Shout or whisper? You decide.

Applications for the Macktez Summer Stipend — our annual development grant of $1,000 — are now being accepted. For more than a dozen years Macktez has been encouraging the creative people we work with to pursue and complete the personal projects that may languish without a helpful push.

Applications are due July 21.

Following the project plan model we use at Macktez, we’ve shared this step-by-step guide, including recommended deadlines, specific actionable tasks, and time estimates. Some of those steps include reaching out to friends to help you brainstorm and edit your application — which reminds us that even our personal projects involve some level of collaboration.

So a word or two about collaboration:

Whenever we work with other people, we need to communicate ideas, plans, and expectations in a way that is clear and respectful. But with so many communication tools available — phone, text, email, chat, Slack, megaphone — how do we know what’s best?

We’ve all been in situations where the wrong tool is used. We’ve sat in large meetings where only two people are doing all the talking and making all the decisions. Or been included on an email thread that gets way out of control. We’ve gotten a series of texts from a colleague that require multi-step answers. (Our thumbs are just not that fast.)

There’s no one tool that’s right for all cases. In an office environment, there need to be accepted protocols and tools that everyone uses to communicate. When the project you’re working on is personal, however, and the collaboration you’re requesting is probably a favor, you need to make your own thoughtful decision about how to communicate appropriately.

When we evaluate communication tools for clients, we evaluate their needs along three axes:
– Long form vs. Short form
– Many-to-many vs. One-to-one
– Synchronous vs. Asynchronous

Can you explain what you need in one sentence, or do you need a big canvas with context, charts, and footnotes? This is the difference between sending a Twitter DM and sharing a Google Drive project folder.

Are you making social plans with five friends, or sharing something personal with each one individually? In other words, do you want to include everyone on one group text or Doodle poll, or will you set aside time for a few private phone calls?

Finally, do you need an immediate response or can it wait? That is, should you interrupt your friends with phone calls, or is it better to send them emails they can reply to more thoughtfully when they have the time?

Asking yourself these kinds of questions — and then choosing to communicate based on the answers — shows respect to the people whose help you need and will make your collaboration much more effective.

(For example, a company that values complete paragraphs and documentation over immediate response is not a good candidate to adopt Slack.)

We talk about these ideas in our Working Yellow workshops.

Summer Stipend 2018

So if you are working on a personal project, and you think $1,000 would help you cross the finish line, we want to hear about it.

We evaluate applications on three simple criteria: originality, relevance, and conviction. One Stipend recipient will be selected from our all-star panel.

Again, the deadline is July 21.

(Application is now closed.)