Skip to main content

Hello All –

Autumn always seems to bring a lot of great tech news and new product launches. This week’s UXD Inspired Reading list has some great entries. Don submitted some really great video links, all highly recommended. Tony’s link about Jony Ive makes a salient point – saying “no” can be a really good thing. Lastly Automattic’s founder Matt Mullenweg, (maker of WordPress), reinforces how great tools help distributed software teams achieve success. A good model for us to emulate as much as possible.

Have a great week!


1. Automattic Has Figured Out The Right Tools For Remote Working
“This pioneering tech company figured how to make work-from-home work.”

A very important passage:

“A decade-plus of experimentation has led Automattic to its current set of tools:

  • Slack, a business chat app used for day-to-day communication
  • P2, a WordPress theme modeled after Twitter’s stream with in-line replies for more in-depth discussions
  • Wikis, field guides with content that rarely changes
  • Zoom video conferencing
  • But there were many pain points before it arrived at this arrangement. Originally, Automattic used Internet Relay Chat (IRC), a text chat protocol that predates AOL Instant Messenger, for instant messaging. But with the proliferation of mobile devices, employees sought an easier way to chat from their phones. Skype was far from a perfect solution, but it had a mobile app, making it one of the better offerings in 2008. The main drawback was that conversations were siloed into individual groups, which “is terrible for distributed companies,” says Schneider.

    There was an awkward transition period where employees were expected to be on both IRC and Skype. Eventually, the company migrated to Slack en masse, but even that came with its false starts, as various teams had used and abandoned the chat app before it finally stuck for good in 2014. “Our lifeblood today is Slack and [a WordPress theme] we created called P2,” says Mullenweg.”

    2. Space X Interplanetary Transport System (from Don)
    “Highly recommend you watch the talk + interview… Mind Blown!” Don is right about this link. Elon Musk has a lot of fans and critics, but one undeniable and admirable trait is that he truly believes all problems have a solution.

    3. Jony Ive, J.J. Abrams, and Brian Grazer on Inventing Worlds in a Changing One – FULL CONVERSATION (from Tony)
    “Lots of excellent design talk about how we come to decisions and the importance of saying “no”. Jony Ives shares a quote about innovation:”
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt te world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

    4. Figma (from Don)
    New collaborative design tool.

    5. GOTO 2016 • What I Wish I Had Known Before Scaling Uber to 1000 Services • Matt Ranney (from Don)
    Uber Senior Staff Engineer Matt Ranney makes some great points about the challenges of rapidly scaling software.