Some Stuff I’ve Learned Since I Was 18

Dan Gough
Dan Gough
Jan 26, 2016 · 3 min read

When I was 15, I started doing freelance work for local businesses. When I was 18, I finished college and got a job at an awesome digital agency called 3 SIDED CUBE.

I’m now 23 and I’m off to travel whilst freelancing. I’ve learned a lot of stuff since then — here is some of that stuff.

If you aren’t waking up excited for work you’re at the wrong place. It’s the people that make the place magic. Design isn’t about something being pretty, as much as it felt like that when you were 15. Design is all about communication. Winning pitches is easier if you’re memorable. Honesty is valued above anything else. Going above and beyond is easy if you love what you do. Going above and beyond is doing more than expected. Do that as often as possible. Be reliable. Don’t play it safe, safe is boring and you’ll regret it later on. Notice people’s haircuts and ask them how that thing they did last week went. Act like the role you want to be. A role is just a word, anyone can have authority if people trust them. Never feign caring, people see through it. If you know slightly more than someone, you’re an expert in their eyes. Being nice goes a long way. Don’t hold onto knowledge, share it: it’s a gift and the karma will come back around. Making mistakes is the best way of learning, making mistakes twice is the best way of looking like a fool. Always admit to your mistakes. Awkward conversations are the ones that make a difference. Be the person who leads change, if you don’t do it then somebody else will. Say thank you. Throw yourself into situations that scare you. Continuously. Developers are humans too. So are clients. Working to spec isn’t always the right thing to do. Know which battles to fight, you can’t win all of them. Work fast. Fail fast. Learn fast. When someone asks to go for a coffee, go — you don’t know what they have to say yet. Read. A lot. Learn. A lot. Walking clears the mind. Walking with someone else clears the air. Take the time to walk with people. Travel often. Take a break, you probably deserve one. Explore places, it’s inspiring. Don’t plan so much it’s crippling. Don’t plan so little it’s directionless. With growth comes change. With change comes process. With process comes less freedom. Fight to keep the freedom, don’t fight to lose the process. If you’re working late too often, you or your boss is inefficient. Delegate. Delegation doesn’t mean you aren’t capable. Sometimes buzz words are just the best words for the job. Look people in the eye. Start with big ideas, forget about boundaries: the best stuff happens outside of those. Invite everyone into a brainstorm, the most unlikely people will have amazing ideas. Most 80s music is universally liked in an office. The entire Disney discography is slightly more split. Have fun. Life is too short to be serious all of the time. Laugh. Everyone likes to laugh, so make light of bad situations. Don’t unplug stuff without knowing where it leads, it can go ugly. Not having a degree only matters to the wrong people. Work with the people who bring out the best in you. Work with the people who you bring out the best in. When you go to an interview, leave them with something to remember you by. In general, leave people with something to remember you by. Morning routines only work if you’re a morning person, but exercise should be part of every routine, it helps you feel good. You are better than you think. Be proud of what you make. Make friends. Listen.

Above all, do something. It’s better than doing nothing.

Inspired by a post I read back in 2010 by Frank Chimero

I’m a creative who solves problems, see my work at

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