Jordan Clayton: Unexpected UX (#45)
Our Guest Today: Jordan Clayton
Joining me on the Feisworld Podcast today is Jordan Clayton, an SVP Creative Director of UX (User Experience) at Arnold Worldwide. UX has become increasingly popular over the years across all industries (technology, marketing, medicine and beyond), but most schools haven’t yet figured out a systematic and effective way to teach it. As a result, many young, ambitious, creative souls find it challenging to find jobs as UX professionals.
This episode isn’t a crash course on UX. It’s a collection of deep insights to how a UX designer thinks, what he looks for when hiring, and how he creates prototypes. Jordan offers his unique perspective, and lessons learned throughout his career path.
Jordan argues that UX isn’t just about making things useful and usable, but about making them more fun, inspiring and emotionally-engaging as well.
Beyond UX, Jordan is known as a well-dressed, charismatic leader around the office. How does he achieve this level of credibility? The answers live in his cross-disciplinary vision to design, fashion and music. Jordan appreciates the small things in life, every day.
I hope you enjoy this conversation and thank you so much for choosing to spend your time with us. I feel very privileged to be able to do this.
Key Discussion Points: (Try highlighting any amount of text to Tweet!):
On Presentation and Preparing for a Client Discussion:
You need to think through the questions they might ask and being able to improvise on the spot. There is such a thing as ‘over-prepared’. You don’t need all the answers. So take the pressure off and get out of your own way!
On Hiring UX Candidates:
Conceptual thinking is critical but challenging to find (in most candidates). Analytical skills are super important. However, coming up with big ideas, be in a room with other fellow thinkers without too much “editing” is what we need in an inventive environment. Hemingway said: “Write drunk; Edit sober.”
In an inventive workspace, we look to explore in Keynote, Axure, Invision, etc. As we concept, we come up with prototypes for potential users, technologists to be able to interact with.
On Fashion (Brands and styles Jordan loves):
Credit to my wife, she makes sure that my outfit is cohesive. She’s quite a design thinker as well. I shop at Banana Republic, J.Crew, H&M, Converse (I wore Converse since I was old enough to walk), Ray Ban. Thrifty sections are great too. I try not to be too much of anything.
I freelanced for Burton as a layout artist. Layout artist is basically in charge of how color palettes can work together. Fashion and design have always been an undercurrent of my career.
On Meditation, Healthy Living and Appreciation for Everyday Life
Every stage of your life is a different experience. Forcing yourself to experiment is key to growth.
Meditation is one fundamental skill to calm your mind, stay centered. It also sets my day and helps me be more alive and present.
My wife and I recently started “Five Things” – Before we end our day, we talk about five things we feel grateful for.
Set up your house so it’s easier to make healthy decisions. I leave gym clothes next to my bed and I run with my dog a few times a week.
On Music and Drumming:
Playing drums is a great way to be physical! I sold my drums when I moved to Sweden for work. I’m still looking for the smallest and quietest drum set (for my apartment). I was introduced to cigar-box guitar recently, an instrument originated from the South that defined blue grass music, and I’m getting pretty good at it.
What is it like being interviewed on Feisworld Podcast?
I’m able to articulate this stuff brings a lot of clarity to myself.
What does it mean to you to live a meaningful and fulfilling life?
Be true to yourself. Contribute to your environment. Help expand people’s perspections of possiblities.
To learn more about Jordan, connect with him on LinkedIn. He admits that he’s most actively on Twitter (@jordan001).
Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave your comment below and share the podcast with your family and friends. You can also email me here. Your support will keep me on track and bring many other sung and unsung heroes to this podcast.
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Show Notes (Time Is Approximate):
- How long have you been here [at Arnold] and what exactly is it that you do here? [5:00]
- What are some of the things you were doing early on in your career that everybody else around you wasn’t? (counterintuitive learnings) [10:00]
- Most people struggle with presentation skills. How do you prepare yourself for a client presentation? How did you learn in school and on the job? [12:30]
- What do you look for in a new hire? [17:30]
- What are some of the things that you want people to know about you at Arnold, but they don’t yet? [20:00]
- What are some of the off-brand, off-work styles that you like? [23:30]
- What do you think is the latest thing that you’ve learned? [26:00]
- What do you do in the first half an hour or sixty minutes of your day? [28:00]
- Close the day with good feelings, thoughts, and set the tone for the next day. [30:30]
- How do you go about meditation, what’s your approach? [32:30]
- One of the struggles I have is healthy eating, and I’m looking for tips from people who seem like they live healthy lifestyles [35:00]
- Where did you go for your last vacation – private island?! Once in a lifetime experience [37:30]
- Family influence – photography, music, entrepreneurship [40:30]
- What does living and fulfilling life mean to you? [45:30]
- What is it that you love? What sparkles joy into you? [49:00]
Podcasts Jordan Chooses to Listen To:
- The Nerdist
- On Being
People/Businesses/Media mentioned on the show:
- Savannah College of Art and Design [8:00]
- Crispin Porter + Bogusky [9:00]
- Xplane – visual explanation company [11:00]
- Jeff Gothelf [15:00]
- Antifragile – Things that Gain from Disorder [17:00]
- Burton Snowboard [24:30]
- Arnold Gives Back session [26:30]
- Richard Branson [27:00]
- Gary Hall Photography (JC’s dad) [38:30]
Word Cloud, Keywords and Insights From Podintelligence
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Welcome to the phase world podcast, engaging conversations that crossed the boundaries between business, art, and the digital world.
