commadot.com http://commadot.com by Glen Lipka Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:03:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 https://i0.wp.com/commadot.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-siteIcon21.png?fit=32%2C32 commadot.com http://commadot.com 32 32 2075023 Symptoms http://commadot.com/symptoms/ http://commadot.com/symptoms/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:02:57 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=9023 ⚠ This post is mostly for journaling purposes.

In the past 36 hours, I have developed a mild cough and some wheezing. Also, I am super dehydrated. Yesterday and today, I drank nearly double my normal intake of water. Lastly, my nose has been running more than usual.

It’s possible this is just due to working from home in the downstairs office. There is more dust down here and also the heater hits this room more than the rest of the house. This might explain the symptoms.

To tell the truth, (despite my rugged survivalist exterior) I am a little worried about getting Coronavirus. The death rate is fluctuating and different sites are contracting each other, but it is a non-trivial number. I would prefer not to die.

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Im spending a little bit of time looking at the CDC government site for news and advice. Symptoms they say are:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

My symptoms aren’t like that, so maybe it’s something else or nothing at all.

Again, my strong preference would be to remain alive. I feel that I haven’t mastered a two-handed backhand in tennis and also I need to earn enough money to pay for the kids colleges. (Just 2.2 trillion more dollars and their undergraduate degrees are done!)

Besides that, I would miss designing. I would miss my family. I would miss eating yummy food. I would miss blogging. What would you miss?

Who knows what life really is? Maybe dying is like waking up from a bad dream. All I know is that it scares me.

If (worst case scenario) I shed this mortal coil and kick the bucket, I imagine that my blogging will cease. if that is the case, I instruct my wife to post the bad news and leave it up for a year. After that, she can stop paying the hosting services.

Is it bad luck to plan out your death on a blog post about having symptoms of a disease? Maybe.

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Silver Linings http://commadot.com/silver-linings/ http://commadot.com/silver-linings/#respond Wed, 18 Mar 2020 19:34:57 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=9010 Cloud: We are basically under house arrest.
Silver Lining: If Corona hit three months ago, we would have no showers, and only one toilet for 5 adults. We would have lost out minds.

Cloud: Our savings have lost a third of their value. Retirement seems like it will never happen.
Silver Lining: We paid for the bathroom and the Tesla before the DOW plummeted. So that money was well timed.

Cloud: Working from home is difficult.
Silver Lining: We have fast internet access, multiple computers, enough desks, and a mesh WiFi network. Imagine if this was 1996. We would be just sitting at home waiting for an email. Imagine I was in my 1996 one room studio apartment in manhattan. I would go nuts.

Cloud: There are 5 grown adults in the house and tensions are high.
Silver Lining: We started playing Dungeons and Dragons as a family. I was laughing so hard last night, i thought I might pass out. I had to go into another room.

Cloud: We have a global pandemic and people are dying.
Silver Lining: Maybe this will make people who don’t take vaccines or don’t believe in science a little more reasonable? Yeah, this one isn’t happening. Maybe the silver lining is that Trump will be voted out of office because the economy is broken.

Our world and society is weird. Alot of things make little or no sense. It makes me wonder about the big questions like “Why are we here?” and “What’s the point of all this?” There are so many clouds. However, I don’t want to be miserable. So I look for the Silver Linings. I hope you do too.

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Working from Home http://commadot.com/working-from-home/ http://commadot.com/working-from-home/#respond Thu, 12 Mar 2020 20:27:38 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=9005 Well, it seems like I have to work from home for at least a few weeks. Plus, all colleges are sending students home to work from there. So the house will be full of disgruntled people itching to get out.

Unintended Consequences

Whenever something weird happens, there will always be winners and losers. For example, I am sure Zoom and Gotomeeting are going to make some big sales, but also their networks are going to be slammed like never before. I would not want to be a Zoom network admin for the next month.

Additionally, I imagine that electrical grids & internet access providers are going to be overloaded. Imagine people at home, trying to work AND we have a blackout or the WiFi stops working.

