In 1998, when she was art professor at the Stanford Art Department, Ruth Kedar was approached by 2 students to design a logo for their startup business. Those students were Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, which has now become one of the worlds most profitable businesses, and the logo one of the most recognisable in the process.
In the weeks interview Ian speaks with Ruth to discover how she designed the Google logo, what decisions were made, and the reason why the final solution was selected. We also dive into Ruths time at Stanford University and her fascination with playing cards too.
- Kedar Designs
- Ruth Kedar on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin
- Google Logo Case Study
- Google 2015 logo redesign
- Playing card decks designed by Ruth: The Duolog Deck | Analog Deck
Ruth Kedar Interview Transcription
Ian Paget: I understand that when you worked on the Google logo, the company was an unknown business at that time, but now it’s become one of the world’s most valuable companies and the logo that you worked on has become one of the most recognisable in the world, which is just incredible to think that. Can you tell us the story of you was able to work on the Google logo?
Ruth Kedar: I was teaching at Stanford at the time. I was teaching design both for the art department and mechanical engineering product design and actually the course was open for students all across. I had a friend who was doing his postdoc at Stanford and he was part of the Center for Design Research where he was doing most of his work and he had two doc students at the time who were starting this company and he was friends with them. They were looking for somebody to help them with their branding. Sian Tan, who was my friend decided that it would be a good match and perhaps introduce me to them. I got an email from Larry Page asking me if I would be interested in meeting and talking about their company and that’s how it started. It started with a conversation with Larry and Sergei and we went from there.
Ian Paget: Wow. Hearing this now, those names, this sounds almost like the opportunity of a lifetime. I totally understand at that point this was a startup and they were just students. Anyway, I’m keen to dig in to this more if you’re able to. Can you share with us what happened after that first discussion?
Ruth Kedar: Yeah. Actually, there’s interesting fact that when they spoke with me, I was not the only person they were speaking with. They were looking at other designers and we had a lot of conversations before they decided that they were going to go with me. I think that one of the reasons that they decided to proceed with working together is because of the approach which was both broad and deep. I really wanted to get a sense for who they were, the company that they were building, where they were building it for, what was their vision.
We had really interesting conversations and of course in the process, there were all kinds of possibilities presented. The way that I approach this and actually the way I approach them is not very different than the way that I approach design today is that every single time I have a conversation, it means that my understanding broadens. In the same way that my understanding broadens, the questions that I still have also grow. Every single time that I come back with a presentation, which means I’m translating what I understood, what I given from them into a visual language so it’s almost a translation here. This visual language is developing its own vocabulary.
The purpose of these presentations is actually to very much like Alice in Wonderland and you just see what I say to know what I think is that sometimes when you present something, it makes the client or the person on the other side pause and think a little bit deeper into what really do they mean. Is this going at the right direction? Does this open some avenues of thought for them?
Every presentation is an opportunity for them to hone their thoughts and for me to learn more, and understand more where it is that we need to go so of course, there were a lot of different concepts that were being presented and every single one of them helped us through this path together so that we were both getting a clearer vision of what it is that we were working towards.
I think that in many ways, the fact that this logo has become so incredibly famous and ubiquitous lays entirely with the success of Google and what Google has become. In my opinion, one of the successes as a logo design is that we were talking with the company that was extremely small. It was starting. They had a vision that was very long term. At that time, we didn’t know what Google was going to become I think. I didn’t know. They didn’t know. The fact that it served the company for 15 years as it went from a handful of employees when I was talking to them to tens of thousands, and went from being not only primarily but solely a search engine company into a plethora of different fields is kind of a testimony that these very early conversations were able to create something that transcended that vision and help them continue using that abstraction into … apply that to the services as they were developing and becoming so much larger than we envisioned at the time.
Ian Paget: Absolutely. This is really fascinating. Based on that early vision and the discussions you had, could you show us the reasons why you made the designs decisions you did? What’s the reasons why you used the font that you selected and why did you decide on a different colour for each letter?
