New Adventure 2021

Apologies: This is a super long post, but because of the details, I had to hold back for a few weeks. I have decided to move on from Treasure Data and join a small startup named Warmly. It’s an exciting change but I certainly have feelings of sadness for leaving people I have grown to…

Interpreting User Reactions

Users are not reliable witnesses to past behavior of future preference.Glen UX Rule #81 The problem is that our brains are complicated and don’t work logically all of the time. They work emotionally. Luckily, there is a workaround. Body language and facial expressions. When you interview a user, don’t focus on their words. Watch them…

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Design Acceptance Process

I believe in work rituals. They create a sense of normalcy in the messy work of creating a product. One of the reasons I like Scrum is that it has lots of good rituals like Sprint meetings, the planning game, and retrospectives. One thing I do not like about Scrum is that most of the…

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Introductions and Referrals

How many people do you introduce per year? For me, it’s about a dozen introductions. Introductions are much more powerful than a cold call to someone you want to meet. When a trusted third party introduces you, you are much more likely to connect with the other person. In business, many sales and marketing folks…

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Startup on the Right Foot

I’ve been thinking recently about how product companies are built from zero to initial launch. Everyone loves to focus on success stories, but most startups still make many of the same mistakes. I would generalize it and say they sell out their future to gain a short term benefit. Here is a grab bag of…

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The Goals of a Manager

I’ve been managing people on and off for 25 years now. It’s hard to tell how I have evolved, but I am sure that I’ve changed some over the years. There are certain principles that I think about as a manager that have stayed with me since the beginning and others I have picked up…

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Post Office Idea

Years ago, I used to write holiday cards for all of my coworkers. I would hand write the card and leave it on their desks. Now, in the age of Covid, we are all working from home. This presents a problem. How can I get everyone their holiday cards? I don’t have their addresses and…

A Brief History of Me (So Far)

Can you put your life into bullet points? Can you summarize and really boil information spanning decades down to its essentials? Let’s give it a try. Act I (Growing up)Born outside NYC in the foresty suburbsWas pretty bad at school, but I read non stopGot into Art pretty early. Loved to drawWent to a local…

Personality Test 2020

I take a Myers Briggs quiz every year or two. I am having my design team do the test for a remote bonding exercise. Here are my personal results from the past: 2014: INFP | Mediator/Idealist.2017: INTJ – The Architect2019: INTJ, -A/-T The Architect 2020 INFP-T – Mediator/Idealist. Results map I think these two personality…

Roadmaps

Roadmaps are funny things. In my cynical experience, their whole purpose is to make people feel confident that things will go according to plan. The Dark Knight, 2008 This might be controversial, but in my experience roadmaps are deeply flawed documents. Here is a partial list of some of the common problems: They are jumbled…

Working Sessions vs Executive Meetings

My time is generally split between two different kinds of meetings. One I love, the other not so much. Working Sessions A working session is a group of 2-5 people who are talking about a specific design or problem. They are brainstorming ways to improve it or fix it. In short, it’s a meeting to…

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Giving and Taking Feedback

This is a little long. I wrote it up to answer the question, “What is the best way to give feedback on a design?” I hope its helpful for you. GIVING feedback Feedback on the deliverables/decisions This should be the most common and best forms of feedback. You should: Identify a logical error. It may…

Remote vs. Onsite

Working from home started out pretty rough for me. No exercise, gaining weight, and other issues plagued me. Then slowly something started happening. I started getting used to it. I am clearly a creature of routine. I like to let my mind wander as I take a shower, brush my teeth, etc. I can be…

Video Conferencing Thoughts

Obviously, we have all been using video conferencing way more than usual. I have some thoughts on it, of course. Video conferencing is harder than meetings It’s way more exhausting than talking with people. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off the screen. In meetings, I can look away and not feel guilty.…

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Portfolio as Product Site

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…

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I’m not for everyone

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…

The Crux

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…

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Notes for my UX Recruiter 2020

About me I am not good for everyone. I know this. A colleague from the UK said I am like Marmite. Usually, I get hired in places that want to innovate and shake up the status quo. I get hired when they want to have a strong, active, design team. On the flip side, I…

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Figma 2020 Wishlist

I have made many requests in the Spectrum.Chat community. Some are long standing, others have been completed. Here is my consolidated Wishlist for 2020. Built In UI Components Every designer I have ever worked with and every desktop application I have ever seen all have some common elements. Here is a short list: TablesComboboxModalsTreesBullet Lists…

2019 In Review

One of the nice things about blogging is that it creates a journal of your life. I know when I got my dog. I know when I visited Japan. I know when I met Hillary Clinton. To a degree, if I didn’t blog it, I am not sure if it happened or not. On that…

Differentiation

Design Principle #12Always create space between you and the competitionGlen Lipka, 2019 Whether you are building a tech product or writing a resume or giving a presentation at a conference, it is important that people remember you. The only time you don’t want to differentiate yourself is when you are trying to blend in, like…