I am not at all set up for working at home. There is no good place to sit. I am on the couch at the moment with the dog on my lap. My hands hurt from typing in an awkward position. I need a desk somewhere with a mouse and keyboard and monitor.

Pro-Tip: Anything you buy for your home office right now is tax deductible!

Traffic and public transportation will be minimized, which means pollution should diminish slightly. However, video conferencing will skyrocket which should increase pollution from server farms.

Staying connected

There are people who are used to working from home; I am clearly not one of them. I am trying to figure out ways to stay connected to the team when we are all far away. Maybe meet up for lunches somewhere? I am not sure, but I better get good at this quickly.

This is kind of depressing and worrisome. The DOW is in freefall. My savings are decimated and will likely be low for years. How will this affect the election? I don’t know.

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Post Apocalyptic Nightmare http://commadot.com/post-apocalyptic-nightmare/ http://commadot.com/post-apocalyptic-nightmare/#respond Tue, 10 Mar 2020 21:57:28 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=9000 There are many movies about the “end times”. They are fairly popular because we all have this fear, deep down, that our civilization, our society, everything we know, could all collapse. Whether that is a meteor like the dinosaurs, or Climate Change drowning us all, or aliens showing up and waging intergalactic war, we all fear that something bad is going to happen, and it’s going to happen soon.

I was once suggested a book by Bill Mirbach (of Intuit fame) called When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger. It’s the story of a group of college students who documented a cult predicting the end of the world. It’s a fascinating read and it really hammers home how powerful cognitive dissonance can be. We want to believe we were/are correct, even if we have to lie to ourselves to do it.

The problem here is that some people are so invested in the idea that the world is going to end that they will actively do the thing that ends the world. We probably shouldn’t trust someone who believes that the end is nigh with our nuclear launch codes.

Never in my life have I been more worried about the apocalypse. There are so many crazy things happening in the world and I am truly worried in a way I never was before. My dreams of becoming a virtual reality god are fading as nightmares of defending my family against crazy aliens increases.

The truth is that I am useless in a post-apocalytic world. I have zero survival skills. Here is a list of all the things I know how to do:

  1. Start a fire. I think I could do this with just sticks and my hands.
  2. Think clearly in a crisis. I am sure this will be good, but not that practical.

That’s it. That’s my survival skills. Here is a partial list of things I do not know how to do.

  1. Hunt food. No way I could kill an animal properly.
  2. Grow food. I can’t even keep a plastic plant alive.
  3. Gather non-poisonous food.
  4. Build shelter. I can’t even fathom a lean-to.
  5. Use any kind of weapon (gun, sword, bow/arrow)
  6. First aid or medicine
  7. Make anything (metal/wood/brick – I can’t make anything)

Do you see what I am getting at? I am overwhelmingly useless at survival. Right now, I make a living by drawing pictures of digital interfaces that engineers build through code. I am going to wish that I had taken survival lessons.

So the question is: How worried should I be? How worried are you?

Im going to start watching more of Primitive Technology on Youtube.

So relaxing and maybe useful in the near future.
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A Conversation with God http://commadot.com/a-conversation-with-god/ http://commadot.com/a-conversation-with-god/#respond Tue, 03 Mar 2020 01:57:54 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8930 I recently had a full conversation with God. Here is how it went down.

