tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:/posts Pascal Tresor Lola Blog 2013-10-24T00:52:32Z tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/612207 2013-10-24T00:52:32Z 2013-10-24T00:52:32Z Keynote: Experience Driven Open Source Do watch this video. It is worth the time.

tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/603058 2013-09-20T21:30:57Z 2013-10-08T17:30:20Z Attention Deficit Disorder & Technology

Today, technology has made it easier than ever to do, know, find, experience basically anything. We are constantly connected to some technology, either consuming or creating information. This constant connection and easier access to information has been mostly positive--affording greater opportunities for education, health, societal well-being (such as crime prevention), entrepreneurship, relationships, etc. However, technology has also negatively impacted our social, emotional, intellectual, and even physical well-being . Technology is making it harder for our brains to focus on what matters, to keep up with and process information the way our brains were meant to process information. Technology seems to be conditioning us to having attention deficit disorder, loosely speaking.

Constant notifications yearning for our attention and action, endless possibilities of trajectories to explore on the internet, millions of people with billions of ideas, opinions, 'truths', etc, are all a few click/taps away. It has indeed become harder than ever to stay focused, to pay attention, to stay on task. Multi-tasking is the new norm. We are restless. We are busy. We are unproductive. We are anxious. We are curious. We lack control. In addition to the inability to pay attention and stay on task, let's reference one of the 'medical' symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)-- "paying too much attention to too many things and details to a point where one loses the ability to focus and pay attention to the task at hand." Google it. Your brain is great at filtering out thousands, if not millions of bits of information you encounter on a daily basis and therefore allowing you to internalize, remember, experience only a focused set at a given moment. This is a fundamental part of cognition. Otherwise you would go, well, crazy. 

The next like. The next view. The next text message. Turning users into addicts, and believe it or not, corporations benefit from your addiction (in billions of dollars at times). That's a different topic by itself. Do realize that there is a threshold where constant yearning for digital attention and connection depletes you. Instead you, the user, remain lacking the attention power you need to be a productive, intellectually, emotionally healthy member of whichever group of society you are interacting in at a given moment.

Technology for the future should be "Calm Technology". Technology that allows us to accomplish tasks. Technology that allows us to connect with people more meaningfully, and not necessarily "signaling" technology as Don Norman calls it (one way communication). Technology that understand the barriers and existing constructs of the human condition and human need, and designs for this. Technology that fits into our lives, augments without distracting.

tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202405 2013-03-14T12:25:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Forecasting User Experience

I recently did some photography for a football game. One key skill I learned, and this is what the professional photographers do: to be good at it, to capture the shots that separate your shots from the rest of the people holding cameras, you have to have your eyes open and see 5-10 seconds into the play. You have to constantly predict where the ball might be next. This is not guessing. It takes knowledge of the domain and constant practice. With this said, I believe predicting your customer/user's needs for tomorrow is just as crucial to designing for the current need. To stay relevant, competitive, needed, and wanted, you have to think outside of the "current" box. Forecast market trends, your domain's paradigm shifts, and your target user market is key to play both in the today and tomorrow. Your research has to be dynamic and the product constantly iterated. We all know what happened to RIM and many other companies. 

tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202406 2012-10-12T11:58:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z 10 Insights on User Experience Design

10 insights on User Experience Design:

