One of the most classic cases of groupthink was the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. During this episode, the CIA trained Cuban exiles to return to Cuba to overthrow the Castro regime.

President Eisenhower organized the operation, and President Kennedy inherited it. The U.S. planned on financing the dissidents, providing support, and sparking a counter-revolution in Cuba.

Despite misgivings, no one spoke up against the plan. And it turned into a massive failure. The Cuban military quickly routed the dissidents, and the U.S. pulled support while the exiles surrendered. It was a classic case of groupthink. …

Image of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Kyle Evans’s article on OKRs
Image of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Kyle Evans’s article on OKRs

“In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

The quote above is most often attributed to Yogi Berra, the baseball philosopher, though its actual origins may be earlier. Regardless, the wisdom remains. Theory is easy. Which is why it’s great to be a pontificator, a consultant, a speaker, or even a writer. Putting theory into practice is hard. I know. I’ve been doing it, or trying, for many years. Sometimes successfully, other times not.

Objectives and key results (OKRs) are an area where the theory and practice seem the same. We should be able to…

Space flight is inherently dangerous. They strap you to a rocket moving at 18,000 miles per hour, which sounds crazy. But insane or not, we don’t have to be stupid about it.

Many of us are familiar with the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986. NASA launched the ill-fated flight in January, which exploded 73 seconds after lift-off, killing its crew in front of everyone watching. The proximate cause was the O-ring, which couldn’t handle the freezing temperatures and leaked fuel during the launch, causing the explosion. …

Image of Sherlock Holmes holding a magnifying glass and pipe
Image of Sherlock Holmes holding a magnifying glass and pipe

“To a great mind, nothing is little.” — Sherlock Holmes

Somewhere between “ineffable twaddle” and “necromancer” lies the timeless character of Sherlock Holmes, who continues to occupy our imaginations and our screens in various incarnations. A consulting detective who can tell more about you from your Apple Watch or your ball cap than you’d be able to rehearse over a long dinner.

But aside from the deeply deductive and yet often erratic behavior, what can we “normal” people learn from the storied sleuth? That is what I wanted to know as I read (and re-read) Conan Doyle’s works. …

2020 is in the books now (pun absolutely intended). In 2019, I had the goal to read a book a week. I met that goal, so I upped the ante in 2020. While most things didn’t go as planned in 2020, I was able to keep this goal on track, and read 73 books during the year. I’ve been excitedly stocking my shelves with books for the new year, but before I crack those open, I wanted to look back at the best and most impactful reads from the past year.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Other Stories

During December I decided to read all the Sherlock…

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the product manager or UX designer in your life? Look no further. We’ve got you covered. Whether it’s a small token of appreciation or a major splurge, there is something on our list sure to satisfy discerning tastes.

We did a Product by Design podcast episode on this topic as well, which you can listen to here.

Product Managers

So you’re shopping for a product manager, eh? That can could be a difficult or a straightforward task. Product managers love trying new things, experimenting with technology, and having the latest gadgets. Which means they will…

Many of us might not even remember Myspace at this point.

screenshot of myspace homepage
screenshot of myspace homepage

Amazingly, in 2008, not even that long ago, Myspace was the top social network platform. While Facebook was rapidly making progress, Twitter was still in its early days, and Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok were still just gleams in the eyes of their founders, Myspace was the place to go.

So what happened?

Like any story, it’s complex. But one key issue was a lack of product focus. Myspace didn’t know what it wanted to be. You can see that in the image above. Was it a place for friends…

In 1978, United Airlines Flight 173 set out from New York to Portland. After a layover in Denver, the plane had an issue with its landing gear as it made its final approach to Portland. When it lowered its landing gear, there was an abnormal vibration, a loud “thump”, and a malfunction with a microswitch, so the indicator light showing that the landing gear was down didn’t come on. Because of this, the crew decided to circle the airport to troubleshoot the issue.

Unfortunately, while the crew focused on the landing gear for an hour in the air, they failed…

If you have kids or were a kid at some point in your life, you are probably familiar with Play-Doh. That colorful molding clay that you can turn into everything from snakes to pretend hamburgers to amorphous blobs of all the colors mixed together (that’s eventually where it ends up, we all know it).

But it didn’t start out as entertainment for kids. In fact, a soap manufacturer invented it to clean coal residue from wallpaper. Back when most homes were heated by coal and suffered from soot residue, they used this molding clay to clean off the residue from…

Picture of a babel fish from the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Picture of a babel fish from the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of the strangest and arguably coolest phenomenons is the Babel fish. It is a small, yellow fish you place in your ear that feeds on your unconscious mental frequencies. In return, it then excretes back into your mind a telepathic matrix from the conscious thought frequencies and the speech centers of the brain. Basically, all of this allows you to understand instantly anything said to you in any language. Which comes in handy when traveling the universe and encountering many civilizations speaking unfamiliar languages.

While we’re not necessarily traveling across the galaxy…

Kyle Evans

Writer, podcaster & product leader. Woodworker & creator. Husband & father. Dog lover. Soccer fan. @kylelarryevans on twitter

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store