Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Alexandria — Issue #004:

Adam Sadowski
5 min readJun 19, 2019


The Price We Pay

We start with dissecting why tech companies have a difficult time curbing negative and harmful experiences, and how that, in turn, shapes user behavior, consider the relationship between ideas, identity, and control, expose how the cyclical nature of our ego drives our ability (or inability) to understand and make decisions effectively, and finally, reflect on the lessons of a designer turned executive. Later articles serve more practical needs: thinking about your own portfolio’s users, formatting medium articles, and an image size guide for social media platforms.

For resources, we have a browser-based image background remover that was made into a native app, a tool for summarizing and translating text (notes, essays, courses, etc.), and a chrome browser extension for consolidating the 294 tabs I know you have open.

Happy reading!


Articles & Essays

Nothing Fails Like Success

Buying something you can’t afford, and borrowing from organizations that don’t have your (or your customers’) best interest at heart, is the business plan of most internet startups. It’s why our digital services and social networks in 2019 are a garbage fire of lies, distortions, hate speech, tribalism, privacy violations, snake oil, dangerous idiocy, deflected responsibility, and whole new categories of unpunished ethical breaches and crimes.

From optimistically conceived origins and message statements about making the world a better place, too many websites and startups have become the leading edge of bias and trauma, especially for marginalized and at-risk groups.

The “Dark Forest” Theory of the Internet

Is our universe an empty forest or a dark one? If it’s a dark forest, then only Earth is foolish enough to ping the heavens and announce its presence. The rest of the universe already knows the real reason why the forest stays dark. It’s only a matter of time before the Earth learns as well.

In response to the ads, the tracking, the trolling, the hype, and other predatory behaviors, we’re retreating to our dark forests of the internet, and away from the mainstream.

The Tyranny of Ideas
Consider the obsessiveness with which creators birth new ideas into the world, which we’ve clinically termed “intrinsic motivation”, but don’t really seem to understand beyond that. We can observe that it is happening, but we don’t know what actually causes someone to drive themselves nearly to death just so they can give an idea a beating heart and a chance at survival in the world. “Because I had to” or “Because I couldn’t stop thinking about it” are symptoms, not causes.

Degrees of Confidence

Take a person who is confident in something they know nothing about. We all know them. They believe in something with more conviction than other things they’re qualified to opine on. Ask a doctor how to avoid getting cancer and they might say, “There are common-sense practices, but it’s a complicated topic and we still need decades of research to really understand the issue. And even then there’s always just bad luck.” Then ask them how we can avoid the next recession and they may tell you in black-and-white terms what the Fed should do. Let’s call this “Level 1 Confidence.”

10 Obvious Lessons I Learned On My Path From A Designer to Product Executive

Going from an individual contributor to a manager, and then from a manager to an executive, can be extremely challenging, rewarding, and humbling. A lot of the lessons in this post apply primarily to the executive path in high growth, venture-backed startups. Here are the 10 most obvious things that I can personally attest to having learned the hard way — by trying and failing.

The End of the Celebrity Designer

It’s easy to give one person all the credit for coming up with an idea and executing it to perfection. But we all know that that’s rarely the case. Sadly, the closed way many of us have gotten used to working has left a lot of people’s contributions to the process unrecognized.

Opening up design means setting up the systems and processes that allow for more collaboration. What does that look like in practice?

The Better Way to Pull the Plug on a Creative Project
It may not feel like it’s time, but does it ever? Here’s how to end your creative endeavors in the least painful way possible.

The 3 Users of Your UX Portfolio

Just like a product, there are clear users of your UX portfolio. But let’s be honest, how much effort have you put into understanding the user of your UX portfolio? In this article, you’ll develop a better understanding of the three major users of your UX portfolio and what each of them needs as they glance, scroll, scan, and maybe even read.

16 Tricks to Turn Your Medium Drafts Into Beautiful Looking Stories

Formatting tricks will never cover up poor writing. But poor formatting can ruin the reading experience no matter how good the writing is. We’ve brought together 16 formatting tips to up your Medium game.

Your Bookmarkable Guide to Social Media Image Sizes

When you’re selecting cover photos, shared images, and other social media assets, knowing the basic image dimensions might not cut it. What if you want to make sure a certain part of your cover photo isn’t obstructed by your profile photo? And what’s the difference between shared link thumbnails, or in-stream photos, are the dimensions different for those?

Resources & Tools


Tabtation automagically organizes your gazillion Chrome tabs in the ‘Tabtation Bar’ based on the domains of all the currently open web sites and apps. The Tabtation Bar is omnipresent, right at the bottom of the Chrome window on every tab, and loads as fast as the site or app in the tab, if not faster.

Optimozor is a place where you can automatically optimize and summarize your notes, texts and courses. You can also use Optimozor to correct, translate and export your essays to PDFs.

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100% automatic background removal for Windows/Mac/Linux:

* Drag & Drop automated background removal in seconds

* Upload multiple images and folders

* Create transparent or colored backgrounds

* Select the output size of your choice