Here are some of the articles we’ve been reading around this office this week.

Designing without a Designer (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “If an organization wants to have their product and/or service user experiences be their competitive advantage, they have to invest in design leaders. They must spread the knowledge of design throughout the organization. The tools of exposure, reflection, and vision become essential in that journey.”

What Twitter Can Be – “Hundreds of millions of new users will join and stay active on Twitter, hundreds of millions of inactive users will return to Twitter, and hundreds of millions more will use Twitter from the outside if Twitter can: 1) Make Tweets effortless to enjoy, 2) Make it easier for all to participate, and 3) Make each of us on Twitter feel heard and valuable. Accomplishing this isn’t hard and there are obvious, concrete steps to fix it all. Done right, countless users new and old will find Twitter indispensable, use Twitter more, see great ads, buy lots of stuff, and make the company much more money along the way.”

The Apple vs Google Battle has Changed – “The primary question is now focused on how successful Apple will be in loosening its dependency on Google services. There are signs that we may see a more aggressive stance from Apple towards replacing many Google services with homegrown alternatives. This motivation will likely come to represent the driving factor for the continued battle between the two companies. While we may see skirmishes from time to time over individual features and services, the much bigger battle is clear: Apple and Google are built on a fundamentally different view of the world and each will now fight to occupy a user’s time with the best experience. The battle has moved beyond the smartphone.”

Low-Contrast Text Is Not the Answer (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “A low-contrast design aesthetic is haunting the web, taking legibility and discoverability with it. It’s straining our eyes, making us all feel older, and a little less capable. Lured by the trend of minimalism, sites are abandoning their high-contrast traditions and switching to the Dark Side (or should I say, the Medium-Gray Side). For sites willing to sacrifice readability for design prowess, low-contrast text has become a predictable choice, with predictable, persistent usability flaws.”

Escalating Demands at Work Hurt Employees and Companies (Thanks to Anne Ruskamp for recommending this article) – “When people work an excessive number of hours, they devolve – meaning they degenerate inexorably from a higher state of capability and consciousness to a more primitive, reactive one. Fatigue, as Vince Lombardi so accurately observed, makes cowards of us all.”

What is Code? (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “Code has atomized entire categories of existence that previously appeared whole. Skilled practitioners have turned this explosive ability to their near total benefit. Bookstores exist now in opposition to Amazon, and Amazon’s interpretation of an electronic book is the reference point for the world. For its part, Amazon is not really a bookseller as much as a set of optimization problems around digital and physical distribution. Microsoft Office defined what it was to work, leading to a multidecade deluge of PowerPoint. Uber seeks to recast transportation in its own image, and thousands more startups exist with stars in their eyes and the feverish will to disrupt, disrupt, disrupt, disrupt.”

An Insider’s Guide to Convertible Notes vs Equity – “In the annals of Blog Posts About Things I Don’t Care About, Convertible Debt versus Equity is high on the Top 10 List. It’s not higher than How to Have a Great Bored [sic] Meeting, but it’s high up there. I mean, whatever, right? All that matters is investing in great companies at a fair, stage-appropriate price, right?”

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