Fei Wu 0:19
Hey, guys, it’s been a while and I miss you all very much. I have spend quite some time in the past month or so thinking and reshaping the face world brand, while still focusing a lot on podcasting, finding the next guest. I’ve also introduced some of my own writing, which you can check out on my website phase world.com For slash category for slash writing. So joining me on the face world podcast today is Jordan Clayton. He is an SVP of UX, which means user experience. UX is a domain in the creative space and has become increasingly popular over the years. But for most schools, especially undergrads, they really haven’t carved out a systematic and more effective way for students to learn more about UX. Needless to say that when the students do graduate from school, very few of them feel prepared or qualified for even an entry level UX position. So what is UX? Exactly?
Jordan Clayton 1:23
We’re all constantly users like we’re using these chairs. As we’re sitting and we’re using this microphone, we’re using the door handle as the exit in and out.
Fei Wu 1:31
UX is an everything we see everything we do. Jordan argues that it’s not only about making things useful and usable. But UX is tasked to make things more fun, compelling, inspiring, and more emotionally engaging as well. This podcast isn’t your one on one course to UX, but rather, it is a more general lesson on how a UX designer thinks and what he looks for in hiring. White prototyping is so important compared to the traditional wireframing. And a bonus to all of this is Jordans point of view, on lessons learned throughout his career, and specifically on things such as presentation, which is an area that nearly everyone struggles with at every stage of their career. Beyond UX, Jordan is known as a very well dressed current somatic person in the office, well liked and very well respected by many others. How does he do this? Exactly? From fashion to travel to music, our conversations took us to all the really interesting interplays between these disciplines and unable Jordan to do what he does and really to be who he is. I hope you enjoy this conversation. And thanks so much for choosing to spend this one hour with us. I can’t thank you enough. And I feel very privileged to be able to do this. If you find face world interesting or if you’d like to ask question personally, simply connect with me via all social channels, Facebook, Twitter, it is the same social handle face world across all or take the true more traditional, I guess, more intimate, more personal approach, which is to email me at face worl[email protected] Please welcome Jordan Clayton to faze world podcast.
Welcome to the face roll podcast, Jordan Clayton.
Jordan Clayton 3:36
Thank you, Faye happy to be here.
Fei Wu 3:38
Awesome. You are senior vice president of user experience slash Creative Director here at Oracle worldwide. Correct? How long have you been here and what what exactly is that you do here.
Jordan Clayton 3:50
So I’ve been here for about six months. And I have a unique position in which I am in the creative department taking user experience design, which is previously more kind of in strategy and production, and making sure that it’s fully embraced and fully integrated within the creative culture. And I think what is also a little different is like our responsibility, you know, I’ve kind of boiled it down to one little sentence, and that is to really spark and shape our interactive ideas into the most useful, usable and compelling things possible, whatever those might be. So really putting a focus on who are the people who are using our, you know, websites, apps, different interactive projects that we’re doing, and how can we, how can we make them work for them as best as possible?
Fei Wu 4:39
So it’s, you know, creative directors, I think in a newer role. It’s just very exciting. There’s so many people approached me on a weekly basis to say that, you know, faith I consider myself creative. I’m a designer or a study, you know, user user interaction design Are some of the disciplines, there’s
Jordan Clayton 5:01
so many different titles out there? And I know a lot of people are fatigued by the confusion of it too.
Fei Wu 5:07
Yeah. What are some of the confusions that that often? Well,
Jordan Clayton 5:10
for me, I mean user experience, a lot of people are like, what is the user experience? It sounds so kind of abstract and weird. And for what it really comes down to is, it’s somebody it’s about interaction and how someone is interacting with something. Like what, you know, whether we know it or not, we’re all we’re all constantly users. Like we’re using these chairs. As we’re sitting and we’re using this microphone, we’re using the door handle as the exit in and out. I mean, as and from that standpoint, it’s really about making those things those experiences as streamlined and easy as possible. But also like in the advertising world, in the creative world, is also not just making things useful and usable, but also fun and compelling and inspiring, and just also more emotionally engaging, which I find to be very, very rich, rich place to play.
Fei Wu 6:03
How did you find yourself or navigate through your own personal experience and career? How do you discover that? This is for you?
Jordan Clayton 6:12
Oh, my gosh, that is, I feel like it’s taken my whole life. Like, honestly, when I was a kid, I love video games I love I love lots of different things and exploring a lot. I took High School every single computer and art class I could take and then I wind up going to art school Savannah College of Art Design, I fell in love with like industrial design, designing products, because I just love the idea of like interfaces and how people interact with technology and different machinery. And I was like really inspired by, you know, the design of jet cockpits and things like that. How do you take those, like more complex, like big machines and make them work well with humans. And honestly, the UX world kind of exploded after school. And I honestly after school, I freelanced for about three years and I would I’m a designer at heart. And I would take any type of design job I can get my hands on, I would I did some fashion flat design for Burton Snowboards. I designed toy catalogs. I taught myself how to ActionScript and do flash animation and build websites. Just basically anything I could do branding work, but also had a background in the industrial design as well as interaction design from school and ended up getting picked up by Crispin Porter and Bogusky. And once I started working with them, I kind of that helped seal the deal for me, you know, being at Crispin and also going and attending a lot of conferences. I think the community being around other interaction designers and user experience designers really helped me feel like I was at home. So it wasn’t until that experience that I was like, oh, yeah, this this feels right. This is really cool. I like these people. I like what we’re trying to do. There’s just like the digital world, it’s it’s the, you know, the gold rush of our generation. And there’s no, there’s, there’s so much creativity in technology. And we’re just kind of scratching the surface. So and I think, you know, in the world of advertising and creative communications, there’s an infinite amount of possibilities for us to explore. And I’m really excited to be kind of on the forefront of that with Arnold and what I’m doing here.
