More (Unfortunate) Thoughts on Self-Driving Cars

I think the first big markets to pick up self-driving cars will be Long Haul Trucks and Taxi-Cabs.

Long Haul Trucks
It makes sense to transform shipping into a robotic effort. It’s cheaper and safer. However, I see one flaw.

People are assholes. – Glen

There was this robotic hitchhiker experiment where the little guy would travel around the united states. 2 weeks in, he was found decapitated in the woods. People are assholes. Not all people. Some people are assholes.

If there were self-driving 18-wheel trucks, some people would want to derail them or even hijack them. In fact, it would likely be the teamsters who are put out of work who would sabotage the new trucks. The solution is kind of stupid. You hire the teamsters who were put out of work to “guard” the trucks. So basically, these people would create jobs for themselves. They would say, “It would be a real shame if your self-driving truck was hijacked. Real shame indeed. You need our protection.”

I believe people would be terrible to the self-driving cars for the same reason they are terrible on twitter. It’s anonymous. People would not feel nearly the same shame from hurting a robot as they do with human beings.

This seems like a no brainer for Uber and Lyft. However, the same problem is going to happen. People will defecate and throw up in the car. They will break the windows and draw on the seats. They will spill their sodas on purpose because they will have no respect for the cab. It’s not owned by a human being. Not everyone will be rude, but enough people will ruin it for everyone else.

Of course, you can have the exact same solution. You hire someone to be a guard of the tax which is stupid. Why are we like this? What is wrong with us?  We are literally the worst.

If robots kill us all, they will likely have VERY good reasons. It’s because we are assholes. They will likely say, either you “people” start being nice or we are going to treat you like pets and put leashes on you.

We are so close to nanobot swarm conscious transferring virtual reality where we can all be gods. Can we please just keep it together for a few more decades? Please? Stop voting for numbskulls. Stop polluting. Stop killing each other. Man, we suck.

LinkedIn Loose Connections

Linked does not care if you know the people you are connected with.  Look at this screen they just put in front of me.

Add 381 connections!!  I don’t know those people! LinkedIn is saying to me, “Hey, why don’t you send out 381 emails to people you don’t know asking to connect?” I guarantee that other people click this button all the time. LinkedIn is making a mockery of what a connection is. It’s not someone you know. It’s meaningless.

I don’t even understand the point anymore. If everyone is connected to everyone, then NO CONNECTIONS MATTER!

LinkedIn needs to introduce multiple levels of connections.

  1. Who dis? – people like the 381. I don’t remember shaking their hand at that conference that one time in 2011.
  2. Acquaintance – you recognize them, you remember them, and you would say hello if you saw them in a bar.
  3. BFF – people you recommend or can make an introduction to.

They can change the names if they want, but the levels make sense.


I think LinkedIn is making a terrible mistake with screens like this.  They are devaluing their own crown jewels. The work social network is not twitter followers.


Moving on from Engagio & MarTech

After 9 years of Marketo and 2 years of Engagio, I am moving on to a non-martech product. Engagio has a great future ahead of it and as a shareholder, I fully expect them to go public and be worth billions of dollars.

I think I have built a good product foundation at Engagio that hopefully will serve them well for years to come. I have made great friends there that hopefully will stay in touch with me.

As for Marketing, I have appreciated all of you and how wonderful it is to design products for you. There are so many moments of pride and awe in my relationship with marketing departments around the world and specifically the Bay Area. Some marketing shout-outs: (in order I met them)