Ruth Kedar: Well, so let’s start from the typeface. I’ll get to the colours in a minute. You have to remember that in ’98 when we were talking about Google, the landscape was very different. We were starting to use the internet more broadly. In some ways, design on the internet at that time was very crude because designers who had been working in print for so many years had a whole history of the development of typefaces due to the different instruments that we used in order to create writing systems. Starting from tablets and going into paper and then changing of pens and creating cursive once you had the quill pen and so on and so forth and the typesetting and so on.
Once you came to the internet, we were taking about pixels and there was still a lot that was not quite understood how we didn’t have great means of representing type and in some ways, there was a little bit of a learning curve. The things that were presented were either very straight, how can I say it, very straight representations of print on the screen but didn’t work so well. On the other hand, we had all kinds of really wacky typefaces, almost like you were kind of hand drawing something and not thinking it through.
There were these two schools trying to come together, the very traditional on one hand and something that was completely different coming on the other hand. One of the things that I was thinking about this new medium and it was getting better and better. We already had laser printers, so we were able to have curves and not be completely pixilated.
One of the things that I was thinking about search is that search is a really interesting thing because this is where past and future meets. You come in with a question and so you’re looking into past solutions so that you can solve today something that you’re going to do in the future. There’s this wonderful continuous story here. I thought I was always really interested in typography and the history and development of typography. I thought that if we were completely going to abandon the history, we were going to be doing a disservice to this actually a service that we are providing who has this really interesting tie.
I looked at a lot of different fonts and I went both Serif and Sans Serif. I was trying to find something that was both traditionally tied to the beautiful fonts in the past and also had a very current and in some ways surprising ways. When I came upon the font, Catull, I really loved the way that it had these very elegant stems and ascenders and descenders and also had these Serifs that were very, very precise and I wanted something that when you looked at it, it was very clear that it’s something you haven’t seen before.
Every single time we were developing a logo for a company and we’re working with typography, it’s really important to look at what are the letters that create the name for the company or for the client, at the same time that we’re looking at the deeper meanings and the interpretations and the vision and all of that. The lower case g of the Catull was so incredibly unique and it was sitting so perfectly in the Google word that it made really sense to actually use that font and I was really happy that they actually went for that and not for some of the other options that were being presented. Because again, what is that hindsight is 20/20? We didn’t know that we were going to have the Google Doodles but the fact that these letters were individually so unique really allowed for these fantastic variations that could be totally out there and you could always still see the logo as this underlying structure beneath it. That’s kind of the font and the typography behind it.
The colours were kind of an interesting exercise because again, looking at the landscape at the time, when Google started, it was a service provided primarily for students of universities because this was the audience that was actually entering the online field. Everybody else was still using encyclopaedias and reference materials that were printed. In many ways, people were afraid of using the internet, pushing buttons which you do today without a second thought, although I’m not sure that that’s a good approach, especially not today.
In those days, people were afraid they’re going to push a button and your computer is going to explode. This whole idea of being afraid to interact with the medium really made us think about the idea of play. I’m not saying the idea of play as being childish and being immature or not sophisticated, but the joy of play. The fact that when you play you have curiosity, you take risks because you don’t think about them. It’s kind of in the spirit of play.
Everywhere I looked around and the small Google office that they had at the time, there were lava lamps and there were Lego cubes and there were these primary colours. I thought that primary colours again, so important in the visual space, so important when you are looking both in print when you’re talking about additive and subtractive colours and you start going from primary colours. Because in math which is the basis of algorithm that Google had started with, you start with very concrete principles, very basic and you start iterating from that. It’s fascinating that with colours, you start with these primary colours and you can build to infinite colours.
The idea of playing with primary colours kind of fit into all of these different ideas that we’re talking at the time. When it came to organise them, it became also clear that the interesting thing about organising information is that you can organise it by whatever means that you find that work for you. You can alphabetise. You can do it chronologically. You can do it thematically. I mean, there are different ways of organising. Every single time that you organise something by these constructs, you will create some sort of serendipitous connection by putting these things next to each other.
