Why the Humanities Matter

Why the Humanities Matter

Our collective ability to think critically about the world around us sucks. What passes for critical thinking today is really about reinforcing already held beliefs. When it comes to politics in particular, we seek out like-minded cohorts. The effect is to make us more extreme and sure in our beliefs. The humanities must combat this by providing us with critical thinking skills that encourage what the late Edward Said called "questioning, upsetting, and reformulating so much of what is presented to us as commodified, packaged, uncontroversial...."

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Everyone says these are the best cookies

Everyone says these are the best cookies

I've been making these cookies for a while now, and everyone who tastes them says they're the best they've had. They are based on the America's Test Kitchen version of "Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies." I've modified them a bit to fit my family's tastes. I thought I'd share them for the holidays. The trick is to make sure that the butter is like a loose pudding. It should be melted but not transparent. It should still be opaque. That's key to making the dough fluffy and the cookies chewy. I also add an extra egg yolk from the ATK version, which helps keep them moist longer out of the oven 

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Big Data, Privacy, and the Constitution

Big Data, Privacy, and the Constitution

Privacy and personal liberty are all undergoing significant change with the development of big data, predictive analytics and the proliferation of technologies that inherently create personal data that we don't own, control of even know about. In this post, I argue that the Constitution is as much an ethical guide post for how we handle these issues and not just a legal one. As an Enlightenment document, however, it has shortcomings. These shortcomings don't alleviate us -- particularly corporations -- from taking a leadership role in addressing them before they become legal matters. 

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Using Scorecards to Drive Strategic Conversations

Using Scorecards to Drive Strategic Conversations

I get frustrated by conversations that are supposed to focus on strategy but end up endlessly cycling through issues that don't matter. Part of the problem, I've found, is the lack of a framework for focusing the discussion. If a strategy exists and has been documented, then scorecards are a good way to make business conversations meaningful and keep them from spinning out of control. Scorecards are collections of metrics that align strategy, conversation and behavior. As long as the metrics are the right ones -- no easy task -- scorecards can guide conversations and make them more meaningful and efficient.

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Stop Being Technocrats – Toward a UX Ethics

Stop Being Technocrats – Toward a UX Ethics

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ethical and political dimensions of user experience design. While I’m no longer an in-the-trenches practitioner, it seems that this is an area of UX thinking that is too seriously underdeveloped. Given the role that technology plays in our lives, developing a stronger sense of the ethical and political implications of what we do is not only necessary, it’s unavoidable.

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UX Strategy for Product Managers

In the last post on Product + UX, I touched on UX strategy as an important part of ensuring a high quality SaaS product but also as key to keeping the UX team productive. In this post, I'll look at UX strategy from the perspective of the Product Manager and how it intersects with other relevant strategies relevant: business, customer, brand, and product strategies. 

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