Fei Wu 8:18
What are some of the things earlier on your career really taking you back to when you’re 2022, that you realize that you were doing that were helpful to your career later on that everybody else around you probably wasn’t really doing? Were embracing some of the opportunities that you mentioned? So sort of that, yeah.
Jordan Clayton 8:39
Gosh, this sounds so cheesy. And sometimes, I think, you know, I would slap myself for saying this out loud. But the idea of following your heart and following your interests is really important, because you don’t know how those will be useful for you in the future. And one thing that has been something I’ve just subconsciously followed is I’ve had, I’ve had this calling to diagram stuff. And to map stuff out. I love cartography, I love mapping, I love being able to take a complex system and visualize it. And after school, me and a couple buddies went to San Francisco, and we had a kind of a small contract job for a company called x plane, which is a direct visual explanation company. And it was all up. But you know, we had a couple of projects where we worked with some startups to fit like figuring out how to visualize their business models and different things like that. And it wasn’t a ton of experience. But what it did teach me was like, Hey, this is a whole unique way of thinking that there is kind of a market for for this and that there’s a huge need out there of taking these more complicated new types of businesses, new types of product, new types of services, figuring out how to communicate and explain them in, you know, an understandable and compelling way. And that actually really paid off later on in my career and frankly, Right now like being able to get into front of a whiteboard full of people, and be able to orchestrate, you know, different types of ideas and think through how they might work and how people might use them and think from like, you know, how someone will start an experience with an app that will lead them through a website that will lead them to an event that will blah, blah, blah, you know, like being able to do that in a very, very relevant way. For people. It’s hard and challenging, but those previous like instincts that I had of like, following, honestly, exploring diagramming and exploring mapping, right, like, it wasn’t, at the time, it didn’t give me a whole lot of fortune, but later on in life, it really kicked in. So that’s, I think that’s a good example,
Fei Wu 10:45
how having experience your presentation skills, and even just interacting with a team internally, externally with a client, you clearly have a talent and you’re very comfortable, you have a lot of empathy. So it wasn’t like, I’m so smart, but I feel like, you know, someone in my position where I can, I can speak up for the client as well, that you’re there with them every step of the way. So one of the areas, a lot of younger people were even people in their 30s. Having worked, you haven’t worked for 10 years, per se, you know, there’s one thing that really most people struggle with is presentation. And so what are do you feel like your design school, your art school, very well prepared you for that? Or, you know, people don’t get to experience that don’t feel like they’re preparing school? What can they do? Not really on their career? Oh,
Jordan Clayton 11:33
my gosh, practice as much as possible. I mean, I don’t think I don’t know of anybody who is good at presenting, who thinks they’re great. And everybody’s different. And like, you know, I probably be a horrible stand up comedian, you know, like, so. And if you want me to present, you know, technical specifications, and how someone might use something, I may be really good at presenting that way. And some other ways. But I think I mean, there’s always opportunities for growth. I think, for people starting off, I think practicing as much as possible, I think one of the hardest way things to do, especially when you’re learning to present is getting yourself out of your own way. You know, if you really think study the material that helps kind of drill a develop a well of knowledge within yourself. And then when you get up in front of people, you just sort of draw from the well, as you’re as you’re talking to others.
Fei Wu 12:26
How did you practice on your own before? Because I see that you are freestyle. Now, you’ve gone past that, you know, you don’t take I don’t see that you necessarily have like little note to self sort of thing. But what what are some of the techniques that you practice?
Jordan Clayton 12:41
I mean, frankly, I do, I don’t usually go into like a meeting with all those different notes. But I will, especially for big presentations, definitely practice the material beforehand and have some sort of narrative, or flow in mind of like, the main things I want to get across. And some definitely thinking through the questions they may ask, you know, I think the more prepared you are, the better, I think it’s possible to over prepare to, you know, and then you can kind of shoot yourself in the foot that way. But being, I mean, just really knowing your material, the best you can and being able to improvise on the fly.
Fei Wu 13:15
That I practice my material for later on this afternoon. Last night, I had no intention to do that. But I said to myself, You know what, maybe I’ll just maybe I’ll just do that. Because it’s not really my style to I try to be as hippy as freestyle, but then the words don’t come out, always the same way or the right way. Or, you know, so I basically practice and then close it close the door just by myself. Do you find books? Great.
Jordan Clayton 13:39
I mean, I’ve done that before. I mean, I’ll still do that once in a while, for if it’s a big important presentation, I haven’t in a bit, but you know, those certain things, you know, a Jeff Gotthelf. He’s one of the kind of pioneers in Lean UX design, I follow his blog, he’s great if you’re ever into like, you know, the latest thinking around UX design, and, you know, and the Agile development process and how they work together, but anyway, so he, he talked a lot about, you know, even when he presents, he does workshops all the time, he’ll he’ll practice five to 10 different times, I’ll do it in front of colleagues, you know, over and over and over. And that’s something when I end up reading that blog post, it was not actually I don’t remember how long ago it was, but it got me, I think, more comfortable with the idea of practice. And so people can totally just get up there and do stuff on the fly. I think I can do that a lot of the times, but sometimes, frankly, I need I need to do my homework. And I think most people should do their homework. I
Fei Wu 14:37
think you have to be good at both because they’re to your point there are times that you don’t even know I mean, I know I’ve given you five seconds notice to come to a meeting that potentially is of materials that you prepare weeks ago like before your vacation, it’s like hey remember thing that he did for us three months
Jordan Clayton 14:53
ago and also think taking a lot of pressure off yourself that you know you’re there to express yourself honestly and on your best From best foot forward, and that you don’t have to know all the answers, and you can own that and be like, Listen, I don’t always know all the answers, but at least if you have an attitude in any of those presentations or meetings, that you, if you don’t know something, you’ll go ahead and find that out and be able to remedy it quickly. I think that can take a lot of the pressure off yourself.