I remember as a little girl when my parents subscribed or had the Encyclopedia Britannica that I would love to pick up, I don’t know, pick a letter, letter P, pick the P volume and open it up and find that you have, I don’t know, parakeet next to paralegal. Two things that are completely unrelated but they are related because the organisation that kind of construct put them next to each other.
This kind of unexpected serendipity, the fact that you might be surprised by the results that you get and perhaps this one little item that shows up because of this organisation is the one that you are looking for, it became important for us to not go into the primary colour progression but create something that was a little bit unexpected and that tied in with the humour that the company had, the fact that they were not at a square, they were not trying to be structured. Like the Fortune 500 companies of the time, they were irreverent a little bit.
They also had this little thing which kind of played also with the idea of pushing buttons can be dangerous to your health, is the fact that they had this little thing, are you feeling lucky? Meaning that do you trust us to give you a result instead of seeing all of this list. That’s the reason why we started with primary colours but we’ve decided to kind of mix them up a little bit.
Ian Paget: Wow. That was absolutely fascinating. Thank you for going in so much detail. I really wasn’t expecting that because I’ve read a lot of logo design history books and I don’t think I’ve read or seen a more in depth explanation of the Google logo so I’ll probably never look at that logo in the same way again.
Anyway, to expand on this, when you was working on the design phase, I understand that you had other potential solutions that you did design and discuss with the client. I’m really curious to know, was there any particular direction that you worked on at that time that you feel kind of worked better than the solution that you came to or that you had more of a preference for that didn’t perhaps gets selected?
Ruth Kedar: Well I think this is a complex question or perhaps complex answer because I think that again as I said before, the whole idea of presentations is to continue the dialogue. In many ways, there is always this balance that exists between when do you interject yourself as a designer with whatever it is that you bring in both in terms of talent, ideas, opinions and so forth and the needs of the client, the fact that at the very end of this conversation, the client is the one that decides which direction or which solution it fits them the most.
You really need to balance those two. Many times while we were doing this and you’re trying to stay very objective because again, you are a conduit for ideas. You are a conduit for conversation and you are a conduit so that the process can move forward both broadly and deeply. Of course we fall in love with some things that we do. We find that one represent us better or perhaps the aesthetic is better.
What I have found over the years … First of all, I have to do a side note here. I don’t remember any more of all of these that were presented, which one I felt that was going to be the best one. Of course, I don’t have a crystal ball that I can say if we had chosen this, what would have happened because there are too many unknowns in there.
I have to say that very often, I mean, I would say 99% of the time, even though perhaps doing a particular presentation, it doesn’t go necessarily the way that I wanted it to go as I came into the meeting. Maybe I got frustrated because maybe something that I thought would work better is kind of discarded and we go in a different direction, it is incredibly rare that at the end of the meeting, I don’t feel that this is now a great opportunity for further exploration and it broadens up my own perspectives.
You really have to let go of the little of the big ego which what you have at the moment. Because at the very end, the client really needs to be confident once they go away with a solution that this solution is going to work for them. Because my goal ultimately is that this is going to serve them for a very long time. Many times I will say, probably all the time, I like to say when I present something, I usually send them at the presentation ahead of the meeting so that they can sit with it for a while, because you need to ruminate a little bit. There are certain things that speak to you right away. There are things that you look at you don’t like or sometimes you are even repulsed by. All of those reactions are great opportunities for you to delve deeper a little bit into why something doesn’t work or why something works because again this will become the kernels for the next situation. Does that answer your question?
Ian Paget: Yes, it does, fantastic answer. Now, obviously you created that logo when the company first started. The mission for the company was different at that time and a lot has changed since then and the company has now become one of the world’s biggest companies. I’m curious to hear from your perspective since you created that original logo, what was your thoughts when the logo was redesigned in 2015?