  • To Kelly Abner, my first marketing guinea pig. He made Marketo a workable product more than any other human being. His feedback was golden.
  • To Jon Miller who taught me how thought leadership can build a billion dollar brand.
  • To Jen Erale and Jodi Florence, the two first marketers I ever taught Marketo to.
  • To Emily Salus who created the hardest problems to solve, but made the product better.
  • To Maria Pergolino who taught me what inbound marketing was and how to run an event. She is a force of nature.
  • To Jason Miller who invented content marketing before my eyes. Incredibly creativity oozes from him.
  • To Heather Watkins and Liz Courter who were the best customer marketers I have known.
  • To Sandra Freeman who is the best field/event marketing person in the world – She took care of me at every Summit and I thank her for every memory.
  • To Jeff Cowan who will always be the “voice of god” at any event in my mind.
  • To Davis Lee – creative services counts as marketing damnit! (Nathan Brauer, you count too)
  • To Josh Hill who wrote a 800 page book on Marketo and inspired
  • To Joelle Kaufman the best CMO (and general executive) I have ever met.
  • To Jason Seeba who continues to be the model for creativity and excellence in marketing.
  • To Kristen Malkovich who was the inspiration for Engagio Playmaker and Scout.
  • To Jessica Cross who said “Thank you for my career” and made my heart melt. This means more to me than you know and I will carry it with me forever.
  • To Grant Grigorian who trusted me to take his baby and rename it Dash.
  • To everyone I forgot to mention. I know there are tons of you.

It’s a sad moment, but I am excited to build a new thing. I’ll give more detail on that later.

I don’t know what the future will hold and how our paths may cross in the future. All I can hope is that each of us is inspired by the people we work with and continue to move the world forward.

Love, Glen

New iPad OS – Worse

My iPad asked me to update the OS. Unfortunately, it changed a whole mess of stuff that made the usage worse. Everything seems more complicated. Some first day thoughts:

  1. I don’t want a more complicated dock at the bottom – I don’t want frequently used apps
  2. I don’t want to split screen
  3. I never ever want the video to play in a tiny window at the bottom. Never.
  4. I don’t want to 5-finger twist whatever gesture.
  5. I don’t want to pay money for iCloud so I can have apps that aren’t actually on my iPad.
  6. I DO want to adjust the brightness easily. I used to swipe up and adjust, now I need to tap 5 times in random places. Fail.
  7. I liked the Safari video controls on the top. I often watch the iPad while lying down on my back with the iPad on a pillow on my chest. Having the controls on the bottom make it harder to use.
  8. I don’t like Siri, fuck Siri. Sorry. “OK, Google and Alexa, can you get rid of Siri?”
  9. I don’t like the bizarre screen of recent things that I don’t know how it got there or how to make it go away.

On the flip side, the graphics look nice.

Ultimately, the product was doing fine for me. I didn’t need any new features. Sometimes, you just leave it alone and work on other products. People who wanted that shit are power users. Power users can ruin a product if you aren’t careful.

I’ll see if I get used to it, but right now I feel like Cynthia Nixon from Let it Ride.

I am pretty cheesed off about that jockey falling off that damn horse, Sid.

If you get it, I Iove you. If not, you are missing out on a great movie.

LinkedIn’s Windows 10 App

I use Windows 10.

But Glen, you are a designer, why don’t you use Macs?!? – Everyone

Here are my answers since everyone brings it up:

  1. I’ve been using Microsoft operating systems since 1986. I’ve beta tested every OS they have ever released including Windows ME (Yuck!)
  2. Most of the world (and about 35% of my users ) have Windows. All of the engineers here use Macs, so SOMEONE should be looking at the product the way that our customers do.
  3. I see no benefit to switching. The Mac
    1. doesn’t have better software for me,
    2. isn’t faster for me,
    3. doesn’t have better peripherals for me,
    4. isn’t a better UX for me.

I think too many people (sheeple!) follow the trends. It doesn’t matter if you use Linux, Windows, Chromebook or Mac. Use whatever you are comfortable with and gets the job done.

OK, but the point of this blog post are Windows 10 apps. Again, I have used Windows for 30+ years and I can confidently say:

Windows 10 Apps are stupid – Glen Lipka

I’m sorry, they are just terrible. They are like Microsoft Bob. A cute interesting experiment, but ultimately, a bad idea. Hardly anyone uses them on regular basis, especially in a work environment.