  1. Experience is temporal. Remove temporality from experience and there is really no experience. 
  2. The thing being experienced is not a given. That thing is part of the interpretation. 
  3. Every human experience is a unique experience. No two experiences are the same. As a designer you must accept that as a foundation for everything you do. Experience is very subjective. You never really know if you will be "successful" or not in delivering a particular experience. 
  4. As a designer, you can either create an experience or support an experience. 
  5. It's not an experience if it does't have aesthetic qualities. 
  6. If you have an experience, it is changing you. 
  7. Experience takes energy--if you don't want people to spend energy on a design, each time they experience it, be careful how you design it. 
  8. Energy involves focus...involves surrender....involves time....it is a lot of work. Think of music for example. If you ask someone to listen to to music he or she doesn't normally listen to, it takes more energy for them to "get it". 
  9. As a designer, accept that traditional scientifc experiments do not always "work" for experience design. "In the early stages of HCI, people had this idea that if we can just figure out how people work, exactly in detail how people react to everything (psychology), if we can figure out the machinery of human beings then we can create guidelines on what and how to design to get the desired response. This was the focus of HCI for about 20 years up to the mid 1990s. This might work for a scientific experience but if you are a designer, that's not possible really. It will be too difficult and it does not work. The other way of doing is to try to understand the material of interaction, the design. What you can do then is to take all different design interactions and see what happens and study the output experience to map out every little change in the design and its resulting experience (Stolterman)."
  10. My personal interpretation of experience:

    (E)xperience = (A)ctivity + (P)erception
    (Ac)tivity = (TI)me + (I)nteraction
    (P)erception = (C)ognition + (I)nteraction
    Experience = (T + I) + (C + I)


    The following blog post was adapted from notes I took in Dr. Stolterman's Experience Design course a couple of years ago. 





    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202411 2012-06-01T16:00:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Are we really connected? Part 1

    Since the beginning of this year, I have been looking into a topic that can easily be overlooked by technology-centered fields such as HCI, CS, etc. This topic is the antithesis to the popular notion of "social connectedness", and the subconscious expectation and push for technological innovation to bring about a sense of utopia in society.

    Here is an excerpt from the paper I wrote:

    As a society, we have become engrossed in technology--gadgets, websites, apps, etc. Some offer to connect us with other people using different modes of interaction made possible by technology. But though technology has simplified parts of our lives and created new experiences and opportunities for connection, technology is also seemingly becoming the object of our attention, affection, and interaction, drawing us away from each other and the physical world and into itself.

    As we focus on what most these technologies make possible, we are missing what they don’t--traditional sociability as experienced in the physical world. We seem to be losing the value of of real life, face to face social interaction to online interaction and its quasi-human-centered social connectedness. I believe that the value of offline sociability in the physical world is being undermined with the pervasive and ubiquitous use of online social interaction and other technologies. Thus, designers that value true social connectedness should start to think outside of the digital box.

    Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, expounds upon this problem space in her book Alone Together. Turkle explores the ways with which our technologies continually shape us and the effects of technology on human relationships and social interaction. She mentions that with technology, we seem to be always connected together but yet alone, “furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens [1].” She mentions, “after an evening of avatar-to-avatar talk in a networked game, we feel, at one moment, in possession of a full social life and, in the next, curiously isolated, in tenuous complicity with strangers [2].” This same notion is iterated by Mark Wilson, the founder of Philanthroper.com. He states, “the biggest problem in social media right now isn’t getting people engaged online, it’s getting people engaged in person. Foursquare and photo apps like Instagram definitely interact with the real world, but they tend to appeal to friends online more than the friends you’re actually, physically hanging out with [3].”

    [1]Turkle, Sherry. "The Flight From Conversation." The New York Times. 09 Jan. 2012. Web. 2 May 2012. .
    [2]Turkle, Sherry. "Alone Together." Introduction. Alone Together. New York: Basic Books, 2011. 1-22. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle. 29 Apr. 2012 .
    [3]Wilson, Mark. "Jukey: A Networked Jukebox That Only Plays Crowd Favorites." Fast Company Design. Fast Company, 04 Apr. 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2012.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202412 2012-04-12T19:07:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Obsession with the meaningless

    Facebook recently acquired Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock. To make a long story short, I think that's amazing. However, the obsession with the purchase is sickening. I enjoy reading tech news but looking at some of the top tech news lately, I am realizing how obsessed the Western culture is with technology, the web, and mobile apps.

