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The culture fear

14 Sep 2011

While identity theft is a real problem, there is abundant evidence that it comes from institutional sources: from hackers breaking in to corporate databases or from gross security leaks on a mass scale. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that individuals are stealing passwords by over-the-shoulder spying.

Alan Cooper from The culture of fear

This reminded me of a project we worked on a few years ago where we dropped concealing the password field. As a benefit, we were also able to remove the password confirmation field because it was now redundant information someone could see with their own eyes.


Affected by what you say

3 Jul 2011

It’s too overwhelming to remember that at the end of every computer is a real person, a lot like you, whose birthday was last week, who has three best friends but nobody to spoon at night, and who is personally affected by what you say.

Derek Sivers from Anything You Want

Just finished Derek Siver's new book. Found his take on running a business very humbling and honest.


Sherlock on theorising

2 Jul 2011

I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

We can learn a lot from Sherlock Holmes.


Jacques Cousteau made it happen

21 Jul 2010

However, during the war, the German army was requisitioning almost all of the 35-millimeter film stock in Europe, for use in reconnaissance missions; not only was the film expensive, but now it was nearly impossible to find. This presented a problem for my determined father, who searched diligently in film shops all over France. Whatever the cost, he was determined to pay it. Wherever he happened to be, he found time to look for his precious film, until one day, he realized that he did not need movie film at all. He saw that any 35-millimeter film would work equally well, so he purchased rolls and rolls of film intended for still photography. Then, he and my mother would stay up half the night, under the bedcovers, gluing the film together 36-frame strip by 36-frame strip, so that it would be suitable for moving pictures.

Daniel Paisner, Jean-Michel Cousteau from My Father, the Captain: My Life With Jacques Cousteau

A great example of Jacques Cousteau finding a creative solution to bypass external constraints that could prevent his projects from happening.


Collection system

19 Jul 2010

There are three “collection success factors”: 1. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head. 2. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with. 3. You must empty them regularly.

David Allen from Getting Things Done

An old one... but rereading parts of this book always seems to initiate some new-found motivation to organize my cognitive space.


It hits the panic button.

2 Jun 2010

The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got. The professional must be alert for this counterattack. Be wary at the end. Don’t open that bag of wind.

Steven Pressfield from THE WAR OF ART


Day 30 could wait.

2 Jun 2010

When we launched Basecamp, we didn’t even have the ability to bill customers! Because the product billed in monthly cycles, we knew we had a thirty-day gap to figure it out. So we used the time before launch to solve more urgent problems that actually mattered on day one. Day 30 could wait.

Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson from Rework

You have no idea how many times we've managed to convince our clients to wait to do Y until after we launch X. When faced with this predicament... ask yourself, "Can we get by without X? Can we get by without Y?" Get the necessities to market first and let nature take it's course.


Narrative forms

25 Feb 2010

I was curious how it would perform against a traditional form. Would people be more inclined to complete it because of the narrative format? Or would the unfamiliar presentation format confuse people?

Luke Wroblewski from "Mad Libs" Style Form Increases Conversion 25-40%

An interesting approach to form design that we might want to explore ourselves.


As to Science

16 Feb 2010

We may well define it for our purpose as “methodical thinking directed toward finding regulative connections between our sensual experiences.” Science, in the immediate, produces knowledge and, indirectly, means of action. It leads to methodical action if definite goals are set up in advance. For the function of setting up goals and passing statements of value transcends its domain. While it is true that science, to the extent of it’s grasp of causative connections, may reach important conclusions as to the compatibility and incompatibility of goals and evaluations, the independent and fundamental definitions regarding goals and values remain beyond science’s reach.

Albert Einstein Ideas and Opinions p. 58 (1948)

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