Ruth Kedar: I think my first thought was that it was time. Because the landscape had changed so much from when we started to where we were in 2015. We had new viewing devices. There were new applications and services. A whole of those really required revisiting how this particular logo or the brand was serving and representing not only the current but the future needs of the company.
We were incredibly lucky to create a logo for the company when they had one very specific product. The vision was much broader. The characters involved had very specific personalities and we try to incorporate all of that and I think that that allowed it to really serve for such a long time. In 2015, Google had diversified so much and it had so many different products, each of them being developed at different times. Some of them developed in-house, some of them acquired different companies who came in with their branding and their user interface and all of that.
In many ways, I think that it was becoming really difficult for Google and again speaking from my … it’s my own perspective here, but I think that it was becoming difficult for them to really create a brand that really unified. I think that there were a lot of products out there that the customers of these products didn’t know this was a Google product. I think that it became really important for the company to have a much more pronounced and clear presence in all of those so that Google again was not only viewed as a search company, but it was viewed as so much more.
I think that the fact that they went back in and really looked at everything, that they had in front of them, and they were able to come back again very similarly to what we did originally and what every brand designer, logo designer or designer does, I mean after all, design as a different shade from art, it’s a utilitarian profession. It’s a utilitarian enterprise. We’re here to solve a problem. Sometimes it’s a very complex problem. Sometimes it is a very difficult to define problem, which makes it fascinating.
Either way, you really have to look at everything and create a language that has a grammar that allows you to really conjugate all these words and have conversations about your brand that really makes sense. Yes, of course, it’s hard to see the child that you created go to college, but come on. It’s time.
Ian Paget: When you designed the Google logo, the business was a startup. Now, it’s become one of the world’s most profitable business and the logo that you designed is now recognised by almost every single person in the world that uses the internet. That type of thing very rarely happens. Now that you’re being through that experience, what does that type of thing do for a designer? What does that do for your career? What does that do for you as an individual?
Ruth Kedar: Well, it’s interesting. I think it varies from person-to-person. Success can be a great thing and can be also not so great thing. I think that all of us creative people should not sit down and bask ourselves in the laurels of the past. Our challenges are always ahead. In many ways, I was very lucky that I designed this logo when the company was small. As a matter of fact, nobody kind of knew that I had done it. I mean, it was part of my portfolio so when I was asked to speak with different companies and clients and whatever it is, it was one of but it was not what was kind of presented first.
I think that it was not until the 10th anniversary of Google when suddenly it became big news. They were talking not just about the company but they were talking about the brand. There were a lot of interviews and there were a lot of articles written and that’s when people started getting really interested in more a historical perspective. It was part of the history. Of course, thanks to the interwebs, these stories got propagated.
On an aside, which I find funny in the sense of how success works, because it’s always in the eye of the beholder, it’s really not for me. I have an interesting background. I was born in Brazil. In my teens, my parents moved to Israel so that’s where I went to undergrad. Then I came to the United States and I did graduate school. My parents have a long history of Eastern Europe and South America and all kinds of things. As these interviews came in from publications all over the world, each of them claimed the connection. If it was the Polish press, I’m of Polish descent. For the Israeli press, I’m of Israeli descent. For Brazilian press, it’s Brazilian.
It was really humorous that this is all about other people. It has nothing to do with me because my work was the same work that I did and I do even when nobody is looking. Yet when you put a spotlight on it, it develops this life of its own. I just sit and observe because it now has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Ian Paget: That’s a really good way to look at this and also very modest too, but I totally understand. Anyway, you briefly started to talk about your background then and I’m aware that you studied master’s in design at Stanford University and you eventually became a professor there too, which is incredible. Can you share with us a little bit more about this time and perhaps some of the important lessons that you learned during that experience?
Ruth Kedar: I came to Stanford because it was an interdisciplinary program. My undergrad was in architecture, which is interdisciplinary by definition. I was really interested in a lot of different things. Before I came to Stanford, I had been working my own firm in a field that did not exist in Israel at the time which was translating architectural buildings to the people who actually use them. Because while I was studying architecture it became at least again in my opinion that we architects are really interested in when we present our buildings, it’s the facades. It’s the bird’s eye view. Although I don’t know anybody who has wings that can see buildings from bird’s eye view. We have cross-sections buildings. Again, I don’t have x-ray vision. I don’t know what’s on the floor above me or three offices to the left.
