An intro to the Emotional Design framework using a very emotional product, a face mask.

People on a roller coaster ride
People on a roller coaster ride
Photo by 2Photo Pots on Unsplash

If your product were a face mask, you may think that a pandemic is the perfect time to launch. But as someone who’s done exactly that, I beg to differ! There are many reasons why the mask business is tricky, but this article will focus on the roller coaster of navigating your user emotions.

Full disclosure: I’m on the founding team of Breathe99, and all the examples here are about our B2 Mask. I don’t want this to be salesy, but I’m obviously biased! …


(and every other day of the year)

The “equal” symbol made with your arms for International Women’s Day 2020.

The 2020 International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is #EachForEqual. That’s a call for each of us to reflect on what equal means for women all over the world. Where to begin?

As a woman, I thought about advice I could give to men, especially the ones who somehow always make IWD about them. But that just made me angry and ranty, and there’s plenty of time for that on IWD itself. And every other day of the year.

As a woman, I thought about advice I could give to other women and non-binary friends. But that made me think —…


What you gain from travelling light and how to do it

A person hiking up a mountain with a small backpack on.
A person hiking up a mountain with a small backpack on.
Answer: you can hike up a volcano in Guatemala with all of your stuff. (me in September 2019)

When I say “backpacker”, what comes to mind?

Perhaps a scruffy young person touting harem pants and a massive hiking pack? While that does describe several people I encountered while backpacking through Central America, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Harem pants aside, I’m talking about the massive hiking pack. The one that will crush your shoulders as you stumble through crowded streets drenched in sweat. Backpacking is a wonderful experience and if you’re thinking of doing it, I want to help you pack light! …


’Tis the season of humble-brag reading posts. People proudly broadcast their year-end recaps, stacks of the hundred books they read in 2019, and reading resolutions for 2020.

“Read me! Read me! How could you leave me,” taunts the bookshelf.

If those posts make you feel guilty or illiterate instead of inspired, you’re not alone. The past few years (okay, decade) I have been a terrible reader. Life gets in the way of 1–1 time with a book. I’d start one and get caught up in something else, abandoning it at my bedside. …


Several peopel collaborating at a laptop.
Several peopel collaborating at a laptop.
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

“Hi, I’m reaching out because I’d like to get into Product Management.”

Sound familiar? A lot of people want to give Product Management a try these days, and it’s easy to see why. It’s interesting (okay I’m biased, being one), it’s in demand, and it pays well. Three amazing qualities to have in a career, no?

But there’s another reason. Anyone leading a company, take note.

Many coffees later, it’s clear to me that a lot of eager young professionals feel stifled. They lack context for their work. They feel excluded from decision-making, not empowered to affect change in their…


Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

This is a real story that happened to me on the bus to high school. I workshopped it during my storytelling class What’s Your Story II (with The Second City), where I practiced the art of crafting a compelling narrative, distilling the “Most Important Thing”, and live performance. We performed our stories on-stage in the final class. Here is my video, and the story transcript is below.

Witness an introvert actually enjoy public speaking!

I’m 16, it’s a chilly November morning, and I’m making my way to high school on the TTC. I’m in the dark, sooty, concrete bus bay…


Last week, Pixar released an 8-minute film, called Purl, about a lively pink ball of yarn who starts a job at an all-male company where it’s obvious she doesn’t fit in with the bros.

What could be wrong with a cute well-intentioned movie about feminism?

Upon first glance I was all in. I am a woman in tech. Don’t love pink, but I love knitting. Woohoo! This movie is going to show what it’s really like to be visibly different. And it did, at first. But then it didn’t. It let me down hard.

*Spoilers ahead* If you haven’t watched the movie, watch it now.

Here’s the thing…

If you felt a strong personal…

Alison Lee

👋🏼 . I write about Product Management, society and technology, human experiences, and travel. Currently the Director of Operations at Breathe99.

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