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

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Human stories

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.

Last year I wrote about stereotyping and jumping to conclusions, and about an exercise anyone can do to reduce bias. Hearing a lot of different stories makes the exercise easier.

I highly recommend subscribing to The Moth podcast. Other similar formats I’ve heard about, but haven’t tried out yet: StoryCorps (TED talk) and Humans of New York.

What works, works

What works is better than what looks good. The looks good can change, but what works, works.

Ray Eames

I subscribe to this way of thinking too. People often get hung up on cosmetic issues instead of thinking about the core problem or need.

I recently notified users of my product that a component will go through a migration and might visually stand out from the rest of the interface. The reply:

We don’t care if it’s ugly as long as it works.

Make Merlin code again

The photo by Wiktoria

Things escalated quickly :)

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 :)

Learning - what and how

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. Read more

If you want to read more, check out the archive.

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