The Blog of Daniel Francavilla

Design. Charity. Life.

You will fail to have a great career unless… 0

Posted on March 12, 2012 by Daniel Francavilla

You’re going to fail at having a good career, Larry Smith says passionately. Why? Because there are now only either great jobs or high-stress, blood-sucking, soul-destroying jobs – no “good” ones.

If you want a great career, you have to peruse your passion and dreams. Yet, so many people decide not to do this, despite countless desires to do so.

This talk, both funny and blunt from TEDxUW, Larry Smith “pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions”.

One of many parts that stuck out was Smith sharing that, “When I was 5, I was a genius, but my professors have beaten that idea out of my head long since”. Although the audience laughs, I think it’s horrible how so many kids ideas and passions are shut down by parents, society and stereotypes they’re conformed to. These are missed opportunities.

Want to get a job and work hard? Society and your employer will let you work hard – but will that make you happy? Smith says the evidence is against it.

Even most people that find their passion fail because they continue to create new excuses on why not to peruse it. I don’t plan on being one of these people – I plan to continue per suing my passions and not locking myself into a job or situation that’s repetitive and doesn’t allow for continued growth and creativity.

It’s not just about pursuing your interests – it’s pursuing your passion. Passion is the key. Passion is the thing that helps you “create the highest expression of your talent”.

Don’t be afraid to try, don’t be afraid to fail.

Watch Larry Smith’s “Why you will fail to have a great career” from TEDxUW

TEDxToronto: Calling ideas into action 0

Posted on October 11, 2010 by Daniel Francavilla

“An idea without any action behind it merely stays as an idea.”

After downloading the podcasts and being shown the talks in various courses at school, for the first time, I was able to attend a TED event in-person.

My application was selected to attend TEDxToronto in September. The theme was A Call to Action, which felt like a great fit as we just personally hosted a conference named “Called to Action” for students last year.

Thousands watched online from across Canada and beyond, and it was exciting to be there. But what was the event all about? Inspiring talks and ideas; “In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, it brings together the city’s foremost thought leaders, change makers and everyday people from each discipline and challenges them to deliver powerful, unforgettable and unique TEDxTalks”.

It was incredible to be involved in the online discussion with Twitter; using hash tags and quotes and links to photos it was just amazing to see the online enthusiasm of everyone in the room. It was the #1 Trending Topic on Twitter for the day and 20,000+ people in 100+ countries viewed the live webcast.

Instead of re-summarizing the event, I found a great post that sums-it-up nicely by Elisa Birnbaum (a freelance journalist, producer and communications consultant who’s also the president of Elle Communications and co-founder of SEE Change Magazine):

Here’s the thing about ideas. They’re powerful. Not only in their ability to inspire, confound and configure, but in their capacity to motivate, and promote discourse and debate. They push us to reach outside our self-contained box of understanding and pursue our potential, our call to action, which was the underlying theme of this year’s TEDxToronto.

The ideas that came out of our agora—some brash and brazen, others pure and simple—gave us all reason to pause, think, and act. From Drew Dudley’s hope that we embrace our inner leader, to Dr. Catherine Zahn’s insistence that we open our eyes to discover, discuss and demand a better life for those facing mental challenges, and Neil Hetherington’s inclusive community-building model, one that instills eventual homeowners with a sense of pride and ownership (and his directive to stop watching Extreme Home Makeover, where that sensibility is lacking).

Amanda Sussman reminded us that politicians can make good partners if relationships are pursued effectively, stating, “Incremental reform is the triumph and frustration of our democracy. But change happens in small steps.” And Tonya Surman introduced us to the notion of community bonds as powerful tools of potential. Social change cannot succeed by the efforts of one person alone, she added, though social networks are only as effective as what we do with them.

Trey Anthony’s call to action was to remain true to oneself and be fearless. Break out of your restrictive self-generated box, she added, and by gosh, leave the job you hate (a standing ovation followed). “Dive into your fear; one cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to swim away from the shore…even at risk of drowning,” opined Anthony. Along those same lines, George Kourounis left the audience with this thought: embrace your fears for the worst thing you can be is comfortable.

The French writer Victor Hugo wrote that nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. How right he was. Ideas are at the very heart of social change and the speakers who promote them embody Aristotle’s notion of leaders – inspirational GPS’ on the road to human potential. As such, our city’s new agora, TEDxToronto, established its place in the world of thought, provocation and action.

Powerful Quotes from the Talks

  • On living in the moment: “You’re as young as you’re ever going to be.” – NEIL PASRICHA
  • On walking into the crater of an active volcano: “Fear is my friend. If I don’t have fear in these extreme situations, then I’ll make mistakes.” – GEORGE KOUROUNIS
  • “The world says, ‘You’re black, queer, working class, and you fit in this box.’ I say that your call to action is to come out of your box.” TREY ANTHONY
  • “There is no world. There are only 6 million understandings of it.” – DREW DUDLEY
  • “I invite you all to join me in this jihad of love.” – BOONAA MOHAMMED

More recap is available at

I look forward to the next chance to experience TED, to inspire and motivate further – and to highlight the potential and opportunities available to us all.

Looking for Design Inspiration? 0

Posted on October 19, 2009 by Daniel Francavilla

If you’re looking for design inspiration, there’s a ton out there. You can spend all day browsing through portfolio sites, magazines, and walking downtown. But here are some things I’ve found helpful so far.

One thing I recommend is to subscribe to design magazines. Some have student prices, though they’re still not very cheap, but worth it. Some of the ones I suggest are Adbusters, Print, Wired, Communications Arts and Wallpaper.


There are also tons of other magazines that you can checkout online that range from general news to creative that cover work and ideas from the arts world. Some I don’t read regularly but have been recommended to me: Azure, ID Magazine, Vogue, National Geographic, Popular Scientist, TIME, Scientific American, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair.

A lot of times my inspiration and ideas and everything comes from what I see online. Constantly search through sites of designers and agencies to see their work. Some that I have bookmarked in the past include, Logo Design Love, Leo Burnett, Just Creative Design, Droga5, I Love Typography, and I’m Just Creative.

If you’re not on Twitter, get Twitter! Don’t know who to follow? There’s a site that lets you put in a keyword (e.g. graphic design) and gives you a huge list of people that are designers or agencies, that you can then follow. It’s amazing, you get links to some really great articles, tips, ideas, resources, even tutorials. Here are more than 85 of the best Twitter users designers should follow.

Also, one of my former highs school teachers, Diana Prior, is building a website right now at which will be full of great resources on creativity, creative advertising, entrepreneurship, and more.

Why look at all of this stuff, you ask? To be exposed! To be aware of current trends – not only in the design industry, but in technology and healthcare and everything in between.

Design is art people use” – Ellen Lupton

  • Choose a Category

  • Random Reads

  • Find a Blog Post

  • Links + Quotes

    Recent Bookmarks Page
    Interesting websites, blog posts, news stories and designs I've come across.

    Great Quotes Page
    Inspiring and memorable quotes I've collected.

  • Be Safe: Backup

↑ Top