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I write about design, technology, and people. Sometimes I take photos of places I visit.

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Google for Startups presents – the growing role of UX in enterprise software

A small and cozy stage where the panel was held.

I had the pleasure of participating in a panel, organized in collaboration with Google for Startups and Impact Hub Zürich, about the growing role of UX in enterprise software. We covered many topics from how UX teams are organized in Google to how to deal with inherent complexity and ambiguity of enterprise products. One question that I particularly liked was:

A classic case for enterprise products is to replace an ad-hoc solution based on spreadsheets. Is it worth fighting against the spreadsheet metaphor?

The short answer is no. Spreadsheets in electronic form have existed for about 40 to 50 years, and paper ones have been in business for much longer. Spreadsheets are powerful and versatile, and that should be acknowledged and embraced. The real skill is deciding when you should build a specialized system that can do specific tasks better than spreadsheets. Those tasks usually require a need for enforcement of rules and policies, instant sharing between systems, sophisticated automation, a stable data source, or simply processing an enormous amount of data. For a lot of other tasks, spreadsheets are a cheap and good enough solution. Just ensure there is an easy way of moving data between specialized systems and spreadsheets—people will love you for that.

The fine line between fear and courage

I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.

— Cus D’amato, legendary boxing trainer

Heidi anime

I told my wife today how a song about Heidi plays every Friday at 17:00 in our Zürich office. It marks the end of a working week and the start of our local TGIF. My wife went to YouTube to search for it. She opened one of the first few results and asked me if that’s the one. (Watch only the first minute.) Read more

Good books I read in 2018

Books on a shelf.

The past year was excellent regarding quantity and quality of books I read. It would make me ecstatic if I could repeat it this year too (a man can dream). Here are my top picks from 2018. Read more

Gapminder and Dollar Street

In my yearly review of 2017, I wrote about how different generations in my family have lived their lives and what technologies and life improvements they’ve seen for the first time. My description was based solely on conversations with family members and my memory. However, this year, I learned about Rosling’s country levels framework used by Gapminder Foundation. People living in extreme poverty are on level 1 while most affluent people in the world live on level 4. The majority live somewhere in the middle.

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