Columbia and Yale scientists found the spiritual part of our brains—religion not required
As designers are moving up the strategic ladder, they are being confronted with a new set of challenges. They need to understand how business models work, how to read a P&L (or at least know what a P&L is), they need to understand supply chains and business models. And above all, they need to understand the internal politics of a large corporation. In fact, they need to create empathy with the top execs they are helping, not only with the users.
To make design-driven innovation work, designers need to be able to talk the talk on the top floors, and take the perspectives of senior executives.
There is no other company whose users are so dialed into nuance that they’d actually listen to stories about making things easier to use, and not just more pleasing to buy. If Apple started telling those stories again, it could change not only the way we think about technology but what we demand of the goods in our lives. I hope they do.
To be fair, Apple didn’t invent the tension between designing something that merely seemed better and actually designing a better product. These opposing impulses are baked into modern product design.
the Product CEO Paradox: The only thing that will wreck a company faster than the product CEO being highly engaged in the product is the product CEO disengaging from the product.
California has so much more to lose than it did in 1906.
“Ten percent of buildings will collapse,” said Lucy Jones, the former leader of natural hazards research at the United States Geological Survey who is leading a campaign to make building codes in California stronger. “I don’t understand why that’s acceptable.”
Remember to keep a task’s “big picture” in mind when trying to estimate how many hours (and whose hours) it will take to complete. For example, you might assume a bug fix is a half-point task—because, as you’ve set up your point system, one point equals one developer day of work. But while it’s true that identifying and correcting the bad code that created the bug might take just a half-day, completing that task will also require writing an automated test for the fix, and actually testing it. So you should be conservative in your time estimates—better to overestimate than underestimate the resources a task will take.
you’ll know exactly why every item is where it is on your list, and you’ll be able to explain and defend your strategic thinking to your stakeholders and other teams.
This is why it’s so important to prioritize your product backlog—to make sure it doesn’t become an open-ended list of every random thought anyone has about your product. Your backlog needs to be structured, organized, and arranged to favor the most strategically important things for your team to work on.
when will tech become technology and stop ‘solving’ for ‘problems,’ and start solving for problems?
With hundreds of toys at their disposal, kids jump from one activity for another, never immersing themselves completely in one activity. Kids develop focus when there are fewer choices and fewer demands on their attention and their time. Compare this to how distracted you get when trying to multitask at work,
“Instead of asking how many tasks you can tackle given your working hours,” writes Morten Hansen in Great at Work, “ask how many you can ditch given what you must do to excel.”
the mere presence of our smartphones can adversely affect our ability to think and problem-solve — even when we aren’t using them. Even when we aren’t looking at them. Even when they are face-down. And even when they are powered off altogether.
Having searchable book notes is essential for returning to ideas easily. It increases the odds that you will apply what you read in real life. An idea is only useful if you can find it when you need it. There is no need to leave the task of reading comprehension solely up to your memory.
(C+R+A)/SI = Trust
the amount you trust someone is the sum of how credible you believe they are on a subject, how reliable they've proven themselves to be over time, and how authentic you think they are as a person, divided by how much you think they're acting in their own self interest.
"Hey there, I wanted to chat because I've felt our dynamic shift a bit recently. For example, when X happened, it had Y impact on me. Our relationship is very important to me, so I'd love to understand your experience and understand what to do differently in the future, because I think we can accomplish amazing things together."
Startups are often running so fast, that they forget the importance of passing credit around and acknowledging everyone's wins along the way.
If you feel like someone is being inauthentic with you, you should talk about it. You don't have to accuse them directly, but rather say: "I wouldn't have assumed you'd do or say X or Y. Can you tell me more about why you did?"
What's one simple thing I can do to be helpful, where no one will need to babysit me, and that will help the team succeed?'"
Once someone's in the door, reinforce reliability as a cultural value. Have them ship something on Day 1. Maybe it's code. Maybe it's adding copy to the website or putting out a tweet — depending on job function. Make this the norm every day for their first week. Ask them to turn something in or put something out by a certain time. Observe their bias toward action and how promptly they hit their mark. If you start things with this cadence and expectation, it's more likely to continue. This shortens the cycle it takes for someone to build up reliability.