  • Me: God, why are people so mean to each other?
  • God: (silence) …
  • Me: Is it because we are evolved from aggressive primates and violence was always the answer in the jungle?
  • God:
  • Me: Or maybe it is because we don’t teach empathy in schools?
  • God:
  • Me: Or maybe the media is always filling our heads with stupid ideas like that we should always be afraid of people who don’t look like we do?
  • God:
  • Me: Why can’t you just stop it? Why can’t you make people be nice to each other? Aren’t you all powerful?
  • God:
  • Me: Are you listening God? Can’t you stop pain and suffering? Can’t you help us with Climate Change? How can you let school shootings happen? Why don’t you get involved? Don’t you care??!
  • God:
  • Me:
  • God:
  • Me: Is it because you don’t actually have the power to do anything?
  • God:
  • Me: Or maybe you don’t really exist?
  • God:
  • Me: Maybe this is all a test? Like, if we want to get to heaven, we need to solve our own problems. Like if you solve it for us, then we didn’t learn anything?
  • God:
  • Me: Give me a sign God. I need to know. I’ll tell you what…if I am right, that we need to solve our own problems without you, you just need to be silent for 10 seconds.
  • God: lol
  • Me: … damn it.

Faith is fine, I don’t begrudge people their religious points of view. However, I don’t think God is going come down and fix our healthcare system. God is not going to stop school shootings. Thoughts and prayers don’t help.

If we want Earth to be Heaven, we are going to have to make it better ourselves.

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Portfolio as Product Site http://commadot.com/portfolio-as-product-site/ http://commadot.com/portfolio-as-product-site/#respond Thu, 27 Feb 2020 02:54:55 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8921 If you are a designer, you shouldn’t think of your website as a portfolio. You should think of it as a product site. The product is your time. You are selling your time for money. That’s what employment is.

Instead of looking at every other designer’s portfolio for inspiration, you should be looking at product sites. One that I would suggest is the new 16″ Apple MacBook page.

If you squint your eyes a little bit, you will notice that it is similar to a case study. It’s a long page with text and pictures. However, notice all the details. The photographs are gorgeous. There are lots of animated parts. The transitions are cool.

This page is entertaining. It holds your attention while it tried to educate you. Take a look at your own portfolio. Which is better? The Apple page or your case study? If the answer is Apple, then you should probably upgrade your page.

One thing to consider is the journey of the visitor. It is rare that a visitor is going to only be viewing your site. Realistically, they are looking at you AND all of your competitors. It can be a mind-numbing experience to go through a dozen portfolios.

If you think about your site as a product site, you will design it differently. Clearly, you should make sure to stand out against the competition. In case you didn’t realize, you (designer) have competition. There are plenty of candidates for every job. If you don’t think you need to stand out, you are sorely mistaken.

Most sites look exactly the same:

  1. Hello, My Name is…
  2. Bunch of squares underneath
  3. Link to a giant long page
  4. Way too many words – would take 30-40 minutes to consume
  5. Often, there are grammar problems
  6. Sticky notes that I can’t read
  7. Images that I can’t zoom in on
  8. Prototypes that are hard to understand
  9. Boring typography and layout
  10. About page somewhere with a few paragraphs and too many emoji

Did I just describe your site? If yes, do you think that’s a problem? Do you care?

Sometimes people ask me for feedback on why they were rejected before a phone screen. This is why.

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Tesla Model 3 2020 http://commadot.com/tesla-model-3-2020/ http://commadot.com/tesla-model-3-2020/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2020 02:16:12 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8910 My lease (Kia Sportage) was over and I needed to get a new car. I know I am just a single car owner, but I believe electric cars are the future and want to do my part. My first thought was the Kia Niro since I was leasing a Kia already. I drove it and thought, “Meh…this is kinda lame.” I asked the price and was shocked. It was about the same price as the Tesla Model 3.

I visited every dealership in Steven’s Creek and realized that ALL of the electric cars were the same. They were either 85k+ or they were the same price as the Model 3 (45k). And universally, they all seemed to be poorly designed. They all had small screens and cheap interiors.

Contrarily, the Model 3 felt like something special. When you sit in it, you just feel delighted. I have never been a “car guy”, but this car is more than transportation. It is an experience. It reminded me of the original iPhones compared to their flip-phone counterparts.

Coincidentally, I had to drive to Sacramento the day I received the car. Here are some initial thoughts from my first days with the car.

