Seth Godin on Being Satisfied Creatively

“Are you satisfied creatively?


Not even close. That’s a very dangerous place to be and it would truly depress me if that happened and I would get very scared as well. I think if your goal is for everything to be okay, that’s a mistake. To achieve that goal, the only obstacle you’d have to face tomorrow is to eliminate all risk so that everything would be okay. I’ve made the decision that I’m never trying to make everything okay. I’m trying for there to be more loose ends, not fewer loose ends.”

Today I’m making motion graphics in After Effects, tomorrow I’m setting up a new site for a client in WordPress, the day after, who knows!? While it does afford a certain level of discomfort, I’d much rather be pushing myself than complacent with just one domain.



Mills Baker on Design and Solving Human Problems

“Using Paper, I have a sense of anxiety: what if this is what designers make when not yoked to “product thinking”? What if Matas et alia sans Jobs or Forstall are capable of impossibly perfect physics in UIs, of great elements of design, but not of holistic product thinking, of real product integrity? What if design uses its seat at the table to draw pretty things, but otherwise not pay much attention to the outcomes, the user behaviors, the things enabled?”

“In order to avoid losing its place atop organizations, design must deliver results. Designers must also accept that if they don’t, they’re not actually designing well; in technology, at least, the subjective artistry of design is mirrored by the objective finality ofuse data. A “great” design which produces bad outcomes —low engagement, little utility, few downloads, indifference on the part of the target market— should be regarded as a failure.”

Mills Baker has some great thoughts about the role of design and its impact on the success of a product. It reminds me of an old adage. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. If design is to assist in the utility and usefulness of a product, then you should have some specific goals around what success looks like. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels.

Update: Mills added some followup on Quora. He also posted it on Medium. Worth an additional read.

People Skills for Web Workers

“This is the era of cross-platform digital services, fast networks, and mobile devices. Sounds like the ideal time to be a person who makes websites. So why do we feel frustrated so often? Why do we experience burnout or depression? What makes it difficult to do work that has meaning, that satisfies us? The problem is that we need to collaborate, but we haven’t focused on developing our people skills.”

Matt Mullenweg on holding “Auditions”

“…every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis. Candidates do real tasks alongside the people they would actually be working with if they had the job…The goal is not to have them finish a product or do a set amount of work; it’s to allow us to quickly and efficiently assess whether this would be a mutually beneficial relationship. They can size up Automattic while we evaluate them.

Automattic seems like a cool place to work.

The State of Things

A few articles that are interesting as a web developer/human at this point in time.

App-pocalypse Now – Jeff Atwood – Coding Horror

Your platform now has a million apps? Amazing! Wonderful! What they don’t tell you is that 99% of them are awful junk that nobody would ever want.

The Evolution of the Developer – Ben Uretsky – Re/code

But that has changed. I’m hard-pressed to think of any paradigm shift, in terms of personnel, quite as drastic and rapid as the new role of the developer. With software being free and readily available, the sole ball and chain left shackled to the ankles of developers was hardware — but with the development of the cloud market, developers have a newfound stray-dog freedom.

How to Get a Job at Google – Thomas L. Friedman – New York Times

What else? Humility and ownership. “It’s feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in,” he said, to try to solve any problem — and the humility to step back and embrace the better ideas of others. “Your end goal,” explained Bock, “is what can we do together to problem-solve. I’ve contributed my piece, and then I step back.”

The internet is fucked – Nilay Patel – The Verge

But we can fix it, I swear. We just have to start telling each other the truth. Not the doublespeak bullshit of regulators and lobbyists, but the actual truth. Once we have the truth, we have the power — the power to demand better not only from our government, but from the companies that serve us as well.

Platformed. – Ethan Marcotte

I don’t really have any answers here—hell, I’m not entirely sure what I’m griping about. But I do wonder if our collective short-term frustrations leads us to longer-term losses. And seeing the web not as a “platform” but as a “continuum”—a truly fluid, chaotic design medium serving millions of imperfect clients—might help.

Thanks to @timothy_snyder and others on Twitter for sharing these.