Showing posts from November, 2010

Eliminate uncertainty from others' sight, but not from your mind.

A retweet led me to this post on the GothamGal blog which makes a very valid case for acting more confident and (as I read it) eliminating a significant amount of doubt from your statements, and some meekness in your approach.
The post really is more about women, and how this applies more to them, but it really applies more to a certain personality type or default behavior.
Yes, as with most things, I somehow managed to make this about me. :)
The reality is that people like their leaders confident, and their arguments simple. On an average, men are more confident and see things more in black and white (i.e. simpler), and this sits well with others when they look for leadership or need to be convinced.
I identified a few simple things I could do differently to make things move faster. Eliminate unnecessary word in emails: I use "I think"/"I believe"/"I suspect"/"One way to look at this" a lot. Its not because I'm waffling on arguments I'm …

To stay and be happy, be prepared to walk away

I stumbled on to a great post on the EverydayUX blog, that referred to this post on another site.
The relevant excerpt below: So which PEOPLE are innovators? And what drives them?The folks I’ve been impressed with have some key attributes:They are better observers than mostThey ask good questionsThey listen deeplyThey are OK working alone or in small groups, but ideally, connect wellThey are fierce about their passions, and believe deeply in their convictionsThey are courageous and hungryThey aren’t so wedded to your organization that perpetuating the organization (and their place within it and its pecking order) takes priorityand so…They often need care and protection most from the same institution that needs them.I agree with the summary and conclusion. Great companies need to ensure that they build an environment where people that question authority and challenge conventional thinking and incrementalism (i.e are able to drive innovation) are protected from the natural tendency within …

Optimizing on the wrong metric? (and a quick book review)

I finished Steve's Krug "Don't Make Me Think" a few weeks ago. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in usability; most reactions when I told folks I'd finished it were off the "you haven't read it already?" and "you realize when that book was written!" variety. :)
There are a bunch of great ideas in there. The most important one for me was really just the title of the book, i.e. when users get to websites, apps, anything really etc., they're typically looking to do something specific so: they skim; they don't really read and process everything you might put thereso using minimal design and familiar patterns is critical to usabilityi.e. make sure they don't need to think much.
But a few days later, a conversation at work reminded me of another great idea in the book, i.e. "make sure you're measuring for and optimizing for the right metric."
For websites and web forms in particular for example, "reduci…

Local+mobile commerce = unnecessary ice-cream

If you care/read about the Internet/mobile/commerce local spaces, the theme of this year is how the combination of local+mobile+social will rock your world. Every VC firm, every second existing Internet company, and every third startup has an opinion and a bet in place in this space.

I've been cautiously skeptical of everything I've seen either out of professional curiosity or as a user; I thought most of what I see is incremental and adds a little, but not that much value. My final real-world use of one of these simultaneously proves and disproves my opinion.

I was walking back home, when I saw this sign, so I checked-in via Foursquareat this place, realized I could get a small ice-cream for 2 bucks... and so I did.
Yay! The technology worked, the offline commerce worked, the consumer (i.e. me) behaved as expected. Everyone wins...except me finally because I just realized I really didn't want ice-cream thenand I really, really don't like tasti D-lite much anyway!Sigh. :)…

Simultaneous invention is inevitable; Technology is inevitable - so why isn't it more obvious what to build?

Kevin Kelly stopped by the Google office a few days ago to talk about the some of the ideas in his book "What Technology Wants"
There are a lot of great ideas in there; one in particular gave me some food for thought on the train ride back home.

The idea that (paraphrasing) "Simultaneous invention is inevitable, and proof that technological progress is inevitable."
Kelly cites a number of examples through history where a number of critical inventions/discoveries were arrived at independently - from the electric bulb (picture above) to the theory of evolution, to the atomic bomb.
This happened even though in most of these cases the inventors were working in isolation and didn't know about each others' work.
He postulates A lot of things in technology and progress are just inevitableBut the details (i.e. how we get there) aren't and that's what our work tends to determineFor example: "The Internet was inevitable, but its decision decisions i.e. TCP/IP,…

Back at the Harper Center

Looking back, one of those white tables may have been where I spent the most time while in business school. :)