As you go through your day, you have so many various possibilities available to you. Think about all the things you could do with your next moment.

These imaginations are not real — they’re just ideas. But they can become stories when you choose an outcome and achieve it.

It takes integrity, commitment, and sustained effort to turn an idea into an awesome story.

So go on: tell better stories.

I built a Cooler Calculator for a small dry ice business in the Bay Area. This is the story of why and how it came to be. I’ll start with the backstory, then unpack my design process, and finally share the end result.


Every year, me and 70,000 of my closest friends get together and head out to the remote deserts of Nevada for a week or so. It’s like a camping trip but bigger, and with more LEDs. I’ve been a couple times and decided to go again this year.

Well, if you’re going to the desert for a…

It’s not everyday that you get rejected.

I’ve applied to a lot of jobs in the last few months. With some of these applications, I’ve just been going through the motions and I haven’t expected anything to materialize. Other applications have been really concerted efforts with companies I truly admire. I’ve put many hours into writing cover letters and tweaking my resume only to hear nothing back. It’s annoying to sit in the dark but I get it — these companies garner lots of interest. Still nothing compares to an outright “no.”

One morning last week, I woke up and…

Image courtesy of PrintLand

As we wrapped up Sunday night dinner at my apartment, my neighbor remembered, “hey, it’s Pi Day tomorrow, we should head down to Pi Bar for a few slices to celebrate.” Pi Bar, which by the way opens at 3:14pm, does great New York style pizza. They’ve also got an amazing beer selection. “I’d love to go, but…” I trailed off despondently, “I have to work.”

It was a busy time at work. For several weeks I had been sacrificing nights and weekends to do the things I couldn’t get to during the day. And yet, despite the fact that…

The bookshelf from Interstellar, one of my all-time favorite films.

I admire bookshelves stocked with books. They’re so inspiring. I stand in awe of this literal wall of knowledge. “Imagine if I knew all the information stored in all these books,” I wonder. “Wouldn’t that be amazing?”

A wall of bookshelves conjures a fantasy of sitting by a roaring fire, while I sip hot tea and devour every page.

But beyond that fantasy, a stacked bookshelf really just makes wonder, “did someone actually read all these books?” I don’t know about you but I have not read most of the books on my bookshelf. I have a hard time reading…

Look, I get it. You practice agile development, iterate weekly, run tests automatically, and deploy continuously. You pride yourself on shipping changes quickly and how could that be a bad thing, right? You ship new features whenever they’re ready. The bugs you find today are squashed tomorrow. You and your software team are an optimized, streamlined, value-creating machine.

But guess what? Nobody cares.

You and your team are the only ones celebrating new releases. For your customers, new releases are just a nuisance and an interruption. Updates actually interfere with whatever it is that they’re trying to do. Minor bug…

Ever since I was 15, I wanted to be 30. Nobody listens to you when you’re a kid. You have no means and no experience so you’re doing everything for the first time. And unless you’re incredibly gifted that also means that nothing you’re doing is very good. As a kid, you’re just at the mercy of some guardians and, as you’ll later find out, they aren’t always right.

My life has been far from ordinary. By the time I was eight I had lived in Boston, Salt Lake City, and Chicago. I was kicked out of elementary school and…

I’ll bet that you can’t explain why you’re working on whatever it is you’re working on right now. Scary, right? Because we know that the why of what we’re doing is perhaps the most important question to be able to answer. Without a clear understanding of how the task at hand affects your goals, you’re taking a gamble, and if you come up short, you’ll have wasted time and energy.

Hypothesis-driven Development (HDD) is a methodology that helps us avoid this gamble and approach product development with more certainty. …

Avand Amiri

Full-stack engineer with an eye for product design.

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