The Design

It’s hard to underestimate how different the interior is, especially at night. There are literally no lights in front of your face. Where you normally see the speedometer is just empty. All, and I mean 100%, of the information is on the giant tablet screen in the middle of the console. The steering wheel has two rocker-dials and two stalks on either side. It is the most minimal design in a car I could imagine.

Aesthetically, it is gorgeous. However, usability leaves a bit to be desired. I am sure I will get used to it, but most of the functionality is buried in menus on the screen.

Poor Usability examples: The doors are hard to open from inside or out. Inside, it’s a tiny button that no one knows about. (They literally sell stickers that say “Open Door”.) Outside, you need to contort your hand in an awkward way. Don Norman would not be pleased.

Podcasts

I am making a special section for podcasts. It’s actually killing me. I can’t sync my podcasts with my phone properly. Android Auto (in the Kia) is actually pretty great, but that is not compatible with the Tesla. I wish Google and Tesla got along a little better.

I am trying this thing called TuneIn, but I am afraid it will require me to pay $8 a month for it. I have Spotify, but This American Life isn’t on it. Also, I am totally confused. How do you have a queue of the “latest” releases? I follow about a dozen podcasts. I want some of them to pop up to the top. How do I do this? After much Googling, the answer is “sucks to suck”.

I could listen to the phone audio through the Tesla, but the interface is confusing. This might be my best option.

Overall, listening to podcasts is just broken. What I really want is for Tesla to allow “apps” and PocketCasts would make a good app for it. That will change the interface substantially.

Maps

Tesla maps are OK, but really not as good as native Google. Weirdly, despite the fact that Tesla Maps are powered by Google, it often takes me on a different route. I am not sure why it’s so customized. There are details that make it hard to read and understand where to go. I am not sure why Tesla felt the need to reinvent the wheel here, but it’s vexing. Lastly, when I put in a route in my phone, it doesn’t sync with the Tesla so I need to put in the address twice.

Couldn’t the Tesla App know what I am doing and sync with navigation?

Semi-autopilot

I didn’t pay the extra $7,000 for full autopilot. Maybe one day I will. I tried the basic version on the highway and I have to say that it is addicting. It really changes your focus. You pay way LESS attention to your own car and way MORE attention to the other cars. It’s pretty obvious to me that it lets the driver lose focus some of the time. Still, it is more relaxing.

I need to drive it more to get a better handle on it. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is much easier to drive. On the other hand, it feels inherently dangerous and I did lose focus once in a while.

The basic version is best for stop and go traffic. It allowed me to zone out and stay in my lane with appropriate spacing. It is NOT good (it’s terrible!) for merging lanes and getting on and off the highway, at least with the basic version. Currently, I only use it until I need to change lanes.

Charging

I am a classic range-anxiety person. I don’t like cutting it close. The drive to Sacramento was stressful. More importantly, there were not any Superchargers near my hotel. I had to stop and charge along the way.

So basically, there is enormous variety of how fast the car can charge.

TypeSpeed
Home (220 Volt)30 miles/hour
Supercharger150+ miles/hour
Other public chargers4 miles/hour

I tried to charge at a non-Tesla charger and it said “8 hours until charged.” At Tesla it was a little over one hour. This means you have basically have to charge at Superchargers or home. I am not sitting at a Walgreens for 8 hours!

At home, with a 220 volt plug, you need an adapter. Unfortunately, the Tesla store was sold out. That was a bummer. I stayed on hold with customer support until they found me one at a local store in Palo Alto. This is just one of the weird gotchas.

Locking the doors

Apparently, you just walk away. This is ultra weird for me. Hopefully, I get used to it. I keep feeling like “Did it lock? Is it locked?” You can’t even check because if your phone gets near it, it will unlock. It’s like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle or something. It’s freaking me out.

Note: A few days after writing the above, I figured out how to make the car beep at me when it’s locked. Makes me happy.

Phone audio

This might not be a problem, but someone said that I sounded weird in the car. Like my voice was warbled. I hope that is just a one-time thing.

