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

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Photos from a day trip to Braunwald, Switzerland.

A view of a valley between mountains. Read more

How to get a UX job at Google

People have asked me how to get a job at Google many times. I’ve compiled frequently asked questions and provided brief answers to them. The FAQ might grow and update over time. Read more

Digital Experience Meetup in Basel

The audience listening to the talk.

The speaker pointing to the presentation.

Photo credits: dxmeetup.ch

UXers often talk about not having a seat at the table. In addition to that, they are often under-leveled when compared to their peers. So, how to get into all those critical conversations early on and how to influence product development?

When I started at Google, I was a solo designer on my team, had only sporadic support from user research, and a remote manager. Over the years, some behaviors have proved successful in building trust and influence with cross-functional stakeholders.

Kind people from Digital Experience meetup have invited me to give a talk in Basel, and I thought collaboration and influence might be interesting topics to a broad audience.

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

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