Why our brains need multi-day wilderness trips
From Oars.com: By day five of my first rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, time started to slow and protract in a funny way. My senses seemed to sharpen, becoming almost granular. I shed the anxiety I had experienced going into the trip, and instead pondered the immeasurable journey that the sand had taken to reach the beach at my feet, noticed every bend of light as it spilled over the rim each morning and watched with great interest as the smear of stars grew brighter against the night sky.
neuroscience  brain-fitness  river-rafting 
8 weeks ago
How to spot and overcome your hidden weaknesses
From NY Times: Sadly, we are all just as bad at assessing our skills and abilities, and like Drew, we don’t even realize it. But there’s a solution
personal-mastery  personal-growth 
8 weeks ago
Archie's Press
Archie Archambault is a designer and inventor living in New York. He started making maps several years ago because nobody else was explaining cities simply and clearly. Maps include states, anatomy, outer space. He studied Art and Philosophy at Colorado College, Urban Design at Harvard and Advertising at Wieden+Kennedy. 
mapping  maps 
9 weeks ago
Leonard Bernstein digital collections at the Library of Congress
The Leonard Bernstein Collection at the Library of Congress is as exceptional as its name would suggest. Bernstein, arguably the most prominent figure in American classical music of the second half of the twentieth century, made his impact as a conductor, as a composer of classical and theater music, and as an educator through books, conducting students at Tanglewood, and especially through various televised lecture series that helped define the potentials of that medium.
music-composers  archive 
10 weeks ago
Why it’s so hard to hear negative feedback
From NY Times: What if instead of anxiously worrying about criticism, you excitedly welcomed it?
feedback  personal-mastery 
12 weeks ago
Leonard Bernstein presents 7-year-old Yo-Yo Ma's high-profile debut for President John F. Kennedy - YouTube
The New York Times reported that on November 29, 1962, a benefit concert called "The American Pageant of the Arts" was to be held with "a cast of 100, including President and Mrs. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Leonard Bernstein (as master of ceremonies), Pablo Casals, Marian Anderson, Van Cliburn, Robert Frost, Fredric March, Benny Goodman, Bob Newhart and a 7-year-old Chinese cellist called Yo-yo Ma, who was brought to the program's attention by Casals."
march 2018
Benjamin Zander: Work (How to give an A)
Teachers TV. Benjamin Zander talking on how simply you can motivate your students to win an A by giving them As right from the beginning.
positive-psychology  teaching 
march 2018
Jonathan Haidt: Can a divided America heal?
From TED: How can the US recover after the negative, partisan presidential election of 2016? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the morals that form the basis of our political choices. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, he describes the patterns of thinking and historical causes that have led to such sharp divisions in America -- and provides a vision for how the country might move forward.
communities-of-practice  personal-mastery 
march 2018
Positive psychology course syllabi for teachers
From Positive Psychology Center: The following syllabi were provided by various college professors of psychology, in the hope that teachers might find them useful in developing a syllabus for a Positive Psychology course.
positive-psychology  learning-design 
march 2018
Dr. James Pawelski: Happy Together
In fairy tales, lasting love just happens. But in real life, healthy habits are what build happiness over the long haul. Happy Together, written by positive psychology experts and husband-and-wife team Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and James O. Pawelski, is the first book on using the principles of positive psychology to create thriving romantic relationships. Combining extensive scientific research and real-life examples, this book will help you find and feed the good in yourself and your partner.
happiness  positive-psychology  personal-mastery 
march 2018
Why the future is always on your mind
From NY Times: We are misnamed. We call ourselves Homo sapiens, the “wise man,” but that’s more of a boast than a description. What makes us wise? What sets us apart from other animals? Various answers have been proposed — language, tools, cooperation, culture, tasting bad to predators — but none is unique to humans.

