or Mumbai. By the way, Florida has measured the tolerance index of various cities, and if I remember correctly, Seattle tops the list among US cities!!
The Creative Life
I am also surprised every day by the work of smart people that I read about, or see for myself. Whether it's new gadgets, or new ways to use old technology, or new light shed on the-taken-for-granted things, I love reading about what people are upto in the world of experience design, product design, search concepts & technologies, RSS, and so much more. And did I mention that I love RSS readers (or news aggregators, as they are generally referred to). How did we ever do without them!! ( Did you say, what are these?)