I don’t remember when I, a shy kid in love with computers,
became interested in human stories. The more I think about it,
the more this transition blurs. But there it is—I love hearing
stories. It turns out that most people do.
I tune into The Moth Radio Hour for a weekly dose of
storytelling. Even though many stories are witty and fun,
there are those that explore the darker side of life: poverty,
crime, broken marriages, battling with diseases, a death of a
child. Those stories are from ordinary people in extraordinary
circumstances, and they help me look beyond my bubble and
learn something new about the world. Sometimes I laugh,
sometimes I cry.
My interest in Google’s technical infrastructure has grown
over the years. The itch to look under the hood and play with
code is always there, mostly due to my background in computer
science before switching to design.
Casual conversations with one software engineer have led me to
set up a development environment. He started to introduce me
internal tools and processes. We’ve been cracking jokes during
that time about how he’s going to convert me to a programmer
again, and at some point someone said: “Make Merlin code
again.” It stuck. I wanted to make it visible to serve as a
reminder. Instead of just printing it out and putting it over
my desk, Olga jumped in and stitched the slogan masterfully.
And don’t worry, I won’t crash any Google products; they won’t
let me :)
There are too many skills to learn in one lifetime, so
deciding where to focus and for how long is an important skill
in itself. I’ve started the process of learning many times and
I’ve built a thinking framework for determining what to learn
next and how. I’ve written the framework down so you can use
it to decide your next step.
I’m reading Design for real life by Eric Meyer & Sara
Wachter-Boettcher, and I’m enjoying one small word twist.
Instead of saying edge cases, they call them stress cases.
That change makes all the difference in how we perceive the
importance of situations that don’t occur as often.
The example the authors use in the book is:
Someone trying to shut down their account in a hurry is an
Someone trying to shut down their account in a hurry is a
The first sounds dismissable. The second sounds inevitable.