How as little as 5 minutes a day can yield improvement, help you let go of perfection, and bring you more happiness.

“Does Practice Really Make Perfect?”. That was the title of one of my middle school science projects. I forced my family to play Perfection over, and over, and over again to see if they got better with time. Spoiler alert: they did.

If you don’t know the game, the goal of Perfection is to place twenty-five shapes into matching holes on a recessed tray before it pops up after one minute and ejects its contents — all while a ridiculously loud timer ticks away every 10th of a second. It’s stressful. The pop at the end still surprises me.

Perfection…

Your seemingly innocuous product design could be repelling or alienating underrepresented users. Make it better by adopting a more inclusive and welcoming design. Here’s why it’s important, and how to get there.

Good product design attracts, bad product design repels. Yet not everyone experiences bad design in the same way. Too often, marginalized and underrepresented users experience unintended product outcomes like anguish, anxiety, and a feeling of alienation. This can happen when a product’s entire userbase isn’t fully considered in its design. How do you avoid repelling and alienating users and build a product that’s inclusive and welcoming, one with a truly universal appeal?

I’m regularly reminded of the importance of inclusive design, particularly in children’s products. Both of my children are Black, and our family is often disappointed when characters in…


“Induce anguish” and “increase anxiety” are usually not on a list of outcomes for any digital product. Even so, many social media products of the past and present have done just that. Joanne McNeil’s Lurking follows the digitally connected user of the internet and pre-internet. It’s a great book for anyone designing or building social apps and services. Those who forget the social internet’s past errors are doomed to repeat them.

I knew I was in for a wild ride when I saw Warren Ellis’ — of Transmetropolitan and Castlevania fame — quote-review on the inside front sleeve:”The first history of the social internet I’ve seen that has its authentic life and breadth.” It’s a valid claim.

If you’re a product manager, designer, or developer, that history is worth your while. McNeil includes a number of examples of product and feature fails which caused anxiety and anguish among users — especially marginalized ones. Many companies strive to create a “disruptive” product, one with the potential for a huge impact. In doing…


Confirmation bias leads us to hold false belief with a confidence greater than evidence can justify. Curbing it when making decisions requires patience and rigor. It’s a battle that’s worth the effort.

A while back I volunteered to contribute to a book on the behaviours and history of political, legal, and socio-economic systems. It was to be a primer for people creating products with the potential to disrupt those systems. My contribution was a chapter on confirmation bias, detailing its effects, its workings, and how it can be overcome. Though the book was never published, my research had me reconsidering my behaviour. Always careful with my words, I started speaking even more purposefully, not wanting to pass bias on to others. The experience had such an impact that I couldn’t let my…


Our brains do a pretty bad job of reasoning, and a great job of maintaining and strengthening false belief.

A while back I volunteered to contribute to a book on the behaviours and history of political, legal, and socio-economic systems. It was to be a primer for people creating products with the potential to disrupt those systems. My contribution was a chapter on confirmation bias, detailing its effects, its workings, and how it can be overcome. Though the book was never published, my research had me reconsidering my behaviour. Always careful with my words, I started speaking even more purposefully, not wanting to pass bias on to others. The experience had such an impact that I couldn’t let my…


How our brain’s tendency to selectively gather, interpret, and recall information makes us behave irrationally.

A while back I volunteered to contribute to a book on the behaviours and history of political, legal, and socio-economic systems. It was to be a primer for people creating products with the potential to disrupt those systems. My contribution was a chapter on confirmation bias, detailing its effects, its workings, and how it can be overcome. Though the book was never published, my research had me reconsidering my behaviour. Always careful with my words, I started speaking even more purposefully, not wanting to pass bias on to others. The experience had such an impact that I couldn’t let my…


I love finding the intent behind a rule, a concept, or even a mysterious part on a physical product. With that all-important question — Why? — answered, I’m free to dream up simpler ways that intent could have been satisfied. Getting to that kernel of truth can be very satisfying. Conversely, an unanswered Why can be quite frustrating, almost painful.

When I started reading Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, I was drawn to its simplicity. Inspiration, values, and purpose stem more readily from a Why than from How or What. To win the hearts and minds of your employees and…

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