Next steps

I really do love the car, but I clearly need to get used to it. I ordered a few accessories for it that will help a bit. Wireless charging of my phone was high on my list. So far, it is working. I changed the floor mats.

If you haven’t tested one, I strongly recommend it. It’s (mostly) delightful. So far so good.

Last note: Blogging really is great for me because I can write notes to my future self about what is happening to me. This is a great example. I now know when I got my Tesla. Thank you to my mother for all her help.

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I’m not for everyone http://commadot.com/im-not-for-everyone/ http://commadot.com/im-not-for-everyone/#comments Sat, 22 Feb 2020 04:05:04 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8883 Surprise, neither are you.

There are people and places where you are going to fit in well and thrive. There are other places where people will dislike you, ostracize you, and generally make your life miserable. We are not one-size fits all. Part of our human journey is finding the people and places that fit our unique puzzle shapes.

I was reading my Glassdoor reviews and saw some people had a very negative experience with me. It hurt me to my core. I don’t want to upset people at all!

I know that I can be overwhelming to people sometimes. My interview style is provocative. I do this because I really want to know what the candidate is like in real situations. Most interviews are surface-level only where both parties reveal as little about each other as possible. I feel I need to shake things up to get real reactions.

One thing I am attempting to do is eliminate candidates who won’t like my approach and style. I don’t want them to realize they made a terrible mistake after six months of working. Rather, I want people who say, “Ahh! This is exactly what I am looking for”. (or not)

In that spirit, here is some things about me that may not be your cup of tea. If you still like me, please apply for a role on my team. I am hiring 5 more people this year. (Plus a summer intern!)

I’m loud

People laugh at the way I type; it’s super loud. My voice projects further than I realize. In meetings, I am louder than other people. I don’t mean to be overwhelming, but I can’t help it sometimes. I try very hard to be a good listener, but I think one of my flaws is that I talk too much at too high of a volume.

I’m not a (strict) process guy

Some people think that if you follow the right process, you will have a good design. I am not one of those people. I think creativity means coloring outside the lines sometimes. I think many projects of mine have been successful through “muddling through” with other smart people.

I am not saying process is never useful. There are many rituals and specific procedures that I think are incredibly valuable. For example: We maintain rigid change logs after very ritualized acceptance meetings. However, some designers follow process so rigidly that it impairs innovative thinking.

I don’t do UX research

UX Research is a sacred cow, for sure. Specifically, I don’t subscribe to the idea that a designer can’t know anything without rigorous testing, usability studies, ethnographic interviews, affinity diagrams, card sorting, and persona development. I believe designers are smart people and can figure out solutions to tricky problems.

Alternatively, I believe in “Talking to People”. You want to know more about how the backend works? Go talk to the engineer. You want to know more about a specific use case? Go talk to a customer. You want to know if people will like a new feature? Go sit in a pitch meeting and talk to the prospects. Get out of your chair and go talk to people.

I don’t think talking to people equals UX Research. I think they have different outcomes and techniques. If you want to do affinity diagrams and sticky notes on my team, you are going to be disappointed.

I am the UX architect

I have always worked on large B2B systems. For these kinds of products, it is essential to have a unified experience and interface. Customers do not want to feel like your application is a patchwork of different UI paradigms. Features get built at different times, by different people, but the design team has to try and keep the interface consistent.

This means that I personally take the role of UX Architect. I am looking at every single design and making sure it is high quality and consistent. If you want to be left alone to make your UI completely unique, you are going to have a bad time.

I have ultra high standards

Side story: Years ago, I was showing my designs to the CEO of Marketo. He immediately started picking on every defect. At first I thought, “OMG! He is terrible!”. Then I thought, “Wait! He is right, those are flaws. Am I the one who is terrible???” I left the room and sat at my desk thinking about what had happened. I dedicated myself to delivering a design that was better.

