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Three cool books and three cool links (+ workshop in Paris)

April 11 · Issue #30 · View online
Design Sprint Newsletter
Hey there! Here’s some stuff I’ve come across recently that I thought you might like.

Three cool books:

Julie Zhuo worked her way up from intern to VP of product design at Facebook. She’s also an excellent writer, and her new book is a practical, honest, and useful guide to management. You don’t have to like Facebook to like this book—it’s good reading for anyone who runs a team, or even anyone who has a manager and wants to better understand the mechanics of teams. (Further reading: Julie’s fantastic blog, interview with Julie on my podcast)

I’m a few years late reading this book, which was published in 2014, but maybe you missed it too? Superintelligence is a super-dense (took me several months to read) and fascinating look at what might happen when artificial intelligence gets smarter than we are, and how humans can hope to survive in such a future. (Further reading: Nick Bostrom profile in the New Yorker)

This book has nothing to do with design or technology, but Stephen King is, in a way, one of the greatest individual experience designers/entrepreneurs of the past half century. Think how many products he sells every year, and how many hours humans spend inside his worlds! How does he do it? For years I was too freaked out to read his books. Then I read The Body.
Best known as the basis for the classic movie Stand By Me, The Body is short (179 pages) and not horror, so it’s the perfect way for slow-reading fraidy cats like me to experience the greatness of King. It’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes beautiful, sometimes thrilling. You’ll understand why people love his work. Please note there IS a bit of violence, gross scenes, a lot of bad language, etc… but, in my opinion, well worth it for such a good story. (Further reading: On Writing, King’s memoir and how-to writing guide, also highly recommended.)

Three cool links:

I liked this post, and especially this line:
“…labeling people as users strips them of complexity. It reduces humans to a single behavior, effectively supporting a view of people as more like robots whose sole function is to use a product or feature.”
I know that’s intense, but I think there’s something to it. In design sprints, I use the word “customer” to describe the people we’re building the products for, and I think it’s a good alternative to “user”. It encourages respect, I think—in a shop, the customer is someone we serve. And, of course, the customer is always right.

If you’re trying to convince people to run a design sprint—whether that’s inside your own company, or as an agency or consultant selling the idea to your clients—you might find some inspiration in this marketing page by UK agency Wolf Cub. I really like the language and level of detail (not too high level, not too specific) and the FAQ-meets-blog-post structure.

Pretty fun to see 175 high schoolers sprinting on real business problems in Australia and a 7-year-old building a prototype for her little brother.

Two cool workshops:

  • Paris: June 7Not only my first workshop in Paris, my first workshop on a boat!
  • Swiss Alps: June 3 & 4 — Two day workshop/retreat. My friends from Design Sprint Switzerland have managed to book an entire futuristic pod hotel for this event. There’s only space for 20 people and tickets are pricey due to the amazing location and accommodations, but if you can join us it promises to be memorable.
  • (The Stockholm workshop on May 7 is sold out.)

Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter, consider forwarding it to a friend. If you hated this newsletter, don’t blame the newsletter, blame me. Till next time!
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