Fei Wu 15:21
Yeah, definitely. I just thinking anti fragile like is one of the topics I wrote down
Jordan Clayton 15:27
which I needed to read that book. A lot of people keep recommending it to me, you have to
Fei Wu 15:32
read it multiple times. And kind of it’s it’s a hard to read. And then the author said they quickly did on purpose. He’s like I you know, I’m not trying to Malcolm Gladwell it just like work, you might have to sit on a page and read over and over again. But it’s so fascinating. This speaks to, you know, I feel like it kind of leads into my next question is like, what do you look for in a person that you might want to hire for your department? You know, yeah,
Jordan Clayton 15:59
that’s a good question. And I think it’s, for somebody in in the UX department working at a creative agency like Arnold, we’re looking for something a little bit different than I think the traditional kind of UX user experience design practitioner, I think we have a very heavy focus on conceptual thinking. That’s something I find challenging. In a lot of user experience, designers, a lot of them are super left brained, kind of analytical, logical thinkers, which is, is absolutely super important for the UX world, like being able to think through the logic and flow of how something might work. However, some of them that have a little struggle thinking about like thinking big ideas, and how to really be in a room with a lot of other fellow creative thinkers, and build on the ideas and not to think too much about editing stuff during the, during the creative process. One of my favorite quotes is by Hemingway, and he said, Write drunk, edit sober. And I think for a lot of UX people that can be really challenging is kind of getting into that drunken mindset of coming up with lots of crazy ideas, just to get them out, get a huge volume idea of ideas out, and then call them down into their most relevant useful component that they might be. Another thing is, we’ll be focusing more on prototyping as like one of the main kind of things we really bring to the table. Not like, you know, traditional wireframes, blueprints, functional specs, flows, like those are all super important still. But I think, you know, as projects are getting faster, and we have to learn more, we have to be able to test and iterate stuff on the fly, especially in a more inventive workspace, we need to be able to be able to prototype fast. So we’ve been looking a lot and exploring into software like Asher, and Keynote and some other tools too. So we can actually like as we’re concepting. And as we’re coming up with ideas come up with prototypes, and then in there versus waiting further off, you know, down the line for, you know, developers to make alphas and betas and bend test stuff.
Fei Wu 18:05
I’m not an uncontrolled,
Jordan Clayton 18:07
thank you. Long, it’s common sense. But you know, when you get in, because there’s like, kind of theory versus practice. And like, in theory, yeah. Like you’re supposed to be kind of testing constantly and learning. But in practice, there’s, you know, super tight timelines, super tight budgets, you know, there’s a lot of different political movements at play. So being able to orchestrate and work within that is, is essential.
Fei Wu 18:31
So we’ve been talking about your professional life for for quite a long time. But yeah, I do want to the first question I wrote down which it took us, you know, 17 minutes to get to is what are some of the things that you want people to know about you at Arnold? But they don’t yet I’ve heard a lot of questions that people raise here at Arnold about questions for Jordan. So maybe I can go right
Jordan Clayton 18:56
and go right into it. So fashion. Oh, nice.
Fei Wu 19:00
We talked about find you very well dressed. Which surprised me in a very positive way. Because I when I think about people well dress and I think about women in general who try really hard or looks like they’re not trying I feel like you’re you appear to me like you’re not really trying to.
Jordan Clayton 19:19
I don’t know it sounds like just a gardening I don’t try that hard. So you’ve
Fei Wu 19:25
received compliments in I believe you said like so. What does it say? Where do you live back then?
Jordan Clayton 19:32
Oh, yeah, yeah, no, I were chatting before where I I live at an apartment complex called the block and my concierge one of like the, the people that kind of run the downstairs. They always compliment on my dress. They have three or four times over the past month. I’m like, maybe this is a trend. I don’t know.
Fei Wu 19:53
Maybe you should be like a personal shop or something. I think most men’s really struggle to know what they’re supposed to wear. Yeah, you know, and it’s hard I think in New England in particular is hard because this whole blue shirts khaki pants are just that is it? I mean, where do you shop? And how do you think about
Jordan Clayton 20:11
it’s pretty eclectic. Uh, frankly, I have to give a lot of my credit to my wife. Because I would probably dress a lot crazier. I think she’s really good at creating a making sure whatever I walk out the door with is cohesive. But I do a lot of my shopping most of my shopping on my own, but she is she’s a brilliant design thinker as well. And honestly, she’s helped me get rid of a lot of ugly stuff in my wardrobe. So I can I can thank her on that. I don’t know. It’s just like, we usually go to outlets, I’ll go to J Crew or banana republic or h&m and find different things or, gosh, I have stuff from just years ago, vintage shops? I don’t know.
Fei Wu 20:53
So my guess was right, I felt like you were I can see J Crew and a lot of other styles. But what are the crazy, you know, what are some of the crazy stuff like fashion brands? You know, I the reason for me to be kind of interested in this topic just so that you can feel free to ask me any questions. I’m sure that my I remember being you know, really young as eight or nine years old. My mom was a consultant for just several fashion like designer brands and France and England and and then she had a lot of students who learn design aspects of things from her. So that’s has been a kind of an ongoing conversations I find myself even these days liking brands like not necessarily I can afford, but like Alexander Wang, the squared, huge fan of the square even though you look at the runway as like, How could anyone pull up any of these things? Right? But it just, it’s amazing, like, what are some of the off brand off workstyles that you would kind of
Jordan Clayton 21:54
I honestly don’t really care for that. I mean, I I mean certain things like I love Ray Ban sunglasses, I love converse, like since I was almost old enough to walk, I’ve always had a pair of Converse. I love the way they look like the way they feel. You can wear them for a lot of difference. For your work in the creative industry. That’s part of your output, right.