When you present models, you have people but people were just there for scale. I really thought that people get lost in airports. They don’t get to the planes on time because they don’t know where the gate is. This whole idea that I could see coming out of the Swiss, the Basel School of Design was an architecture graphics. I try to speak to architects. They were not interested in that. I talk to graphic designers. They’re not interested in that. I created my own firm and did that for a while.
My feeling was that I was like the Baron of Munchausen, pulling myself by my own ponytail. I was making up stuff as I went along. I didn’t study this. I really wanted to come to a place where I could get mentors and I could really understand design more broadly. Stanford fit the bill for a lot of different reasons. When I came to the program, I thought that I was actually going to continue my studies in this area of architectural graphics. That was part of my letter of intent and probably why they hire, not they hire, they accepted me in the first place.
Two things became really clear to me the minute I came to Stanford and I digress just for a minute. The program at Stanford, because it’s a master of fine arts, there’s no PhD, you have a year where you take courses. The courses you take are entirely up to you. They can be entirely within the design department. They can be taken from all other departments. Then you have a year where you do your master’s project. When I came in, I found that I was coming back to school after being out in the field working for about five years. I found it so joyous to learn again that I just took every class I could find in every department I could find. This was the first time that I really enjoyed really being in a university environment. I was doing way beyond what I was asked to do because I really was so engaged.
Of course the fruits of my labor were that I was giving more assignments to do and kind of piquing the interesting of the people I was working with but it was really because I couldn’t get enough. I just wanted more and more and more of it. They were very accommodating in my taking all of these classes because it was way beyond what I needed to take. That’s number one.
Number two was the fact that when I came to the master project and it became really clear to me that this idea of going into architecture graphics is not what I wanted to experience and experiment with for a year-long project. My first thought was do I give up that intent. That was the intent I came with and the fact that I allowed that go and started experimenting with other ideas. I found that incredibly valuable because sometimes we get set into something even when we set that to ourselves and that prevents us from being open to other things.
That’s how in the first couple of weeks perhaps, first month, I started playing with a lot of different ideas and somehow I came into this playing card idea and that was because here was a product and again reminder, Stanford was this interdisciplinary program between the art department and a product design. We had a lot of engineers in the product design side and we had very few students from the art side which is where I came into.
I was looking for a product because it was something I haven’t done before. I wanted a product that was incredibly versatile. I love this idea that you have a deck of cards. Children can play. Adults play. You played for fun. You played for money. People have died playing cards in the Wild West. You play solitaires. You play with other people. I mean, the fact that you’re fanning and stacking the cards and they are so incredibly visual and so personal because you hold it in your hands, that was kind of the departure moment.
In terms of what I learned, there was a point after the first … Stanford is a quarter system, after the first quarter when again we did our presentations, the professors came in and they said that they wanted us to work on different projects. Every quarter would be a different project. I went home and I thought about it for a while. I came back and I stood with the panel. I think there were five people in the panel at the time. I said to them, “I’ve already worked in the field. I know what deadlines are. I know what it is to do a project from beginning to end. What is specification? What are constraints? I really need this time to explore. I really want to give myself this whole year to explore the subject. As a matter of fact, I am not even promising you that I’m going to have a product at the end.” They said, “Well, if you don’t have a product, then perhaps you don’t graduate.” I said, “It’s the risk I’m going to take. I really need to do this.”
What’s interesting again in not sticking to plans is that I did do a lot of experimentation and really went incredibly broad into all kinds of things, but it became clear to me at the very, very end of the year that unless I gave people the same way that I enjoy holding cards, that I gave them deck of cards to hold and to play with that I wouldn’t have the whole circle. I ended up with three different decks that they could actually play with.
