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Wake up with CreativeMornings Boston

Posted by Alex Pearlman  February 19, 2012 06:38 PM

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creativemornings boston.jpgBy Katie Lannan

Web designer and developer Mike Kivikoski will tell you that one of the perks of self-employment is the ability to work in your pajamas, but on Friday, Feb. 10, he donned a vest and tie to give an early-morning lecture, offering a road map for aspiring entrepreneurs over coffee and bagels.

“You’re here because you want to take the leap, you want to work for yourself,” he said. “Maybe you’re sick of the man, you’re sick of the boss -- whatever reason, congrats on taking that initiative.”

Kivikoski’s presentation on how to quit your job and become self-employed was the February event for CreativeMornings Boston, the local chapter of an international lecture series targeted at creative types, featuring monthly inspirational talks over breakfast.

Founded by designer Tina Roth Eisenberg (better known by her Twitter handle, @swissmiss) in New York in 2009, CreativeMornings has grown worldwide, expanding to Zurich, London, and Milan -- just to name a few -- as well as across America. Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Seattle, among others, all host their own versions of the event.

The Boston branch, an offshoot of Design Museum Boston, strives to unite the city’s vibrant, if under-the-radar, design community, said CreativeMornings Boston organizer Sam Aquillano.

“CreativeMornings is a place where people can go if they want to learn about design and see all the great things that are already going on,” Aquillano said. “There’s a lot of creativity in Boston, and we want to bring it out a bit and make sure people can see it.”

So what if you’re not a graphic designer or a photographer, if you lean more left brain than right, or if your art skills never graduated beyond stick figures and Play-Doh snakes? You can still take away more than just the free coffee from a CreativeMornings lecture. Aquillano said you don’t need a background in a creative or artistic field to appreciate or be welcomed at the events.

“I think it’d be inspirational to anyone,” he said. “We take the stance that everyone is creative.”

Past speakers include Rachael Chong of Catchafire, who explained the positive impact of volunteering, and Peter Herman and Daren Bascome, creators of the lidless and eco-friendly Compleat Coffee Cup. At the first CreativeMornings Boston talk last October, British entrepreneur Richard Watson told the story of how he started his design firm, Essential.

Aquillano called Kivikoski’s presentation, in which he offered a six-month plan for starting your own business, a “quintessential CreativeMornings talk” because of its focus on entrepreneurship. Kivikoski opened his web design and development firm Atedrake two years ago and shared the lessons he learned in that process.

“Don’t go into your office today and say, ‘Hey, Boss, I hate you. I quit because I went to a talk today, and I’m going to work for myself,’” Kivikoski said in his speech. “And if you do do that, don’t tell him I told you any of this.”

At the event, Aquillano said that after talking with Kivikoski, he wished he could “build a time machine, meet him, go back, and make it happen” so he could benefit from Kivikoski’s advice earlier in his own career. That’s really the concept behind CreativeMornings as a whole: to provide attendees with the guidance, inspiration, and contacts they need to make their ideas happen.

“The idea is that they’re going to go to work inspired,” Aquillano said.

The next CreativeMornings Boston lecture will take place on Friday, March 23, at the co-working space Oficio. The event will feature Captains of Industry creative director Ted Page. More details will be announced via Twitter as the date approaches.

About Katie -- Currently a Brookline resident and BU senior, I grew up in New Hampshire, meaning I get confused when charged sales tax and can discuss at length the differences between multiple varieties of apples. At any given moment, I likely have my iPhone in my hand and at least one newspaper in my purse. I'm a political junkie, as well as an iced coffee addict. My interests include journalism, canvas sneakers, and pretending I'm in Ireland.

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