    Yes, if you are in the tech industry, the Instagram purchase is an interesting piece of news. But what does it say about our values when our top news sources place this much importance on this little cool billion dollar app, and continue to do so days later after the purchase. Does Instagram really deserve days of media coverage by some of our top news sources including the Washington Post, Mashable, CNN, Reuters, New York Times, and dozens of other smaller tech news sources?

    I do not want to play the grinch here, but I am not surpised with the media attention Instagram has received and this obsession is pervasive throughout our society. Tools that are meant to "improve" our lives and enhance our experiences of everyday life have become our greatest problems. From mobile device usage while driving (which results in thousands of deaths a year in the U.S. alone) to skewed priorities and mismanagement of time due to the narcistic overusage of online social networking, it is becoming more evident that the value we place on different technologies, in the long run will determine the effects these technologies have on us. 

    If you want to make a difference in the world, it's about time to quit obsessing over the meaningless. Technology is a powerful tool and has indubitably impacted life to varying degrees. But I hardly doubt that Instagram and/or Facebook is going to help curb the effects of poverty at home and abroad, war in third world countries, homelessness, social and political reform, education, etc. And individuals' obsession with Instagram, Facebook, and similar tools will definitely not contribute to personal growth and productivity. If anything, these tools can be the bane of our existence.

    All I am saying is: there are deeper and more meaningful ways with which technology can impact the world around us. Instagram is necessarily not one of them. Let us not get caught up in the "frenzy", the hype, the next gadget, the next app, the next tech or fashion trend . Don't allow yourself to be simply the consumer, constantly being fed by all the junk companies throw at you. Prioritize your usage of technology, mobile devices, apps, social networking and etc; and strive to be the producer of greater ideas and not solely the consumer of others' ideas. 

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202413 2012-02-28T02:12:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z HCI: Interdisciplinary but not intercultural

    How do you begin to institutionalize Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research, practice, and education beyond its predominantly Western roots and influence? I am neither talking about the creation of international standards for usability nor international HCI education.

    I am talking about a complete overhaul of the field's current underlying assumptions, principles, and methodologies by a contributing body of non-western researches, practicioners, and students. Well, maybe an "overhaul" is not the right word. But the basic point is this: HCI, like many other fields, is traditionally founded on Western ideologies, culture, user behavior, etc. This is a good start--good as a foundational piece, a model, but not as an ultimate. HCI is yet to experience a broader diversity of users, researchers, practicioners, and students spanning all economic, cultural, and religious statuses. 

    But I do believe that institutionalizing HCI research, practice, and education across cultures requires the field to reach a higher level of growth and solidity. As we know it, the field is still developing. But I look forward to seeing the field benefit from a multi-cultural understanding of people and technology, and seeing developing countries innovate as well and advance in computing and HCI education as a result of embracing ethnocultural (culturally relevant) HCI principles and methodologies. 

    I am a multi-cultural student existing withinin the HCI field, and expressing an opinion. 


    This cellphone carries with it a unique context of use, meaning, and experience as it travels across different cultures. Sorry for the stereoptypical images of Africa, but you get the point. image source


    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202414 2012-02-21T12:30:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Human Experience Part 2

    User (Human) Experience is a topic in HCI focused on understanding the connection between people's intentions, emotions, the different variables of a "contextualized activity" and interaction with technology. Currently, the HCI field is rich in discourse and research on user experience, drawing upon several other disciplines such as psychology and sociology as we seek to understand the intersection between people and technology; and how technology can continually enrich lives and provide and/or support meaningful interaction and experiences.

    To further discuss human experience, a quote from Ben Schneiderman, one of the pioneers of HCI and current professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, states "successful technologies are those that are in harmony with users' needs. They must support relationships and activities that enrich the users' experiences." 

    So once again, technology is seen as a support, a facilitator of an already existing human state. In my previous blog post, I mentioned that people do things for their own reasons and not the reasons that you give them. Additionally, we have to understand that the reasons people do things are connected to their emotional needs and states. People do things that align with how they are feeling at a certain moment, or how they would like to feel in a future moment. Although I do little justice in explaining the true essence of user experience in the previous sentence, I believe that most, if not all conscious human action can be framed within context of an emotive experience. This makes the study of human experience a difficult one due to the very subjective nature of people, emotion, and interaction. Maybe this is the reason why the HCI field in general is not used to dealing with the topic of human experience, as mentioned by McCarthy and Wright.

