December Reading is here!
But, before we begin:
Newspaper front pages like the one above from The Washington Post feel really good to see – this is why voting matters! So, let’s keep it up and make sure we can claw back control of the Senate and start the hard work of undoing a lot of the damage inflicted in the four years of a Trump presidency*.
We bought the family an Xbox One for Christmas and I’m kicking myself for waiting this long. Both kids are playing Minecraft in split-screen, my wife is playing Civilization VI, and I’ve been playing Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It’s so much damn fun.
Not much else to report this month, just turning 40 on December 30th. 🧟♂️
- The New Republic: The Smartest Guys in the Clubhouse – How the McKinsey-fied Astros cheated their way to a championship—and became a parable of American success. Former Deadspin editor David Roth absolutely slays this piece, and somehow finds a way to work cromulent into the lede not once, but twice.
- The Guardian: How the Shinkansen bullet train made Tokyo into the monster it is today. I want the United States to have a robust high-speed rail system in the worst way — and not the Hyperloop One project that Missouri lawmakers seem obsessed with.
- Bloomberg: Stealing White – How a corporate spy swiped plans for DuPont’s billion-dollar color formula. A tale of corporate espionage with some amazing supporting images.
- The Verge: Emotional baggage – Away’s founders sold a vision of travel and inclusion, but former employees say it masked a toxic work environment. This is a masterclass in how not to lead or manage a company or team(s). I spent a lot of time studying management in MBA courses, and I have a feeling that this will end up being brought up by some enterprising professor. Honestly, it makes me sick.
- Psychology Today: The Surprising History of Empathy. As user and customer experience professionals, we talk a lot about empathy for the user/customer (as we should). At the risk of sounding like a Sophomore in high school writing a paper, “The word “empathy” thus appeared in 1908 as a translation of the German Einfühlung (literally “in-feeling”).” #ORIGINS
- Newsweek: New Sloping Toilet Designed to Minimize Bathroom Breaks Is 2019’s Greatest Villain. No shit, literally. This is a product that nobody asked for, but some startup in the U.K. delivered, citing that extended employee breaks cost businesses £4 billion ($5.2 billion) a year in lost productivity. This may very well be a product that gets employees in and out of the bathroom quickly, but I can’t see how this is a net-positive for any business to have resentful employees. In accessibility news, I was disappointed to learn that the ADA only has regulations on toilet height from the floor (17-19 inches), not angle of seat. I hope that this changes so this hell-toilet will never see the light of day in the United States.
- The New York Times: The New York Subway Map, like you’ve never seen it before. When the New York Times goes deep in a visual storytelling medium, you know you’re going to get some amazing interaction design. This interactive subway map is outstanding!
- The Atlantic: The Problem With ‘Hey Guys’. Look, I’m super guilty of this and it’s a habit I’m trying so hard to break. Living in the Midwest, my go-to phrasing now is “hey, y’all.“
- The Atlantic: In the End, the NFL Proved Colin Kaepernick Right. Jemele Hill is on fire with this piece about the NFL, collusion, and the culture they created. This is one of the many reasons why I have seriously dialed back my NFL media diet. It’s liberating having Sundays free again and not having to worry about setting a fantasy football lineup or stress about a close Ravens game (Lamar Jackson is making sure I don’t have to stress too much these days, though…).