The Alexandria Newsletter #002
Oops! Looks like I’m a little late with the newsletter… which I blame on building IKEA furniture (even though the meatballs are ridiculously good). With this edition, I really wanted to highlight more of the “soft skills” that apply to design and other fields that rely on collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.
The resources section is a bit thin this time around. Don’t give up on me just yet, I promise I’ll do better!
Articles & Essays
Frances Perkins, who campaigned with Roosevelt and later became Secretary of Labor, said the most remarkable thing about the president’s paralysis was how little its hindrance seemed to bother him. He once told her: “If you can’t use your legs and they bring you milk when you wanted orange juice, you learn to say ‘that’s all right,’ and drink it.”
There’s a useful and overlooked skill: Accepting a certain degree of hassle and nonsense when reality demands it.
Many people seem to think that UX design is mostly about hard skills, knowledge and some talent. And I would like to completely disagree with that. You know why? Because UX design is not some black magic, and actually many people can learn about it pretty fast.
Just as we start to get a handle on the product design landscape, it changes on us — again. What does it mean to design for Spatial Computing & artificial intelligence?
What kind of skills and experience will you need to pivot, adapt, and thrive in this new era, and what roles do storytelling, empathy, and emotion have in the designed future?
The design world seems to favor those who develop a strong presence on social media. But what happens when you’re an introverted designer who shies away from self-promotion?
Google UX Designer David Hogue Shares How to Reverse Over-Complication in Product Design and How to Avoid It Altogether
Most product designers have the best of intentions with their work — they want to make quality products that solve problems for their users, and strive to constantly find new ways to serve and delight them. But these noble intentions can have unintended negative consequences: slowly, piece-by-piece, new product features, expansions, and tweaks pile up, resulting in clutter, complication, and eventually friction. It’s very difficult to remove features once they’re added to an app or service, and before a designer knows it, their once effective user experience has deteriorated.
In 2012, shortly after Airbnb acquired our startup, I overheard co-founder Joe Gebbia giving guidance to a designer tasked with redesigning the homepage. He said, “Build something the internet has never seen before.” I vividly remember thinking, What does that even mean? And is this the bar for everything around here? Looking back, I’ve come to recognize that this mindset has been one of the key ingredients in Airbnb’s historic growth.
In this interview, Jackson explains how startups can define the type of PMs they need, source candidates, ask the right interview questions — and, perhaps most importantly, convince them to come work for you.
There were so many times when I thought about giving up during the early days. Over and over again, I felt like we were doing it all wrong. Making guesses about the problems people had. Building to solve problems we had imagined. We were searching in the dark to solve painful problems. We had a clear vision, but our execution was flawed.
In the military, a poorly formatted email may be the difference between mission accomplished and mission failure. During my active duty service, I learned how to structure emails to maximize a mission’s chances for success. Since returning from duty, I have applied these lessons to emails that I write for my corporate job, and my missives have consequently become crisper and cleaner, eliciting quicker and higher-quality responses from colleagues and clients.
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