Category: Business

Crystal Clear Resources is proud to announce a new blog series that will occur twice each month – beginning in January 2018 – called The Art in What We Do!

Every field has its own brand of creativity and those that are truly successful in their field know that there is a distinct ‘art’ to what they do.

This series will feature remarkable people from a broad range of disciplines as we explore their personal stories and the particular art that they bring to their discipline. Join us as we delve into the peculiarities of creativity and the creative process and examine how inventive thinking paves a pathway toward personal and professional success.

Regardless of what your career is or how you do it, there is an art to what we do. Let’s go explore it!

You can feel a good idea. It vibrates with potential and it begets new ideas. It gathers more ideas into itself and develops until it becomes real, substantial. But the idea itself is just the beginning – the real magic is in the telling, it’s in enlivening an audience and in unveiling an idea so that people can participate in the creative dialogue. Ideas are not meant to be isolated, lonely bits of creative energy; they are meant to be shared.

Sometimes there is a fear that sharing an idea will make it no longer solely yours. For that, Howard Aiken has some pithy advice: “don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original you will have to ram it down their throats.” Not only that, but you will have to make your voice heard above a sea of other voices and ideas vying to do the same thing. The best way to be understood above the din is through effective communication. A well-communicated idea will always fly further and higher than an equally brilliant idea masked behind shoddy rhetoric. Through a well-constructed and persuasive argument, you can (metaphorically) shove your idea down someone’s throat and make it reach your audience.

The best part is that this works on ideas of all shapes and sizes. As a personal example, I offer up a short anecdote from my time in graduate school. I was studying Greek, Latin and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr and I had this fantastic professor. He had mastered the art of somehow guiding a student toward an idea so deftly that it felt like they had arrived at it all on their own. At the end of each semester we had a 25-page term paper due for each course. His course had been on Attic Orators and I had struggled over finding my topic until I felt that spark of inspiration. I came to him with an idea that blended Ancient Greek and Athenian archaeology and revivified a subject that almost no one had touched in 50 years. I was excited. The whole process felt like I was excavating each and every passage, making new connections and forming links that few (if any) had bothered to forge before.

When I approached him with the general outline he was less than interested. The subject of my paper was Athenian mortgage pillars. Right now, you’re probably staring at those words with the same lack of interest my professor had. It was apparent from his expression that he thought the genesis of my idea belonged where I had found it – 50 years in the past. To his credit, however, his response – after some grumbling – was: “convince me.”

I knew it was a good idea. I also know that my hurried, excited description hadn’t done my idea justice. I ultimately resolved to take on the subject for my final paper and prove to him – and to myself – that it was a good idea. I prepared, practiced, and honed my knowledge of the material and the outline of my presentation. I only had five minutes to make my argument and I wanted it to be spectacular. Or at least as striking as a speech on mortgage pillars could be. I explained my argument in more detail this time, pointed to my evidence, and showed how and why my idea was important. This time (thankfully) the students and the professor engaged with the material; they asked questions and they were excited to learn more. I had succeeded. An important note to add to this, though, is that my idea hadn’t changed. It had become a bit more refined to be sure, but in essence it was the same idea I had presented to my professor months before. My way of talking about the idea, however, had undergone many transformations, emerging better defined and ultimately better communicated.

Those two words – “convince me” – are crucial. Everyone in every interaction is looking to be convinced by your idea, whether they explicitly say so or not. Although I may call Crystal Clear Resources a writing, editing, and translation company, that is why we have always been – first and foremost – a communication company. We were established to help people communicate their ideas and we live for those moments when your audience latches onto your idea and gets excited by it. We are able to make every one of your ideas perfectly understandable because we begin with a very simple premise: convince me.




I have always found quotes a fruitful source of inspiration. There’s something awe-inspiring about reading someone else’s words and realizing that the same things that resonate within you are also a source of wonder to someone else. I can still remember the lines that have had the greatest impact on me, that have found a home inside my very character, because the best quotes inspire new ideas, new words, and – in my case – a new business.

Although language had me in its grasp long before then, the real genesis of Crystal Clear Resources (a name that stresses clarity, which is dear to my heart, and abbreviates as CCR – one of my favorite bands) began in graduate school. I was studying Greek, Latin and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College and I spent every day reading, writing, translating, and thinking more deeply than I had ever been encouraged to do before. With each new year I also learned new –ologies and –isms, ideas and theories that wormed their way into Classics and were often expressed with unnecessarily complicated and technical vocabulary, even though the ideas were often quite elegantly simple.

As anyone enmeshed deeply in a discipline will know, each field develops its own language, its own set of terms that are meaningful within the discipline, but sound like unintelligible gibberish to anyone else. Classics was far from the exception to this phenomenon. The nexus of the problem became apparent when individuals (myself included) attempted to explain theories to people who did not eat, sleep, and breathe Ancient Greek and Latin. I never realized before then how many words we would slip into conversation in Ancient Greek, because they didn’t translate well into English, or how many names we would mention without context (you wouldn’t be surprised how often Boethius does not come up in standard conversation). In short, even though I was excited about the new ideas that I was learning, my technical vocabulary made it difficult to provoke the same excitement in people around me. Not only did this make sharing ideas difficult, it also felt acutely isolating.

In one of the most frustrating of those moments – attempting to explain my Master’s thesis to my unlucky (but patient!) mother – I was reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

I had been living inside of my Master’s thesis for so long that I was oblivious to the world going on outside of it (there were people that didn’t care about the last two lines of Sophocles’ Electra??). So, I took a deep breath, reoriented my thoughts, and I tried again. This time, as if by magic, everything clicked into place.

For the rest of my graduate studies I practiced and experimented with how to explain complicated subjects to other people and how to make ideas more easily approachable. This was how, in graduate school, I found my true passion, although it wasn’t the one I had been expecting to find. I had thought that it was language, but I discovered that it was actually the interaction between language and its audience. I realized that I am passionate about using language to facilitate understanding and engagement with complicated or technical ideas, as well as using it to transpose excitement or enthusiasm about an idea to someone else. Language for me, from then on, wasn’t just about transmitting information, it was about communicating effectively. With this renewed enthusiasm in mind, I completed graduate school and I started Crystal Clear Resources, a company founded upon the passion I found at Bryn Mawr and based on the principle that even the most complicated ideas could be made perfectly easy to understand.

So here we are, well over a year later, and that quote by Albert Einstein still resonates within me and within my company. At Crystal Clear Resources we are a team of communicators, a company that uses writing, editing, and translation as tools to achieve better understanding. We believe that, when ideas are expressed clearly, people can engage with them, can become inspired, and can make them better. We have a vision for the future of language – and it is crystal clear.