"Hey, I wanted to chat about how we shipped that product a bit later than expected. Was your expectation also that it would go out on March 15? I wanted to chat, because missing that date meant that a few of the engineers had to work over the weekend, and I thought we could ideate a bit about how to course correct and make sure it doesn't happen in the future."
don’t forget to ask, “How can I help you?”
study participants who read short story fiction experienced far less need for "cognitive closure" compared with counterparts who read non-fiction essays.
have two to three other seasoned operators in your life to consult. You want to socialize important questions, collect responses, and then triage.
You might call this your Personal Board of Directors, and consider treating these relationships the way a company might interact with its board. Narcisse built a personal board of directors for herself over the last several years, and it’s become a major source of insight and strength in her career.
Volume growth is important to ensure that the network is healthy, but the ratio of profits to volume is directly proportional to the take rate, and growth in profits is necessary to show that the company is finding the optimal take rate to balance income and revenue.
For e-commerce businesses such as Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), the take rate refers to the percentage of the value of the transactions they facilitate that they get to keep as revenue
A recent study shows that men are three times as likely to interrupt women as they are men. This didn’t surprise Naylor, but here’s what did: 87% of the times that females interrupted, they were interrupting other women.
Just as at a big festival, if what you want is what only these huge corporations can offer, then your subscription money is well spent. But if you’re using a streaming service to listen to anything other than the most-streamed tracks, your money isn’t supporting what you’re hearing.
If what we value in music is lost at the scale it’s being offered to us, we need to find other ways to get what we want from it.
If you are studying Arabic in order to talk to your in-laws, many of the 5,000 most frequent words are probably less useful to you than some rarer ones, perhaps related to your profession or the area where they live.
Make it about more than just processing information. Let’s say the flashcard is a word you know fairly well. Try to get a feel for it. Imagine yourself saying this French word to a French person in France. Try out different ways of pronouncing or emphasizing it. Swirl it around in your head like a fine Bordeaux. If you don’t know the word, think of a mnemonic that might help you remember it next time, or write out a sentence using it.
"You've got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology--not the other way around," Jobs said.
do the extra work to create strong concepts and understand that when it comes to their execution there are no unimportant details.
create the self-awareness to understand your process and how you can include you team in your process so they all rally behind it, make it better and improve their personal process so they get stronger.
Managers have an emotion deafness where they aren’t able to read the emotional and physical cues given off by people or teams to know how to get the best out of them. This leads to a blunt force management style where they force everyone to work like they do and the team becomes nothing more than a production shop.
you need to question what is in a creative brief if it isn’t in service of the idea that creates the best consumer experience. All of this is critical because ideas have value and that value will change the perception of your group and you.
You have to be a psychologist who can understand the individual creative process of everyone on your team to know when you need to push them to solve the problem for themselves or help them by giving them some guidance to keep the process moving. You have to be a politician who can understand the matrix of any organization, maneuver your group into a position where they are viewed as having value and then use it to give promotions, raised, praise, etc. You have to have confidence so other people want to listen to you, want to follow you and want to be inspired by you. NONE of these skills have anything to do with the quality of your work as a designer
Executives spend most of their week running their functional departments whether that be Operations, Finance, Marketing, Product, Engineering or People. They spend the bulk of their time with their functional team, managing, coaching, budgeting, cranking, and advocating for their people. Yet, when they meet as an Executive Team, they put loyalties to their department on the back burner. In this context they focus on the greater good of the entire business.
Am I glossing over an important piece of analysis? Did I come across unprepared for that presentation? Am I using my crutch word too much when presenting to the board? Is my crappy grammar a poor reflection on the company? Tell me! Tell me! Honest, constructive feedback is both a gift and a duty.
accountability is a key and necessary trait of good executive teams. And, it’s much less unpleasant for everyone if you own it upfront when you miss a commitment.
Effective execs know that once the debate is over and the decision has been made, it is time to commit. They know it’s critical to outwardly reflect that commitment and confidence in the process to the rest of the company. They understand that halfheartedly executing on a decision they disagreed with won’t help anything.
If you want to earn some cred, ask it. “Who is making this decision and by when?”
"Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation."
Apple takes a cut of up to 30 percent of subscription revenue from “in app” sales.
Last year, Booking.com had more than 41 million downloads and 14.5 million average monthly active users. Airbnb had nearly 37 million downloads and 13 million monthly active users.