Engineering

The Art vs Science of User Experience Design

By Poornima Vijayashanker You might have used products that just get the job done. (Think Excel.) They compete with similar products on features, cost, and other mechanics. The problem is, these products become commodities and can lose their users to competition in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, there are standout products that are heralded as works of art. They inspire people and change lives, and consumers stick with these brands for a long time thanks to a glue called love. Most of us want to ... Read more

How to Find Your Other Half: Secrets for a Good Co-Founder Partnership

By Poornima Vijayashanker We all have ideas for features, products, and companies. But we cannot bring them to life alone. Partners and teams help us get out of our echo chambers, see possibilities we’ve never imagined, and put one foot in front of the other when the going gets rough. The best teams are composed of individuals with complementary skill sets, and as we learned back in Episode 4, empathy for one another. But you might be wondering: How does a team form over ... Read more

Part Two: How to Get People to Back Your Ideas

By Poornima Vijayashanker Last week I talked about the importance of finding people who will back your ideas, and shared what Erin, one reader was going through. I provided 3 strategies: start with people who already support you, reach out to people whose mission is aligned with yours, and don’t just ask them to back you, present them with an offer. It was great to read through people’s responses, and as I engaged in conversations a number of you asked me the following ... Read more

How to Identify Efforts that Make a Big Impact When Building Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker If you’re a technical person, such as an engineer or designer, then your todo list is probably filled with product launches, bug fixes, interviewing candidates, attending meetings, answering emails, and fighting fires. The daily grind can leave you wondering if the work that you do is actually worthwhile and makes a big impact. While it’s easy for people to tell us to work smarter, not harder, the bulk of the work still falls on our shoulders, and it often feels like the ... Read more

How to Use Empathy to Build Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker There’s one skill that every wildly successful product manager, UX designer, businessperson, and leader has in common. It helps them unite teams and ship products that customers love time and time again. What could possibly unite all these technologists? It’s conscious and deliberate empathy. Most people believe empathy is just about being compassionate, like lending your friend a shoulder to cry on when they’re going through a breakup. Others dismiss it altogether as a distraction, because they believe it’s more important to be ... Read more

2 Simple Steps to Start Getting Paid to Speak

  By Poornima Vijayashanker A little over 2 years ago, I discovered that people were getting paid big money to speak. I found out that NYTimes best-selling authors make at least $25K-$50K per engagement and Fortune 500 CEOs make $100K to $400K per engagement … for one talk! I had been speaking at events and conferences for a few years at that point, but I wasn’t on either of those levels. I’d never been paid to speak at all! I had gotten over most of ... Read more

Stuck making a tough decision? Here’s how 3 readers decided and delighted their customers.

By Poornima Vijayashanker When you woke up this morning you probably got out of bed, and had to decide on what to wear (unless you have a uniform..), how to do your hair (if you’re like me and have a pixie cut it’s easy!), and then you were off to work or maybe you took the day off, whoohoo! As you go about your day, you’ll notice that people will come up to you, and ask you to choose between one or many ... Read more

How to Make Smart Tradeoffs When Developing Software Products

By Poornima Vijayashanker As technologists we want to build software that is friendly, fast, beautiful, reliable, secure, and scalable. And we expect ourselves to deliver it on time and under budget, because our ultimate goal is to have lots of happy customers who can do what they want: cue Daft Punk’s Technologic! But time and energy are finite, and we simply cannot deliver it all at once. We need to choose our priorities, and this choice is one we should make consciously. Evaluating our ... Read more

5 Obstacles that Stop Innovators from Creating Meaningful Products

By Maria Molfino Today’s guest post is from Maria Molfino, women’s career and leadership coach with a Masters in Design from Stanford and BA in psychology from McGill. We are passionate about building meaningful lives and products that make an impact. But sometimes, we get in our own way. Do any of these obstacles stop you from bringing your dream product into the world? Read on for ways to overcome them. Wanting your project to be perfect Innovators are interested in creating high-quality disruptive products. The ... Read more

How to Transition from Engineering to Engineering Management

Interview with Tasneem Minadakis I recently sat down Tasneem “Taz”, who is an engineering manager at Yelp. Tasneem shared how she transitioned from being an individual contributor to manager, and how she’s handled the challenges that have come with each transition. Yelp is a website and mobile app that connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across 29 countries. Yelp had a monthly average of ... Read more
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