Designing My Life | Part II b: Building a Lifeview Compass

Following my post on creating a Workview Compass, in the process of Designing Your Life, I've outlined below my Lifeview for the purpose of reflection and collaboration. The purpose of creating a Workview and Lifeview Compass is to help people calibrate their life design efforts towards what they find meaningful and important. Design thinking values 'thinking visually', which basically means getting your thoughts out of your head and onto something tangible (often through making something). That way you can discuss your thoughts with other people and improve through iteration. Designing a successful product isn't all that different from designing a

Designing My Life | Part II a: Building a Workview Compass

The second section of Designing Your Life is directed towards creating a compass in work and in life so that people can calibrate their efforts towards what they find meaningful and important. The focus of this post is on my process of creating a Workview Compass. Lifeview will follow... Wisdom from the authors The authors provide some great questions to help people answer the question of why and so I've provided my answers here as an exercise in reflection and collaboration. Before we dive in, I just want to prime my responses with an excerpt from the book: We realize

Designing My Life | Part I: Developing a Dashboard

On Monday I embarked on a journey to design my life and share the journey on my blog. You can read the preface here if you like. The first part of life design is to develop a dashboard that helps you answer the questions: Where am I in my life right now? How are things going? The Activity It's a simple yet powerful exercise. The authors of Designing Your Life create four categories and ask participants to self-assess the quality of their life in each: Health Work Love Play These are great categories, but as a designer I could also

Designing My Life: A Preface

I have a problem. It never seems to go away. The question of 'What do you want to do with your life?' never seems to fully resolve. All throughout my life, I've persistently tried to find trustworthy answers to the following questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What's wrong with the world and how can I help fix it? Historically, I've chiseled away at these answers through various activities: From 2009-2014 I wrote a thousand words a day every day (inspired by Ray Bradbury's approach described in Zen and The Art of Writing). In 2014, I hired

My First 60 Days As a Product Manager at OpenGov

This post outlines what I've learned and experienced as a consultant product manager for OpenGov—a high-growth tech startup in Silicon Valley. When Peak Democracy merged with OpenGov in October, I found myself transitioning into a new role as Product Owner and Manager for Open Town Hall—Peak Democracy's flagship product. The mission of Open Town Hall is to build public trust in government for the good of society. We do this by building tools for local governments to receive input from their residents on community issues. By creating a constant stream of structured communication between people and their

What Does a Product Manager Do at a Silicon Valley Tech Startup?

In Silicon Valley and other tech hubs, Product Management ("PM") is referred to the leadership role whose responsibility it is to manage the intersection of business, technology and design towards the fulfillment of specific objectives. Image Credit: Tech In Asia — What we learnt about Product Management in Silicon Valley I have been really fortunate in my short career to have gotten just enough experience in each of these domains to enable me to dutifully fulfill this role at OpenGov for a product called Open Town Hall. I worked as a Ruby on Rails developer for a few months as I

My Journey at Peak Democracy: From Design Leadership to Product Management

The purpose of this post is to outline my journey at Peak Democracy, to share what I’ve learned and express my enthusiasm at the next stage of my career as I take on a new role as Product Manager & Lead Designer at Peak Democracy (now a part of OpenGov). Backstory In March, I began consulting for Peak Democracy—a company on a mission to build public trust in government. Their business centers on a web-based product called Open Town Hall, which is widely considered to be North America’s leading online civic engagement platform. Open Town Hall was

Are Smartphones The Cigarettes of Our Generation?

What if the very tools that have the greatest potential to change the world are also crippling us from doing so? The Problem of Smartphone Usage Here are some stats to illustrate my thinking: The average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times per day, starting by checking their email and Facebook at 7.31am[1]. US consumers now spend over five hours per day on their phone. That amounts to 76 full days in a single year[2]. While the exact figures vary depending on the source, smartphone usage statistics have continued to increase year-on-year. This trend represents one

How I Redesigned My Morning Routine & Got My Life Back

The purpose of this post is to provide an outline of the journey I've gone through to redesign my morning routine and regain control of my life over the past five months. Take a quick look at any website or social network and you might conclude that everyone's life is great, but sometimes… life is really hard. We all go through our peaks and troughs. Some are higher and lower than others. About five months ago, I went through a pretty low patch which forced me to re-evaluate and redesign several core aspects of my life including my morning routine.

What is The Holy Grail of UX Design?

This week in my mentorship session with James Box, my good friend and design mentor, we discussed what he considers “The Holy Grail of UX Design’. The Problem One of the problems I have been facing in my work at Peak Democracy recently is that I’ve conducted almost a dozen user interviews in effort to build empathy for our users, but I don’t know the best way to uncover meaningful insights from those interviews. I have almost ten hours of interview recordings and troves of notes that I wrote while users spoke. I asked James to help me