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methodical product design - first principles part one

There is so much to learn in product world. And it all seems controversial. How do we solve this? We
methodical product design - first principles part one
By Akar Sumset • Issue #1 • View online
There is so much to learn in product world. And it all seems controversial. How do we solve this? We need a source of truth, something like First Principles of Elon Musk. (Aristotle actually)
And these are my First Principles.

Welcome to the first Methodical Product Design newsletter! 
My name is Akar. Let me briefly tell you why I started this newsletter.
I like mixing things together
Whatever that is. Credit: pretty52
Whatever that is. Credit: pretty52
I put cheese on almost everything. I like reading physics as well as psychology. I listen to Metallica and Yann Tiersen songs back to back.
I do UX design and product management. I enjoy gamification as much as branding. I work with startups and large enterprises. And when it comes to product design I use a mix of methods, inspiration and intuition.
In this mix, methods are the basis
After a long time of random learning and then feeling lost in the flow of “new things” I found the solution in the academia. Why? Because I’m kind of a geek. I look for the science behind everything. And this is how I started accumulating knowledge based on methods. (I use methods, principles, theories etc. interchangeably) And I want to share this with you because I was there, feeling lost, too.
First Principles
Yes, Aristotle is my grand grand uncle. Credit: simpsonsworld
Yes, Aristotle is my grand grand uncle. Credit: simpsonsworld
These First Principles are the basis of all the things I do. I constantly revisit them. Most of the times, I find new insights like when I read a book for the second time.

1. Core Principles
a. 5 Planes of UX Design - Jesse James Garrett (from his book: The Elements of User Experience Design)
This is an oldie but a goldie. JJG draws the path from strategy to interface design. The model perfectly shows how to make product decisions. (Teaser: I’m working on a framework based on this. Coming Soon!)

b. Agile Manifesto - Several Authors including Martin Fowler, Jeff Sutherland
I HATE Scrum but I LOVE Agile. Especially how it prioritises people and working product over everything else.

c. Lean Startups - Steve Blank
Eric Ries is fine but Steve Blank is the man! His human centered approach on finding the product - market fit and insights on startup management are the main reasons I love his work.

2. Psychology & Social Psychology Principles
a. Six Principles of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini (from his book: Influence)
Another oldie but goldie. A product is an attempt to persuade people. All those research, ideation, design, optimisation… is done to persuade people to use our products. “To persuade people, first we should understand persuasion ourselves” says the master of persuasion Cialdini. (Saw what I did there? Recursive persuasion…)

b. Two Systems, Heuristics and Biases - Daniel Kahneman (from his book: Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner, has the full picture of how people think. Really. The full picture. Two systems thinking is not a brand new approach however the heuristics and biases he lists in the book are groundbreaking. They are quite practical, too.

BJ Fogg provides very practical theories on the nature of behaviour and how to motivate people to do things. His theories are quite helpful for designing habit creating products.

d. Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (from his book: Flow)
Flow State is when we lose track of time while doing something and Flow Model explains how we enter into the Flow State. It is an awesome tool to understand how to keep people motivated even for seemingly repetitive tasks.

e. Hooked - Nir Eyal (from his book: Hooked)
Csikszentmihalyi (what a name!) showed us what flow is and Eyal teaches us how to make people to come back even though they don’t experience flow. Retention is the key for any product’s success. Be it a startup or a large enterprise.

—  This is the first part of the First Principles. With the next issue, I’ll complete First Principles with design, branding and decision making principles. Stay tuned! —

My mind, work and life are strongly shaped by these above. 
With these newsletters every Thursday, I will share handpicked articles from my Pocket (double handpicked in this case) with a bit of my insights.
I hope you enjoy and benefit from this.

Please share ideas and feedbacks by replying to these mails. I am extremely open to feedbacks, changes and collaboration.
Akar - Continuously brainstorming

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Akar Sumset

Hey product person! Can't choose what to read? Can't trust what you learn? Methods (frameworks, guides, principles...) are the solution if you know when and why to use them. Unlike other newsletters, Methodical shares content in a structured way so that you know when to use what.

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