With Jeff Immelt out and John Flannery in as General Electric CEO, The Economist describes the company as having gone through a lot of important changes without achieving greater results. Shuffling. Reorganizing. Yet in the same place as before.
“GE has been running to stand still. …what it now needs is less re-engineering and more consistent execution.” — General Electric picks a new boss
This made me think. When I have the urge to shift things around: team, products, projects, office furniture, books on the bookshelf — I can ask myself, “Am I doing this just to stay busy? Look busy? Feel busy?”
Instead of movement for its own sake, I should find impact where I am today in my exact location. With this team, this project, this company — not something new. Work on meaningful results to help people by finishing what I’ve started.
A must-read zeitgeist if you work in tech, no matter your role.
Design trends revolutionizing the entrepreneurial and corporate ecosystems in tech. Related M&A activity, new patterns in creativity × business, and the rise of computational design.
View the full video + slides and an executive summary on LinkedIn of the presentation led by my colleague John Maeda, Automattic’s Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion.
Key takeaway: “Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.”
I love seeing a trend of large companies embracing open source projects, both from the business angle and understanding that open standards help everyone.
An Aerospace Coder Drags a Stodgy Industry Toward Open Source (via Wired) — see projects on GitHub.
Opening up Cosmos wasn’t an easy swallow for the aerospace industry. It’s historically closed-off: Big companies sell big-bucks programs, and people either shell out or cobble together their own kludgy systems. But a freely available, edit-able, enhance-able program has been a boon to researchers and businesses—anyone that can benefit from a robust system to point satellites and display their data.
AT&T Releasing Its Network Playbook into Open Source (via The Economist) — see projects on GitHub.
This is a big decision and getting it right is crucial… We want to build a community – where people contribute to the code base and advance the platform. And, we want this to help align the global industry.
Via design.org: The UX Design Success Ladder: Achieving Meaningful Product Design.
Product success envisioned as rungs of a ladder, that you climb up from the bottom: functional, usable, comfortable, delightful, meaningful.
I first heard this concept last year at WordCamp Phoenix in a presentation by Ward Andrews; the article showcase examples of products or services at each level.
Takeaway message: don’t stop at functional and usable. Set the bar higher.
A computing tip from my friend and WordPress web engineer extraordinaire Chris Marslender.
When pushing code to a Heroku app, make the last step be an action to reboot the app, with something like Hubot. So any time code changes, the server restarts. So if someone is offline and the server isn’t running, you can push a change to get it working again without pinging them.
If your software product’s user interface doesn’t support _____, or support them well — your data won’t include _____ in your access logs. You could think they don’t visit often enough to include them in your team’s decisions about the interface. Instead, you can focus on segments of the population based on device, browser, OS, language and location, or any other criteria you feel are important and worthy of attention. It’s simple: make it work for the majority.
This is a blind spot. I call it the bias of the absent visitor. Since they’ve never come by, you can easily fall into assuming they don’t want to or need to use your interface. You might think you can just ignore them safely.
The reality is that they might have stopped by once or many times, had a terrible and unwelcome first experience, and have never come back. They could have seen a blank, white page instead of your carefully crafted design and content. Might have even told their friends not to bother.
This is one of my biggest blind spots. I hope that writing it down will motivate me to remember that the absent visitor is just as valuable as the typical one.