Startups & Tech

Projects that seem quick and easy rarely are.

This is because we forget all kinds of things when we estimate:

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Analytics Startups & Tech UX Engineering

Averages make very poor benchmarks.

I get it. You want to know what typical acquisition, activation, and referral rates look like. You want this information as a signpost to evaluate your own product’s performance.

But there are two huge problems with comparing your product to the average:

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Design

Many companies (and government agencies) assign customers ID numbers.

This is completely reasonable. At certain scale, when correctly ascertaining identity is vital, a unique identifier is a basic requirement.

But most companies don’t even try to make the user experience around ID numbers easy.

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Design

I recently designed a logo for Swish:

We wanted the logo to feel modern, yet playful, so I designed a simple icon and used a clean, iconic font.

The only problem? The word swish is relatively asymmetrical. The word ends on an ascender and has no descenders.

Ascenders are the parts of certain letters that extend above the baseline.
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Startups & Tech

Speaking of the pitfalls of outsourcing important work, have you ever noticed how many so-called experts there are who’ve succeeded at virtually nothing?

Today I got an email from the CEO of a prominent local design agency, announcing yet another book. This guy drives me crazy.

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Startups & Tech

In my experience, startups over rely on agencies.

Don’t get me wrong—agencies can be fantastic for one-off, timeboxed work. Projects like designing the company logo or building a one-off tool are great fits for agencies. They’re discrete pieces of work with a clear start and end. While they may be important, they probably won’t make or break the company.

But too often startups rely on agencies for their most important work.

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Personal Growth Startups & Tech

James Clear has an excellent article on what he calls the 3 Stages of Failure.

In it, he differentiates between tactical failures, strategic failures, and failures of vision:

Stage 1 is a Failure of Tactics. These are HOW mistakes. They occur when you fail to build robust systems, forget to measure carefully, and get lazy with the details. A Failure of Tactics is a failure to execute on a good plan and a clear vision.

Stage 2 is a Failure of Strategy. These are WHAT mistakes. They occur when you follow a strategy that fails to deliver the results you want. You can know why you do the things you do and you can know how to do the work, but still choose the wrong what to make it happen.

Stage 3 is a Failure of Vision. These are WHY mistakes. They occur when you don’t set a clear direction for yourself, follow a vision that doesn’t fulfill you, or otherwise fail to understand why you do the things you do.

Highlighting this nuance is incredibly insightful. Knowing what’s holding you back is the first step to moving forward.

But I think Clear is missing a stage of failure here: Failures of Circumstance.

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Design

From a UX perspective, there are at least two kinds of nitpicking.

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Startups & Tech

There’s more power in these words than you might imagine.

Most customers understand, and even expect, some mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. What frustrates people isn’t the mistake, it’s the justification, the refusal to acknowledge the error, or the compounding of the error.

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Front-End

This weekend I had the unenviable task of creating a mostly static website at the last minute.

The site needed to look nice and have some basic functionality, so I wanted to use LESS CSS and the more modern ES6+ version of JavaScript.

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