Tag Archives: people and systems

Simplicity as an Outcome of Thinking

Simplicity as an Outcome of Thinking

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The concept of simple is all around us – the rise of Apple means that our exposure to a beautiful design ethic is ever-increasing. A lot of companies want to take a shortcut to compelling design by imitating Apple, but there’s a great quote from Steve Jobs on the reason that’s hard to do: ‘When […]

But how do you *know*?

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The case for (and against) testability There’s an old saying in the ad world, attributed to John Wanamaker: ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’. Designing systems can feel a lot like this – agonising for hours over which features people will find valuable, which […]

The Evil of Mandatory Fields

The Evil of Mandatory Fields

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Forms are a vital part of an information business – they’re the primary way that organisations capture data about their users, and often the mechanism by which they understand what their own teams are doing. But, if they’re so useful, why is it that no-one likes them? I’ve been working with a large organisation in […]

Dark Matter, Part 2: Articles of Faith

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In the last Razor Cuts post, we wrote about the gaps in expectations – the dark matter between people – the place where unwelcome surprises lurk, but there is a better, nobler, side to the dark matter equation: Faith. Sometimes we work with people who naturally take responsibility, people who have the ability to imagine […]

Dark Matter: the unspoken meaning in what people say

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Dark matter is a theoretical concept in Physics, which arose from physicists being unable to account for the behaviour of stars and galaxies from the light, energy and mass that they could see. ‘There must be something else to explain it’ they thought, and so the theory of dark matter was born: a theory that […]

Just say ‘No’ – the key to focus

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‘Focus is about saying No.’ This was Steve Jobs’ most memorable quote from his first public appearance on his return to the helm at Apple in 1997, when he’d spent the previous six months cutting and focusing the Apple product line – returning the company to profitability, and providing a framework to develop the iMac, […]

The network effect in projects

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In 1980 Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of the Ethernet standard for connecting computers over a short distance, developed a theory that came to be known as Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. Essentially this means that the greater the […]

The Problem with Solutions

The Problem with Solutions

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In the race for progress, we often rush for the first solution that presents itself, and rarely spend enough time thinking about the problem itself. Charles Kettering – a man who counted the electric motor, automobile paint, the modern fridge, and the first aerial missile among his inventions –  said ‘a problem well-defined is a […]

People are flexible – Systems are not

People are flexible – Systems are not

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People are flexible – Systems are not, but conversely: systems scale – people do not. Pick up a pen and you’re ready to write. You can use your hands to wield a hammer, play a piano, or sooth a sick child. Building and coding a robot arm just to pick up a pen and hold […]