Design

The Solution Is Your Destination

It’s easy to fly from New York to London as a passenger. You get on the plane, listen to the announcements, order a drink, watch a couple movies, and then land in London. It’s all very uneventful. That same flight from New York to London is a totally different experience in the cockpit. Up there,…

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Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution

A few years ago, a bright-eyed entrepreneur came to me with an idea for a new app to help people accomplish their goals by saving more money. Saving enough money is a big problem in the US, so I took the meeting. That’s when it got weird. They wanted people to recommend stores and restaurants…

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How Your Customer’s Brain Decides What to Pay For

The interplay between the three factors of your customer’s needs, wants, and fears affects the perceived value of your product. Which is hugely important because it plays into how people decide what to pay. This is what’s known as exchange theory. Here’s the gist: if the perceived value of your product is greater than its perceived cost, people will buy it. If…

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The End of an Era at Apple

Welp. It’s over, kids. Or soon will be. The much celebrated and literal Knight of Design, Sir Jony Ive, has decided to leave Apple. The Financial Times broke the news yesterday saying “Jony Ive is leaving Apple after more than two decades in which his iconic designs for the Mac, iPod and iPhone turned one of Silicon…

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Building Products in The New Economy

In the dark ages before the Internet, we lived in a seller-driven economy. People were only aware of what was at their local market, so they had limited choice. People relied on advertising and word-of-mouth to learn about new products and services. Companies would create new products based on not much more than a Don Draper…

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Empathy and Personalization at Scale

They say everyone’s favorite thing to hear is their own name. That’s why sales people are trained to learn your name quickly and use it a few times in conversation, to build rapport and trust.  Emails and websites use your name to show they recognize who you are and to give a sense of personalization. And…

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Innovation Isn’t a Side-Project

14 time zones, 6 flights, 4 layovers, 2 trains, 3 hotels, and dozens of Wifi networks and one giant salt mine later, I’m back in the US. I’ve talked with lots of entrepreneurs and investors from the world over on this trip, and have come to a realization. Companies like to say they innovate differently than their…

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The UX of International Travel

I’m writing this from the airport in Bucharest, Romania. Techsylvania (a leading tech conference of Eastern Europe) has invited me Cluj-Napoca to talk about my upcoming book and lead a workshop on Human-Centered Product Design. What better way to spend a 5-hour layover than writing an email for all of you? On my phone, no less (thanks Mailchimp app)!…

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The Importance of Process

If you’re like me, you have a stack of ideas in the back of your mind. Ideas for new apps, how to improve something in your business, or how to make a product better. Ideas are awesome, but they’re worthless without execution. If all your ideas have the same value (e.g. zero), how do you…

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Innovation Isn’t Always Awesome

Companies of all sizes are pushing their teams to be “innovative”. It’s the modern buzzword, and it’s in heavy rotation in boardrooms across the globe. Trouble is, “innovation” is a vague concept. Without a clear business objective, “innovation” could be anything from a radical new product strategy to something superficial like updating the font on the “don’t…

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