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Reading Notes, September 2020

Article: “Demand Side Sales 101, a new book on sales by Bob Moesta.”

This piece of writing was enough to interest me in buying the book. It sounded great, even though I’ve never heard of Bob Moesta. These kinds of insight cut through so much of the cruft of making software:

Everyone’s struggling with something, and that’s where the opportunity lies to help people make progress. Sure, people have projects, and software can help people manage those projects, but people don’t have a “project management problem.”...Project management is a label, it’s not a struggle.

What kind of struggles do people have?

People struggle to know where a project stands. People struggle to maintain accountability across teams. People struggle to know who’s working on what, and when those things will be done. People struggle with presenting a professional appearance with clients. People struggle to keep everything organized in one place so people know where things are. People struggle to communicate clearly so they don’t have to repeat themselves. People struggle to cover their ass and document decisions, so they aren’t held liable if a client says something wasn’t delivered as promised. That’s the deep down stuff, the real struggles.

Article: “Follow the Fun”

Protoype, demo, repeat. Yes, yes, yes!!

We like to think about this process as the game discovering itself over time. Because as iterators, rather than designers, it’s our job to simply play the game, listen to it, feel it, and kind of feel out what it seems to want to become - and just follow the trails of what’s fun. — Seth Coster, “Crashlands: Design by Chaos” (GDC 2018)


Interestingly the designer’s role shifts a bit from creative overlord to active listener. They must be attentive to what the game (via play testers) is “saying”. They must be willing to explore those more interesting aspects, abandoning bad ideas and letting go of their initial ideas along the way. I love this methodology and it’s not dissimilar to how we build websites at Paravel, iterating and oversharing our works-in-progress in Slack.

And last this bit of wisdom was maybe my favorite, though perhaps not directly related to the subject at hand:

Don’t throw your pearls to swine by tweeting things to randos on Twitter.

Tweet: Narrow Your Focus

I’ve been feeling the need for these kinds of words lately:

Raise the speed
Raise the quality
Narrow the focus

“Everybody wants results, but not everybody wants to do what that takes.”

Which links to this article (which, to be honest, I only skimmed because it’s quite long and full of CEO-speak):

As a leader, your opportunity is to reset in each of these dimensions. You do it in every single conversation, meeting, and encounter. You look for and exploit every single opportunity to step up the pace, expect a higher quality outcome, and narrow the plane of attack. Then, you relentlessly follow up...

Podcast: The Clearleft Podcast: Design Systems

An interesting observation from James which pits the idea of a “design system” as a completed, packaged object, against the idea of “systematic design” which is more of a mindset that transcends individual objects.

I prefer to talk about systematic design.

So what I mean by systematic design is designing only the things you need, but in a systematic way so that anything you need in future can build on the system you are building. So it's not a finished thing. I think a design system to me sounds like a product which is finished, and that you hand over to somebody for them to kind of take on.

I think a design system sounds like quite an intimidating product, whereas systematic design is something that anybody can get involved with at any point.