What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created civilization and sustains society. It usually lifts our spirits, but it’s also the source of most depression and anxiety, whether we’re evaluating our own lives or worrying about the nation. Other animals have springtime rituals for educating the young, but only we subject them to “commencement” speeches grandly informing them that today is the first day of the rest of their lives.
personal-mastery  psychology 
march 2018
Three ADHD symptoms that are overlooked
The textbook symptoms of ADD — inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity — fail to reflect several of its most powerful characteristics; the ones that shape your perceptions, emotions, and motivation. Here, Dr. William Dodson explains how to recognize and manage ADHD’s true defining features.
february 2018
The great practice myth: Debunking the 10,000 hour rule
From Six Seconds: What does it take to become an expert or master performer in a given field? 10,000 hours of practice. It’s a common rule of thumb, popularized by Malcom Gladwell in his bestseller Outliers: The Story of Success. It’s catchy, easy to remember, and – more or less – completely false.
We’re debunking the 10,000 hour rule and taking a look at proven ways to practice your way to mastery.
personal-mastery  rehearsal  practice 
february 2018
Why am I so emotional? ADHD and self-control
Runaway emotions cause more than drama. They undermine relationships, sap motivation, and lead to regretful actions. Here, learn everyday strategies for keeping ADHD emotions from boiling over by better managing your brain.
attention-deficit-disorder  personal-mastery 
february 2018
Music for healthy ADHD brains: 8 songs for focus
Music can work wonders on the ADHD brain, improving everything from language development to impulse control—and even restlessness.
attention-deficit-disorder  music 
february 2018
Spectral, a new typeface for Google Fonts
From Production Type: Production Type was commissioned by Google Fonts to create a new typeface primarily intended for immersive reading, that is now available in GSuite, Google’s collaborative office-suite for documents, slides and spreadsheets.
typography  google-fonts 
july 2017
Production Type
Based in Paris, Production Type is a digital type design agency. Its activities span from the exclusive online distribution of its retail type for design professionals, to the creation of custom typefaces for the industrial, luxury, and media sectors.
july 2017
Milieu Grotesque digital typefoundry
Milieu Grotesque is an independent publisher and distributor of typefaces and related products. Established in 2010 by Timo Gaessner and Alexander Colby.
july 2017
A modern identity takes form in ancient lettering
From NY Times: The nameplate that has come to be the visual synonym of The Times was most recently redrawn in 1967 by the designer Edward Benguiat. The letterforms on which the nameplate is based, known as blackletter or Gothic, can be traced to the late 700s, long before Gutenberg ever put ink to type.
typography  brand-design  nytimes 
july 2017
7 tips for presenting bulleted lists in digital content
From Nielsen Norman Group: Vertical lists attract the eye and make each list element stand out on its own. Thus, they are more effective than inline lists at making key points easier to scan, reference, and understand.
web-design  web-writing  lists  writing-reference 
april 2017
What 10 years of smartphone use mean for the planet
From Truth-Out: If you're among the more than 2 billion people in the world that now uses a smartphone, chances are pretty good you remember your first smartphone. You remember how your life changed when your phone suddenly became connected to the internet and became a tool to find your way around almost anywhere instantaneously, send emails on the go, stay in touch with loved ones 24/7, and answer all your random curiosities.  
smartphones  trends 
march 2017
Social media are driving Americans insane
From Bloomberg: If you pull out your phone to check Twitter while waiting for the light to change, or read e-mails while brushing your teeth, you might be what the American Psychological Association calls a “constant checker.” And chances are, it’s hurting your mental health. 
social-media  trends  mental-health 
march 2017
The New York Times joins the debate about the truth in minimalist ads from Droga5
n a world of fake news and alternative facts, The New York Times is asserting the primacy and importance of the truth—and the role independent journalists play in searching for it, and telling it—in a big new brand campaign from Droga5.

Stripped-down TV, print, outdoor, digital and social ads tackle head on the sense of eroding faith in the knowability of the truth, and acknowledge that what’s asserted to be the truth in today’s hostile and oversaturated political media landscape is often just opinion, or even outright lies.

The campaign includes a 30-second spot that will air on the Academy Awards on Feb. 26 (where such ad slots are going for up to $2.5 million). The spot features audio of people debating politics, while on-screen text finishes the sentence “The truth is…” in various ways.
brand-campaign  brand-design  new-york-times  newspapers 
february 2017
Five habits to heal the heart of democracy
From Parker Palmer at Global Oneness Project: The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up—ever—trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?
—Terry Tempest Williams