    Don Norman, one of the early pioneers for User Experience, states that many everyday tasks are opportunistic and not planned. He goes on to state that "opportunistic actions are those in which the behavior takes advantage of the circumstances. Rather than engage in extensive planning and analysis, the person goes about the day's activities and performs the intended action if the relevant opportunity arises." Now this is hard to replicate in a traditional scientific lab environment and it is what makes the design of meaningful interactive technologies a relatively difficult task.

    I believe that at this intersection (of people, experience, and technology), HCI thrives as a field in expanding and contracting upon its own and related fields' research, and offering insights and design implications for interactive technologies. 

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202415 2012-02-20T18:20:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Human Experience Part 1

    Designing successful and meaningful interactive technologies begins with an understanding of user human experience. I believe this understanding starts at the notion that people do things for their own reasons, not necessarily the reasons you as a designer give them.

    Let's take a quick glance at a consumer-based example given by John McCarthy and Peter Wright. In the book titled Technology as Experience, the authors argue that  "people develop their own paths around supermarkets, tactically resisting the architecture and advertisements designed to shape their shopping behavior."

    The authors go on to say that people are not just passive consumers. In fact, "consumers appropriate the physical and conceptual space created by producers for their own interest and needs...consumers complete the experience for themselves(page 11)."  

    People do things for their own reasons, not the reasons you give them. These reasons are often connected their emotional state. As McCarthy and Wright put it, "interaction with technology is now as much about what people feel as it is about what people do." 

    People's actions actually carry deeper meaning--more meaning than what can be conveyed through a quantitative evaluation. A design's "usability" is great to consider but doesn't solely determine the value and experience delivered. This understanding was absent in the traditionally scientific approach of the first wave of HCI, which focused primarily on the quantifiable parameters of a system's usability.

    Some aspects of human experience are studied and partially understood by other fields such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology to name a few. The HCI field is seeking to draw upon the aforementioned fields and its own research in contributing to a relatively new topic/sub-field known as User Experience. 

    I discuss more about User Experience in the next blog post.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202416 2012-02-09T18:25:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Human Computer Interaction

    There is the natural and there is the artificial. There is the world we live in and there is the "world" we create. However, as we create, innovate, and develop, the world we live in subsequently evolves.

    For the past decades, we've witnessed the world coevolve with the advancement of technology. These technological innovations have brought many advancements in many different areas of life including communication, education, transportation, health, business, religion, and government to name a few. From the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep, computer technology shapes most of our interactions and experiences. Thus, it is safe to say that technology has greatly impacted people and life (mostly in good ways).

    This is the reason I believe that all technology that is created is by default "human-centered"; whether it's apparent to the creator or not. It's hard to escape the fact that every technology that is created affects people directly and/or indirectly and negatively and/or positively. After all, we live in a real world, with real people. This very notion and understanding is at the core of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) field. 

    HCI is grounded at the intersection of human experience and computer technology. On the human side, HCI seeks to understand people and their constructed meanings and experiences formed through interaction with others, the environment and artifacts in therewithin. So on one side, HCI is strongly grounded in people, social sciences, and psychology. On the other side, HCI is grounded in technology, engineering, and design. 

    HCI is about understanding and translating people's real world interaction and experience into their interaction and experience with computer technology. After all, the world of computer technology is different compared to the natural organic way of life. Thus, for technology to be truly Human-centered and meaningful to people and the world, one has to understand people and their environment--needs, wants, values, strengths, weaknesses, intentions, knowledge, place and space, behaviors, judgements, and all the innumerable facets that make people the complex beings that they are. This is where HCI thrives as a field and I believe this is what places HCI at the forefront of the future of technological innovation for the betterment of life. 