I thought through the details more. I added in several edge cases and changed the UI to better support the overall use. I had everything locked down except one detail, which I thought he wouldn’t notice. Of course, he DID notice. Finally, I fixed that detail and presented again. When he accepted the design, it felt great. I had done my job better.

I drove the design and vision of the Marketo product ONLY because I was able to up my game and design better. The CEO made me a better designer, even if it hurt a little at first. My entire 9 years at Marketo was this process over and over. Creativity is great, but if you don’t sweat the small stuff, people will not trust you or your designs.

So back to me. I have high standards. It can be really annoying. It’s not just the end product design either. I care that you name your layers. I hate a messy file. I care how we interact with others. I care how you use constraints, components, overlays, and more in Figma. I care about all of the details. If you are sloppy, you are going to hate me.

I tell dad jokes

If you don’t like dad jokes, you are going to despise me.

My friend keeps saying “cheer up man it could be worse, you could be stuck underground in a hole full of water.” I know he means well.

Dad Joke

Summary

  • 2003, I had a job as a project manager. I was really awful at it and got fired.
  • 2006, I worked at Intuit and hated it. Ended up quitting after 1 year.
  • 2007-2016 I had times where I could do no wrong, and others when I could do no right. Alot depended on my manager. One guy was the devil incarnate.
  • 2018, I was working as a designer of a startup and the head of engineering hated me. I ended up being fired.

Tl:dr: I am good for some people and not for others. One of my personal values is transparency. What you see is what you get. If you like it, apply for my team. If not, it’s ok. I still believe in you.

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The Crux http://commadot.com/the-crux/ http://commadot.com/the-crux/#respond Wed, 12 Feb 2020 18:43:13 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8878

crux (krəks, kro͝oks)
the decisive or most important point at issue.

The figurative use for “a central difficulty” (1718) is older in English than the literal sense; perhaps it is from Latin crux interpretum “a point in a text that is impossible to interpret,” the literal meaning of which is something like “crossroads of interpreters.” But Century Dictionary ascribes it to “the cross as an instrument of torture; hence anything that puzzles or vexes in a high degree ….” Extended sense of “central point” is attested by 1888.

Getting to the central issue is an art that everyone in a company should practice. All too often, we bury our colleagues with facts and figures, tangents and anecdotes, extraneous information and verbal flourishes, all in the name of persuasion.

If you really want to help the organization, you need to get to the heart of an issue and debate the pros and cons. There are techniques to help and some metaphors (of course) to help you on your way.

The Football Field Metaphor

Note: Football is a bad sport. It causes brain damage in people who play it. Please do not let your children play football. You should also stop watching it on television. Also, the Jets suck.

Ok, the point of the game (metaphor) is to move the ball to the endzone and score a touchdown. Every project has a goal. You want to ship high quality products with minimal time and energy. The effort takes time, so every time you make progress you are moving the ball up the field.

Sometimes you can make a long play (lots of progress). Sometimes you put in a bunch of effort and find yourself only a few yards forward. You can even go backwards sometimes.

Look at this example in animated gif.

He runs and runs, but doesn’t get anywhere

I find that many projects do this alot. There is alot of effort and alot of running, but it isn’t making any progress. I call this running sideways.

One type of leadership is saying to the group that we are running the wrong direction. It is leadership because most people will happily say “I ran alot today!” rather than “I made progress today”.

The Five Whys

A technique that helps understand what you are trying to do and what problems you are trying to solve is the Five Whys. It is shocking to me how often people do things without understanding why. I have a rule on my design team. I call it Rule #1.

Rule #1: If you don’t understand it, you can’t design it.

Glen’s only rule

The exercise is pretty easy. If something is wrong, you ask “Why?” and try to get an answer. Then you ask “Why does that answer exist?” and you get another answer. You repeat this 5 times. Let’s take an example:

  • Base Problem: We have low NPS scores.
  • Why 1?
    Because users say the system doesn’t do what they need.
  • Why 2?
    Because they want to perform use case XYZ and we don’t have that
  • Why 3?
    Because we prioritized different use cases that a big customer wanted instead
  • Why 4?
    Because product management cares more about the big customers than NPS scores
  • Why 5?
    Good question! This is the heart of the issue!