"We the People" called American democracy into being. Today, the future of our democracy is threatened. How can "We the People" call American politics back to health at a time when, in the words of Bill Moyers, "we have fallen under the spell of money, faction, and fear"? One answer is close at hand, within everyone's reach. We must return to the "first home" of democracy, which, as Terry Tempest Williams points out, is found not in a centuries-old document or in a distant city, but in the human heart.
listening  personal-mastery  democracy 
february 2017
How to handle being bullied as an adult
From Lifehacker: You’d think that bullies would disappear after high school, but some people never grow out of being a great big jerk. They may not steal your lunch money anymore, but bullies can still harass you, put you down, and even undermine your work. Here are some tips for understanding and dealing with bullies, no matter how old you are.
bullying  personal-mastery  conflict 
january 2017
Poster perfect: The art of James McMullan
From NY Times: No other living artist is more closely identified with an American theater company than James McMullan. For 30 years, his painterly posters for Lincoln Center Theater have been turned into collectibles that are more than advertising: They’re synonymous with the shows themselves. It’s hard not to think of “Carousel” without recalling his artwork for the 1994 revival that depicts a brooding Billy Bigelow, vividly illuminated from below, atop wooden horses that rear beneath an angry sky.

To commemorate Mr. McMullan’s artistic tenure with Lincoln Center, a permanent exhibition of some of his best-known works was recently installed in the lobby of the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. For playwrights, having Mr. McMullan, 82, spend so much time considering and visualizing their created world is like having Picasso paint their child’s portrait.
theater  design  illustrators  brand-design 
january 2017
Unlike you, your Facebook account can be immortal
From NY Times: Facebook allows you to designate a friend or family member as a “legacy contact.” If you want to have your account memorialized after you die, this person basically serves as the executor of your Facebook account by managing your profile and can update your cover photo and profile photo, post information and accept new friend requests. (Memorialized accounts without legacy contacts cannot be changed.)
social-media-guidelines  planning-end-of-life  facebook 
january 2017
Is your digital life ready for your death?
From NY Times: You’ve probably thought about what will happen to your finances, your possessions and maybe even your real estate when you die. But what about your Facebook account? Or your hard-drive backups?
planning-end-of-life  social-media-guidelines 
january 2017
So, what happens to the @POTUS Twitter account now?
From The Washington Post: As part of the “digital transition” plan laid out by the Obama White House shortly before the election, the incoming administration starts with a clean slate.
obama-barack  social-media-strategy  brand-strategy 
january 2017
The digital transition: How the presidential transition works in the social media age
From Obama White House: Take a look at how the digital history of the Obama administration is preserved.
obama-barack  social-media-strategy  brand-strategy 
january 2017
The Obamas were a master class in dignity and civility. Did we learn what they taught?
From The Washington Post: Without talking about politics or policy, without getting into race or class, red or blue, the Obamas set a remarkable standard for personal decency and civility during their years as our first family.
personal-growth  obama-barack 
january 2017
The ADHD brain is wired differently
From Additude: The more we “see” the ADHD brain with neuroimaging, the more we understand how it works. Read this in-depth analysis to learn about the latest discoveries and the most current research on the ADHD brain.
neuroscience  attention-deficit-disorder  brain 
january 2017
Denise Burt: Encompassing musical universes
From Communication Arts: An interview with graphic designer Denise Burt about her passion for designing contemporary classical music album covers.
music-graphic-design  design 
january 2017
Seeing New Music – Contemporary classical music through the eyes of a graphic designer
From Denise Burt: Seeing New Music is a collection of personal short stories about the process of designing cover artwork for ‘new music’ releases. ‘New music’ is modern classical music. It’s contemporary art in musical form – full of ideas just as intriguing and diverse as those you find in the visual art world.

Over the last decade, I have faced many challenges in trying to visualise the ideas behind the music. It’s been quite a journey! It’s never easy but it is very rewarding – and I’ve been lucky enough to meet many incredible composers and their work along the way.
music-graphic-design  design  music-recordings 
january 2017
Chicago Symphony Orchestra posters
From Communication Arts: MusicNOW, a series of four new music concerts curated by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Mead Composers-in-Residence Samuel Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek, called for visuals no less compelling in their musicality. Thirst was happy to provide just that by creating unique illustrations for each concert, along with a graphic system for flyers, digital advertisements and on-screen content. A limited-edition poster—with offset lithography by Graphic Arts Studio, foil stamping by Artistry Engraving & Embossing Co., Inc. and generous support by Mohawk Fine Papers—further commemorated each concert illustration.
orchestras  marketing  brand-design  posters 
january 2017
The ultimate digital clean-up checklist
From Smashing: Set aside 60 minutes to clean up, sort out and back up your digital footprint, to ensure a good smooth start to 2017. So many little details tend to get forgotten or overlooked every single time, only to get fixed hastily later — but doesn’t it just feel right when everything is in the right place, neatly organized, even if you aren’t a compulsory cleaner or an obsessed perfectionist?
january 2017
How to design a team to deliver powerful capabilities
From strategy+business: Does the way your company manages its strategy influence the effectiveness of your teams? And does the way you manage teams affect your strategy? We believe the answer to both questions is yes, and in a new research study under way now, we’re testing that hypothesis.

