We are the product designers for a digital world.

I spent today conducting product testing.

I just watched this video by Wilson Miner, he was responsible the now famous re-design of the Apple website in 2006 and is currently heading up the design team at Rdio.

Miner talks about the twentieth century and how the cars themselves didn’t change that much, instead, we built our environments around them. Furthermore, he describes how objects are simply empty vessels that we fill with our own lives.

As designers we have the opportunity to design more than an interface – we are a new generation of product designers for a digital world.

Wilson Miner – When We Build from Build on Vimeo.

The archetype.

I spent eighteen hours with one of my close friends over the weekend. We talked lot, watched a video about how we shape environment through design and spent Monday morning at a Melbourne cafe writing.

In the afternoon I met up with another close friend. We watched Clueless, drank tea and talked about the Alannah Hill Autumn/Winter 2012 Collection.

One is a dentist and the other works at a start-up. One will affectionately call me a nerd for when I tell her about this post, the other will push me to achieve peak performance by spending the entire morning writing with me, disconnected from the web.

Both women are strong, accomplished and light hearted with distinct personalities. Both have unknowingly shaped me in some way.

What I”ve just noticed is the awesome feeling of owning up to these different sides and not pretending to be one colour.

We do not fit into a single archetype. Instead, we thrive in contrasting environments.

We are agile, complex and multifaceted.


Last night I had the privilege of spending an uninterrupted evening with a close friend. We effortlessly wove together a complex web, talking at length about family, relationships, edge living, interface design and women as leaders in the workplace. We also ate pizza and watched Mean Girls.

Somewhere between Lindsay Lohan and a chi machine session, the subject turned to scars. Physical and unseen, we all seem to have them. Some can be lasered off, others are chronic with scar tissue that will never fade.

My scar has been both visible and concealed. It bled profusely for four years and is now mostly healed.

It still opens up occasionally but I have learned how to to manage it:

  • I surround myself with a support system
  • I develop daily standards and try to live up to them
  • I build structure and adapt to chaos in parallel

The mark it left behind is an unreasonable mindset married with an acute self awareness.

Imagine for a moment wanting to dive out of the plane right now, you just need a designated mark to land on. You’re also aware that when you dive out the plane that the mark could always move.

Eventually I won’t need the mark. That boldness will come with time.

This is how I treat my scar. I don’t put a band aid on a bullet wound and expect it to heal. I remove the debris, dress it and let it mend.

I’m sitting at a table at Monk Bodhi Dharma with Cole. I am highly caffeinated.

From Boulder to Birmingham with my dad.

Emmylou Harris – Boulder to Birmingham

When I was eleven years old my dad introduced me to Emmylou Harris. He taught me that Harlan Howard famously described country music as “three cords and the truth” and that this album broke that cardinal rule.

‘Pieces of the Sky’ on vinyl is still our jam.

When I was thirteen he took me to Boulder because of this song. We spent the day walking around the town, talking about music and life.

When I was twenty-one I wrote a thesis about country music. I talked about this song.

This morning my parents were getting ready to head down to the beach for the weekend and this song shuffled onto the speakers. It triggered a heated debate about the ethereal vocal in country music. He says Emmylou, I say Vince Gill.

Thirteen years have passed and we are still talking about Emmylou Harris. My dad is awesome.

The calm walk.

Last year Pete Williams taught me how to keep calm and carry on.

Step outside. Take a deep breath. Start walking. Slowly. Don’t rush. Feel your feet touching the ground. Another deep breath. Continue.

Every morning, conscious and aware of the present moment, I walk for fifteen minutes.

Where do you feel most connected?

Just press publish.

On Thursday I wrote a post about letting go. I started writing in my notebook on the tram and finished in the office. Before I press publish I lost the draft.

Forty minutes of capture and refinement was lost. The saved draft was a skeleton of the finished product. It was a bummer.

Reece tweeted:

@juleshughan Worst thing ever. That wall of carefully crafted text will never come back in the same way.

— Reece (@reece_wagner) March 2, 2012

Needless to say, posting daily in March is not about refinement, it is about making an appearance, whether it is an rhapsody or a simple observation.

This approach is working. I feel compelled to capture my insights and press publish.

In six months time the scrawl in this notebook will be indecipherable, and I will be a better writer.

Why stick to the grid when the world is wide open?

I’m sitting at the communal table in a quiet St Kilda cafe. A German couple are sitting at the other end of with a Lonely Planet Melbourne & Victoria travel Guide. The man is methodically mapping out the St Kilda area and making plans for the day.

His eggs arrive and he closes the book. He exchanges brief pleasantries with the waiter and asks him what they should do for the day.

The waiter suggests that they visit the penguins at St Kilda Pier and then explore the area on foot. The German man appears surprised by the advice, “Why?” he asks.

The St Kilda local’s response is simple, “You can visit the beach or you can experience Melbourne.”

Drop everything now, grab the essentials (keys, cash, cards and phone) and see where the day takes you.

Why stick to the grid when the world is wide open?