An afternoon spent with Daily Overview founder Ben Grant. We chat about work, travel and the launch of his new book.
Describe a typical day in the life of Ben Grant.
What’s been fun, and sometimes hectic, to experience, is that since I’ve started Daily Overview, no two days are the same. At the job I was at before, one of of managers got me to start a really amazing routine of ending each day by making a list with what I needed to do to start the next day. Making that a regular exercise keeps my brain calm and on task, which is more meaningful now than ever before when there’s always something going on and I need to figure out where to prioritize my energy.
How would you describe your personal style?
I like to keep things simple and comfortable. I usually find myself wearing a solid color t-shirt and a pair of dark jeans. For me, that strikes the right balance of something I can wear to a meeting and then out with my friends after. Since I’ve left the corporate world, I often find myself wearing a hat while I work to remind myself that what I wear is no longer limited by an office dress code.
Where did you first get the idea for Daily Overview?
I was actually sitting at my favorite restaurant preparing for a talk for a space club I started when I had my a-ha moment. The talk was about satellites, so I figured I would use a mapping program on my computer to find and present some information about satellite imagery, when I was struck with a new line of thought. I typed ‘Earth’ into the search bar to see if it would zoom out to show a picture the entire planet. When I pressed enter, to my surprise, it did the opposite of what I hoped for, and zoomed in. The map had indeed settled on Earth – Earth, Texas. My screen had filled with a stunning patchwork of green and brown circles (turns out, this is how crops are watered in the mid-western USA). I was astounded by what I saw and became obsessed with finding and capturing these places. A few nights later, I stayed up until 4am building a website, decided to share one image each day, and “Daily Overview” was born.
What’s been your favorite “overview” to date and why?
It’s so hard for me to pick a single favorite but I will say that my favorite images are the ones that get people to say “What is that?”. That’s when people start looking closer at their screen or on a canvas. To me that’s an invitation. To me that means the viewer is curious to learn more about what they are seeing. Since most of the images that I create focus on places of human impact, I also view that as an opportunity to educate people about what’s going on on our planet and what that looks like.
You have a book launching today, what’s one thing you learned about yourself during the writing process?
As this was my first book, there were obviously many unexpected hurdles in the process that I needed to overcome to get everything finished on time. I think those experiences helped me realize that I could better prepare for these moments by asking more questions and being more proactive with my publishers. Hopefully everything I learned would make the process of doing a second book much easier!
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
I am grateful that I am working on something that allows me to have an outlet for a creative way of thinking and a business way of thinking. I think if things were too specialized in either of these worlds, it would tire me out. The fact that I am able to do both, and go back-and-forth between them, keeps me fresh.
Where to next and what are three things you’ll throw in your travel bag?
I’m heading to London in a couple of weeks for the release of my book in the UK. The three things I’ll definitely bring (in addition to my Hobes!) are a Moleskin, a pair of sunglasses, and my drone.
Words to live by?
Daily Overview book is now available to purchase here.