The UX of the Big Boss Talking to You

I’ve heard this story many times.  The big boss is right in front of you.  Normally, you never see him up close.  You are in the middle of the organization somewhere and he is the leader.  You start to feel butterflies in your stomach.  Then, he asks that incredibly insightful question: How’s it going? Arrghhh. …

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The Curse of Knowledge

Made to Stick has a great concept called the Curse of Knowledge. (Highly recommended reading)  Here is a summary of the curse: Imagine a song (not Happy Birthday) in your head.  A common familiar song.  Then ask someone listen while you tap out the song on your desk. See if they can understand it.  They…

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The UX of Office Moves

I remember when Kokopelli (company I ran from 1994-2002) moved offices.  It was a short move just across the street.  While we were checking it out, we looked out the window and there was our crew waving at us.  I almost started crying.  The new space was extremely nice and very big.  At Marketo, we…

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My First day at Work Photo

I forgot to post this.  I took this picture with my new phone (HTC Touch Pro 2) on my first day of work.  The rainbow actually ends at the office building at Adchemy!  Is that a good sign or what?

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End of an Era: Moving on from Marketo

I joined Marketo in December 2006 as the first non-founder and began a wonderful journey that has lasted 3 years.   I learned a tremendous amount from the people here on a cornucopia of topics and I will miss them.  I have accepted a new position at another company (I’ll post that later). Some UX…

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The UX of Making Progress

I don’t think this applies to everyone, but it applies to me many times over.  When I feel like I can not make “progress” I get very stressed.  My mind doesn’t think as well, my body feels ill.  I generally have a short temper when I am in this state.  Progress is my minds digestion…

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Idealism in your job

There are lots of people who can do a particular job.  Sometimes, however, one gets a new idea.  The idea is how you can do that job better, more effectively and more enjoyably.  The idea is important. Most companies make that idea difficult to implement.  It stays on the shelf with lots of other good…

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3 Business Models

Business Model #1:  Enterprise This is when your product costs over 100k.  Maybe even in the millions.  The sales cycle is pretty long.  It requires lots of documents to make the sale and build the product.  RFI, RFP, MRD, PRD, Roadmap, the list goes on and on.  This is a tough business to be in. …

The UX of positive feedback

A nice review of Marketo.  I really feel like Marketo is starting to gain momentum in a serious way.  Articles like this make me feel all warm inside that I was able to have a positive impact on a company and on the people who use the product. This raises an important thought for me. …

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Management of Expectations

Managing expectations is always hard.  Lots of angles, lots of risk.  Who is right?  Should you track all of your hours?  Should you pad your hours?  In my experience, people want predictability in an unpredictable world.  They want to hear, “This is exactly what we can do at maximum efficiency.” with the follow-up later of…

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Live demos of my UX work

I’ve been pretty excited about the work I have been doing at Marketo. The marketing automation platform we built has alot of really unique models. The way segmentation works is just beautiful. I am really proud of it. Additionally, the stuff coming out in the next few months is making it even better, faster, stronger.…

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P-CAMP Unconference for Product Managers

I went to a conference today at Yahoo.  Nice campus.  It was P-CAMP Unconference for Product Managers. I took alot away from it.  Some learnings: There is a huge chasm between what serious Agile practitioners proscribe and what most companies who say they are doing agile actually do.  One guy said, “You just have to…

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The UX of Time Tracking

Project management is hard work.  I feel for anyone who has to do it in the software industry.  The problem is simple.  To do any kind of prediction in project management, you need to be able to guess how long something will take.  Let’s say you want to build a web page.  How long will…

Growing pains

I can hardly remember the growing pains from Koko.  We had 30 people at the peak.  I remember agonizing over organizational charts.  I remember thinking about communications lines.  I remember how hard it was to get engineering leaders to communicate effectively (at all) to account managers.  I remember isolated incidents, but I really don’t remember…

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Marketing

The last two years has been a major education for me in Marketing.  First at Intuit, where I felt the entire organization is run by the Marketing Department.  I felt that the main goal of marketing was to project (micro)manage incremental changes in high volume processes.  In other words, there was a marketing person in…

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Too Many hats!

Marketo is starting to launch into beta, bringing on a few customers at a time.  It’s a stressful time for all as there is so much left to do and so many details.  I really appreciate how good Katie was at this sort of thing.  Keeping track of a million details.  She kicks ass.  Meanwhile,…

A funny joke

User Experience Architect: “So guys, I am going to go to the user and try the product.  Does the basic use case work?” Engineer: “Yes, it works.” Quality Assurance: “Yes, it works.” User after trying it: “No, it doesn’t work.” Engineer: “Must be user error.” Which part of the joke is funny?  It doesn’t really…

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Management sins

What are the worst management sins?  Here is my short list. Micromanagment. I really hate it when a boss says, “I want you to be responsible for this, but I am going to dictate how you do it.”  This is the thing that made me want to leave Intuit.  If you delegate then, let the…

Remend closes and lessons learned

The first company I worked as an interaction designer, Remend has officially closed it doors.  Here are some lessons learned for dot-coms building a product: A dollar spent in architecture is 10 dollars saved in maintenance.  Never hard code anything if you can help it.  The lesson is that things change.  Details change. You have…