I think that the lesson here is sometimes you really need to take the risk and stick to your guns even if the outcome could be catastrophic. Because I think that unless like again from tarot, the fool how he has one foot towards the precipice and unless you take that leap, you never know what might happen. I’m extremely happy that I did it but I have to say, I really take my hat off to my professors at Stanford who allowed me to do that because it would not have looked good for them to have such a catastrophic failure or the fact that they allowed me to do it both gave me the confidence to do it and actually ended up being kind of a win-win for everybody. Of course at that time, we had no clue that that’s what’s going to happen.
Ian Paget: Absolutely, I actually noticed on your website that you actually worked on the deck of cards for Adobe too, which I assume was one of the outcomes of doing that as well. Can you tell us a little bit more about that project?
Ruth Kedar: When I finished my playing cards project and one of the things that I did during that time was actually at the time, all I had was a dot matrix printer and a Mac 128K. It had external disk where I put my little floppy 128K. I was working with MacPaint and it was all pixilated. I would print in black and white and then I learned that somewhere you could get ribbons that were in colour and that’s how I did all of those things and created colours and so forth.
I also did some of the cards were actually monoprints and some of them were done kind of in a more traditional message. I really started looking in those days at technology and David Kelley, who was one of my professors at Stanford, David Kelley who was the founder of IDEO. He at the very end because he knew that I was so interested in the technology, he wanted to connect me with Adobe because they had just introduced this language and postscript that allows you to really have these beautiful curves and you’re not … What’s the word I’m looking for, constrained by the pixel. You can start doing things that are beyond that, and laser printers were coming up.
I had a conversation at Adobe with Russ Brown who has gone … He’s still at Adobe doing fantastic things with Photoshop, which was not a product at Adobe yet. We were talking about this new product that they were just introducing. This was 1988. I had just finished my master’s and they were talking about introducing Adobe Illustrator. They had a huge barrier to entry. That was that designers didn’t want to have anything to do with this new technology because computers were going to make all of us look exactly the same. The individuality of designers was going to go out the window.
They were going to introduce Adobe Illustrator at COMDEX. COMDEX is a really big happening event, convention that happens in Las Vegas. He said, “How about you create a deck for Adobe using Adobe Illustrator.” At that time, I hadn’t used Illustrator yet and Illustrator was very rudimentary, was black and white. You could print in colours if you did your own colour separations and you knew how to do that, but it was black and white and there was no preview. You worked in what today is called work mode. You only had thin lines and you had to envision what they would look like once you give them a way to the strokes and so and so forth.
I started looking at that a little bit and I came back to him and I said, “I would love to do this, don’t get me wrong. I was super excited about it. If the issue that we have right now is that designers are concerned that they will all look the same, this is a great opportunity, a deck of cards has four suits. How about we have four designers designing each of the … Each designer would design an individual suit. That will showcase that we’re not all going to look the same if we go through the Illustrator process.”
Adobe deck did exactly that. We had four different designers. Each of us had our own style and our own take and our own approach in using that software. That became a huge hit for Adobe. First of all, you go to Las Vegas, you want to carry a deck of cards home. It spoke more than a thousand words how this software is actually going to allow designers to keep their unique approach and it’s just going to be one more tool in their toolbox. That’s how that deck came to be.
Ian Paget: It’s such amazing project to be involved with. The idea, how to show the capabilities for Adobe Illustrator could do. You may have helped it become what it is today.
Ruth Kedar: Well, I wouldn’t say that that helped to become what it is today in the same way that I wouldn’t say that my logo has helped Google become what it is today. I think that it is satisfying to know that you are a part of this complex story and you are one of the pieces, the big jigsaw puzzle that allowed that story to be told and to be told successfully. I think that that is the role is here that … I think that that’s also something that’s really important for every one who is entering a professional field, especially today is that we as individuals in our fields or even having colleagues in our fields cannot solve the problems that are placed in front of us today. They are very complex. They are interdisciplinary and they really demand that you have conversations with everybody who is part, is another piece of the puzzle.
