How collaborating in physical spaces taught me the value of forging a community, not just making things.

Going analog

I completely missed the boom (and bust). While my university friends were taking jobs as Webmasters, I was working night shifts at the Austin American-Statesman in the Art Department. My friend’s tools were CorelDRAW, Fetch, and Netscape. My tools were QuarkXpress, X-acto knives and Clip art. Every night, graphic artists like myself, writers, platemakers, pressmen, and editors would gather around the paste-up table and assemble sections of the daily newspaper. Rick, the floor manager, facilitated the comings and goings, reviews, and sign-offs from all the proper parties like an air traffic controller. Highly caffeinated and detail oriented, watching Rick…

How I rebranded Proof and lived to tell about it.

Rebrands can suck. There are lots of reasons not to change your company’s look and feel. They’re expensive (pause for a moment and imagine finding and replacing every instance of your current logo). Secondly, it takes focus away from other significant activities like finding product-market fit. Many entrepreneurs, rightfully, don’t have the time or budget to successfully brand their company at early phases (take Airbnb or Foursquare’s pitch decks, for example). Finally, if anyone is paying attention to your rebrand (many don’t), it will evoke reactions of the bush-league, Twittersphere variety. Haters gonna hate. …

Awakening your organization’s celestial consciousness with little information

The Dark Art of Vision Casting

Many design leadership job specifications include a remit of creating a “design vision.” This can be broadly understood as incubating what the design offering will look like in 1–3 years time. Often, the goals for the vision aren’t as clear. What do we mean when we talk about design vision? It’s easy to conjure the spirit of Max Miedinger and shepherd the flock out of the wilderness. Keynote presentations are made, principles are hatched, and then the inevitable happens; the leader is distracted with hiring, drowned in CVs and recruiting. Or, she…

A Simple Framework for Brand and Product Design

The real reason Designers, Writers, and Researchers leave your company is because of the lack of growth opportunities and purpose. I’ve seen, even in organisations that don’t offer sexy projects, team members expand existing skills and explore new ones amidst dull teams. That’s because we are innately curious. So if culture beats strategy, then developing the people you have is the key to any design team’s success.

Personal growth isn’t linear so why should our professional growth be any different?

Signposts. Not Box Ticking.

There are a lot of frameworks out there. I consider this framework as a matrix of signposts instead of a…

© getty images

As difficult as it is for a Texas football fan to acknowledge SEC greatness, Nick Saban is undeniably one of the greatest football coaches ever lived. Nick Saban has become the standard for how University programs recruit, operate, and play at a championship level. When asked how he motivates his players week in, week out, Saban responds, “We play to a standard. And it’s always under construction.

“We play to a standard. And it’s always under construction.” – Nick Saban

On Thursday, 30 August, carwow product designers gathered at Balderton Capital to clarify and improve our standards. Monthly updates…

The data will tell us what to do.

I’m often asked, “Does designing a BI tool mean utilizing data in your process?” Short answer: Yes. Quantitative data has become the data of choice over qualitative research. Now more than ever, data is playing an increasing role in our design process. To keep pace with the business, we must work with — and make sense of — product data. Analytics is a gift to designers, and there’s an increasing need to embrace it as a tool of our trade. Data also helps design teams marshal their resources and bring everyone in the organization closer to user needs.

At Zendesk…

2017 marks ten years in tech for me. It’s a mildly significant, albeit thankless milestone. There were no anniversary gifts. Just more grey hairs, expense reports, and Ikea chairs. I’ve taken my lumps but took the time to celebrate successes too. If I sat down with my younger self, what advice would I give? Some musings, Looper style:

courtesy Endgame Entertainment © 2012

Design is always in the minority. In headcount and budget, design will be the smallest. Design augments the business in small ways over time.

Find a mentor. Your work problems aren’t unique and someone has probably fought that battle. Take this person…

A typical day in Product paradise with Product team and Head of Strategy, Matt Allison

I am often asked, “What is the design process like at TrendKite?” Well, a majority of my time is spent with product teams mining for solutions around a whiteboard. Before a single pixel gets pushed on my screen a conference room is booked and we head up to the whiteboard, markers in hand. It’s my favorite part of being a Designer. It’s where room dynamics shift from verbal communication to real collaboration, from hot air to buildable ideas. It’s where I’m able to solve problems quickly and, with the input of stakeholders, see the beginnings of software. I’ll speak to…

Brent Palmer

Product guy @useproof. Previously @carwow @Zendesk @PayPal @TrendKite @Spredfast.

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