Jake Trent

A Sad Cyclops Appears in the Wild

We can have a lot of fun at work. A lot of fun comes from our team unity and togetherness. Just fun and silly stuff can be in the service of that end. Sad cyclops is no different.

Profile Team

At Pluralsight, we have product dev teams that own a full product vertical. One of those teams is the profile team, who owns the individual profile experience.

A prominent part of the UI for this experience is the profile icon. As a user, if you have an individual avatar, that will be used in the UI. But in the case your avatar doesn’t exist, you get the default icon:

default profile icon

At some point, someone saw this default profile icon as a “sad cyclops”. I’ve heard this quite a bit from this team, and I love that it’s become a part of their team identity. It’s fun to hear about team lore like that. I wanted to make it a little more epic and fun than the original profile icon – you know, play it up a bit.

A New Face

I first drew an eye because that is what I first perceived in the picture. After showing it to a few people, they said they liked it fine, but the way they saw the cyclops was with a frowny face, not a buckling-with-sorrow bottom eye lid as I had seen. So I resketched the entire face. Now it’s got a bit of sad cyclops inception to it. I took it with me over holiday where I inked and painted it. I got back and ordered some stickers excited to give them to the team. I gifted it to them this last week. I hope they like it.

I also wear one proudly on my laptop. I’m digging it. It’s fun.

a laptop of stickers

Team Fun

Why are things like this fun? Why is it good? Well, making things for people feels nice. Having them feel good about the gift was one major goal. And it’s fun because this team has something to call theirs. When a team has something that’s uniquely theirs, it’s distinctive for them. They can share it freely with others who have an association with their team. It encourages others to find their own identity. It provides great team comradery and joke material. It’s a common point of identity and jelling. It adds whimsy to work.

What do you do to have fun and bond with your team?