You can see the evidence in companies with strategic coherence. These are companies with a distinctive identity. The few capabilities that make them unique all fit together, supporting a value proposition that few other companies can match. They choose to go in directions only where their capabilities give them a right to win. Great companies need great capabilities. And inside every company that does things exceptionally well are teams of people working across functional boundaries, year after year, doing things together they couldn’t do alone.
team-development  team-building  teams-high-impact  brand-strategy 
january 2017
Turning your vacation photos into works of art
From NY Times: It’s the season for family travel and photos — and perhaps enlarging some of those images of snowy landscapes or tropical getaways to decorate your home.
photography  design 
december 2016
My president was black
From Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic: A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next
history  politics  obama-barack  white-house 
december 2016
Bill Cunningham, unpublished photos
From NY Times: A look at the photographs that almost made Bill’s column this year, explained by his longtime collaborator.
photographers  fashion  photography  nytimes 
december 2016
The science and poetry of the light in Los Angeles
From The New Yorker: In 1998, Lawrence Weschler, a transplant to the East Coast from Los Angeles, wrote for The New Yorker about an aspect of his home town that he missed so much that it could bring tears to his eyes: “That light: the late-afternoon light of Los Angeles—golden pink off the bay through the smog and onto the palm fronds. A light I’ve found myself pining for every day of the nearly two decades since I left Southern California.” The distinctive light of L.A.—the way it can cast the city in hyper-real relief or wrap it in a dreamy haze—is legendary. It’s one of the things that drew the movie studios there, it crops up in literature and art about the city, and it’s “a subject that Angelenos are endlessly voluble about,” Weschler wrote. And so he talked to a number of those Angelenos—from a scientist at Caltech, who described how L.A. pollution gives the air a particular shimmer, to the legendary sports announcer Vin Scully, who for decades wove descriptions of the skies over Dodger Stadium into his broadcasts of the games—gathering their readily poetic paeans about the way their city glows.

In this video, which first appeared on “The New Yorker Presents” (Amazon Originals), Weschler revisits his classic piece. The light has changed somewhat since he wrote about it, partially because pollution levels have dropped, but it is still “the defining character of the place—the soul of the place,” he says. Also appearing is the creator of one of the most iconic images of Los Angeles: Zoey Tur, the pilot of the news helicopter that followed O. J. Simpson’s white Bronco when he led the police on the famous low-speed chase through L.A. as the sun began to set, and the city lit up. “We shouldn’t show this to people back East,” Tur says as she takes the film crew up in a helicopter twenty years later, “because they’ll move out here.”
los-angeles  environment 
december 2016
Your people’s brains need face time
From strategy+business: An interesting phenomenon emerged in an executive education class I regularly teach. Participants from around the U.S., and sometimes the world, come to the Harvard campus for a week, form teams that work on a significant group project remotely for six months, and then return to Harvard for a concluding session where they present what they’ve accomplished. A couple of years back, one of the teams decided to meet in-person about halfway through. They were so enthusiastic about the meeting, and the project they delivered so impressive, that I have related their experience to subsequent cohorts. Now, more and more teams opt for a mid-project, in-person meeting — a day or two of their own time at their own expense. Those projects continue to be among the best.
team-building  team-development  productivity 
december 2016
The neuroscience of leadership
From strategy+business: Breakthroughs in brain research explain how to make organizational transformation succeed.
neuroscience  brain-fitness 
december 2016
On the making of Trump: The blind spot that created him
From Otto Scharmer in Huffington Post: We have entered a watershed moment not only here in America, but also globally. It’s a moment that could help us wake up to a deeper level of collective awareness and renewal—or a moment when we could spiral down into chaos, violence, and fascism-like conditions. Whether it’s one or the other depends on our capacity to become aware of our collective blind spot.
blind-spot  theory-u  change 
december 2016
2016: The year the trolls won
From Monica Lewinsky in Vanity Fair: If Time Magazine had asked my opinion about their Person of the Year (and they didn’t), I would have told them: The Trolls. If you’ve been on the Internet at all this year, you probably know that an Internet troll is a person who promotes discord by purposefully posting inflammatory comments or content. Veracity is of no import to the troll.
social-media  trolls  bullying 
december 2016
Pantone's color of the year - Greenery
A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.
Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.
color-forecasting  color-palettes  design 
december 2016
Deep breathing exercises for ADHD, anxiety
From ADDitude: Studies suggest that rhythmic, deep breathing can balance the autonomic nervous system, which helps individuals with ADHD become more attentive and relaxed. Learn more about this free, highly portable alternative treatment.
attention-deficit-disorder  neuroscience  brain-fitness 
november 2016
Is there an ADHD spectrum?
From Additude: New research suggests that ADHD comprises several meaningful subgroups — each one tied to a weak connection in the brain’s neural networks. Here, Joel Nigg, Ph.D. maps the regions of the brain that control attention, impulsivity, and emotion, and explains why scientists are studying the “white matter” connections between these circuits.
attention-deficit-disorder  neuroscience 
november 2016
The science behind the power of storytelling
From The Content Strategist: Last August, Interpol arrested a 40-year-old Nigerian con artist, known only as “Mike,” who was the alleged mastermind of an email scam cartel that swindled over $60 million from victims around the world. Mike operated various email schemes including the infamous “Nigerian Prince” ruse, which elaborately establishes a heartbreaking and potentially profitable tale before asking for money.

