Friday, 25 November 2016

AI is not right around the corner

It never will be. Computers can’t think and I wonder if they ever will. Abstracting layers on top of one another does not mean we’ll ever get tot henpoint where computers are doing the core thinking.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sunk costs

Let go of sunk costs. Don’t dig a deeper hole. Increasing commitment to a losing action will not save you. If a project is failing, no amount of time or money will save you.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Distraction kills

Do work that’s hard. Push through until it’s done. Most people stop half way through, telling themselves it’s plenty for now, or they just can’t do anymore.

But push through. Go to completion. Set goals and go.

Freeletics has created a near perfect tool for getting you to push through. Complete 5 sets of 30 climbers, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups and 30 squats no matter what. Even if it takes hours.

Write a blog post, even if it takes hours to get out want you want to say.

There are more distractions today than ever. This means fewer people will be diving deep into skills and topics. This is opportunity for anyone to do the hard work and master the skills and talents in need.

Distraction kills. Find the pleasure in the pains. Find the joys, the rewards. When you focus on the bad that pain can bring, you stop. When you focus on the pleasure, you’ll be shocked to see how far you’ve gotten.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

24 Game Solver

My girlfriend is a bit obsessed with 24 Game and has gotten me addicted. The rules are simple: Given four numbers, use simple math to make 24.

Here’s an example with a solution, given the numbers 8, 12, 9, 3:

9 – 3 = 6
8 – 6 = 2
2 * 12 = 24

It’s simple and fun, but every time I’d play I knew there were solutions that I was not thinking of. So, I created 24 Game Solver, which you can find over at:

Enter in your four numbers, click “Solve” and the app will show you all the possible solutions.


Tip: Click “Highlight similar solutions” to see which solutions are unique.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Where’s the article?

Opened an article on Quartz and this is what I was greeted with:

I spent a good 3 seconds looking for a skip-this-ad link until I realized that the article was below the ad. Disrupting users and giving up valuable real estate seems foolish. But at least I now know about Jaguar.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Steps For Pleasing Upset Customers

So you can ensure you never feel aggregated again.

  1. Listen. Understand the issue or problem
  2. Verbally relate to their pain, apologize, and own it
  3. Tell the customer how you’re going to solve their problem and make things right
  4. Follow up at regular intervals with status updates
  5. Inform the customer how the issue was solved and why it will never happen again

If they’re still pissed: Lock them out, deactivate their account, put them in your black book, or block their number.


_blank: Load the response into a new unnamed HTML4 window or HTML5 browsing context. –

_blank is bad because it:

  • Takes control away from the user
  • Clutters the user’s workspace
  • Tricks users into “staying” on your site
  • Is unexpected 99.99% of the time

And therefore annoys people, leaving them with a bad taste in their mouth.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Feature X

Customers will give you any number of reasons why they won’t buy, whether they’re true or not. Maybe they’re shy or don’t want to hurt your feelings, as so often it’s “your product is missing feature X.”

Nonsense. They just don’t want to buy. They may not even know the reason why. They just know the answer is no. There’s often little you can do about it. 

And that’s good! You don’t want them as your customer. 

What’s dangerous is using their no to decide the strategy and direction of you product. I.e. Adding feature X to your product. 

So, two options:

  1. Foolishly add the one feature the customer wants, hoping they bite
  2. Play the long game by setting a product identify from day one and never steering away

The problem with #1 is that it rarely, if ever, helps you create a product anyone actually wants. Okay. One person. But that’s it. You’re stuck pandering to that one customer.

Better to go after a well defined group of people, and make something that benefits them all. Why make one person happy when you can make thousands extatic. 

Monday, 15 February 2016


It’s easy to get caught up with a sense of urgency, giving in to the demand and pressure around you to get things done. But it is rare that these things actually are urgent.

You can either do lots of shallow things as fast as possible. Or you can focus on deep problems, knowing that it will be okay when the little stuff does not get done.

You can either do things without much thought. Or you can be considerate and methodical with your efforts and time.

You can either constantly flip between tasks, not quite remembering where you left off. Or you can only take on new tasks and projects when they can be given the proper attention they deserve.

You can either do things not knowing whether are are necessary or not. Or you can do things that solve real problems.

You can either set an arbitrary deadline, that you know can’t be met. Or you can break things up in to smaller, more manageable stages.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Helping Strangers

While at Powells, I heard a young boy asking his grandfather where the computer book section was. The grandfather did not know, nor could he offer any advice on book recommendations.

A middle aged man stepped in, overhearing, and directed the couple, as well as offering  two book recommendations. The man didn’t have to step in, offer his insight. But he did. 

Judging a Book by Its Title

I’ve found myself judging books by their title. Determining if I want to spend my time learning the one thing a book has to offer. As if a title can reduce a book’s value Ono a few words. Or if that’s all it offers.

Now I jump and skim books before I buy and if I take just one tiny nugget in that minute or so, I buy it. 