    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202419 2012-01-26T21:40:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Do! Stop thinking and planning.

    Let's start with the basic fact that the real world is more practical than the theoretical nature of planning and thinking. If you want to test out the ideas you have, put them out in the world. If you want to actually accomplish something, don't spend time planning it, do it. Read on if you have time.

    Four years ago, I decided I wanted to start blogging. Blogging was probably more common at the time, so it was a "cool" thing to blog. I also thought of it as a means of growing and eliciting some sort of feedback that I could use to improve at the time. So, I made a resolution (in my mind) to start writing blogs. That was was four years ago...I started blogging late last year. Why did it take me that long to start blogging (consistently)? I mean, after all, it's just a blog post that no one, or maybe one or two people might accidentally stumble upon, right?

    Right. I must have subconsciously thought to myself: first, blogging takes too much time and thought. Second, blogging is about putting "stuff" out there, sharing content, knowledge, etc. Putting stuff out there involves some sort of risk. Risk is uncertain. Uncertainty is scary. Scary is not good. When you put yourself, your work, thoughts, ideas out in the world, you run the risk of sounding stupid. You might be wrong. You might receive no feedback. You might ____________(fill in the blank). Now you see why it took me this long to start blogging. I probably was subconsciously scared and probably made excuses (e.g. I'm too busy).

    The moral of the story is: do! Stop thinking and planning and just do! 

    The real world is practical; unlike the theoretical nature of planning and thinking. When you do, you test "something" out in the real world. That's why doing is hard. It's much harder than thinking. Doing takes work. Doing takes risk. Doing can lead to failure. Doing puts you out there. Doing puts pressure on you. Doing produces more observable results than our thoughts do.

    I will share a personal story. If you are a designer, read on (if you have time). 

    I am working on a couple of projects in topics that I don't have much knowledge about. But I am interested in learning, understanding, and hopefully designing solutions for these topic areas. For help, I consulted Dr. Erik Stolterman. Among all the insights Dr. Stolterman brought up, he completely answered dozens of questions I had with one short statement he made. That statement cleared up all confusion and worry I had created in my head, and gave me clarity of actionable next steps for progress.

    Dr. Stolterman mentioned, "...thinking is doing when it comes to design..."

    In other words, do and base your thinking on the results of your doing. Don't waste your time in thought after thought, plan after plan, meeting after meeting. It's only when you do that you get results. 

    Okay, okay, okay, We get it. Common sense. Nothing special. Nothing amazing. Not really inspiring. I already knew that. Maybe not?

    With the projects I am working on, I did have a good plan of what I wanted to do. I had a good idea--at least it was great in thought and on paper. The problem is that it was still in my head. Not only that, I also had this awful plan to read more, research more, and read some more, and try to "understand" more. Sounds familiar? How often do we get caught up in planning, meeting, researching, talking, making empty promises, having good intentions, only to have either nothing to show for it or empty and meaningless rationales for what we have to show.

    To conclude: if you are a designer/developer/doer and want to get things done, then DO. Do prototype. Do build. Plan based on the results of doing, then iterate. The basic point is that if you want results, move from planning to doing; and the sooner you start doing, the better. 

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202421 2012-01-25T14:38:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Insights on Design

    These are some of the insights I have gained from reading, learning, and practicing design.

    As a designer:

    • Pay attention to subtle details. 
    • Look beyond spoken or written words. 
    • Seek hidden meanings, interpret emotions and experiences. 

    Develop the ability to see and perceive holistically. 

    • User Experience and Interaction Design is detail oriented but,
    • Step out to see the BIG picture.

    As a designer:

    • Connect people. People want to interact with each other. 
    • Become the user. Do this to embody the user's passion, needs, etc. 

    Lastly, design well, design everytime. 


