1. Erika Hall: Much of the most important design requires collaborative systems thinking, yet how we evaluate designers remains static and individualistic.

    William MacIvor: …at shopify we consider 4 key themes: craft, ownership, influence, and team.

  2. Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.

  3. your best product teams are going to be autonomous and co-located. It’s a new kind of organizational idea that’s coming out in various forms. There’s kind of extremes like Holacracy, but we’re seeing it a lot more in companies like Spotify, TransferWise in the UK also does a great job of this. Having highly autonomous teams that are aligned by direction – obviously you don’t want complete chaos and everyone pulling in every different direction. So there’s still a big role for the founders and the product leaders in the organization to make sure that there’s a unified direction, a unified strategy. But then they give those teams the autonomy to execute within that plan and contribute to the goal.

  4. A key premise for the next decade: it’s easier for software to enter other industries than for other industries to hire software people.

  5. Projects usually start by listing out the team’s assumptions. However, they aren’t always labeled as ‘assumptions.’ Instead, they are often labeled as ‘requirements.’

    Even worse, these ‘requirements’ aren’t ever questioned or tested. Validation is considered harmful to the project.

  6. Innovative designs don’t happen because of a single smart person who drives everything the team does. Innovation happens when the team creates an environment where small, powerful ideas can float to the top.

  7. In terms of boring conversations that have the potential to be interesting, Mass Indie is like talking about the dream you had last night, whereas Normcore is like talking about the weather.

  8. You’re so special nobody knows what you’re talking about.

    It’s the potluck where the guests have so many dietary restrictions, that everyone can only eat what they brought. It’s the party that’s so exclusive that no one even shows up. This is some Tower of Babel shit.

  9. The consistency of normalcy improves the experience of living with the objects, because the longer we spend in contact with the products of design, the more their willful attempts at individualism irritate us.

  10. There are better ways to design than putting a lot of effort into making something look special. Special is generally less useful than normal, and less rewarding in the long term. Special things demand attention for the wrong reasons, interrupting potentially good atmosphere with their awkward presence.

  11. As a founder you have to be kinda delusional because you can be talked out of anything. At a certain point, you have to believe.

  12. Things that really matter are

    • making things that you are actually proud of and
    • making decisions that you are proud of
    • and working with good people

    These are the things that are priorities!

  13. Innovative designs don’t happen because of a single smart person who drives everything the team does. Innovation happens when the team creates an environment where small, powerful ideas can float to the top.

  14. To start a successful freelance writing career, you either need to be independently wealthy or have a very understanding spouse.

  15. When you’re designing something, imagine you’re sitting in a room, helping a real person with the task at hand.

  16. “People come to us and say, ‘We’ve got this problem,’ and we’re immediately assuming that they’re asking us to come up with a solution. Whereas, the right answer is to say, ‘That’s an amazing problem. I don’t know the answer. Let’s figure that out together. Let’s work on that together. Let’s figure out what the best solution might be.”

    “We just don’t have the confidence to do that, because we were told right from the get go when we start school, that there’s only one answer for something. You get given a math test, and the math test says there’s a right answer and a wrong answer. You get given an English test and there’s a right answer and a wrong answer.”

    “We grow up with this belief that there are only answers. Instead of saying, ‘I don’t know, but here’s something else that we could consider.’ Or, ‘Let’s talk about that and come up with the best answer.’ We’re predisposed to think that for every problem out there, there has to be an answer and we’re supposed to carry that in our back pocket.”

    “Whereas in truth, we don’t know what the answers are, especially in this ambiguous future. How could I have possibly known that there were going to be this many devices available in 2016? How was I supposed to know that entire industries’ markets were going to be disrupted by simple ideas?”

  17. It is all well and good to talk about how you are using agile methods or implementing devops, but if your development budget doesn’t have a line item for iteratively improving the apps you just launched, you really are stuck in the past.

  18. Design Walkthrough—How does the design match up with the business problems we’re working to solve?

    Design Review—Is this design ready for moving forward or are their still issues to resolve?

    Design Demo—What is the user’s experience when using this design?

    Design Critique—What can we learn from this design we’ve created?