[From a talk delivered at UX New Zealand]
A few months ago, my teenage son told me that their class was recently exploring climate change, and it caused anxiety to spike amongst him and his friends. One of his classmates actually stopped coming to school for a few days because of existential angst, and Elliott started to have trouble sleeping.
Hi! I’m the founding designer of Replay.io, a startup that makes amazing time-travelling dev tools. And I’m in New Zealand, making me 21 hours out-of-sync with the rest of my team. It should be a recipe for disaster, but it’s working really well. Here’s why!
21 hours ahead is the same as 3 hours behind. When my team has a meeting at noon, it’s 9am for me. That’s no different than a New York-based company working with someone in California. Totally doable.
When I start my workweek in New Zealand, it’s still Sunday in America. This means I have an…
Writing is only part of the project I’ve set out to tackle this year. I need to write, and then I need to edit. And when that’s all done, I need to actually design and publish physical artefects. And in the past, it’s the publishing bit that takes a lot more effort than I bargained for.
So I recently drag and dropped a giant un-edited manuscript of words into Blurb.com’s app called Bookwright (pictured below), hit publish, and a week later a real book arrived in the mail.
I noticed my skin tingling within an hour of arriving in New Zealand for the first time. The sun here is strong. So strong that schoolchildren are required to carry a hat as part of their school equipment. So strong that the UV levels are higher than anything in the Mediterranean, meaning you’ll burn faster here than most places in the world. Kiwis actually age faster, because of the extra UV their skin absorbs throughout their lives.
“Good thing we moved to the worst country on earth for you,” my wife likes to joke. “If it were up to you…
I love software that helps people stay motivated. Ulysses has a “goal” feature that I use a lot. It looks like this.
I said I wanted to have 30,000 words by the 1st of May, so it put together some simple math. I’ve done 4,645 words so far, I have 91 more days, and that means I need to write 290 words a day.
And the little green bar on the bottom is exciting, because that shows today’s progress. I put my head down to focus, then when I hit my goal I get a subtle indicator of success. And that inspires me to write more.
It’s a great design. Onward!
I think the conventional wisdom around politics and tech companies is “they don’t care, and will only do what brings them more power.” I have a different view. To me it’s more like this: the people in these places care deeply, and are working in a very complex system with a lot of competing viewpoints. No one ever gets everything they want, but there is progress being made over time. But each new step forward, whether it’s legislation or a new feature, is greeted with “this is the worst idea ever” or “too little, too late” or “why don’t they…
Don’t tell my son, but I’m writing a book for him to celebrate his birthday. I wrote about it over here. I’ve only just started this one, and it’s the highest priority. That means it’ll get the most attention this year.
Over the years, I’ve written a bunch of different bedtime stories and fantasy worlds for my kids. I checked and there are about…
An artist who knows how to self-motivate, set deadlines, and execute on a plan will have a much easier time than one who can’t. And if my experience in art school and the creative world is any indication, this is the single most important thing that artists struggle with. As they say, success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. So I’ve been thinking about the best way to make sure I have processes in place that will allow me to do a good job.
(Side note: some people get so excited about process that they focus on it at the…
There’s a silly line in Friends where someone says “Go to China. Eat Chinese food,” and Chandler replies “of course there, they just call it food.”
That’s how I’ve felt about American culture since moving to another country. Growing up, I never considered everything around me “American culture.” To me it was just culture. And now that I’m in another country, I see everything through a different lens. One that can more easily contextualise the American way of doing things against how the rest of the world operates.
And for me, the biggest difference is how lofty our ideals are…
So I’ve decided to write five books in 2021, like a crazy person. But before I set off on this grand journey, I need to level-set a few things in my own head.
From crash diets to New Year’s Eve resolutions, I think the easiest way to miss a target is by setting too high of a bar for yourself, getting dispirited, and giving up. So first things first. Publishing one book in a year is nearly impossible, and attempting to write five should probably be illegal.
I will probably not succeed. And that’s ok. …