If you slow down and really think about it, you will realize that arguing about 1-4 is meaningless. We shouldn’t argue about NPS or use case XYZ or even what we prioritized. We need to talk about why product management cares more about big customers than NPS scores. It is a strategic question that has enormous implications.

The crux of the issue is strategic. In fact, most serious problems an organization suffers from can be rooted in strategic optimization questions. Optimizing for one group over another, or one metric over another, will yield very different tactics and decisions.

Getting to the heart of a problem is solvable. But it requires that you stop running sideways and stop arguing about downhill effects. You need to dig deeper to the underlying assumptions and strategies and argue about those.

Here is one last example for young designer candidates:

  • Base Problem: Hiring managers are rejecting your candidacy
  • Why 1?
    Because they don’t like your site
  • Why 2?
    Because it’s long, hard to read, and looks exactly like everyone else’s site
  • Why 3?
    Because designers think they need to be “the same” to succeed
  • Why 4?
    Because our higher education system is structured to create good little soldiers, carbon copies of each other for easy fungibility and they teach/force students to make their sites identical. (Use the template!)
  • Why 5?
    Good question! This is the heart of the issue!

One could go further into how higher education is based on the Prussian military model from the 1800’s, but that is a post for another day.

I hope this is helpful. Maybe try it and see what happens.

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Just Jared 2020 http://commadot.com/just-jared-2020/ http://commadot.com/just-jared-2020/#respond Mon, 10 Feb 2020 20:32:57 +0000 http://commadot.com/?p=8866 My 17 year old son just released his first album on Spotify. He gets paid a fraction of a penny for every stream, so if everyone listens 20 times, it may pay for 12 minutes of college.

Just Jared – Self Titled, 2020

My Review

The album is really eclectic with a variety of musical genres-influences. Some of the songs are just mood music, some are rock, some are electronica. It’s an interesting blend. I love Brian’s Second Favorite Garbage Truck and Now That’s Just Silly. Those songs get stuck in my head.

Jared wrote the songs, sang the lyrics, played the drums, guitar, keyboard, and bass. He recorded the songs in a converted shed in our backyard. He purchased and arranged all of the equipment. Finally, Jared mixed the songs using Apple Logic X. In short, he named the album Just Jared because he wanted to see if he could do it all himself.

Any first album is going to have rough edges, but I am amazed at how it came together. I am excited to see future songs. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Jared’s Story

Note: Jared’s brothers are also very musical, but this particular post is just about Jared, in honor of his Spotify album. I love all of them equally!!!

Parent disclaimer

In 2009, we bought Rock Band 2 for the kids for Christmas. It came with a plastic guitar and a plastic drum kit. We all tried to play it, but Jared learned the drums just a little faster than the rest of us. He was 8 years old when I started taking videos of him playing the kit. I had to replace the plastic kit several times. He just tore right through them.

He started getting the music bug, so I researched and found a local music school called School of Rock. I also purchased a used drum kit for Jared. Jared’s brothers also attended School of Rock playing guitar, keyboards, and singing. I used to attend their rehearsals and I have to say, it was the best part of my week. I loved every second of it. The musical director, Aldo Noboa, was a terrific, albeit tough, teacher.

Jared met collaborators there, whom he still plays with to this day, including Charlie Dowden and Ethan Labouisse. They play alot of progressive rock with a variety of influences.

Next year, Jared is going to attend college and major in Music. I’m glad that music has become his career choice and I think he will be quite good at it. Hopefully, he can support himself while being creative and productive.

I am leaving out a ton of detail, but I don’t want to drone on forever. Obviously, I am biased. Please take a listen and see if you like any of the songs. His website is http://jaredlipka.com

Rock on!

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