Opinions & assorted nonsense (same thing?) by Mike Rivera

What NASA Knows About Great UX Management

What NASA Knows About Great UX Management

In the 1970s, NASA undertook an assessment of airline pilot performance. They needed to understand why pilot error had become the leading cause of airline accidents. What they learned helped make commercial air travel one of the safest modes of transport in the U.S. today. Their research shed light on the importance of workload, leadership and communication — integral aspects of running successful UX engagements. What can we learn from this seminal research? Balancing Workloads Research found the best performing airline captains kept tabs on their crew’s workload. Interestingly, pilot error wasn’t typically due to lack of skill or knowledge of proper…

Book Notes: Dark Matter and Trojan Horses

Book Notes: Dark Matter and Trojan Horses

Notes (quotes, really) from Dan Hill’s Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. A Strategic Design Vocabulary. Some of these are a tad out of context. I’d read the book if I were you. It’s very good, short and has both high level strategy ideas and lower level tactical examples. What gives designers the right to approach such complex areas, usually the domain of political scientists and civil servants? Aren’t these essentially beyond the capacity and capability — if not remit — of design? Culture is not something that can be designed, after all; is it even ethical to consider that it could be? However, a…

UX Agencies Sell (and Clients Buy) Informed Decision Making

UX Agencies Sell (and Clients Buy) Informed Decision Making

What is User Experience (UX)? UX is a process, an approach, a way of thinking and an outcome. Outcome, in particular, is the key aspect to UX’s value. Are you solving a real problem? Are you tackling something meaningful to people? Are you bettering the organization, the system, the… whatever? I hope so. Otherwise, you’re selling an inferior product (be it a physical thing, a service, an idea, etc.). Let’s also be clear that outcomes are not journey maps or competitive analyses or any number of other artifacts that will be generated during the course of a project. As much…

What Client Services Can Learn From an Outgoing Congressman

What Client Services Can Learn From an Outgoing Congressman

I listened to this interview with retiring US Representative Rush Holt and it struck me how well his viewpoint could be applied to client services. Holt makes the case that his time in Congress was one where he would apply his ethics publicly (and he admits that he came up short from time to time). Similarly, client services is also an arena where you apply your ethics. Ethics can, of course, encompass how you treat people, your business practices, etc. but they should also encompass your principles and convictions. The process you use, your client interactions and your company’s culture…

Book Notes: The Hard Things About Hard Things

Book Notes: The Hard Things About Hard Things

Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers offers advice on sticky business situations. His past experience, good and bad, is served up for your benefit. The writing is crisp, direct and eschews simple answers. When you inevitably find yourself in complex, difficult to manage situations, this is the book you’ll reference. It’s an effective mix of been-there-done-that wisdom and practical, put-it-to-use-right-now takeaways. The following are the quotes I found especially helpful in a managerial role and with an inclination towards organizational design and process. Your mileage may vary, of course. Page numbers are from the…

Explore Pixar‘s Relationship with Their Customers

Explore Pixar‘s Relationship with Their Customers

Ed Catmull, CEO of Pixar, was asked to comment on kids as consumers. Specifically, the question asked about Pixar’s views on the trends they see amongst their five-year-old demographic (skip to the 24:10 mark in the video). His answer: Five year olds actually haven’t changed as much. Clearly, the teenage world has changed a lot more because of the way media is spread. So that’s actually the bigger change. For the children, we haven’t seen much. In terms of the way we think about our stories though, we don’t segment them in that sense. That is, we do make movies that…

Book Review: Remote: Office Not Required

I read Remote: Office Not Required over the weekend (it’s a fast read) to see what I could learn about working with remotely located coworkers. I came away with a simple change of perception that will likely change the way I operate in the future. Our company has two offices which, in a sense, makes us a remotely located group. I say ‘in a sense’ because those offices are, at most, 30 miles from one another. Before reading the book, the idea that this small distance made us a remotely located organization seemed far fetched. If I needed to talk to someone face-to-face,…

Eager Sellers, Stony Buyers & the Four Progress Making Forces

A great benefit the web provides to curious souls is the ability to lose oneself in ideas, one link after another until you can’t remember where you started anymore. That’s how I came across an HBR article—”Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers: Understanding the Psychology of New-Product Adoption“— by John T. Gourville. I’m sure I came across it in my continuing exploration into the jobs-to-be-done framework, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how I came upon it. Nevertheless, it’s a great companion piece to those of you getting into JTBD and, in particular, the Four Progress Making Forces by the fine folks at The Rewired…

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