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Houston Downtown Aerial Shot – 20170829 – Photo: David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Hello All

Hurricane Harvey has certainly overwhelmed the people of Houston. The devastation has been heartbreaking for us all watch from afar. There are many things we can do to help such as donating money, supplies, and extending patience for displaced. The sad truth is that storms like these may happen more frequently in the future. Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated: “We need to recognize it will be a new normal, a new and different normal for this entire region.”. Here are some links and ways in which to help. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, the impact from this storm will have long lasting effects, much like Katrina and Sandy had upon New Orleans and the Northeast.

We start this week with several Sketch tutorials to help speed up UX workflow and projects. We shift to an interview with Irene Au, who was the global head of user experience at Google for nearly six years. Irene shares lessons upon scaling design and her wide design experience work from her distinguished career. Well worth a listen. Some excellent links covering IDEO’s work with empathic design, companies using Apple’s ARKit to develop a very compelling 3D image of a product, and the Amazon’s continued work to reshape the supermarket industry through Whole Foods. Retail is going through a dramatic change, we know and see that for sure.

Some interesting perspective on React, daily design links from Sidebar, and how a Chinese solar company playfully used their tech to create a giant panda image in a solar farm. A few more articles describing how playing board games along with sharing tech-free meals can improve real-life relationships with friends and family. Volkswagen will be bringing back their iconic van to the masses, but this time it will be all electric.

Have a safe holiday weekend.


1a. Hurricane Harvey: What Happened And What’s Next
“Overwhelmed by the news from Texas and Louisiana since Hurricane Harvey made landfall? Here is an overview of coverage by The New York Times that will be updated as events continue.”

1b. Where To Donate To Harvey Victims (And How To Avoid Scams)
“If you’re outside the affected area, here are options to help.”

1c. Deluged Texas Braces For More Rain, And Years Of Recovery
“It is “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced,” Gov. Greg Abbott said, warning against expecting anything resembling recovery any time soon, or a return to the way things were. “We need to recognize it will be a new normal, a new and different normal for this entire region.””

1d. Deluged Texas Braces For More Rain, And Years Of Recovery
“Torrential rain has fallen on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, leaving swaths of Houston and surrounding cities under water.”

2. List Of United States Cities By Population
“The following is a list of the most populous incorporated places of the United States. As defined by the United States Census Bureau, an “incorporated place” includes a variety of designations, including city, town, village, borough, and municipality. A few exceptional Census Designated Places (CDPs) are also included in the Census Bureau’s listing of incorporated places. Consolidated city-counties represent a distinct type of government that includes the entire population of a county, or county equivalent. Some consolidated city-counties, however, include multiple incorporated places. This list presents only that portion (or “balance”) of such consolidated city-counties that are not a part of another incorporated place.”

3. 12 Sketch Tutorials To Binge On Right Now
“Want to work smarter and faster than everyone else? You’re in luck, because I’m going to show you how to master the 8 most important Sketch shortcuts. Improve your entire workflow—and your end results.”

4. Irene Au On Scaling Design At Google And Beyond
“I first met Irene Au when I interviewed her for DesignBetter.Co in 2016, but during the course of our more recent interview for this podcast, I learned that her work had impacted me in some unexpected ways. Au was part of the team that designed early versions of Netscape, one of the first commercial browsers.”

5. See How Bank Of America + IDEO Applied Design Thinking To Create An Empathetic Solution To Savings
“What would you do if you were tasked with inspiring people to open bank accounts? In 2004, Bank of America gave this same challenge to design firm IDEO—and a human-centered, ethnographic-based approach led to the solution, a campaign called “Keep The Change.” After making observations across the country, the IDEO team realized several people in charge of household finances were intentionally fudging their math. That is—they were rounding up to make addition easier, which also added a buffer in their bank accounts.”

6. Latest ARKit Demos Include Sculpting, Food Ordering, Virtual Pets And Zombies
“In the first video, a company named Kabaq demonstrates virtual food on a plate, which is how future food ordering apps might take advantage of ARKit. Using Apple’s feature, restaurants will be able to give customers a 3D look at what different dishes look like.”

7. Amazon Cuts Whole Foods Prices As Much As 43% On First Day
“The tech giant’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods has sent shock waves through the already changing $800 billion supermarket industry. The wedding between Amazon and the upscale grocery promises to upend the way customers shop for groceries. Cutting prices at the chain with such an entrenched reputation for high cost that its nickname is Whole Paycheck is a sign that Amazon is serious about taking on competitors such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp.”

8. How The Downfall Of Retail Is Opening Up Exciting Opportunities
“Value never disappears; it just shifts to new opportunities.”

9. If You’re A Startup, You Should Not Use React (Reflecting On The BSD + Patents License)
“That is, if you ever hope to be acquired by a larger company”

10. Sidebar
“The five best design links, every day.”

11. China Just Built A 250-Acre Solar Farm Shaped Like A Giant Panda
“Most solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid. A new solar power plant in Datong, China, however, decided to have a little fun with its design. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country’s largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda…Called the Panda Power Plant, it will be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years, according to the company. That will eliminate approximately million tons of coal that would have been used to produce electricity, reducing carbon emissions by 2.74 million tons.”

12. Playing Board Games Can Make You A Nicer Person With Better Relationships (From Tony)
“Board games, along with role playing and table games like Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons, allow players to enter into a controlled state of conflict. The process of engaging in that conflict is fun even when you lose, and the outcome is likely to be different the next time around. A good board game builds in enough chance so that any reasonably skilled player can win. Even in chess, famously associated with warfare and military strategy, the emphasis is not on who ultimately wins, but on the ingenuity that players display in the process.”

13. Let’s Do Lunch: 4 Reasons You Should Sit And Eat With Your Employees (From Dan)
“Employees who eat together stay together. So, why not make family-style meals your next workplace initiative?”

14. Volkswagen To Bring Back The Iconic Microbus In 2022 — Only This Time It’s Electric (From Dan)
“It’ll be one of many new electric models VW is set to introduce as it shifts its focus away from diesel engines, following a damaging scandal in which it admitted using software to cheat government emissions regulations.”