I write about topics that I'm interested in like product design, brand strategy, marketing, philosophy, creative entrepreneurship, mental models, & more. You can subscribe to my newsletter to receive these notes in your inbox. Use the search below to filter by title.

The Businessman and The Fisherman

A story about living a meaningful and intentional life.

How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?

Nadine Stair, an 85-year-old woman from Louisville, Kentucky, shares her answer when asked, "How would you have lived your life differently if you had a chance?"

How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes

In this essay, I've tried to distill my observation on how we, as UX professionals, can learn to create a model for thought, for decision making, for how to structure, investigate, observe, and solve problems like Sherlock Holmes.

We are made to create

I made a lettering piece inspired by a quote by Pamela Slim

User experience is not about pretty interface

The new generation of consumers are empowered, connected and have higher expectations than ever before. What should you do to stay competitive?

Tinbergen's Four Questions

In 1963, Nobel Prize-winning zoologist Niko Tinbergen published, On the aims and methods of ethology, in which he outlined four questions (sometimes referred to as Tinbergen’s four problems).

Build a Latticework of Models

It is important to have a broad range of mental models or else, you risk becoming the man with a hammer who sees nail everywhere.

Highlights from The Social Photo: On Photography and Social Media

Exploration on how new digital, social technologies have changed how we view ourselves, others, & interact with the world around us. how it has redefined visibility, privacy, memory, death, time, space, and everything else.

Being organized is not the same thing as being productive

The trap with waiting to be organized is that it can sometimes be an excuse not to do the actual work.

You can change if you want to change

We often blame our inaction to our past or our environment. But what if the real reason of your inaction is your own lack of courage?

You are not Steve Jobs

Many executives at startups and established companies don't involve customers in their process. They think they know better than their customers & assert that customers don't know what they want, anyway.

Creativity is not a safe place. It's a battlefield

A letter to creatives fighting the battle.

Stop asking users to introspect their behaviors

They are really bad at it. Here's what you should do instead.

Why timing the market is silly

No one really knows which direction the market is going to turn. Be very skeptic of those who tell you otherwise.

Practicing the Time Blocking Method

Over the last few weeks, I've been trying a productivity method called Time Blocking. Practiced by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Peter Drucker, Elon Musk, Cal Newport, and Bill Gates, time blocking is a systematic approach where you give every minute a job.

Robin Sloan's Stock vs Flow

Robin Sloan was ahead of his time with this one. He used two economics terms – Flow & Stock, to describe the current state of media

You should start saving more

Being poor is not having too little, it is wanting more. — Seneca

Find out what to measure

Your understanding of a problem is directly linked with your understanding of what to measure. When you gain clarity of what & how different components affect your research problem, you'll inevitably have deeper understanding of your problem.

How to measure intangibles?

Often our research problem revolves around intangible constructs – quality, usability, delight, desire, emotions, propensity to buy, preferences. How do you measure such things? Do you just ask people? It can be too overwhelming to even beginning.

Professionals don't fear amateurs

Instead they encourage them.

Find out what they want

The initial brief from the kick-off meeting are often weak, unclear, and incomplete. As product designers, we have an opportunity to add real value on a project from the start by helping define the problem.

The Laws of Habit Formation

How to make or break any habit

Start with the problem in mind

The point of research is not to reinforce & regurgitate what you already know, but rather to test and explore new possibilities.

Don't Diminish Your Soul

We all come to crossroads in our life, where we know exactly what the right path is, but we don't take it.

Multitasking is a bad idea

Multitasking is a bad idea. It makes you *feel* more productive, but instead diminishes your quality AND quantity of outputs significantly compared to focusing on a single task at a time

You call it writer's block. Professionals call it writing.

Lifters don't have lifter's block. Doctors don't have doctor's block. Why do writers have this privilege?

Artists are fancy

On the romanticization of starving artist and selling out.

Matt's rules for blogging

Matt Webb has been on a blogging fire lately – consistently publishing every week since the last 28 weeks (maybe more now). He recently wrote about his personal blogging rules that has helped him stay consistent this year.

Find products for your customers

Not the other way around.

A simple checklist

For days when I'm feeling overwhelmed

Forming a reading habit

Reading every day is one of the keystone habits that has fundamentally changed my life.

You must not fool yourself

and you are the easiest person to fool.

Artist, Detective, and Strategist

If you are all three, you get rich.

Keep an open mind

If insight becomes a threat to your success, you are doing something wrong.

Madness of David Lynch

On how the genius madman gets ideas

Iterative design won't cut it

If you seek to challenge the status quo, disrupt an industry, or want to make change happen.

How I take notes

A trustworthy note-taking system allows you to relieve from the task of trying to hold every idea & thought in your head and instead allow you to focus on things that are important - the content, the idea, and the argument.

The Flywheel Effect

The momentum of the thing kicks in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn … whoosh! … its own heavy weight working for you. You’re pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum.

Your users don't think like you do

This concept is the easiest to understand intellectually, but the hardest to appreciate intuitively.

Problem with meetings

Some problems with meetings I've noticed lately

What Makes Great Brands Great

As designers and artists, we like to think that branding is all about symbols, colors, type, style, shape, harmony, simplicity, beauty, and all of these wonderful things. We like to think it’s less about the client, and more about us, our talent, our skills, and our craft that we’ve perfected over the years. Then tell me, why do some brands stay average while other become great? Why do some brand have a hard time getting heard while others connect, resonate, and spread like wildfire?

Design for Delight

Don Norman is a researcher, professor, and author of several books on the design of everyday things and how humans interact with them. During his research, what he found was, there are three levels of design that influences how we feel about a product.

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