    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202423 2012-01-24T15:08:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Rework: Scratch your own itch

    I am continuing the summary series for Rework, written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This time I will skip a couple of sections-- "Be a starter" and "Make a dent in the universe". You can read the sections in the book. But to give you a short summary:

    • "Be a starter" simply champions the term "starter" in place of "entrepreneur" to refer to a new group people that are innovating and creating wonderful business ideas. "Entrepreneur", as the authors mention, smells like a members only club. It is "an outdated term loaded with a lot baggage." 
    • "Make a dent in the universe" brings up the sense of obligation most people have to make a difference. Make the change you want to see, don't wait for someone else to do it. It doesn't take a huge team to make that difference (i.e. Craigslist, Drudge Report, etc…).

    Now to the central topic of this blog, "scratching your own itch" means making something you would want to use. It means solving your own problems. Solving your own problems means building products that correlate to you or your company's own needs/wants/goals. This saves you resources you would use to conduct extensive studies--there's no need for focus groups, market studies, or middlemen. You make all the detailed calls instead of "stabbing in the dark" at someone else's problem.

    james dyson

    Examples of people that scratched their own itches:

    • Inventor James Dyson-- While vacuuming, he realized his bag vacuum cleaner was losing suction power. Dyson came up with the world first bagless vacuum cleaner. 
    • Vic Firth played timpani for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and so wanted to make better drumsticks. He began selling drumsticks from his home's basement. One day he accidentally dropped a bunch of sticks on the floor and heard all the different pitches. Ever since then, "he began to match up sticks by moisture content, weight, density, and pitch so they were identical pairs." Firth's factory now produces over 85,000 drumsticks a day.
    • Bill Bowerman, a track coach, wanted lighter running shoes for his team and so went out to his workshop and poured rubber into the family waffle iron. Nike's famous waffle sole was born.
    • Mary Kay knew her skin-care products were great because she used them herself. She didn't conduct extensive studies to know the products were good, she just looked at her own skin.

    When you solve your own problem, you know the value of its solution intimately. If it's something you'll be working on for the rest of your life, "it better be something you care about," the authors conclude.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202425 2012-01-19T21:10:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Design Philosophy...as of now

    I believe that good design moves from aspects of usability to understanding and designing for human experience. I believe that experience is a product of interaction and the rich attributes of a person interacting. The context of interaction is an important variable that affects the experience and outcome of the design. This context can be environmental, emotional, purpose of interaction, and etc.

    As a designer, I have a platform to use technology as a tool and medium to design solutions that reach at the core of human need. As a designer, I embrace the power to improve, innovate, and bring value and meaning into people's interaction with technology.



    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202428 2012-01-17T15:00:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Ease of Access and Implication for Design

    You are more likely to consume something that's easily accessible and readily available regardless of need, or lack thereof, than to consume something less accessible/available. 

    I once caught myself eating a snack (free snack that is) given out on a flight when I suddenly realized: first, I wasn't hungry at all, so why am I eating the snack in the first place? Second, I promised myself to not eat this particular snack again because I developed an upset stomach the last time I ate it. Inspite of the reasons I had to not consume this snack in this situation, I still did anyway. 

    Most people have previous experience with a similar situation--consuming something with no real purpose, need, or thought behind it--not that one needs a purpose for each consumption or action. But why do people often act on impulse? Why do we gravitate towards the things that are easier to attain or do? Sometimes consciously, other times unconsciously.

    People are situational. So are interactions (that require people). This is basic nature in human behavior- reacting to artifacts and situations presented in specic temporal instances in the world. People automatically respond to things that bring them perceived pleasure. The more accessible the artifact, and the less energy required to perform the action the more likely an action will occur. Ofcourse the concept is way more complicated than that.

    But in summary, ease of access increases the likelihood of consumption or action.

    And this is something that designers (in broad terms) can design for, or against. Whether it be increasing or curbing the consumption of food, entertainment, digital device usage, texting and driving, and etc. 

    In conclusion, make it easy to do and readily available if you want it done more. And anything else, especially that which doesn't lead to meaningful and desirable actions, is a distraction away from the core purpose of your design.