Fei Wu 22:18
Shoe Rack, most people here,
Jordan Clayton 22:20
but honestly like, I don’t know, I guess it’s one of those things that I just kind of have, don’t really think much about and just kind of collect things wherever I go. And I tend I can be kind of a thrifty shopper or shopper and I like to look in the bargain sections and sales stuff. I don’t like paying full price for stuff. And I try not to be too much of anything specific like to hipster or to preppy or to this to that I try to find a balance in between that but some cool. Maybe will for my photo will did like a fashion shoe or something for
Fei Wu 22:54
let’s do a podcast. Yeah, you work for Burton like it was
Jordan Clayton 22:57
it was a form. Yeah, it was a freelance gig for a little bit. And it was actually laying out like flats like Bailey fashion flats. Before you go into like, when you’re when you’re considering like lots of different colors and different palettes, they’ll come up with a very 2d layout of what piece of clothing could look like. And just my job was to lay out some of those different designs and how the different color palettes could work together. And I was friends with a lot a lot of fashion designers in college, to very close friends with a bunch of fashion designers. And that’s I don’t know, it’s always been kind of an undercurrent, my thinking
Fei Wu 23:33
so that I think the undercard and themes are really interesting, through a lot of the guests on my show, that what they ended up doing might not necessarily be the path that initially chose. I mean, what does that even mean? Like when you’re 18? What do you know?
Jordan Clayton 23:47
You don’t really I mean, you know, you know, a lot of stuff you think, you know, a lot of stuff out there. I mean, every stage of your life is a different experiment. You’re constantly learning different things about
Fei Wu 24:01
that’s, that’s sort of like how I feel as I get older. I know more about what I don’t know. I realize how you know, we’re also pretending and we’re not really getting any older and our mindset sort of not necessarily fixed but you know, it’s just interesting that I you surprise yourself what you what you learn along the way at different ages, which is very different than what you predicted when you’re a kid. Oh, for sure. What
Jordan Clayton 24:27
do you think of is the latest thing that you learned
Fei Wu 24:31
about myself? Yeah, thanks for turning I think the latest not to again speak to the podcast. The first thing that people keep asking me you know, especially new friends I make these days is about like why not like why but why did you start podcasting I’ve been giving I feel like I’m trying to unify on my answers because I’m giving these long like long winded you know, answers to why I did that clearly very excited about it. But I look back like Something happened a year ago when Arnall had this Arno gives back sessions I went, honestly, I was way too old for it. I was like at the cutting, I was just the cut off the age wise, but I decided to go anyway. So One Young World is something that Arnold has been doing for years now. And since a selected few of like five to six people from the Boston office in New York office, to go to an event called One Young World where people like Richard Branson will speak there and you get to shake his hands. It’s crazy. And at the same time, you have the super like underprivileged kids from all around the world, parts of Africa. And they’re there to like, you know, women out there that they just it’s crazy event that I saw, I was so desperate to, to go but what I didn’t make it and people said after interviewing me, it’s like you’ve been ignited. So I sit on that comment. What does that mean? Exactly? I don’t feel ignited. But perhaps I should just create something on my own. So people ask me what to do is that instead of waiting for an event, waiting for somebody to say yes, I’m going to just say yes to myself, I’m going to choose myself and do something I was wanting to do.
Jordan Clayton 26:08
And I’m good for you make it public? Yeah. And like, I think forcing yourself to experiment is the key to growth, like being open to that. I think that’s when people start shutting down or
Fei Wu 26:18
being flirty and starting something new. It’s really scary. You’re like, what is what am I doing? Like, should I be already on to a very settled a very, you know, regimented life style. But speaking of lifestyle, one of my favorite question is like, what, what do people do in the first, you know, half an hour or 60 minutes of their day. And even like, also, the last, you know, before you go to sleep before you kind of end your day, what is the beginning of the end look like to you.
Jordan Clayton 26:49
So even though like, I’m supposed to be like a super informed, techie nerdy guy, I actually don’t interact with technology. For the first, probably half hour to an hour of my day, every day, I always get up, have a protein shake, take my dog out. And then I do 15 minutes a yoga, and 15 minutes of meditation, just to like, basically get my wake my body up, and then wake my mind up, what kind of yoga and meditation. Honestly, I just, I don’t even know, the types of different yoga is basically I attended a few classes and had memorized like a bunch of different flows and moves. And I, I know what feels good to me. And that’s honestly, what’s most important for me to reap the benefits of it. But just getting to that flow and getting in, like, centered with my breath has been super helpful for me. And meditation is definitely a part of that too, of being able to calm and center the mind, I think that’s one of those foundation skills. If you can control your mind, you can control a lot of different factors of your behavior and your life. And, and that’s something that’s just really helped me to stay calm and centered in a lot of different moments in my life. But having kind of like, setting up my day, that way, is super helpful. And that’s honestly how I end my day, most most nights, not every night, but most nights is very similar doing some yoga and meditation, turning my phone on airplane mode, like a half hour before I go to sleep Nice. So I mean, it’s kind of boring, but honestly, it helps my day be so much more alive and present and appreciative of the things that are happening around me. By doing those
Fei Wu 28:31
things, do you reflect upon things that happened in a particular day or in your life in general? Do you think about positive experiences?
Jordan Clayton 28:41
When you close your day, for sure, actually, my wife and I created this thing we call five things and we do it most nights where we just each of us, all we do is talk about five things that are we’re grateful for for each day. And it’s great for honestly, just having things for you that you know, like on Thanksgiving, you know, with one time a year where we actually are focused on being thankful and appreciative of the stuff around us. We’re like, let’s just make that every night. And honestly, it helps close the day with some good good feelings, good thoughts. And honestly, it helps the helps the next day to when you wake up, gets you excited about this new interesting things you might experience that day.