We need to interface with all of them. We can’t just stay, if we are coming from the art field. We cannot just stay within that. We need to allow our kind of extremities if you will in our mesh of understanding. Those extremities need to connect with people who perhaps don’t speak our language so we need to figure out ways in how we can connect to them and how we can connect to the ones that are going to produce it. How are we going to connect to the one that are going to use it and so on and so forth.
It’s really important to know that regardless of how big you get and how good you are in your field, you’re only as good as your ability to interface with the other people who also play brilliant part in this overall process.
Ian Paget: That’s very true. We’re nearly at the hour mark. I have one last question for you.
Ruth Kedar: Sure.
Ian Paget: It’s a question I’ve asked almost every guest on this season so far, so I’m really curious to what you say. If you could travel back in time and offer your younger self just one piece of advice, what would that advice be?
Ruth Kedar: That’s also interesting. For me, every question always has a little bit of complexity so I apologise for that.
Ian Paget: No, it’s good. It’s interesting.
Ruth Kedar: I’m actually going to start the other way around. I would like my younger self. I would tell you what I would like my younger self to tell me older self first. When I started everywhere and I told you a little bit of the story that I started my business in Israel where I was working in the field that I had no business being in because I’ve never done it before is that when I started with my very first project and I did this the whole time, is that every single time, and it came from a place of inferiority. I have to say that because I was cognisant of the fact that I really didn’t know anything. That was I listened. Every single minute, every single meeting, every place I interacted, I really listened and I paid attention. By doing that, I got to know the people and understand the motives and understand what it is that they know and who it is that I need to reach out to learn something.
I think that listening is one of the most if not the most important scale. The reason why I am saying this to my older self is that sometimes I’m a very outspoken person. I don’t know if it’s genetics or not but that’s the way it is. I speak my mind. Sometimes I find myself speaking perhaps a little bit too soon and I really need to remind myself that regardless of how much I know, there’s still a lot I don’t. Listen first. This is my advice that I really want to keep in mind from my younger self.
If there was something that today and we touched on it a little bit that I would advise my younger self is really not to be arrogant. I think that youth has a fantastic attribute and that is arrogance. We’re going to live forever. We know everything. We’re going to change the world. We know what’s better. With listening comes another thing and that is respect. Not just respect the people who are above you who perhaps are there so that you could get something from them, but really respect everybody who’s around you and particularly the people who you think are below you.
Because again as I said before, we are all part of this puzzle and I have this little anecdote, my very first job, my chutzpah job is I reached out to somebody really big developer in Israel because again, neither architects or designers wanted to hire me for this thing. I heard that he did these big projects and he didn’t do things by the book. I found out his number and I called up and in my big arrogance, I asked for an hour meeting. They didn’t know me from Adam, and the secretary pretty much just hung up. I kept on calling and kept on calling.
I could understand why I was telling why he needed to meet up with me and I really thought that I needed to get to him because she didn’t know anything. When I finally got my two-minute meeting with him, not the one hour, and later on found the story, she was almost like an adopted daughter to him. She was incredibly protective of him and she really wanted to make sure she respected his time and really wanted to make sure that whoever he met was worth his time.
I had no idea and no concept of somebody else having other matters of importance in their own circle. I really came in thinking that really only what I had in mind mattered. I think that that again causes very, very narrow vision, this tunnel vision that can be really detrimental in the way that you interact with people. I think listening and respect are incredibly important in every piece of work that we do.
Ian Paget: Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree with that from my own experience as well. Well Ruth, it’s been a real pleasure chatting with you and thank you so much for sharing all of your stories with us. I really enjoyed them and I really hope the listening will have done too. Ruth, thank you so much for coming on. It’s been an absolute honour to chat with you.
Ruth Kedar: Well, thanks so much, Ian. Thanks for having me on one of your podcast. It was a pleasure to me. I did a little bit of reminiscing. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much.
Ian Paget: You’re very welcome.
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