    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202429 2012-01-14T15:57:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Rework: Growth and Workaholism

    This blog is a continuation of my summary of Rework, written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This is solely based on my own understanding and interpretation; therefore, read the book to get your own true interpretation. 


    I recently read a blog post by Seth Godin where he mentioned, "if we put a number on it, people will try to make the number go up." People assume that the more followers/friends/subscribers the social media account has the more successful...right? We sometimes attribute the "size" of an organization to its success. There is something about the concept of "growth" that makes it very desirable in different aspects of life. Who doesn't want to grow? Businesses seek growth in revenue, shareholders, employees, and customers. However, something that I believe is forgotten is that growth happens best naturally. There is a quantity of growth that is "just right", based on a current and specific circumstance. 

    As the authors of Rework state, "The bigger the number, the more impressive, professional, and powerful you sound." Therefore, expansion has become an empty goal that many organizations pursue, with the end-result of satisfied egos, more politics, and less meaningful and impactful solutions. 

    • The right size for your organization might be 5 people, 40, 200. Or you and the laptop. 
    • Grow slow and see what feels right. Don't make assumptions about how big you should be.
    • Small is more that a stepping stone. Small is a great destination in itself. 
    • Small brings with it more agility and flexibility. 
    • Don't be insecure about being small.
    • Focus on making the impact large, not the organization.


    This was by far one of my favorite sections in the book. Inorder to maintain the original intended meaning, I will summarize it using quotes from the authors themselves. 

    "It's considered a badge of honor to kill yourself over a project," the authors state. 

    "Working more doesnt mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more."

    Workaholics "try to make up for intellectual laziness with brute force..resulting in in inelegant solutions."

    Workaholics "...create more crises...they don't look for ways to be more effecient because they actually like working overtime."

    Workaholics "...enjoy feeling like heroes."

    Workaholics windup being "just plain tired. No one makes sharp decisions when tired."

    Workaholics "...may claim to be perfectionists, but that just means they're wasting time fixating on inconsequential details intead of moving on to the next task."

    "Workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up."

    THE END. 

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202433 2012-01-11T15:32:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Rework: Failure and Planning

    Failure is not a rite of passage

    We all have heard famous lines that go something like this: "It's okay to fail", "we encourage you to fail", "after all, we learn from our mistakes". According to the authors of Rework, "learning from mistakes is overrated." Failure is a part of life but you don't need to fail to succeed. Failure doesn't equal success. You learn more from succeeding than from failing. "Already-successful entrepreneurs are far more likely to succeed again than those that failed the first time," according to a study by the Harvard Business School. The authors mention, "what do you really learn from mistakes?" You might learn what not do, but it's less valuable than knowing what you should do.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202435 2012-01-11T08:09:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Rework

    I just finished reading Rework, written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This book is a highly recommended read for everyone, especially team leads, startup founders, UX designers, and businesspersons.

    For the next few weeks, I will post short blog posts summarizing my understanding of the book. I still recommend you to read it for yourself. It is a quick read. I finished reading it in about 4-5 sittings. I could have finished in 1 sitting of about 4-5 hours in length (I am a slow reader); however, I didn't have the luxury of time. For a quick summary, read the back of the book, as pictured below.

    • ASAP is poison
    • Underdo the competition
    • Meetings are toxic
    • Fire the workaholics
    • Emulate drug dealers
    • Pick a fight
    • Planning is guessing
    • Inspiration is perishable

    Image source (http://vitamincm.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/rework-book-cover.gif)

    For a longer summary, check out every subsequent blog post. 

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202437 2012-01-03T21:00:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Stuck in a rut: when you feel like you are not growing

    Ever reached a point where you feel as if you are not growing, learning, or getting any better at a specific activity? 

    I remember reading an article years ago on what is refered to as a "rut". Sometimes in life you find yourself in a "rut" where everything seems so dull. There is a lack of inspiration, excitement, and anticipation. You seem stuck and sometimes you might feel hopeless. How did you get here?