The prince scams are a case study in the power of storytelling. Before asking for money, the con artists weave intricate tales that appeal to people’s emotions. While these scammers tend to prey on the gullible, like this 63-year-old Nebraskan woman who lost over $40,000, the more elaborate variations call on astronauts or London gallerists to target people who may be more sophisticated. In fact, as Maria Konnikova told Contently in an interview about the dark side of storytelling, intelligent people are the most vulnerable to investment fraud. According to another new book, Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us, they’re also more likely to join cults.
november 2016
After Donald Trump was elected president, Aaron Sorkin wrote this letter to his daughter
From Vanity Fair: The Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Social Network and mastermind behind The West Wing reacts to Donald Trump being elected the 45th president of the United States in a moving letter written to his 15-year-old daughter Roxy and her mother Julia Sorkin.
change  personal-mastery  personal-growth 
november 2016
Here’s the letter Tim Cook sent to Apple employees after Trump’s win
From Fast Company: The country is more polarized than it's been in decades—and Cook knows that means his 76,000 U.S. Apple employees are likely polarized, too. While many are likely still in shock at the election results, Cook wrote an email to Apple employees reminding them that "the only way to move forward is to move forward together," reports BuzzFeed. Here's the email in full:
apple  change-management 
november 2016
How to debunk fake news
From NY Times: Fake stories and memes that crop up during live news events have been a problem on social media for years, but a wild election season has highlighted the news media’s slow response in stemming the flow of nonsense.
news  social-media  social-media-strategy 
november 2016
Typography cheat sheet
From Designmodo: Understanding type can be one of the most difficult elements of design. There’s a lot of terminology and lingo that type designers (and designers, in general) use when talking about lettering. Sometimes it can be tough to decipher it all. This cheat sheet describes all of the different aspects of lettering, from terminology to components to type styles and methods of typographic manipulation so you will have a better grasp on how to understand and use typography in your design projects.
typography  web-typography 
november 2016
Presidential Debate 2016: The plight of plagiarism
From Fast Company: American University's speechwriting teacher, Robert Lehrman, divulges why Melania Trump made headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this year.
writing-reference  plagiarism  speeches  speech-writing 
october 2016
Learning-style advice: Don't trust your learning style
From NY Magazine: The idea of “learning styles” — the idea that everyone has a “best” way of taking in and retaining information — is a pervasive one. A personal example: If you talk at me, I will quickly forget what you tell me. Send me an email or Slack message, though, and I’ll have a much better chance of remembering the details later, even when I’m away from my phone or computer.

