Design

The New Economy & Scaling Fast

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 choices. 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-esque…

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Who Decides Whether to Buy Your Product?

Not all buyers are the same. In every transaction, big or small, you have an economic buyer, the person who makes the money decision, and you have the needs buyer, the person who needs their problem solved. Sometimes these buyers are the same person, sometimes they are multiple people. For example, if you’re buying new running shoes…

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The Rise of No-Code App Development

My inbox has been flooded with news about startups offering ways to create apps with no-code. Most of them aren’t much more than API connected spreadsheets on steroids, and that’s not an insult. Some are much more than that, offering complex data integrations and sophisticated functionality. Services like BettyBlocks, Appery, and many others are changing the way we…

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Avoiding Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever fallen victim to analysis paralysis? I bet you have. Not sure what that is? Here’s an example: You’re on the condiments isle of your local grocer looking at 30 different jars of jelly. Some say organic on the label, while others have obscene amounts of sugar. You narrow your search for the…

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Using Hypotheses to Make Better Decisions at Scale

We talk about assumptions and hypotheses a lot when we’re developing product strategy and making decisions on what to build. Whether you’re creating something new or rethinking an existing product, you have to make some bold choices about what include or omit, what to spend time building and what to postpone or neglect entirely. Ideally,…

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Using Exchange Theory to Guide Pricing Decisions

How do you decide whether something is valuable to you? What’s the right price for your product or service? How much is too much? Or too little? Unless you’re in a commodity market where you can use your competition’s prices as a guide (like domain names, airfare, or car tires), pricing a product is one…

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The Difference Between UI and UX

We’re talking about this again? Okay. It’s simple. UI–or User Interface–is like the steering wheel and dashboard in a car. It’s the stuff you use to interact with and control a system. Turn the wheel and the car turns. Move a handle and the blinker comes on. Twist a knob and the air conditioning comes…

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Design is not that Important

John Maeda, former MIT professor and renown designer, sent shivers down the spines of designers everywhere in his recent Design in Tech Report when he made the bold statement “…in reality, design is not that important.” For years designers have been lobbying for, and getting, more authority and influence over how things get made. Overall that’s a…

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Human-centered Design isn’t just for digital businesses

Executives in legacy businesses, particularly those who aren’t digital-first, often ask me how human-centered design can help them when they aren’t shipping digital products. Look no further than the retail fashion chain Zara.  With over 2200 retail locations you might imagine the logistics and supply chain issues Zara faces are daunting. And you’d be right.…

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When Business Goals ≠ User Goals

Twelve years ago at a SXSW afterparty Jeremy Keith, a fellow designer, first told me about “Twitter”. It was just a fledgling text message service at the time. At his encouragement, at 1:28 PM on March 10th 2007 I sent a text message to 40404 (this still works, btw) which read simply “Eating lunch“. Twitter…

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