Fei Wu 29:22
So what are some of the things if you remember recall from the night before? Or have you collected a few positive experiences so far before end of the day that that you think it’s worth remembering for?
Jordan Clayton 29:34
Oh, it could be for us we are as I think non judgmental as possible. I’m just talking about you know, like, it doesn’t need to be great. It just needs to be five, five things so it can be like oh, that cup of coffee I had this morning was just so good. I was so happy. That was like one of the best cups of coffee I’ve had in a month. Or you know, I saw somebody crop cross this helping a lady cross the street or somebody in help. And that was just a beautiful thing you know? Like, just little things like that, or it could be like, you know, payday, you know, things like that.
Fei Wu 30:09
So, your meditation environment? You know, I know there’s a, when I talk about meditation in general, like, why are you going through this process? It’s been, it’s been talked about a lot. And people have such preconceptions, misconceptions related to meditations. And people just yawns, like, Oh, my God, that again, but I completely echo your feedback that I do that myself, and it’s really forever changed my life. And I wish they started doing that much earlier on, like when I needed the most, in my 20s, early 20s. i But I didn’t until I was like late 20s. For me, the meditation environment can be very simple, as long as relatively quiet, less distraction. But what is your preferred setup? Like, where do you meditate? And how do you go about it?
Jordan Clayton 30:55
Oh, gosh, I tried to be, I’d love to be one of those people that can do it anywhere, you know, to be able to, like sit in like a noisy Park and be able to just do that from for me, we have, it’s like a part of our apartment or one bedroom apartment, we have like a little office off to the side that’s kind of away from the rest of the apartment. And we have this really nice little couch and a cushion. And I usually will sit cross legged on the couch, or I’ll do it on the cushion. And it’s just a very, very kind of peaceful place from the rest of the house. And I close the blinds to kind of like shut out a sort of distraction and as much noise as possible. And honestly, like, it’s just kind of about tuning, tuning out all the distractions and then tuning into, you know, your intuition and feelings internally and kind of, you know, figuring out what’s going on in there. But it’s nothing. I’ll say that special.
Fei Wu 31:54
Yeah, I think sometimes when you expect a certain very specific setting, that’s when the activity doesn’t happen.
Jordan Clayton 32:01
Yeah, like the high expectations kind of circumvent any sort of, you know, output you might be expecting.
Fei Wu 32:08
Yeah, exactly. I
Jordan Clayton 32:09
mean, even going to the gym a lot of pressure on yourself.
Fei Wu 32:11
Yeah, I mean, going to yoga classes these days. I mean, everybody’s wearing Lululemon. And you’re like, should I also be on your you think about your yoga mats, and how you could improve your experience.
Jordan Clayton 32:20
It’s almost kind of like, against what the whole thing was about in the first place. Right? Yeah, I know. Like, it’s so flattering, that all that stuff go on the more superficial aspects of it.
Fei Wu 32:30
I can never personally I never understand the the idea of yoga competition. It’s like, there’s so many yoga competitions and people kind of like, look like contortionists and do all these things. And you think to yourself, like the idea of yoga is not about competition or competing. Yeah, in general. So
Jordan Clayton 32:49
those are interesting. I never, never, never seen any of the competitions or in brown. I know, does some of them. And I actually brought up a very similar question with her about that. And she had a great answer, I thought, and that was like, it takes a it takes a lot of development, personal development and like peace of mind to be able to get up in front of hundreds or 1000s of people and do that. And I was like, okay, I can I can see that. That’d be pretty hard to keep that that level of presence and poise in front of so many people.
Fei Wu 33:21
Yeah. That’s funny about some of the poses, incredible. Are you comfortable talking about sort of routines in terms of like, one of the struggles I have, I’m just gonna throw it out there. For sure. comfortable speaking to it is, to me working full time and trying to like have clarity, my mind requires a lot of things to happen. One of which is eating like eating habits, you know, and one of the biggest struggles I feel like I have right now is to find healthy food to eat consistently with the right combinations. And I look to people who are healthy, not just look good, but you know, feel good. And ask for tips. Yeah. And people closer to my age and like you’re 19 and you’re rip done I don’t It’s just that’s genetic. Exactly. So what our sounds like your wife is also very into healthy living. And so what are some of the things tips that you could give?
Jordan Clayton 34:23
Um, I mean, we’re not healthy all the time. Especially over the last like vacation. I went on hoof gosh, I was out of control. I mean, for me, every day I pretty much always had the same breakfast I have a smoothie some sort of smoothie before which makes it really easy if you can kind of make it a routine. I think setting up the habit is the hard part. And and in trying to set up little things inside your house or your environment where it’s easier to make the healthy choice than the the not so healthy choice. Like for example, I don’t go to the gym every Day, but I started a habit of keeping like gym clothes on the floor next to my bed. So as I wake up, I put those on first thing, because then I need my gym clothes. And that just makes it so much easier to go to the gym or go for a run. Or I usually I usually run running with my dog once or twice a week at least. So I think those little habits can can be really helpful. I don’t, I mean, I’m, I’m not an expert, my you should interview my brother, he’s he’s ripped. And he’s like, he’s turning 30 Next month, and he’s got a very regimented routine that he goes through. But it’s about finding your personal balance too, right? Like a lot of that takes sacrifices like, well, it’s sometimes it’s there’s like the social pressure when you go out to eat with a huge amount of people and like they’re having cocktails, and they’re ordering fried chicken and this and that. And you don’t always want to be the salad guy. You know?
