Bad design

A great way to stay safe is to include everything in your design. All the data, all the buttons and all the terms. The user not accomplishing their goals is their fault, not yours. I mean, you did provide all the facts.

Bad design is laziness and covering your ass. Good design is knowing what to leave out, what to highlight and taking the risk that maybe you’re wrong on something.

Informal media

10 – 20 years ago, appearing on media (TV, radio) was mostly a formal thing. There was the inevitable combination of scripting, planning, wearing a certain type of clothing and talking a certain way which would form the end result. I’m not talking just about interviews, but also comedy specials, commercials, dramas and the news.

Of course this formal format still exists, but now there’s an alternative which emerged both from necessity and the evolution culture towards the acceptance of informality (necessity as in it’s difficult to keep up appearances for a 3 hours podcast being live streamed).

A more relaxed, informal style makes us look more human. It makes people more open and real. Freestyling instead of following a script is much less predictable and has the potential to reveal intimacy that would otherwise be buried under formality.

What doesn’t kill you hurts

I fully subscribe to the famous Nietzsche quote “What doesn’t kill your makes you stronger”. Well, almost. Most pain we experience in life comes from every day hardships: learning new things, having a flu, making progress at the gym. These experiences make us stronger and better. But then there is pain that does the opposite. Pain from abusive people, bad design and unhealthy patterns. This type of pain makes us weak and anxious. Learn to distinguish between the two and cut away the latter from your life.

Time or money

People have either time or money, but usually not both.

People who have time don’t understand why someone would pay for something you could do yourself. People who have money understand doing it yourself, but don’t have the time so they pay someone else to do it for them.

If you have neither time nor money, consider re-evaluating your life.

Accessories, accessories, accessories

Buy any Android phone, even one of the more popular ones, and you’ll struggle to find accessories for it. The retailer might have a few different cases and a screen protector, but that’s it. If it’s a model that stopped receiving updates 6 months ago, fuhgdeddaboutit.

Walk into any supermarket and they have iPhone accessories for the 5, 6 and 7 models. There are all kinds of grips, holsters and gadgets that are iPhone exclusive. Not only is the iPhone user base massive, but it’s easy to keep stock when there are only 4 or 6 variations (instead of 400 to 600) to take into consideration.

Companies which create iconic, recognizable, design products don’t inundate the market with dozens of variations trying to cater to everyone. They focus on solving problems their way, to their tribe and ignore the noise. That’s why Apple sold over 260 iPhones while you were reading this post.

Clutter & space

Think of a massive pile of stuff lying on a shelf or even on a floor. Shoes, clothing, magazines, everything. If you were to de-clutter and organize it all, I can guarantee it will take more space than when you started. Shoes need to go inside boxes, clothes on a rack and magazines inside binders. Twenty pairs of shoes need twenty shoeboxes or a medium sized trash bag. Which one takes up more space?

You can either have clutter & space or you can have order & no space, but you can’t have both.

If your goal is to have as much stuff as possible, the most effective way to store it is in a big messy pile. Having a messy pile is not very helpful if you want to find things, have them accessible or keep them in working order, but it doesn’t take much space. If you’ve ever seen one of those hoarder TV-shows, you know what I’m talking about.

The alternative is to store things properly, keep them organized and be mindful of what you really need. Don’t store your valuable stuff in supermarket plastic bags, stacked on top of each other or lying on the floor. Invest a little and buy plastic storage boxes from IKEA.

Storing stuff in piles is sometimes unavoidable, but always ask yourself if it really is.

 

Tools at an arms reach

Having the right tools to do your job is important. Equally important is having them as accessible as possible.

If your job is to get fit, and your gym is a 30 minute drive away, are you going to do it? Maybe, but the harder it is for you to get to the gym, the less likely you are to go there. Same thing with learning to play a guitar or picking up a new language. If every time you want to play the guitar you have to go get it from the basement, chances are you’re too “tired” to do it. Instead, hang the guitar on the living room wall so it’s the first thing you see after you plop on the couch.

This applies to everything. Make start doing effortless as possible and you’re much more likely to succeed.

 

Professional equipment

I saw a video which was shot simultaneously with an iPhone 7 and a RED Weapon. On my laptop screen there was almost no visible difference between the two. One is a 1000$ smartphone and the other a 50 000$ professional movie camera.

Does this mean the iPhone is as good as the RED camera? Sort of, but only if the conditions are perfect. Shooting great photos and videos with a smartphone is possible when the light is good and plentiful, when the weather is nice and most importantly, you know what you are doing.

The difference between amateur and professional equipment becomes apparent when the conditions go from optimal to less than optimal. A large sensor will let in more light when it’s dark without adding noise to the image. Professional cameras and lenses are often waterproof or at least water resistant. They offer more fine tuned settings to suit every situation.

P.S. Maybe you’re not a camera guy so here’s a car reference: a muscle car can match a Ferrari in a drag race but what happens when there’s a corner?

On limitations

Some limitations are actually very useful. They push us to do better with less and get more creative. Comedians who can’t curse on the airwaves have to work around it. Old school demos are all about pushing against very limited hardware. Limitations also offer a safe harbor for excuses when we fail at our goals.

Of course many limitations are just that, limitations. The original 10 minute limit on YouTube didn’t make anything better (people just uploaded several videos). Nor did the 56k modem make early browsing any more enjoyable compared to cable modems.

Next time you blame a limitation for failing, make sure it’s an actual limitation and not an excuse.

What’s your MUST?

If a goal is a MUST then you will achieve it. We all have daily MUST goals whether we realize it or not: catching the 8:52 bus to work, brushing your teeth in the morning, watching the latest Game Of Thrones episode. MUSTs are goals which you often set even without realizing it. It’s something so important you couldn’t imagine not doing it. More than fifty consecutive daily blog posts later, writing once a day is now a MUST for me. Seven days of healthy eating and it’s beginning to form into a MUST.

What’s your MUST?