Author: Ian Stewart (Ian Stewart)

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What I read (and what I didn’t read) in 2018

This is a long one! In this post we’ve got all my short reviews of the books I read in 2018, some very brief notes on the books I put down in 2018 without completing, notes on coming back to Twitter, and finally some notes on leaving Facebook. (The last one made my life much...

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone

Some thoughts on how to push back against the gravity of “going it alone” when working remote or in an all-distributed company. I have several friends at work who love the Zelda game series from Nintendo. And I played the first few games growing up so the video-game-famous quote from the first game, “It’s dangerous...

We’re nominating Design for Best Supporting Actor and Actress

We’ve started using Design as “best supporting actor/actress” as a metaphorical goal for our centralized Design teams at Automattic. It’s an interesting metaphor, right? It’s got to feel good to be up on stage clutching a golden trophy. But why not nominate Design for the starring role? Here’s how I’ve started to think about it....

Self-Inflicted Chaos

An interesting analysis from John Cutler on Self-inflicted Chaos in organizations. What’s self-inflicted chaos? Self-inflicted chaos – Trying to do too much at once, and ending up doing nothing particularly well. – Misjudging the blast radius of task or project, and the non-linear impacts that misjudgment will have on the whole organization. Versus – When a...

The wisdom of duplication

I love this passage from Arnie Lund’s tome on User Experience Management. I think it’s really important to consider. Especially if you lead in a distributed organization. We perceive information via three channels: – Visual (60%) – Audio (30%) – and Semantic (10%). When we share information via e-mail or any other sharing tool, it...

Closing the gap

I like to think we all know of someone we admire. Someone who possesses a character or set of skills we’d like to see in ourselves. It’s certainly true of me and has been my whole life. What to do about it? We can’t go back in time and relive our lives and I’m sure...

Worse is Better

I came across the software design philosophy of “Worse is Better” via a post from John Maeda titled Perfection vs Just Ship It. The idea is that software which follows the “worse-is-better” approach has “better survival characteristics than the-right-thing.” You can read all about it in the original essay —  The Rise of “Worse is Better” — but...

The Wave

For a while now I’ve been using my iPhone wallpaper and lock screen to get some more art in my life. (I do the same thing on my Desktop with a rotating custom gallery in Momentum.) The current iPhone art is The Wave by 19th Century Russian artist, Ivan Aivazovsky. It’s apparently one of his most...

Getting to Know the Older Brother I Never Knew I Had

I don’t really share many very “personal life” stories on my blog here but, sorry to spoil the ending, I think this is an exciting and surprising event worth celebrating publicly. 3 months ago, on May 14, my parents let me know I have an older brother. Like, a secret, long lost, older brother. Five...