    From the article (which I don't remember the name or the author), he/she mentioned that we usually arrive at this point when we cease learning; which can happen intentionally or unintentionally. We become comfortable with the level of knowledge we have and thus cease to seek growth in knowledge and practice.

    Feeling as if you are stuck in a rut happens when there's need for growth. When you grow uncomfortable with your current physical, mental, spiritual, academic, intellectual, emotional, and social state, it's usually a sign that you need to pursue change, to seek growth. 

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202438 2012-01-03T16:41:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Yahoo Answers: Engaging your audience

    The following post is derived from a precis I wrote in Foundations of HCI over a year ago.

    In the paper "Why Users of Yahoo! Answers Do Not Answer Questions", Dearman and Truong present a few suggestions for improving Yahoo! Answers (YA) question and answer process and interface to maximize user participation in giving quality answers to questions. After conducting a 15-week experiment, Dearman and Truong found that: 1) YA’s top and regular contributors do not answer questions for the same basic reasons (see bullet points below). 2) This problem could be solved by a few research and design approaches.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202439 2011-10-03T07:37:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Look what I found: my undergraduate capstone project

    The following is an audio clip from 2010 of me trying to explain my undergraduate capstone project and experience in an interview by the Indiana University Informatics Alumni Association.

    The original interview is located at the IU Informatics Alumni Association website.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202402 2011-10-02T06:39:02Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z What keeps me up at night

    Recently, I have been trying to get back into photography and videography as hobbies. This has led me to purchase camera lenses, tripods, a monopod, microphone, tripod dolly, and many other accessories in a period of a couple of months. In the video below, I decided to put one of the accessories to test. 

    I shot this video over a month ago using a tripod dolly from ePhoto. This was my first attempt at using a/the dolly; hence, the awkward camera movements. 

    View on Vimeo

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202403 2011-09-12T15:18:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Redesigning the Chase Online Banking System (Part 1)

    [background story about my and other's Chase online banking experience goes here]

    [background story about redesign project goes here]

    To go straight to the redesign click here.

    Pre-redesign sketch plan and notes

    I started thinking of 4 focus areas as I approached the "partial redesign" of the Chase Online Banking system: the landing page, account activity page, transaction details, and filtering account activity information.

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202404 2011-07-13T23:40:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z You are original and creative.

    I took this picture after a long, tiresome, and dull day. "You are original and creative", said the fortune cookie. I usually find these messages dull and repetive (the cookie is definitely better). But I decided to do something with these. In the process, I ended up reading a few blogs on creativity, and it also reminded me of a video I came across a few weeks back. You can watch the video here or below.


    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202407 2011-07-12T22:58:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Sony Alpha SLT A33 Video Test

    The following is a short video I shot using my Sony Alpha SLT A33 camera. This was my first time shooting a video and using Premiere in years. It was also the first time testing out the video capabilities of my my SLR (SLT). I must say I was quite impressed with the video quality. Last week I contacted a friend musician of mine in Washington D.C. to see if we could schedule a short music video shoot later this month. That's now a work in progress. 

    For now, here is the short little video :-)

    tag:blog.pascaltresorlola.com,2013:Post/202408 2011-07-11T21:25:00Z 2013-10-08T16:04:10Z Oh, so you design experiences?

    Try to explain to some what experience or interaction design is and watch the looks and questions you get. Design, to most people means graphic or web design--basically the obvious facets of visual design. You mention experience design, and it's as if you have pulled the plug to that little light bulb that goes off in their heads each time they think of design.

    I recently had an experience with a particular individual. I was explaining to him what Human Computer Interaction consisted of and what User Experience (UX) design means. In the early phase of the conversation, he mentioned "What software program do you use?" I was puzzled for a second since I didn't really understand the context of the question. "What do you mean?" I replied. "Ummm, like what software do you use to design, ummm, experience and stuff?", he said. Of course this led to a conversation which consisted mainly of me trying to explain the UX field.