Fei Wu 35:52
That’s, that’s true. Where did you go for your last vacation? And what was that? It sounds phenomenal, whatever the experience was, it was.
Jordan Clayton 36:01
We were spoiled. It was my father is a professional photographer, and he ended up bartering with a guy in the Adirondacks who owned a very, very small private island on Saranac Lake, and so on this barter, he was able to get us to come up and stay with him for like four days. But also part of the deal was we, me, my two other brothers, and my wife and my brother’s wife was we had to model for him. So basically, we kind of just had to have fun and go out on boats and go swimming and cliff diving and stuff like that. And we just, they just have to relax. And he just kind of took pictures of us doing, you know, enjoying the island, enjoying all the amenities, you know. So that’s a lot of fun. And they actually ended up having somebody come over and cook all the meals for us. So basically, we’re just like, yeah, yeah, it was it was a lot of it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Fei Wu 36:59
Because look on my face. It’s like,
Jordan Clayton 37:01
yeah, and all my brothers have like, we all have like Hobby photographers, as well. So like, my dad’s taking pictures, and then all of us are taking photos of each other. Yeah, some beautiful pictures from from it. Yeah.
Fei Wu 37:14
How long do you do this once a year? Oh,
Jordan Clayton 37:15
we’ve never done that before. That was a once in a lifetime kind of thing.
Fei Wu 37:20
Make it happen more often. I didn’t realize I remember you mentioned this briefly about your father’s a photographer. Yeah. And what’s his name? And is there a way to kind of discover some of his work? Yeah, his
Jordan Clayton 37:31
name’s Gary Hall, Gary Hall photography. And he’s got a huge portfolio online does a lot of lot of great kind of luxury, leisure kind of environments and architecture, architecture and landscape work as well. He, I mean, he’s, he’s been to Africa and the Bahamas, and South America, taking photos of resorts and different things like that.
Fei Wu 37:55
This is what he does full time. Yeah, for how long?
Jordan Clayton 38:00
Like, he doesn’t always travel like that. I would say, I don’t know, I’d have to ask him. I’d say, you know, a couple times a year, he gets to go and do things like that. But most of the time, he’s usually around the New England area, taking photos and working for clients and doing a lot of fine art photography as well.
Fei Wu 38:16
Do you think his career path or in this way? sounds very much like is Elon has a big influence on you becoming who you are and what you do today?
Jordan Clayton 38:25
Yeah, I mean, he’s my dad, for sure. Like, he’s, he is a very creative person, one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. And I think him as well as a lot of other family members, like my mother, my grandfather, like most of the people on both sides of my family are very, either creative or entrepreneurial. People like my dad’s whole side of the family, like they’re all musicians. And when we were growing up, like everybody had an instrument at Christmas, and we play music together, and my my mom’s side of the family, and they’re all either like business owners and entrepreneurs or crafts people or something. So there’s, I kind of grew up in this culture of people when they wanted to do something they just kind of made made it made it happen. So I think I got some of that in my spirit and some of that like, kind of creative thinking in my blood as well.
Fei Wu 39:14
Tell me more about music. And then you mentioned that you may play some instruments intuition for layer to play drum with.
Jordan Clayton 39:22
Yeah, I I feel that’s one of the big missing things in my life right now. Because I when I was younger, I play drums. I played drums for 1015 years at least. And then when I moved to Sweden, I lived in North Sweden. I think it was 2000 from 2010 to 2012. And I sold my drum set. And I haven’t really had a real like strong musical output and I can use them pretty high energy. And I was always either playing drums or I took martial arts as well. I know you’re like a third day in black belt and I’d love to pick your brain about that which is so cool. But what He’s had like some sort of physical output felt like something where I can express myself with my own my full body and drums was a great way to do that, you know, and there’s actually like a lot of drummers here, Arnold, which is super cool. And so that’s, that’s something I’m craving right now. So I’ve been like I’ve been looking into, like, what’s the smallest quietest drum set I can get from my apartment right now. But for urban living is not very cohesive. I do have this thing. It’s kind of funny. I love it though. My father in law got it. For me. It’s called a cigar box guitar. It’s a little three string guitar may have a sick old cigar box. And they they came from the south. And they were, I believe one of the instruments that helped, like what we’re that helped define the sound of bluegrass music. And it’s just has this so much soul to it, and this really fun kind of country. And a folky twang to it. That’s a lot of fun. And I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But I still, I still like I’m still like kind of a percussionist. And I love that rhythm. And I still looking to get back into it.
Fei Wu 41:05
The lyrics thing that you mentioned, I wasn’t quite, you mentioned like your you find either memorizing or writing. Oh,
Jordan Clayton 41:13
I think you when you and I were talking earlier. I’ve never, I haven’t always had the strongest memory I’ve been I’m more of an imagination guy than a memory guy. And I tend to get more lost in my imagination. And I one thing that I have trouble memorizing is is lyrics to music. Way, way, way, way harder for me than most people like I’d be I destroy karaoke in the bad kind of way. Except Except for Metallica. But I’m really I like I’ll have to do is hear a melody or a riff or rhythm or something, you know, somewhat like something musical once. And it will be like stuck in my head and it will loop over and over and over eras honestly. Like that’s teaching myself guitar. Are you going like cigar box guitar or things like that have come from listening and copying. And actually, my little my littlest brother, Keenan Clayton, he actually is in a band in New Orleans. And that’s what he does professionally right now. And he is an exceptional, exceptional gypsy jazz guitar player. And that’s how he learned and taught himself like basically, he he very similar, probably a lot better than I am at listening to one thing once and he can just translate it into his hands on the guitar and make it sound beautiful. And sometimes even better than the person who played in the first place.
