Even if you’re a team of one, these essential principles will help you get to cruising altitude and bootstrap your way to automation.

Illustration by Morgan Keys

When it comes to organizational structures (aka, groups of people working together), there are two things I dislike:

  1. Change

🤔 Strange but true, right? Change can be as hard as staying the same. This has never been more true in my life until I had children. Before kids, I loved sleeping in, or even just sleeping later. But it’s hard to stay in bed when your newborn wails for your loving attention (parents, amirite?). His provocation caused me to change.

When it comes to the idea of DesignOps, what’s been your provocation to change? Has it…

To build superior products at scale, combine a classic business toolset with a design-thinking mindset.

Illustration by Morgan Keys

It takes a lot of effort, coordination, and skill to deliver superior products. The product design industry is maturing at an incredible pace, and our customers’ expectations are so high. Very practically and unintentionally, this may end up being a breeding ground for some broken relationships between the teams making digital products.

As designers, when the stakes are high, we tend to play our cards too close to the vest (I hide). When the barometric pressure to deliver is pounding, we tend to relax our standards (I become more of a layer slob than a layer mayor). When we feel…

What happened to my Summer of Writing?

Son’s new cast — as parents, we’re reminding him that it will heal.

What happened?

I wanted to Be More.

I started with a grand intention of being a regular writer this summer.

Crazy enough, I definitely did less than I expected. Maybe not in a good way. Maybe it was good. TBD.

But, this line that I wrote was prophetic:

Isn’t it crazy that to be more … I might actually need less?

I can’t tell if I had the wrong goal or the wrong season.

Here are my thoughts on both:

Wrong Goal

I set out to write an essay once a week during the time between Memorial Day 2018 and Labor Day…

6 ways to mature into maturity

5 years of maturing into skimboarding

My journey as an amateur dad is about as long as my journey as a professional designer.

All along the way, I’ve held deep questions about those definitions. I’ve had questions about the things that I’m making. The critiques about the work I produced were as cutting as the critiques about the kids I parented.

In either situation, I’ve determined that what you make isn’t nearly as important as who you make.

There’s danger in this definition: who I am is defined by what I make.

This is a lie. Designers (and dads) believe this lie like we’re afflicted with…

Stuff they should have told me in the fatherly instructional manual but I learned at my day job

Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Not-so-humble brag: I reached the pinnacle of design with this single project.

Or so I thought.

It was an Earth Day postcard that biodegrades and leaves behind seeds to grow flowers.

I mean, this was an unstoppable idea. Right?

It was pretty early in my career, but at that point, I could have easily retired with some of the greats. My name would be in the company of guys like Dieter Rams, Milton Glaser, Frank Chimero…heck, even greater than da Vinci.

Social? Check. Environmental? Check. Helvetica? Check.

All the boxes were checked.

And yet, it was a colossal flop.


Part One: How I’m Better at One Because of the Other

my three kiddos

I blurted it out…

Daddy takes the pain away

It was a simple answer — embracing some humor in the moment — to how I tell my 3 kids about what I do as a designer.

The small problem was: I articulated this at a meeting of some the most well-respected design leaders in our business. (Thanks for pulling us together Bureau of Digital!)

There was uncomfortable laughter.

Then alittle bit of silence.

Then it was tweeted. Proof.

Then, my face felt awash with embarrassment.

a plan for summer ‘18


Bob + Tom in my head

Bob: What would you say you do here?

Tom: Well look, I already told you, I deal with the customer so the engineers don’t have to!

Office Space 1999

This is a regular rerun in my head.

So. In-my-head-Bob: he’s a lot like my inner and terrified conscious — constantly looking at what I’m doing through the lens of “you’re a fraud”. Often, spoken critically, sprinkled with a dash of judgement.

And in-my-head-Tom, he’s hyperventilating into a bag because he’s about to be found out. Always looking to prove something. Never stopping to really answer the question.

The in-my-head-Tom wants…

Scott Welliver

Found in Philly. Design Advocate @goabstract. Starting writer. Bearded dad.

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