Quotes

  1. When the ideas that you start off with are then comprehended by an audience at large out there, that’s ultimately what redeems the process for you. The Swahili storytellers have this quote: “The story has been told. If it was bad, it was my fault, because I am the storyteller. But if it was good, it belongs to everybody.” And that feeling of the story belonging to everybody is really the reward.

  2. When someone is directing a film, they’re thinking about it every waking hour, and even processing it in their dreams. The problem is, if you’re a studio executive, you tend to think about it for 10 minutes on a Wednesday.

  3. Since design is subordinate to business, the power asymmetry is such that a ‘human centred’ choice has virtually always less weight that a ‘profit centred’ one. This is why we have endless examples of products and experiences that are very well designed, yet not ultimately created in the best interest of the user.

  4. At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, the late Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, the author Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch 22 over its whole history. Heller responds, ‘Yes, but I have something he will never have… Enough.

  5. As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.

  6. Systems perform incredibly well for a certain type of task . These workflows have three common traits: repetition (high-volume), longevity (medium to long lifespan), and a finite set of use cases (high-confidence), that can be iterated against programmatically (automation).

  7. Building for butter means understanding that every step of the experience can be honed, smoothed and improved, to the point that it’s so good you just can’t take it.  Butter is deceptively simple. A single ingredient that yet does so much. 

  8. In the vast majority of cases where you have feature teams, the designer (if there is one) is a graphic designer.  It’s not that graphic or visual design is not important, but what’s relevant here is that now there’s a big gap – someone needs to figure out at least the interaction design and hopefully do some user research.  Hence it’s very common to see pressure on the product manager in this model to try to fill these gaps.

    If you are fortunate enough to have a true product designer on your team (at least until they leave to move to a company where their skills are able to be fully utilized), then they usually (and rightfully) question what the purpose of the product manager is, as it’s not hard for them to pick up the additional responsibilities of the feature team product manager as they’re doing the bulk of the work anyway.

  9. …Buttigieg’s religion compels him only to identify a tension, not an incompatibility, and to say that a healthy capitalism remains possible so long as it’s one that operates within the rule of law. For Buttigieg, the antagonisms of class need to be not overcome through struggle, but contained and managed by sound leadership.

  10. It’s part of why a full-time team was created to work on the system from the beginning. A big part of their time is spent shepherding the work being done by product teams into guidelines or components that can be contributed back to the design system. While the team does work on designing new things to fill gaps in the system (more on that later), it’s just as often working to amplify the work being done by product teams to benefit the whole organization.

  11. You belong in design not because you already know everything or already have perfect taste or already have mastered technology and psychology and art and language, but because you’re going to be curious and learn and experiment every single time.

  12. Everyone knows what a calendar view is. But unpacking it revealed tons of unknowns and decisions that would drastically affect the scope. If we only want to spend six weeks instead of six months building a huge calendar, how do we narrow it down?

    In that case we flip from asking “What could we build?” to “What’s really going wrong?”