No Coding Skills Required

While this sales phrase may eventually fade, the need and growth for solutions that require coding skills will not. This means more and more coding opportunities for coders, but also a less of a need need to learn to code (because coders will make more and more things that no longer require one to know how to code to get what they want).

So you can either make and sell things that require no coding skills, but depend on people to make things that require no coding skills. Or you can take matters into your own hands, pure freedom, and code things for everyone.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a bad question. When asked, you invariably look backwards, wondering whether you’ve done enough of worth the previous five years.

Better to think and worry about today, the here an now. Dismissing expectations from mind is the easiest way to extend your life.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Harbor Island, Seattle

Harbor Island, Seattle, WA
View from a client’s patio on Harbor Island, Seattle, WA. Being part of the Maritime Industry can feel so empowering.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Proximity to customers

If you’re creating something for others to use, you need access to at least a small sample of those people. If you do not have direct and immediate access, you will never understand their needs. Understanding their problems is the easiest way to create good solutions.

A good way to do this is to be in proximity of your customers. Go where they go. Read what they read. Think like they think. It’s hard to do and takes time, but it can be done.

An even better way to be in proximity of you customers is by being a customer yourself. It may be difficult to think of yourself in this way, since you can get in the way. But it’s just a matter of see yourself in context. Recognizing the things you do or say that make you part of a group.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Is finding meaning important?

In life. Is it important to have an understanding of our own purpose, to have purpose, or make sense of the things around us?

Or should we live in the now? Ignore the bigger picture. Move forward. Ignore context. Try new things. Focus on the granular. Take a step forwards.

Often times, meaning entails looking back or spending time figuring out the environment in which we live. Figuring out or examining the conversation. This doesn’t propel us further.

Maybe it’s better to join in the conversation. Better to grab your own soapbox from which to speak.

Meaning may or may not motivate us. But curiosity surely does.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Defining yourself loosely is the greatest way to live

In the modern world we define ourselves based on an idea that was created during the industrial revolution. The idea of a highly specialized workforce. Everyone has an area of focus, and you master it to get ahead.

While this is still true, and easy to benefit from, it will not last for much longer. Even looking at software development job postings, we see a high demand for full stack developers. It’s not enough to specialize, you need to not be able to define yourself easily. You need to be a complete human being.

Travel the world. Learn another language. Get into trouble. Increase your vocabulary. Exercise more.

These things matter more than being an expert in one, narrowly defined thing.

Technological advantages only matter if we have more choices

Does knowing how to send an email give you an advantage? No.

Does knowing how craft a convincing and persuasive letter give you an advantage? Yes.

Does knowing how to use Yelp find a restaurant give you an advantage? No.

Does knowing how to write an advanced recommendation AI engine give you an advantage? Yes.

It’s interesting to think about technology in terms of giving us advantages. Really, technology is just us, sped up. It’s there to complete tasks in a more efficient way.

Knowing how to use something, any tool, is not what is critical. It’s an important baseline, a minimum bar to meet, but does not inherently improve things.

Having more choices and knowing how we can help others and improve who we are, with the help of technology, is what matters most. The more choices we have the more advantages we have.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Friday, 21 August 2015

Having good ideas when you’re young

When you’re young, your ideas often times look strange. Especially to those around you. They’re dismissed as being naive, innocent, or ill informed. The unfortunate side affect is the sense that you’re wrong or your ideas will not spread. Then you either give up or adjust your idea to match how others perceive the world.

Of course, what’s great about being young and having young ideas is that you are actually more in tune with the current conversations going on in the world. It’s should not be about changing your ideas or molding them to be more palatable. It’s about finding the people who will listen. People who want to hear from you.

As adults, if this is true, what can (should!) we do? How can we help? Sit back and listen.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Balsamiq mockups loading quote

I love this little UX gem. Every time you open a new Balsamiq project, instead of a boring loading screen, you are welcomed with a new UI/UX quote:


If there is no way around something that’s annoying, may as well find a way to make it enjoyable. Better yet, turn it into something people anticipate and look forward to.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Uncomfortable travel

Why is travel so enjoyable? Is it the desire to experience something new, or the need to leave something behind? If we’re always on the go, could it mean we are always on the run?

Maybe we just want to experience more. More environments, more languages, more food, and more people. Maybe we want to better understand who we are. But we can’t do this if we’re always traveling to the same places.

The more we interact with things that are different than ourselves, things that make us a bit uncomfortable, things we have never experiences, the more complete we can become.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Mobile web is dead?

Tony Haile writes in A correction around the death of the mobile web about the mistake of conflating time spent on the mobile web with time spent in a traditional browser. That users spend tremendous amounts time accessing the mobile web through social apps in-app browsers.

Knowing the ‘where’ helps us focus on where to place our efforts, if it’s where our customers want us to go. But it does not substitute for being who we are to our customers.