January 2016

DirecTV-Ready TVs are Slow

Typing lefty… For the holidays, I upgraded my TV to a fancy 4k Sony Bravia with Android TV. It was billed as DirecTV-ready. No box needed, fewer wires. I would go into detail, but typing is hard. Long story short, it sucks. Crazy slow, terrible UX. Changing the channel took 10 seconds. Fast-forward through recordings was unresponsive and skittish. If you paused a show and then god forbid pressed the...

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Right hand needed for two weeks

The doctor said not to use my right hand at all for two weeks. This gave me an idea. This is a long shot but I figured I would ask. Is there a junior designer without a job who wants to sit at my desk and be my hands for two weeks? I’m right in the middle of a super cool product design. I would explain my thinking and technique....

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Wrist surgery

I am dictating this blog post using Google on my phone. We see how it works. I just got back from having my wrist surgery to solve the pain I’ve been having for the last 18 months. I believe they call it arthroscopic wrist surgery. The doctor found two torn ligaments and a whole bunch of cartilage and crap on the inside that shouldn’t be there. He said it was...

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The UX Pie of Caring

I just realized that I really don’t have a blog post about this design principle. It is not specific to the design, but rather to the process of designing within a company. In the real world, you don’t get to define 100% of the product, nor should you. You need to collaborate with other people to get the best results. However, you still need to have elements of the design that...

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Succession Plans

A few years before I left Marketo, I started thinking about my succession plan. I knew that I might leave one day, so it was important to me that I leave the organization in good shape to live without me. This was complicated by the fact that I had designed most of the product. For a long period, I think my absence would have been highly disruptive. So I embarked...

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The $200 Laptop (Jan 2016)

When I design, I get user feedback with a technique I call Beta Fish. I make designs and then show them to prospective customers. They give me feedback and help me understand the nuances of the use cases.  I do this by powering up Gotomeeting and screen-sharing my designs. I usually turn on video conference. (It’s not a revolutionary technique, I admit) So here is the catch, my current expensive Dell...

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The Roads Taken (and not)

In every design, you make choices that take you down a road. Sometimes those road leads to peril, other times to victory, usually both. There is no way to know what destiny existed in the other choices. I ask my self those questions all the time. “What if …” Some decisions are made while our minds are not focused.  Whether we are angry or distracted or just overloaded, decisions often get...

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Proposed Outline for High School Music Class

This is a rough outline of what a great music program would look like (to me). First some equipment required: Macbook Pro laptops Adapter to plug in instruments Microphones Electric guitars Bass guitars Accoustic Guitars Keyboards Electronic drum kit Small (15w) amps Posters of rock legends Ok, now for the outline: Intro to Garageband Garageband is a great piece of software. You can set up audio tracks and even create...

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High schools teach music incorrectly

Go into any high school and look at the Art and Music classes. In all of the art classes, they ask you to make original art. They ask you to paint, draw, sculpt and teach you how to use those mediums, but they do not ask you to copy existing art. They ask you to interpret the world and create your own vision. They give you technique, not paint-by-numbers. In...

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Different Kinds of HR

HR departments are supposed to do a bunch of good things. However, I think they don’t quite work out that way most of the time. Which kind of HR do you have? The “Avoid Lawsuit” Department From misconduct and harassment to injuries and workers comp, this kind of HR almost want people to wear helmets while walking around and avoid all communication that could be deemed inappropriate. In their attempt...

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