Ever had a hard time describing what your job is to someone else who actually works directly in your industry? If so—you may be living life in the overlap. Here's the thing—life in the overlap 'aint always easy. With community playing an important part in how we relate to each other, how do we pick and choose communities that we feel like we "fit into"? Or even more importantly—what communities will accept us when we can barely define ourselves.
This blog is an overlap blog—meaning it doesn't go very deep on one topic (though if you are an avid reader, you can detect the patterns). But one of the things I grapple with on a regular basis is should I even try to target an audience? Marketing teaches us to target audiences—to go after "key" segments and prioritize our offerings to the wants and needs of that group. What I've experienced here has been mostly the opposite. I didn't choose my audience, you chose me. I'm always fascinated by the types of people who will come here. Librarians, planners, UX people, Ad people, Tech people, Strategists, Psychologists and even Preachers—the list goes on as I get a pretty eclectic mix of folks.
That's life in the overlap for ya—you never know what kind of people you'll attract. But I said it's not easy and it isn't—professionally you have to be at the right kind of organization if you work this way (thankfully I am) and in my experience, the "down side" is that you don't always get invited to the industry "parties" or "clubs" that you'd love to be a part of. Doesn't matter how much of an audience you have—if you can't be packaged neat and tidy, sometimes that's just how it goes.
But life in the overlap has it's advantages if you put yourself in the right frame of mind. I've been thinking about some of the conferences I'm either speaking at or attending and how different each one is. One minute I'm cavorting with promo marketers, the next I'm hanging out with design strategists, then I'm teaming up with Microsoft, getting my b2b groove on and even playing UX keynote in Canada.
And this is where life in the overlap gets interesting. I've always framed my true passion as being a creative problem solver—and that's painting with a pretty broad brush. But at the end of the day—one of the perks of life in the overlap is this: You get exposed to very different types of people. And if you are observant enough, they rub off on you—the next thing you know you are taking what you've learned and applying in in a totally "unrelated" context. And this comes in handy with that whole "problem solving" thing.
So life in the overlap isn't that bad after all. X+Y+Z=OK.