The power in paper sketching

From Tracy Osborn via Smashing Mag:

“The power in paper sketching is the sketch’s ephemerality and how they feel less “real” than anything we create quickly on a computer. Start moving words and buttons around on a computer screen, and it’s tempting to fall into a certain direction and never explore alternate paths. Paper sketches force our imagination to fill in the gaps — far more quickly than if we added those details to a computer mockup.”

I keep a pad of graph paper on my desk. I use it for everything – scribbled notes, conceptual diagrams, little doodles, etc. Starting with paper is the best way to really grok something, before digitizing it for posterity and sharing.

Your curiosity budget

From the latest Product Lessons newsletter:

“Productivity is a double-edged sword. Focusing only on doing more things turns into a quest of finding the easiest boxes to check. It makes you over-optimize for the short-term. A useful antidote is carving out a curiosity budget: time to explore new things.”

The idea comes Scott Belsky, co-creator of Behance. I dig it.

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An absurd art project

From Anil Dash writing for The Atlantic:

“There’s only one exception to the lack of interest in blockchain apps today: apps for trading cryptocurrencies themselves. What results is an almost hermetically sealed economy, whose currencies exist only to be traded and become derivatives of themselves. If you squint, it looks like an absurd art project.”

Context collapse on social media

From Charlie Wazel:

“The whole affair is a perfect example of context collapse, which generally occurs when a surfeit of different audiences occupy the same space, and a piece of information intended for one audience finds its way to another — usually an uncharitable one — which then reads said information in the worst possible faith.”

“It’s Not Cancel Culture — It’s A Platform Failure.”

Context collapse is one of my biggest issues with wide-open social media platforms like Twitter. It’s very, very easy to take a grain from the feed and blow it up.

The guardrails that usually keep these things in check in smaller groups — a tighter audience, established relationships with other members, moderation — aren’t present.

Add recommendation engines driven by machine learning algorithms and you’ve got yourself a perfect recipe for yelling at strangers on the internet.

“The ability to switch contexts with little friction on Twitter is part of what can make the entire experience feel spontaneous and exciting. It’s how you get celebrities interacting with random nerds. Fun! It’s also how a lot of vile harassment happens.”

…and that’s the problem. We look to the upsides of a feature — discovery, engagement, retention — and don’t consider the fallout until after it happens. Even then, I wonder how much of it is dismissed as collateral damage, just an unfortunate cost of doing business?

Planning horizons & cycle time

From Andrew “Boz” Bosworth at Facebook:

The fundamental lesson here is that for any repeating process it is important to consider both planning horizons and cycle time and the impact those have on the incentives they create for teams. When possible, having transparency about long term schedules and more continuous evaluation processes will remove gamesmanship from the equation and allow teams to focus primarily on the problem they are trying to solve.”

The Last Bus Problem (Boz)

Ship small. Ship often.