This week, start here:
It’s so elementary as to almost defy explanation, but there’s a reason why Russell Davies had to create a link expressly for the purpose of laying out one of the basic (and frequently overlooked) tenets of product development and marketing. This probably merits ‘keep until I delete’ status in your favorite browser.

If you’re not familiar with Mr. Davies, by the way, his blog is absolutely essential reading for those who sell anything, buy anything or process anything for a career.


We were pointed this week toward a piece in Business Insider from January on Google’s adaptation of Intel’s old OKR — Objectives and Key Results — system for evaluating individual and team efforts within an organization along quantifiable measures. The article itself is quite good, but the video from the Startup Lab is absolute gold.

Ken Norton of Google Ventures penned a not-dissimilar piece for The Next Web last week outlining the objectives a product manager should have their first 30 days with a new organization. It’s geared specifically toward product teams at startups, but there are some wonderfully thoughtful gems here for new employees in any corner of any organization.

Rule #9: Read Everything and Write it if it isn’t Already Written

comes straight out of the playbook of our experience design team.

Last week’s New York Times interview with Weather Company CEO David Kenny is spectacular material on organizational change — particularly as it relates to the pace of change within an operation. This x1000:

Speed without a purpose is chaos. Velocity is speed toward a purpose.

Atlantic Cities had a long-form piece last week on the ways in which evolutions in knitting technologies and manufacturing processes have upended the design of athletic footwear. Certainly, this has implications outside of the footwear industry, and recalls the kind of transformations that resulted from collaborations in the mid-1990s between architects and the materials science community.

For the third consecutive week, Gerry McGovern pops into Dark Matter with a piece on the role of well-conceived content in improving conversion rates in self-service experiences. This should be mandatory reading for e-commerce and kiosk design teams.

More good design content on the value of the mundane: Mike Bracken of the Government Digital Service has a post on language and experience in the design of online forms.

This was nicely echoed by Almighty VP of Experience Strategy Helen Keighron in a tweet this week:

The functional can still be elegant. It blows my mind when some designers feel like executing a form well is a chore.

Do give a look, by the way, to re:form — a new design magazine within Medium, curiously/smartly sponsored by BMW.

In light of the attention paid recently to experience algorithm experiments at Facebook and OkCupid, Nate Matias of the MIT Media Lab Civic Media group published a wonderful overview on methods and techniques of auditing algorithms. Don’t let the wonky nature of the topic scare you off: this is much about social science and anthropology as it is about code.

OrgTheory this week suggests that our history with evolving technologies suggests that we’re only beginning to grasp the implications of these experiments.

The old school advertising guard jumps head-first into the big data conversation: Jeremy Bullmore’s short essay on our sensitivity to, and use of, large data sets is absolutely wonderful.

Speaking of data, sociologist Mark Carrigan thinks we should be talking a lot more about the qualified self in pursuit of personal growth and evolution.

You probably don’t listen to the 99% Invisible podcast (yet) — though you absolutely should. Perhaps their piece last week on the role of the packaging for REM’s 1991 album Out of Time in evolving both the American voting populace and record bins will make you a subscriber.

Sociologists are identifying some rather fascinating underlying connections between social class status and our workouts.

Jonathan Mosen’s essay in The New Inquiry on the unique relationships that the blind have with commercial technologies reveals a fascinating world that few of us have real insight into.


Jeff Bridges’ reddit AMA is a treasure trove of gems on topics that range from the brilliance of The Big Lebowski to his dalliances with white russians to the true nature of love.

Skipped over in a lot of the coverage of the transcript was this gem, in which Bridges delivered his best Paul Graham:

Open at your own speed, but open.

Amen, Dude.