So why did LinkedIn make a Windows app?  Well, I guess the answer is obvious. Because they got acquired by Microsoft, duh. However, look at the details of the app. Here they are, side-by-side:

If I am using a mouse on a laptop with a monitor, then there really is no benefit. It’s just the regular site in a special window. I don’t want that. I can’t use my chrome extensions in the Windows app world.

The only benefit is if I am running Windows on a tablet. Then the touch targets are bigger and (slightly) more compatible. Still, this seems like a waste of time.

LinkedIn is the default resume website of the world. It’s a virtual monopoly. They can do whatever they want and still not get disrupted. That makes product development especially tricky. Innovation is difficult when you have a monopoly. There is only one direction to go, down. So it makes sense that they deliver this useless app. However, innovation is possible. It has to be.

My plea to LinkedIn is to try hard to innovate. Open up your APIs, be bold and experimental. Try and solve the “org chart problem”. Do something ambitious. Don’t just pop your website into a shell and call it an app. You can do better than that.

Well, I have hope that you can.

I miss Skeuomorphism

Skeuomorphism is the design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts. (Examples)

Im in Windows → Chrome → WordPress and almost all of the shadows, gradients and rounded corners have been eliminated.

These are buttons.
The tiniest possible shadow and rounded corner. 1px each.

I miss buttons that had heft and affordance that screamed Click Me.

Mmmm. Skeuo!

The Nielsen-Norman group recent published a study that found significant reduction in task completion because of flat design. I know design fashion is a real thing that makes a difference, but I think flat design has had its time and now we need to bring back rounded corners, shadows and gradients. Bring back affordance!

Affordance is when an object’s sensory characteristics intuitively imply its functionality and use. (More detail)

I am not proposing something ugly, but we need to move forward. The number one thing to start with is shadows. Shadows provide enormous hints to the information architecture and drag-ability of an object. It creates layers of information. Enough with the 1px thin line. Let’s see some real separation of layers.

Take it all the way

Sometimes I hear the words “clean, classic, modern, fresh” and then I see “flat, white, undifferentiated, boring”. I see low task completion rates.

Well, bottom line…I miss that 3-dimensionality. Blur the lines of digital and physical. Keep it beautiful, but experiment.

The UX of Figma

The CEO of Figma recently visited me and gave me a quick tour of their product. I think it holds great promise as a prototyping/design tool and I am giving it a try. The main benefit is real-time concurrent usage. In other words, two designers can collaborate live at the same time the way you might use a Google spreadsheet. I know that Adobe XD has been promising this feature for 6+ months, but the tool doesn’t even have a workable Windows version yet. I ran out of patience and am trying the competition.

My initial usage is slow, I’m learning a new tool.  Rather than use it for a few days and then review, I am going to document my first few hours with it.

  1. Italics. It took me 2 minutes to figure out how to make text italics. I was looking for a button [I] but it was actually a drop down box. I need to get faster at it.
  2. Zoom. It’s just not very smooth. Slow it down with more intermediate points. Maybe provide a slider?
  3. Components. I am struggling a little of how best to organize. I am just guessing.
  4. Sizing. I really don’t need things to be 22.48px wide. 22px is fine. Can there be an option to make 1px the minimum increment?
  5. Moving things. I have a component with two elements in it. I am trying to move one of them. Not letting me. Grrrr…
  6. Rulers as guides. Hmm, innovative. I kinda like that.
  7. Publishing to the library. That works nicely.
  8. Projects. I think I need one of those, but how do I get to it? Oh, it’s called files? Hmm. A bit confused, but Ok.
  9. Preferences. Why aren’t there preferences in the desktop UI? Am I just missing where they are?
  10. Found preferences! Duh, make it available under Edit

I got better at it over the day. I think there are a bunch of little things that would smooth out the experience. Ill keep experimenting.

Plus one of their engineers actually reached out to me to ask about storyboarding and prototyping. The truth is that I can’t fully use the system until I have that.

Anyway, its good so far. More to come…