Study after study has suggested, however, that learning styles are mostly a myth. Teaching someone to memorize something according to their preferred learning style, for example, does not result in a significant improvement in their ability to recall that information later. Still, much to the annoyance of psychologists like Christian Jarrett — who included learning styles in his 2014 book Great Myths of the Brain (which Science of Us excerpted here) — this idea refuses to die. A new study, summarized by Jarrett on BPS Research Digest today, helps explain why: Even if learning styles are actually nonsense, it sure doesn’t feel that way.
learning-styles  visualization 
october 2016
How well do you know the story of you?
From Eric McNulty at strategy+business: Knowing your story — understanding what makes you you — is essential, and part of who you are is your setbacks and failures. Acknowledging your own missteps, struggles, and pain is necessary to acquire the emotional intelligence central to leadership effectiveness. In particular, empathy for others comes from admitting mistakes. Receiving a promotion may be testament to your talent and hard work, but getting laid off presents a test of your character, adaptive capacity, and resilience. When life stops being easy, you have to dig deep to find your true passion. Executive coach Eddie Erlandson calls this discovering your genius zone, the work you’re so passionate about you’d do it for free — but which you figure out how to get paid for.
personal-branding  leadership  emotional-intelligence 
september 2016
A quick guide to type anatomy
From Print Magazine: View the basics of typography letters in the diagrams below and begin your journey to designing letterforms.
typography  type  design 
september 2016
Proofreading marks designers should know
From Steven Heller in Print Magazine: All the proofreading marks you need to know when editing copy for your school journal, yearbook or psychotic manifestos. It’s never too late and never too early to learn your paragraph, em-dash and punctuation marks. They are also particularly artful.
design  proofreading  writing-editing 
september 2016
A Brief History Of Branding
From Branding Strategy Insider: Did it all start in the caves of our earliest ancestors and their sign language? Or was it in the Wild West where cowboys ‘branded’ their cattle? Or did Josiah Wedgewood invent the modern concept of branding when he marked his tableware to command a premium in the 17th century? There are many points of view on what defines the origins of branding, but in the widest sense it is as old as we people are, since it serves our human need for connection as well as distinction. And while our thinking about brands and the roles they play has evolved over more recent decades, most elements of them were there all along – they were just not being analyzed or consciously utilized. For instance, from the very early days a branded good has bestowed a certain aura of sophistication or status on its user. It just wasn’t marketed this way then, but rather sold on the merits of its functional superiority. Because most customers were more interested in factual aspects during times when their functional needs weren’t entirely satisfied yet.
september 2016
John Kotter’s Required Reading
From strategy+business: John Kotter has been the go-to guy on the subject of change leadership longer than most of us have been working. For the past 35 years or so, he has been making the compelling argument that the essential role of leaders lies in their ability to achieve change — to shepherd their organizations to new and better places. The fast-paced and fundamental disruptions caused by advances in digital technologies make his work more relevant than ever.
change  org-change 
september 2016
Behind the branding of the Hillary Clinton campaign
From Fast Company: How do you design for more than 100 million Americans? It's the challenge of a lifetime for Original Champions of Design's Jennifer Kinon.
brand-design  brand-strategy 
august 2016
The impact of tone of voice on users
From Neilsen Norman Group: A two-part experiment found that different tones of voice on a website have measurable impacts on users’ perceptions of a brand’s friendliness, trustworthiness, and desirability. Casual, conversational, and enthusiastic tones performed best.
web-design  web-writing 
august 2016
Hollywood’s ‘Moneyball’ moment: Why entertainment leaders need big data now
From Change This: For nearly a century, industry executives have relied on the same script: use industry experience and gut feel to pick the right products; sell these products to customers in a series of staggered release windows; and hope to win by creating blockbusters. For movies, this meant first selling high-priced tickets for single viewings of films in the theaters; then selling DVDs three months later that could be watched repeatedly at home; and then, six months to two years after that, licensing films to cable TV, where they could seemingly be watched for free. This method of selling content wasn’t arbitrary. In an analog world it represented the most profitable way of make money from consumers who placed very different values on the movie.

