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Hello All –

Spring seems to be in full swing here in NYC, and that is a very good thing. Lots of great links this week covering Earth Day, Amazon’s User Centric Design Philosophy, U.S. Government Revenue & Spending Data Analysis, Uber, and several great UX articles. Saturday April 22nd, 2017 is Earth Day – Think Globally, Act Locally.

Please send in your submissions if you are reading something great or want to share.

Thx for reading,


1. March For Science
“This Earth Day, April 22, Earth Day Network and the March for Science are co-organizing a rally and teach-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The day’s program will include speeches and trainings with scientists and civic organizers, musical performances, and a march through the streets of Washington, D.C. … Science isn’t Democratic or Republican, liberal or conservative. Indeed, threats to science are pervasive throughout governments around the world.”

2. Amazon’s Letter to Shareholders
“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like? … There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.”

3. Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove
On Tuesday, Mr. Ballmer plans to make public a database and a report that he and a small army of economists, professors and other professionals have been assembling as part of a stealth start-up over the last three years called USAFacts The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments.

4. USAFacts
USAFacts is a new data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit civic initiative and have no political agenda or commercial motive. We provide this information as a free public service and are committed to maintaining and expanding it in the future.

5. Former Clinton Campaigner Victor Ng Explains How Designers Can Use Their Skills to “Do the Most Good”
“We wanted to share the story of how those things that maybe aren’t so glamorous—the people you see holding clipboards—could be streamlined with a bit of good design, and to share that with other designers. The Obama ‘Hope’ poster seemed like one of the best examples of how design can influence an election, but there are so many other smaller ways you can contribute.”

6. Experience Mapping
“Experience maps have become more prominent over the past few years, largely because companies are realizing the interconnectedness of the cross-channel experience. It’s becoming increasingly useful to gain insight in order to orchestrate service touchpoints over time and space.”

7. Are Personas Ruining Your Product?
“Personas are a fundamental part of a UX designer’s toolkit—and they help design teams make decisions knowing that they’re solving the right problems for the right person. But are they as useful as we think? Do personas create a false sense of security? From my experience working with several teams and many digital products, I’ve learned that not everyone likes doing user research. The reason might be that they “just know” what the customer wants, they’re frightened of what they might find out, or they just don’t see the value. They’re looking for any excuse to get out of talking to users.”

8. Training Your Brain So That You Don’t Need Reading Glasses
“By middle age, the lenses in your eyes harden, becoming less flexible. Your eye muscles increasingly struggle to bend them to focus on this print. But a new form of training — brain retraining, really — may delay the inevitable age-related loss of close-range visual focus so that you won’t need reading glasses. Various studies say it works, though no treatment of any kind works for everybody.”

9. Uber reportedly tracked Lyft drivers using a secret software program named ‘Hell’
“Another day, another revelation of an ethically questionable business practice by Uber. This time The Information reports that Uber secretly tracked Lyft drivers using an internal software program it dubbed Hell.”

10. The Pareto Principle
“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896, as published in his first paper, “Cours d’économie politique”. Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; Pareto developed the principle by observing that about 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.”