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Category: Technology

Hover to the Future

About a year ago, shortly after I began my tenure at Amazon and bi-monthly trips to the South Bay Area, I stumbled upon yet another Kickstarter. My Kickstarter portfolio has included books, drink-cooling devices, card games, video games, a design school, and in one case geeky baking sprinkles. All successfully funded, though many late deliveries. This project, however, was much loftier. The video tugged at the heartstrings of my generation, raised from an early age on Back to the Future – early enough that we were forgiving of the sins of Back to the Future II. Specifically, this Kickstarter from…

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Winning at the Starting Line

Countless articles and books have been written about the gender balance problems that continue to plague the tech industry. I’ve been passionate about outreach at the K-12 level for years, but what of those of us already in the workplace? A recent article that got me thinking about the topic once again in great detail was circulated a few weeks ago – Josh Bersin’s “The Important Topic of Women in Business: What Men Can Do”. But even this article focuses on mind shifts at home and in life, without a great deal of actionable advice. So you’re a leader in…

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Half the Blank Page

In September 2014, I left Microsoft to join a new product team at Amazon. The project itself is still classified, but it’s a v1 technology product, which means we’re starting from scratch. An exciting opportunity, but it changes the way one has to approach the role of user experience. Instead of researching existing products and wireframing, the conversations really need to focus on context of use, user habits, and information architecture. Early on, it became clear that I’d be spending a lot of time sketching – too early for digital work, especially since digital work ends up being critiqued for…

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My Africa Diaries: The Clash

One of the most striking things about Kenya was what a blend of the future and the past it represented in almost every location, all swirled up in one moment of technology and tradition. The iHub was in a way a space out of time or place. The welcome mats read “There’s no place like”, as if I’d never left Silicon Valley years ago. There was a mural of the original Mario Brothers game on the wall in the staircase. And dozens of programmers (both genders), with the stickers on their laptops surely familiar to Western programmers. There were…

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My Africa Diaries: The Final Sprint

Kenyans are renowned for their sprinting abilities… in stark contrast to my own physical proclivities. But I did my own form of sprinting today, with a back to back day on the heels of a successful Thursday. The first half of the day was brainstorming a plan for the iHub UX lab to become self-sustaining in a reliable way. Their opportunities are many and their point of view is strong, but it’s still a challenge to keep the doors open at times. It’s really exciting to imagine the potential impact they could have – after all, how many other chances…

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