Fei Wu 42:39
Was to with Yeah,
Jordan Clayton 42:41
and he can he can memorize lyrics a lot better than I can. No, I just I’ve never been good with lyrics for some reason.
Fei Wu 42:48
How many siblings do you have? I feel like you’ve named
Jordan Clayton 42:51
Alright, two other ones. I got two. I’m the oldest of three. Okay, so I have two younger brothers.
Fei Wu 42:56
Oh, I see. In my mind, I was calculating many.
Jordan Clayton 43:01
Sometimes it feels like there’s a lot more. We have a lot of like close family friends that we’ve kind of. I have some honorary brothers and sisters too.
Fei Wu 43:08
Awesome. Are there? Are there any questions that you’re you wish that I asked? But I haven’t yet?
Jordan Clayton 43:18
I’m not necessarily No. I mean, this is, this has been great. This has been really helpful. I think. For me also, just like being able to articulate this stuff out loud, I think helps provide a lot of clarity for myself. And if you have any other questions regarding me or anything, Arnold here, like anybody who’s listening to podcasts, feel free to reach out to me directly or on my LinkedIn or, you know, Twitter, Twitter,
Fei Wu 43:43
where are you most active?
Jordan Clayton 43:44
I’m probably most active on Twitter. Okay, so and we can put that Twitter handle up that’s at Jordan 001. Okay, great. I’ll definitely include that. And if there’s any other questions, or want to get in touch with me regarding UX design, or anything like that, I’m an open book. Sounds good.
Fei Wu 44:01
I’m gonna close with one question. I hope to close with every single guest. It doesn’t run with you, we’ll go to another one. But what is your definition of like, a meaningful and fulfilling life? I don’t you notice I don’t use the word success, because I feel like that can be interpreted so many different ways. what’s meaningful and fulfilling? Who is a good example?
Jordan Clayton 44:26
meaningful and fulfilling? I think it’s one that you that someone has kind of defined and live for themselves. There’s this. I don’t even remember who said this. I can’t I don’t want to quote it. But I read it. And I was like, Yeah, that makes sense. But it’s like it was look to yourself for the leadership you seek. And a lot of that is like, you know, spending, like I used to read all the time and I still read a lot too, and sometimes I get completely lost in books and Walston, other things. Things that were not myself. And that’s when I felt like I was more of a follower than somebody who was more kind of self driven, self leading. And I think a lot of a lot of living a fulfilling life is coming from a place where you’re making the decisions from your own core, from your own heart, listening to your own intuition, developing your own gut and your own guts, I guess you could say, and, versus relying so much of that energy, so much of that vision on other people. And granted, I know, like, and it’s more of a personal thing. It’s not Nestle saying at work, because every everybody’s got a boss, even the bosses have a boss, you know, and it’s not so much about that. It’s more like your personal way of kind of being a captain of your own life. I love that. That makes sense. It makes
Fei Wu 45:49
perfect sense. I was listening to John Jonathan fields on his podcast, excuse me, good life project. You said, Be your own guru. Yeah. Listen, I love that. Yeah, that’s cool. And then Tara brach on her podcast said that, when they, you know, people, I don’t know which group of people she was referring to exactly. But one of the biggest disappointments when people on the verge of passing away is that they said, the biggest regret was that wasn’t true to myself. So, so many of us, were are still living the life of someone else’s expectation. Oftentimes, family and parents, people we love and respect very much, we want to make them happy. But I think ultimately, is really about how we want to live our lives. And so I love how you
Jordan Clayton 46:40
for sure, for sure. And it’s, it’s about finding a balance to between being true, true to yourself, but also contributing to the environment you live in, in like a harmonious way. Because it is good to be true to yourself, as long as it doesn’t hurt other people too much. It’s good to be disruptive and to make a splash and sometimes, but don’t hurt anybody. Yeah, yeah.
Fei Wu 47:02
But don’t be Donald Trump. When you meet people for the first time. Like, remember, I remember when I was younger, I was like, what is that you do? And people have so much to say about themselves? And I realize I don’t want to lead with that question anymore. Because I It feels judgmental, in a way that what you do defines who you are. We’re just so many, you know, oftentimes not the case. Like what is that you love? What is that sparkles joy to you. And
Jordan Clayton 47:31
I think the thing that sparkles joy to me, as you put it, Spark sparkles joy, or gets me excited is the idea of like, I want to help come to the table and, and work with teams to really help build wonderful, wonderful things like big wonderful things that change. I think people’s way of thinking. And by that I mean, expanding people’s perception of possibility of being able to, I think get people to think bigger. Not just the teams that we’re with, or we work with, but also the clients and also like our audience, the users, the customers who use our clients products and, and things like that. shifting their perception in a very positive way.
Fei Wu 48:19
You know, I feel like I that resonates with me really well because in a way Cirque du silay does exactly that. is a group of people, apparently that are 5000 people blows my mind to open up the possibilities and opened up a Pandora’s box of things that we thought was just not humanly possible. What are some of the podcasts that you listen to? I will make sure to include a list on the blog post as well.
Jordan Clayton 48:49
Oh gosh, the Nerdist I listened to on being by Krista Tippett. I love cereal when it was going on and off. It’s still back. I’m sure I think it’s coming back for another season. Those are the main ones that come to mind.
Fei Wu 49:03
Cool. Thank you so much for your time. This was awesome.
Jordan Clayton 49:06
Thank you for having me. Thanks. It’s great.
Fei Wu 49:13
To listen to more episodes of the face world podcast, please subscribe on iTunes where visit face world.com that is f e i s wo rld where you can find show notes links, other tools and resources. You can also follow me on Twitter at face world. Until next time, thanks for listening
Transcribed by https://otter.ai