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Reconsidering the calculator.

Searching Google for “loan calculator” returns about half a billion results. However, when we started building Vouch (vouchtogether.com), a platform for friends and family to lend money to each other, we realized we needed to build our own calculator. Some calculators were so inscrutable that I had to call my sister who is a CPA to explain them to me, and some were simple and intuitive. Yet, none of the ones we found were working for people borrowing money from friends and family.

When we started onboarding users, we made an assumption that people generally knew what terms they wanted for their loan (how much they wanted to borrow, how long they would take to repay, how frequently they would make repayments, how much the repayments would be). We thought if they didn’t already have terms set that they would have a rough idea of terms that could be used as a jumping-off point for negotiating specifics with their lender. …


As a leader of teams, I want to foster an environment of high emotional safety. Creative teams work best when they feel supported to get weird, pitch bad ideas, and offer minority opinions. While there are many ways to approach creating emotional safety on teams, there is one thing that I have learned that has had an outsized effect on my ability to build trust and confidence as a leader: understanding security questions and information questions.

Simply put, we can classify all questions that people ask as either an information question or a security question. Information questions are concerned with the exchange of facts and opinions, while security questions are a means of reassuring ourselves in uncertain times. …


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Journalism and technology have been two sectors of staggering innovation and evolution in my lifetime. As journalists grapple with how to thoughtfully consider how changes in media are impacting society, they have begun a discussion that has important analogs for other creators. Journalists’ self-awareness and public conversations about the competing interests of creating the best thing and creating the most profitable/popular/viral thing are something I would like to see more of in the conversation among technologists, entrepreneurs and designers. I appreciate the sense of ownership amongst many of the journalists who are considering the global impact of their individual choices.

The “On Being” podcast is on the periphery of my podcast diet. …

About

Michelle Trame

Designer, entrepreneur, outdoor guide, cartographer, coder, armchair behavioral economist, and voracious reader.

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