Brand strategist and founder of The Boffin Society, Eva Goicochea, talks about bringing online connections offline, finding balance between personal and client work and developing self-discipline.
And because work is not everything she shares some little details about her daily life with her husband, four dogs and two cats in Los Angeles.
Eva, when you were growing up what was your dream job ?
From a very young age, I was convinced I would grow up to be an architect. Fascinated with buildings, for my 7th birthday I requested that we take the train home to Albuquerque from Detroit just to stopover in Chicago for the day to see the Sears (now Willis) Tower. I must have pressed my face to that window for an hour. What a view! Needless to say, I am not an architect.
What was your first job ?
I looked about 10 but I convinced a coffee shop to hire me at 14-years-old as a barista. They had to tell everyone I was older, but I took those lattes so seriously that no one questioned the age part. Also, I could always up sell a muffin so my boss was happy.
Can you introduce us to your different projects like The Boffin Society and I Love Creatives ? How did you come up with the idea for each project ?
Thinking about it now, I would say my life-long interests in architecture, science, and history led me to creating The Boffin (a slang term for scientist) Society, but the simple timeline went something like this: My old blog became a new blog became The Boffin Society. After three years of writing online I realized that, while I do love the digital space, I wanted to bring that online connection offline. Drawing from historical tradition and people, it’s become a way to convene “the clever and convivial to incite conversation, inspire exploration, and engage in idea sharing in a simple way.”
I Love Creatives is a passion project with my friend, Puno. We call it the “Craigslist for creatives” as it’s one part a way for people to actively advertise what they’re looking for (say, a collaborator or a graphic designer) and one part a way for them to passively explore the community in an easy way through our listings of Members.
How do you keep up with all these projects at the same time ?
Thanks to Puno, I now keep all of my projects as separate desktops and try to parse time spent on projects based on priority. It’s no fixed formula, but it really does allow me to focus.
What do you like and dislike about the digital world?
Full disclosure: My first computer was an Apple II way back in the 80s so I’ve been sitting behind a screen for much of my life. So, that said, there is almost nothing I dislike about the digital world—ignoring, of course, the amount of junk that can be found online. If used really thoughtfully and honestly, I find that the digital space complements and betters the physical world. (See: Venmo, Map, Wunderlist)
What do you think the biggest challenge of your work is ?
I would say the biggest challenge is finding the balance between what the client wants and what I would do if I were in the client’s shoes. Sometimes our aesthetic and sensibility couldn’t be more different, but one contract and many hours later, I just go with it.
What is the best and the worst part about your job?
Working from home is wonderful as every day is comfortable and warm, but there are times I wish there was someone to tell me to turn off my computer and go home.
Can you tell us what an average day looks like?
A very calm recipe, really: I wake up at 8am (I’m a night owl and no morning bird), put the water on to boil for the French press and our pets’ food (we give them The Honest Kitchen—highly recommended), and then tidy up by making the bed and making sure the house is just so. Then I grab my mug and a bowl of yogurt, wrangle the dogs, and go down to the office to work for a few hours. At some point, I will perhaps go for lunch or, on rare occasion, sit outside, and then continue working. Then it’s back upstairs to repeat the morning routine sans coffee substitute tea, think about/make/pick up dinner and then read or have some quiet time. Repeat until perhaps Thursday when we go out with friends in the evenings. Pepper in the gym. The weekends are anyone’s guess.
What have you learned so far about starting your own business ?
Having your own business is a constant exercise in self-discipline, organization, and patience. I have parts two and three mostly figured out, but it is part one—the part about peeling yourself off your chair to take a stretch break—that I am still learning.
Career wise is there somebody that inspires you the most ?
There are so many people who inspire me with their work, but if work is about attitude, then I’d say Caroline de Maigret, hands down. She hasn’t won the Nobel Peace Prize, but she sure recognizes the importance of not taking yourself/life so damn seriously and in exercising your many talents. It’s that consistency of character—someone who acts authentically in both professional and personal situations—that I admire most.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
It’s so cliché, but it relates to my answer above and is an idea I try to live by: Just be yourself as you will never wake up as someone else.
What are your goals for the future ?
Simplify. As someone who takes on most projects and plans that come my way, I would like to learn how to pare down and focus on just a few a time.
Five fun facts about you:
- My full name is Eva Iliana Yazmin Cantu Goicochea-Preston. Ridiculous, I know.
- I live with one husband, four dogs, and two cats. Yes, they all get along!
- My family is sixth-generation New Mexican and there are a lot of them.
- I was in a movie (based on a novel) when I was 5 called The Milagro Beanfield War set in New Mexico. In it, the mayor’s last name is Cantu. Coincidental? No. See number 3.
- I can probably count on one hand the times in my adult life that I’ve gone to bed before 10pm.
Pictures from Eva’s Instagram