Drawing of Laurel and Patrick wearing safety googles with Erector Set-like letters that spell “v3 or 4".

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

We started 2020 with pretty big plans, and we’re closing out the year making pretty big changes.

Over the last several months we’ve been extremely fortunate. Personally, our closest family and friends remain healthy and safe. And with the exception of a few panic-inducing weeks this spring, Goodmaker has been insulated from the havoc that COVID wreaked elsewhere in the community and the economy.

At the end of the summer, when we looked at what we wanted to do next, we were lucky enough to have a lot of options.

One option was…

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

Are you running out of non-pandemic things to talk about with friends, family and colleagues in your remote happy-hours, messaging apps and video chats?

We were. So we made a random question generator for ourselves to keep conversations flowing and fun. (Well, it was for ourselves, but now it’s for you too!)


We started by seeding it with questions we were interested in asking each other and the people we’re closest with. Then we scoured the web for additional good questions and solicited contributions from friends.

The result is sixty or so good…

(Last updated Friday, April 3, 2020. We’ll continue to update as we get further in the process. Please note that this does not constitute any kind of legal advice.)

You may have heard of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the giant domestic relief and stimulus aid package aimed at keeping families and businesses afloat during (and hopefully through) the pandemic.

Part of that package is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the part of the stimulus aimed at helping small businesses (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors, nonprofits, etc.). We’re a two-person LLC. …

Thoughts on the second first year of Goodmaker

Laurel and Patrick, festooned in party hats, saying “Happy birthday, business!” Illustration courtesy of the author

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

It’s daunting to go out on your own but, as we’ve found over the past year, it can be pretty great. We generally make our own schedules, work with good people (including each other), pick which projects we want to take on, and have plenty of time left over for life outside of Goodmaker.

On days when it’s going really well, we’ll ask ourselves why we didn’t take the plunge years ago. Then we remember that we did. About six years ago. And it didn’t work out.

So, what changed?

We’re committed

In the first…

The word “everybody” with HTML-style angle brackets on both sides and an end-tag slash through the middle.

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

“All technology is assistive technology.” — Sara Hendren, design researcher, Olin College of Engineering

The handle on your cabinets. The brightness slider on your phone. A zipper pull. The tear notch on a bag of chips. Stairs. Most things are designed with some kind of assistive measures to help people do stuff more easily. We as designers and builders of such things just tend to stop at helping a select group of people—usually the people most similar to us in terms of capabilities and needs.

For example, if we don’t typically have to…

Illustration of a gravestone with “R.I.P. All Your Plans” and sticky notes on it.

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

Over the past few years we’ve facilitated a lot of workshops.

For clients, for coworkers, and even for each other. Each of them has been planned and structured very carefully and thoroughly. And each of them has ended up taking a slightly different form than we’ve planned.

Either because we’ve uncovered an unexpected opportunity, encountered an unknown constraint or simply miscalculated the amount of time it’d take to cover one (or more) of our topics. …

Drawing of a boxer getting clobbered in the jaw with a gift-wrapped box. The motion lines behind the gift say “Feedback!!”.

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

As designers we’re often tasked with giving each other feedback. Sometimes, even if literally no one has asked us, we feel a very strong urge to give feedback anyway. (See, for reference, any brand relaunch.)

If you’d like your feedback — particularly your critical feedback — to positively affect a person, project or outcome, you should pay attention to four things: the feedback itself, your relationship with the recipient, the recipient’s state of mind, and your delivery.

1. Make sure your feedback is directed at the right person and that it’s either wanted or necessary.

The New York Times relayed one woman’s experience with bad feedback: “A male tech lead told…

Drawing of music notes, hearts, a paper airplane, an application window, a checkmark and an iPad.

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

The two of us are pretty particular about our software setups.

We’ve both gone through several email clients, calendars, cloud-based notebooks, journals, to-do list apps and photo storage systems. As such, we’re pretty happy when we find stuff that gets the job done. When we find something we love, though, we’re ecstatic.

Here’s some stuff we’re either ecstatic or nearly ecstatic about.

Laurel’s picks


How to run a tighter ship and make better use of everyone’s time

Illustration courtesy of Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

We’ve all been there: Sitting around a conference table, our eyes shifting from person to person as we try to figure out exactly what we’re all together to accomplish. Frustration growing as we realize we’re working without a clear purpose, without all the relevant people or information we need, and we now have 24 minutes left until we need to adjourn so that we can do this all again in our next meeting.

Yuck. We can certainly do better. In fact, for our collective sanity, we have to do better. Otherwise we’ll waste…

Drawing of a cool duck with big sunglasses by Alli Lowe.

Written by Laurel Hechanova and Patrick DiMichele

We’ve teamed up on countless design projects in the 10+ years we’ve known each other. Our collaboration spans work at three different companies, has focused on a range of industries, clients and challenges, and has involved working both side-by-side and 2,000 miles apart.

In the time since we began working together, the responsive web became a thing, Figma dethroned Photoshop, and the world woke up to the idea that design can generate business value. …

Goodmaker Team

We help people have better meetings and conversations. www.Goodmaker.co.

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