In recent years, however, a perfect storm of technological change has hit the entertainment industries. It involves the convergence of user-generated content, long-tail markets, and digital piracy, and it has diminished the profitability of the industries’ traditional business model.”
august 2016
The 40 best Google fonts
From Typewolf: These are the 40 best free web fonts available on Google Fonts, in my humble opinion. They are all open-source and 100% free for commercial use. This collection focuses on typeface families from reputable type designers and foundries that contain multiple weights and styles. I’m purposefully avoiding single-weight display faces as they have limited usefulness in real-world design projects.
web-typography  typography  web-design  google-fonts 
august 2016
When and how to create customer journey maps
From Nielsen Norman Group: Journey maps combine two powerful instruments—storytelling and visualization—in order to help teams understand and address customer needs. While maps take a wide variety of forms depending on context and business goals, certain elements are generally included, and there are underlying guidelines to follow that help them be the most successful.
customer-journey-maps  customer-experience 
august 2016
Design thinking 101
From Nielsen Norman Group: What is design thinking and why should companies care? History and background plus a quick overview and visualization of 6 phases of the design thinking process. Approaching problem solving with a hands-on, user-centric mindset leads to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage.
design  design-thinking 
august 2016
Eight ground rules for great meetings
If you want your team to be effective, you need meeting ground rules — and you need agreement about how to use them. Many teams that have ground rules don’t regularly use them. But having rules in place that you consistently enforce can significantly improve how your team solves problems and makes decisions.

There are different types of ground rules. Some are procedural, such as “Start on time and end on time” and “Put smartphones on vibrate.” Procedural ground rules are useful but don’t help your team create productive behavior beyond, say, everyone being on time and having their smartphones on vibrate.

Other ground rules are abstract, such as “Treat everyone with respect” and “Be constructive.” These rules focus on a desirable outcome but don’t identify the specific behaviors that are respectful or constructive. As a result, abstract rules create problems if group members have different ideas about how to act respectfully. For some group members, acting respectfully means not raising any concerns about individual members in the group; for other members it may mean the opposite.

Behavioral ground rules are more useful. They describe specific actions that team members should take to act effectively. Examples of behavioral ground rules include “make statements and ask genuine questions” and “explain your reasoning and intent.”
meeting-design  team-development 
july 2016
Dr. Sam Alibrando: The 3 Dimensions of Emotions
A new book from Dr. Sam Alibrando—a clinical psychologist, organizational consultant and speaker. The 3 Dimensions of Emotions is a new way to understand emotional intelligence and find your relational “sweet spot”—the dynamic intersection of power, heart, and mindfulness.
mindfulness  personal-mastery 
july 2016
The becoming principle
As adults—in the workplace and elsewhere—when we’re asked to do something we’ve never done before, when we need to grow beyond our current capabilities, we can tap into what we naturally did as children, and perform our way to who we’re becoming.

For adults, though, play, performance, and pretending can feel anything but natural. We got the message in a myriad of ways as we left toddlerhood: Play is for kids, not for big people. We’re supposed to color inside the lines; know the correct answer; understand how to behave and fit in. And there’s no denying the importance of that learning—obviously we need to learn how to safely cross the street, say our ABCs and wake up an iPad. But this need to get it right eventually takes over. We learn what we need to in school and by the time we get into the job market, the support we got to learn developmentally as children is long gone. As an adult, it is embarrassing to not know. There are repercussions if we don’t get it right. We feel stupid, and we make others feel stupid if they don’t ‘have it together.’ Many (most?) of us get stuck being ‘who we are’—as defined by ourselves and others—whether that’s our personality (and the initials that we’re assigned by the psychological tools that assess it), what kind of job we do or career we can have, if we’re confident or insecure, and more. Without realizing it, we’ve gotten ourselves in a non-developmental box where there’s not much room for new learning, growth, or experimentation.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.
personal-mastery  performance-breakthrough 
july 2016
A new territory of maturity: Updating our stories to enhance our lives
From Change This: In those endless years it took you to grow out of childhood and stand on your own two feet, you learned about the world in doses. Some of what you learned (and thought you understood) has evolved over time with added experience, but some of the discoveries you made and the stories you constructed around them as a child, even as young as three, have stayed the same, child-like and unchanged, no matter how many years have passed.


