Design is a social profession // In the end, you're trying to deliver a message to an audience with a hopeful intention (buy, vote, exit here, etc)… and to do that you'll need to become comfortable communicating with people in real life. As you go through your day, make the attempt to look up, smile and even engage people in conversation. I ride BART every day and meet all kinds of folks — many of whom surprise me. I love that part. The teenager in a sports jersey and sideways baseball cap reading an advanced physics book (and had plans to go into the army); The burly biker with lots of tattoos who turned out to be really nice; and Joe. Before he retired in May 2014, I rode the train with Joe for almost 2 years and first started talking to him when I saw him reading a book in Thai. Joe is a tall, older American and the last person I would expect to see reading a book like that. I found this interesting and asked him about it one day. Come to find out, he was in the Air Force in the South Pacific for years and he speaks both Thai and Japanese (and his wife is Thai). Every day he told me something new about Thai or Asian culture — for instance, when Thai people ask what you would like to eat, the translation is "what would you like with rice?"... the assumption being that you eat rice at every meal. I would know a lot less if I had not taken the time (and taken the risk) to talk to Joe the very first time.