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Passion for Your Craft

My mother-in-law, Penny, is a retired nurse. After retiring, she took up weaving. For those of you who don’t know, weaving takes up alot of space. There are baskets of wool everywhere. The loom itself is enormous. Penny’s loom is roughly as big as this one. Looms are big! She used to have a dining…

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Designer Review Cheat Sheet

When I review a new applicant, I look at their information and decide whether to set up a zoom video conferencing call or not. The truth is that I WANT you to succeed. I want you to have multiple lucrative offers. So to help you, here is a cheat sheet to get past my review.…

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Tips for Designers 2019

Some of these tips are going to seem obvious. Like “Duuuuhhh” obvious. However, I can tell you that I am getting candidates who fail on every single one of these. Master Your Tools The job is to be in a design tool and make stuff (and go to a bunch of meetings). Meetings and design,…

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Project Roles and Responsibilities

The Roadtrip Metaphor I love metaphors and this one is one of my favorites. Imagine a project as a roadtrip with some friends. Sometimes you will be driving, sometimes you will be in the passenger seat, sometimes in the back seat. There are people, like your parents, who just want to know where you are,…

How to Resign Professionally

I really wish they taught this in college. However, since I have recently had people resign incorrectly, I figure it would be a good idea to write down how to do it properly. To be clear, I am not encouraging anyone to resign. I am just saying how to do it professionally. Step 1: Start…

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The Design Case Study Paradox

Every designer has a section of their portfolio where they show their work. The typical method of documenting their work is called a case study. case stud·y/ˈkā(s) ˌstədē/a process or record of research in which detailed consideration is given to the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time. Here…

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Product Value/Effort Explained

I often like to think of things in a spectrum or on a line graph. A junior designer asked me how to convince the product management team to increase the scope of the project to add in all of the usability features. He said that it was a better product that way. I drew him…

Recruiting Two Product Designers (2019)

It’s time to hire again! I have two open headcount for product designers. Woo hoo! Senior Product Designer and regular Product Designer. We aren’t Google with fancy free food. We aren’t Facebook with crazy money for every employee. (Although we do pay quite well) We aren’t Twitter with 330 million users. I need to have…

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New Designer 1st Month Checklist

I have 3 new designers starting next week. Here is how I conceptualize their first month of work. Day 1: Fill out paperwork. I just assume that it takes all day long. Thanks HR! (Sarcasm) Set up your desk and computer: Everyone likes to put their monitor and chair into their proper place. Everyone has…

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Never Ask Permission

Most people think that you should ask your boss for permission to do something out of the ordinary. I think this is a terrible idea. Here is why… When you are asking permission for something, there is usually some risk associated with the action. Something could possibly go wrong. You don’t ask permission to do…

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Different Approaches to Managing My Growing Team

I have three new designers showing up in the next few weeks bringing my team at Treasure Data to 7. Generally, I feel that doing 1:1 development of an employee takes time and trying to accomplish that for more than 5 people once is difficult. So I am faced with choices of how to structure…

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Tokyo Trip 2019

I just finished my first trip to Tokyo, Japan. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a terrible traveller. I have a rotten sense of direction and hate planes. Plus, I am a creature of routine. Traveling is the exact opposite of routine for me. With that said, I had a wonderful…

Rereading About Face by Alan Cooper

About Face 4th Edition, the Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, and Christopher Noessel. Many years ago an interviewer asked me who my influences are. My answer was pretty lame. He generously gave me a list of books to read. I read them and dozens more. Three particular books formed…

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Figma UI Refresh – Apr 2019

Figma just released a new aesthetic to their design tool. I use Figma every day for several hours, so I care about any changes. Normally, I love change. Change is good. Even when it’s bad. In this case, there are some things to like, but overall, I think they made a mistake. Bottom line: I…

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UX Candidate Design Challenge – v5

UX Candidate Design Challenge – v1UX Candidate Design Challenge – v2UX Candidate Design Challenge – v3UX Candidate Design Challenge – v4 Designing a design challenge is really difficult. There are so many different things you are looking for. Recently, I have been cycling on a few different ones, but I think I want to retire…

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Poor Designer Case Studies

I’m reviewing many design portfolios these days. For those of you who don’t know; when a designer works, they sometimes keep track of a whole project from start to finish. They put it on their personal website almost like a school book report. They include pictures and different versions of the design. This is a…

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Advice for Hiring Managers

I’ve given advice to candidates, but this advice is for myself and other hiring managers. One key reality is that candidates often have multiple offers and you need to create a great experience for them. The goal is to make the candidate WANT to work for you. You have to stand out. Here are some…

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The UX of CanuMeet and Google Appointment Slots

Use Case: You are a hiring manager or recruiter and you want to set up lots of screening calls with lots of candidates. You could email them back and forth, but that is error prone. It’s better to have an automatic system. I had previously reviewed Calendly and Apooint.ly. Here are a couple of others.…

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Advice for New Designers 2019

I am hiring 4 designers this year, approximately 1 per quarter. Therefore, I’ve been reviewing dozens of portfolios. I spend a little more time than average on them, because when I was looking for new jobs, I hoped hiring managers gave my work more than a cursory glance. Unfortunately, most design websites are fairly poor.…

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