Posts by: Mike Rivera

The State of Bread in This Country

Here’s a typical bread display at any mass market grocer. And here’s a typical list of ingredients (this one from Dave’s Killer Bread’s 100% whole wheat loaf): Organic whole wheat (organic whole wheat flour, organic cracked whole wheat) Water Organic dried cane syrup (sugar) Organic expeller pressed canola oil Organic wheat gluten Organic molasses Organic cultured whole wheat Sea salt Yeast Organic vinegar I’d say this is among the better ingredient lists I’ve come across. They go downhill from here. Bread is a simple food that takes more time and effort than ingredients. So why add sugar, oil, gluten, molasses, vinegar and more? I…

Trump

One of Trump’s latest tweets… Kellyanne Conway went to @MeetThePress this morning for an interview with @chucktodd. Dishonest media cut out 9 of her 10 minutes. Terrible! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2017 His conclusion is hypocritical, of course. As a public figure who uses Twitter to communicate with the public, he is a de facto one-man media outlet—one chock full of the dishonesty he abhors in others. Given that no single individual can easily gauge (nor even keep up with) what’s true and what’s not, it’ll be hard to trust the man. He has a track record so far of blowing…

New Food

As the primary cook in the family, food is always on my mind. Every weekend, the inevitable question ‘what do you want to eat this week?’ is spoken and, not uncommonly, followed by grunts, sighs, or just plain silence when the usual meals grow old and no new ideas exist. Lately, this has been the case for us and I’ve consequently been on a search for The Next Great Meal. If anyone wishes to drop by Casa Rivera and join us for dinner (and wine, of course), here’s what’s for dinner! Chicken In Oaxacan Yellow Mole With Green Beans And Chayote (Or Potatoes) The chiles matter…

Building Team Rapport

Building Team Rapport

Promote better interpersonal relationships and understanding while at work You’ve all been there and done that: the company “team bonding” extravaganza. The ones that might be held off site and include facilitated exercises, games and the like. You’ve had a front row seat to the awkwardness that can ensue — “forced fun” as I’ve heard it described in the past. Why is it that people who spend a good deal of their lives together, yet often only know one another superficially, are asked to build or express team spirit next Wednesday between 10am-2pm at Dave & Busters? A common problem with these…

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…

UX Design and Congress are More Similar Than You Think

UX Design and Congress are More Similar Than You Think

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….

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