🐇🌀 004 — Generalists, & etc.
The artifacts of the design process should be a collaborative, shared understanding of the problem and solution — not just design decisions captured as visual artifacts.
If you’re not doing research or talking to users to influence decisions — you are a production designer.
Designing for platforms is hard because you have to be simultaneously obsessed with multiple customers, and you must understand how to handle the complex dynamics of a multi-sided system.
On Being a Generalist
This theme popped up in a few places for me lately. First in Spencer Wrights fantastic manufacturing (yes) newsletter The Prepared. (I believe originally recommended by Robin Sloan?). He began his latest newsletter with his own thoughts on being a generalist:
As a generalist, I accept that there are pieces of my skillset which will fall through the cracks. Not everything I do needs to add up to anything in particular, and I don't expect everyone I meet to appreciate each of my interests.
And yet I strongly believe that what others might think of as extracurricular activities are actually integral parts of what I offer. I feel that the breadth of my experience has a multiplying effect on the value of each component part. I have chosen not to specialize, and I consider my offering to be stronger as a result.
and/also Austin Kleon tweeted:
Finishing up @DavidEpstein’s RANGE and it’s both a validation of how I’ve chosen to go about my work and a kick in the pants to not get complacent, stretch out, and go down weird paths. (It’s also, as @RyanHoliday suggested, a parenting book in disguise.)
So I’ve just started reading Range , both because I’ve always considered myself more of a generalist and as we’ve started getting our kids involved in more extracurricular activities.
⚾🌆I finished Paul Goldberger’s Ballpark: Baseball in the American City very quickly — it’s a wonderful mix of things I’m things I’m deeply nerdy about — architecture, history, and baseball.
🥖🤖Sourdough by Robin Sloan — I’m a few years late getting to this, but it’s weird in just the right ways, with a very relatable character who leaves tech to become a baker (*with the help of a robot arm).
🌲↩️I’m also reading Nature Trail Development on Small Acreages from the University of Arkansas Press as I plan to build a trail through our little bit of woods this fall.