Marketo.com Launched

Marketo.com (The comapny I work for as UX Architect) is launching their flagship product and public site this week.  Uses a bunch of jQuery, Tabs Plugin, Validation Plugin and Scrolling Promo Effect.  Design was by (upon request).  HTML Production was done by NetKitchen and myself.  Overall, I think it’s a solid looking site. One thing I…

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Exciting News

Exciting news: The book publisher has green lit my book. I am starting to write it now. It is about jQuery and how it empowers designers. I will give a better summary after I work on it for a little while. I get an advance and everything. The book will be made of physical paper…

TurboTax rap

David Foltz over at Turbotax pointed me at this video.  I think it’s brilliant.  Apparently they are having a content for the best Turbotax rap.  Now that is some inspired marketing.  They should put this on TV.  Their regular commercials are boring and stale. The work I did with Turbotax last year has been tested this season.  Although…

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TurboTax Tests

Some of the UX Designs I made for TurboTax are going live.   I HAD temporary links.  Some people at Intuit who shall remain nameless have objected to showing them. So I am going to make local copies and host them myself.  The test is also delayed, so I will wait a little bit to put them up.…

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What does it stand for?

What is e.g.?An abbreviation for "exempli gratia,"Latin for "for example." What is n.b.?abbreviation for nota bene: used to mark something as particularly important. What is i.e.?abbreviation for "id est," Latin for "that is"; also means, "in other words." it is followed by an explanation, specific list or a paraphrase.

Change of pace

I had gotten so used to being reactive at Intuit.  The phone would ring, the email would arrive, the meetings would be scheduled.  I only had time to "work" in between these hectic moments.  So much so, that I had to avoid some meetings (Like the dreaded PELT) to actually get some work done.  Now,…

Bread / First Day

Yesterday, I went to get some bread.  I said, "A two and a half pound sourdough, sliced please."  Matthew was in my arms and pointed out his index finger high in the air and yelled, "SCUSE ME ONE MINUTE! SCUSE ME ON MINUTE!"The lady smiled at him and said, "Yes?  Matt perked up and said,…

The Deal

I made a deal with one of the most talented designers I know. He asked that his name be changed, to protect the innocent.  We shall call him Kedalsen Sirhc. (aka CBOT) The Deal: Whoever makes 20 million first has to give the other 1 million dollars. Can’t use the money on hookers in Vegas.  I am…

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Omission

In my previous ‘2 weeks’ post, I neglected to mention Eric Yeh and Steve Lam.  I probably forgot them because I am still emotionally scarred from them making fun of my clothes, hair and gut. However, I just want to let them know, I liked working with them better than I liked working with Vasu. …

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2 weeks

I gave notice to Intuit yesterday.  It is a sad moment for me.  There are some people there that I will miss terribly.  There have been a few people throughout my career that I have just loved working with.Ben Nadel, Tom Quaile, Sean Zimmerman, Florence Tang, Bill Mirbach, Chris Nesladek. These are people I consider…

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Prognosticating

Quicken just launched their new site.  I had nothing to do with it.  Sapient did pretty much all the work.  As an optimist, I wanted them to succeed, but looking at the site, I have trouble getting over some significant issues.  Task completion was definetely not a major part of the thought process.  The amount…

Intuit.com Account Management

Some of my work launched today on Intuit.com.  All of the account management features have had an overhaul.  Some improvements: New design makes a frame around account management to clearly identify it Dynamic error messaging/field validation. Better Credit Card Info Management. Order Status/History page redesign. Email template enhancements. Better workflow. Bigger buttons! We eliminated a…

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Bad Week

Having a bad week.  My HTML/CSS is looking ragged.  My head is distracted.  Lots of negative interactions.  It has been hard to keep my head up.  The beard has grown back, which is a good thing, I think.  (Tangent – Remember in The Tick, when the mustache attached itself to the Tick and spoke in…

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Business Writing

There was this award at work. Everyone had to nominate another person and say why they thought that person embodied the corporate values. The Intuit values are actually pretty interesting. I did not win the award, but rather, my nomination was the winning one. Everyone mentioned the quality of the writing as an important factor.…

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Work Update and Peeing

Work has been really frenetic. So many different projects and so much to do. I got approval to hire and manage a web developer to free up some of my time to work more on Information Architecture and UI Design. The guy we hired was offered alot of money from his previous employer to stay,…

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Work News

Normally, I try to post as little content about work as possible. Although this blog is designed for my kids to read when they are older, it is still accessible by the public and therefore I believe saying little about work is prudent. You never know how information persists. With that said… Today is my…

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Memory Lane in the Web Archive

A trip down memory lane. Our first Grainger UI. This the famous “first” global/local navigation site for a big company.Original Commadot.comThe infamous Vagina site for Vday. And my personal favorite Flash intro with “Do Right” audio. Silly Koko thank you.GE Medical Systems. The template that saved the day.Christmas for Reader’s Digest. How two Jewish New…

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Business Trip Again

Once again, I find myself in Las Vegas waiting to board a flight to Dallas. Being away from the family stinks. Jared’s tummy still hurts. I miss them already and the week has barely begun. I am on hold on my cell phone, trying to type with one hand. I do not want to be…

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Work I Love to do

What is Interaction Design? What is Information Architecture? What is Product Management? What is Requirements Analysis? These are the things I do to earn money for my family. But I love doing them, as well. The thing I love best is solving a problem in an elegant way. It is a wonderful feeling to look…

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