That’s living life in the past, seeing the world around you through a child’s eyes in a child’s story. You’ve been walking around in kid’s sneakers and they’re much too small for you. Here’s how to fit yourself out with good pair of hiking boots to go the distance.”
storytelling  personal-mastery  personal-growth 
july 2016
Oral history of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America
From Slate: Twenty-five years ago this summer, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America premiered in the tiny Eureka Theatre in San Francisco’s Mission District. Within two years it had won the Pulitzer Prize and begun a New York run that would dominate the Tony Awards two years in a row, revitalize the nonmusical play on Broadway, and change the way gay lives were represented in pop culture. Both parts of Angels, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, put gay men at the center of American politics, history, and mythology at a time when they were marginalized by the culture at large and dying in waves. It launched the careers of remarkable actors and directors, not to mention the fiercely ambitious firebrand from Louisiana who wrote it—and rewrote it, and rewrote it, and rewrote it again. Its 2003 HBO adaptation was itself a masterpiece that won more Emmys than Roots. But the play also financially wiped out the theater that premiered it; it endured casting and production tumult at every stage of development, from Los Angeles to London to Broadway; its ambitious, sprawling two-part structure tested the endurance of players, technicians, and audiences. Slate talked to more than 50 actors, directors, playwrights, and critics to tell the story of Angels’ turbulent ascension into the pantheon of great American storytelling—and to discuss the legacy of a play that feels, in an era in which gay Americans have the right to marry but still in many ways live under siege, as crucial as ever.
theater  writing 
july 2016
ADHD and the fear of failure
From ADDitude: Researchers have ignored the emotional component of ADHD because it can't be measured. Yet emotional disruptions are the most impairing aspects of the condition at any age. Powerful insights into rejection-sensitive dysphoria.
attention-deficit-disorder  personal-mastery  failure 
july 2016
Disrupting your brain
From Brain Based Biz: When you try an activity that's totally new to you, you are building new neuron pathways in your brain.  Why is this good? If you simply do the same things day to day, you create ruts and routines.  I wanted to learn to play a video game like my grandsons and a physical activity, too. Today, Minecraft is one of the most challenging and problem solving games available and I decided to learn to learn do this as opposed to word games I am used to playing.  Why? Disruptive activity is good for your brain. What is disruption, anyway?
neuroscience  neuroplasticity  brain-fitness 
july 2016
The New York Times Magazine Design Director Gail Bichler on staying impartial and politically Charged CoversEye on Design | Eye on Design
From AIGA: Impartiality is not an issue most designers have to contend with, even less so journalistic integrity. Those who practice their craft in ad land know coercion is king, the manipulative power of imagery a tool to be used with abandon. In fact much of commercial visual communication exists to sway an audience: buy this product, engage with this app, trust this service provider, vote for this candidate. With news, however, an impartial image can have disastrous consequences in a business where bias is met with disdain.

This is a daily concern for Gail Bichler, design director of The New York Times Magazine, whose creative team are bound by the same ethical codes as Times journalists, and a commitment to the “importance of checking facts, the exactness of quotations, the integrity of photographs, and [a] distaste for anonymous sourcing.”
nytimes  newspaper-design  news  content-strategy 
july 2016
When adult ADHD looks something like ‘flow’
From Science of Us: Writers, entrepreneurs, and creative leaders of all types know that intense focus that happens when you’re “in the zone”: You’re feeling empowered, productive, and engaged. Psychologists might call this flow, the experience of zeroing in so closely on some activity that you lose yourself in it. And this immersive state, as it turns out, also happens to be something that some adults with ADHD commonly experience.
flow  attention-deficit-disorder  creativity 
july 2016
WordPress developer super cheat sheet
From WPMU Dev: There sure is a lot you need to remember when working with WordPress theme files. From the names of basic template files to functions and how the WordPress Loop works, it’s next to impossible to remember every PHP tag or even how to define a new theme.

Here is a handy cheat sheet, which includes all the files and functions you need to know (but not necessarily remember!) when working with themes. This is definitely one to bookmark and save for future reference!
wordpress-developer  wordpress-howto 
july 2016
Create your own home maintenance manual
From Uncluttered: Improve your general home maintenance by creating a DIY Home Owner’s Manual that will save you time and money.
home-ownership  home-maintenance 
july 2016
Startups as human systems: Startup communication
From Ed Batista: I conducted a workshop with the team at a startup here in the Bay Area on a range of topics related to interpersonal and group dynamics. While the title was simply Startup Communication, a theme woven throughout the day was the idea of startups as human systems, emphasizing both the complexity of the organizational culture and the critical importance of communication, feedback, and relationships in this setting. A condensed version of my deck is above, and I've added a number of links to other posts that explore in greater depth the ideas we discussed in the workshop. (Note that you have to download the deck from Slideshare in order to access those links.)
startups  systems-thinking  human-systems  communication 
july 2016
Julia Galef: Why you think you're right -- even if you're wrong
From TED: Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs -- or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: "What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?"
personal-mastery  mindfulness 
july 2016
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