Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So, keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.

– Denzel Washington, NAACP Image Awards 2017

July 29, 2023

Five things I like right now


Kurt Elling’s forthcoming album SuperBlue: The iridescent Spree with Charlie Hunter is getting released slowly on Apple Music. So good!


Finally got around to watching The Mandalorian. A-


Gosh Roger Martin can write. Just finished Playing to Win.


Made my banana bread (actually Donna Hay’s recipe) but subbed out the eggs for flax meal. I reckon I could tell the difference in a side-by-side but it’s minor.


AG Lafley and Roger Martin:

Deep consumer understanding is at the heart of the strategy discussion. To be effective, strategy must be rooted in a desire to meet user needs in a way that creates value for both the company and the consumer.


innovation must be consumer centered if it is to be meaningful and provide competitive advantage

July 4, 2023 now

Unless you’re Miles Davis, there’s always some brother, some other, smoother than you

– Kurt Elling, Freeman Square

July 3, 2023

Five things I like right now


Nubya Garcia’s Nubya’s 5Ive is spectacular.


Patricia Arquette in High Desert is hilarious.


Just finished David Rooney’s About Time: A history of civilisation in 12 clocks.


Doing a bunch of gluten free baking as one of the people I live with is maybe gluten intolerant.

Some lessons:

  • Things based on non-gluten flours cannot be indistinguishable from gluten-including things. The texture is fundamentally different.
  • you can fake” gluten with xantham gum, which is often included in bakes like real flour” gluten-free flours. The texture is almost the same as wheat-flour.


As UX becomes commoditised, something else will become possible. I’m not sure what it’s called yet, but I think I almost know what it might be.

June 4, 2023 now

You don’t have to read fashion magazines. Open the window and look outside when you wake up in the morning. A man who can cook rice is a hundred times cooler.”

– Yukio Akamine, quoted by Derek Guy

April 20, 2023

Porque no los dos

The most powerful research analysis move I know is how can both of these things be true at the same time?”

April 17, 2023

Control your time

In 2023 nothing feels as much like work” as eight 30-minute meetings across the course of a day.

Like lots of people in leadership roles, my work happens in meetings. Saying yes or no. Giving endorsement. And yet, that’s not the entirely of my work.

So here’s Robin Rendle with a timely (ha!) reminder:

A company will try and steal your time in ten million tiny ways. That’s not to say those conversations and Slack threads are malicious, but if you don’t guard your time — design your days, so to speak — then they’ll curse you with only enough time to do half-baked work.

April 5, 2023

The number one question I get asked in Design Thinking Workshops

For the last six months I’ve been delivering a lot of Design Thinking workshops for non-designers. The participants were mostly knowledge workers whose work touches service delivery or influences how people use complex products.

The workshops all went well.

And then at the end, when I say any questions”, people regularly say:

I love this; I get it; how will I get my boss to let me do this”?

My cheeky answer, which I rarely give, is: it’s already your job; why is your boss stopping you?”

The real (or perhaps realpolitik) answer is: just start doing it. Instead of writing notes to yourself or for others in a document, start making notes on post-its and move them around. If you are making something that will be seen or used by customers, get as much feedback as you can, as early as you can, in the most structured way you can, from people who are as much like real users as possible. And then as you make changes based on that input, keep getting that feedback and keep learning from it.

Everything else is details.

March 30, 2023

They are calling anyway

I’ve come to believe the apt metaphors lurk in fantasy novels and occult texts. As my colleague Ross Douthat wrote, this is an act of summoning. The coders casting these spells have no idea what will stumble through the portal. What is oddest, in my conversations with them, is that they speak of this freely. These are not naifs who believe their call can be heard only by angels. They believe they might summon demons. They are calling anyway.”

Ezra Klein, again

March 28, 2023

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