Photo: Sam Valadi

In 2006, the phones in our pockets were used primarily to take a phone call or send the occasional text message. The Web had pushed beyond a basic information system and figured out how to be useful. Google had just released Maps and Spreadsheets. MySpace had more users than Facebook. Digg was the social news site. Blackberry was at the top of their game and started selling phones to more than just business users. The first tweet was sent on twttr. Google had recently purchased YouTube. This was an era in which design had become more than an afterthought. Huge…

An Interview with Adobe’s Senior Director of Experience Design, Josh Ulm.

After writing about Sketch a number of months ago, I reached out to Adobe with the hope that I could talk to someone there about design tools. Aside from just wanting to hear more about what was going on with Adobe, I also thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast two companies that couldn’t be more different in every aspect.

I reached out to Josh Ulm, who graciously chatted with me for a couple of hours about the tools we’ve used in the past, and how they might influence the ones we’ll use in the future.

The Interview

Geoff: Hi…

I come to Facebook to share all kinds of things with people I care about — from celebratory posts about practicing yoga for 60 days straight, to mourning the loss of a parent. Those same people who connect with me on my stories also have their own stories to share. Sometimes we just want a simple way to say we really love what they shared, or to express empathy when life takes a turn.

In 2009, Facebook introduced a button that allowed people to give feedback to their friends’ posts. We called it Like, and people liked it a lot…

Reflecting on one year after Teehan+Lax, and one year at Facebook

When I set out to write this article, I figured it would be pretty simple. I’d write about my transition to Facebook — you know, all the things I missed about my old life, love about my new one, etc. But as it turns out, as I took my personal and professional inventory, attempting to assimilate all of that change hasn’t been as linear or simple as I’d expected.

There were many reasons Teehan+Lax worked so well and became such an influence in the design industry. As with any company that produces art and design, it can be difficult to…

These days, we have relationships with our team members that are interdependent, maybe more than ever.

As you might expect from a data focused company like Facebook, we use a number of instruments and methods to collect feedback and data from employees to understand what they want, what they do, and what they believe they are doing. Everything from casual one-on-ones, where we walk around campus chatting about project development and career growth, to very formal internal instruments, like surveys, that try to understand more macro phenomena.

The way a manager interacts with the people that report to them today…

An interview with founder, Pieter Omvlee

I was at an Adobe event the other day when someone asked me what my thoughts were on Comet. It got me thinking about what Comet may mean for Sketch.

Sketch and Photoshop have been the tools of choice for product designers, and most designers I speak to today have moved from Photoshop to Sketch.

Prototyping has become an integral part of product design, and Adobe was doing nothing of real value in that space, until Comet. …

I used to be involved in award shows quite a bit, both as an entrant and as a jury member. This April I’m going to be sitting as a jury foreman at the D&ADs. It got me thinking: What’s changed over the past couple of decades that will influence what constitutes great digital design? At first, I thought pretty much everything. That what I’ll value this year will be different than what I valued a decade or two ago. But as I thought about it, I realized it won’t be different, because nothing has changed about what makes great design.

A before and after look at how I (so far) changed my life.

The pixels would have you believe these two people are Geoff Teehan, but they’re not.

It’s interesting, my relationship with pixels.

I realize I had both slowly and quickly parsed my own self into many, many discrete pixels.

But unlike work, where I do it in a mindful, creative, deliberate way, I obfuscated my coherent, authentic self.

The person on the left was photographed on September 15, 2015.

His name is Geoff Teehan. He feels like a distant acquaintance now, but I do remember bits about him. People wouldn’t know this, but he doesn’t look after himself nearly as well as he should—it just sort of crept up on him. …

If you’ve ever toured the Facebook Campus, you would have noticed posters plastered in groups on many of the walls. They serve to instill the values and culture that have been established there over the years. Their design is simple and bold, as are the messages they display: “Fail harder”, “Move fast and break things”, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”, “Done is better than perfect”.

Of all of them I’ve seen, there is one that always stands out to me: “Ruthless Prioritization”. …

Before you continue reading this, open your calendar and look at it. If you work at a big tech company, there’s an especially good chance it’s a bloody mess. It likely contains small windows of time between meetings. It probably has lots of meetings in the morning. It most definitely has no less than two meetings every single day.

The shotgun calendar

If it does, you’re probably not as happy and productive as you could be. If you manage people and their calendar looks like this, your whole team isn’t as productive or happy as they could be.

Calendar management is an art…

Geoff Teehan

Product Design Director, Facebook. Co-founded Teehan+Lax in 2002.

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