I used to be terrified of thunderstorms. When I was younger, I would hide in my closet with my gameboy until it passed.
Now, I love them. I walked across the Brooklyn bridge during one (not intentionally) and was fascinated.
Generally, I’m overly pragmatic and realistic, but storms have a tangible energy. It’s a shift in energy.
That’s my written thought for today.
I don’t know what to write today so I’ll tell you what’s on my mind.
I have the urge to get a tattoo. When I got my first one, it felt pretty awesome. So why not do it again.
Data does not tell a story. It states facts to a certain extent. It certainly shows part of a story but not enough to stand on it’s own.
For compelling insight and understanding (thoughtful and empathetic understanding), there needs to be more than numbers. What is the human side of this data? What are the actions that make this data?
Data will not reveal frustrations, norms, or quirks. It only shows the outcomes or symptoms of those things. Learning the story helps to understand the cause.
It’s interesting to see so many product stories start with data. For a product to matter these days, it needs to do more than just react to numbers and meet a bottom line (though that’s not a bad thing). It needs to speak to emotional needs of people and compel them to use it.
We can do a lot of things these days. It’s actually a little scary how many things we can do. Fly unmanned drones around a city to deliver tacos, build robotic arms and organs. Heck, some scientists made a hamburger out of a lab.
The possibilities really are endless and people are capitalizing on them. However, there are an awful lot of things out there that are there simply because we could. Just because you have the ability to, does not mean you should. It is all about restraint and putting thought into things.
Making for the sake of making is dangerous. Dare I say slightly egotistical? If you are making something simply because you can, then who are you helping or serving aside from yourself?
It is easy to skip the step where you stop and think and question yourself or product. Oliver Reichenstein summed it up best:
"We avoid the pain of thinking like a medical examination. We’d like to believe we’re too smart to think. Thinking is stressful"
Thinking about stuff is annoying. It takes time and makes you ask somewhat painful questions. Does that mean we should skip it? Well, for a lot of us, yeah. And that is why there are so many bad products and services out there.
Research is thinking. Thinking takes time and time costs money and you cannot predict where you will come out on the other end. Skipping thinking and going right to making is easier, faster (in most cases) and gets instant gratification. There is no instant gratification in thinking.
While there might not be the instant reward, there is the long term pay off that you actually did something the right way. You stopped and learned something. You were able to see what should be done or what needs to be done, not simply what could be done.
That is what my 9th grade history teacher wrote on the chalkboard our first day of class.
I don’t know if I would say that everything he knew was right or if he was just going for a dramatic start to the class, but it certainly stuck with me. But really it was the gist of his message that stuck with me.
You never really know enough to say you know it all. Not only do you always need to pursue new information (the curious always have more fun), but you also need to constantly question and re-evaluate what you already know. Could you do something you have done for years differently? Would that make it better?
In the design world as of late, the disciplines are fragmenting (but overlapping). People are fighting for territory and striving to be THE service design guy, THE lean UX guy. They know it all about those disciplines. Do you? Or could you do them a little bit better by learning from the neighboring one? Or maybe even a completely different one?
People want to be experts these days and guard that territory fiercely, but that is the ego-driven way. To further a discipline, like design, you need to constantly explore and question it. Find new ideas and methods to put into it to help it evolve as times change.
So maybe everything you know isn’t wrong, but really you just don’t know enough and you probably never will.