The hurdle in your head

I just want to quit.

I’m not useful. I spend too much time on small-minded tasks. No one recognizes my contributions. I’m not growing, or worse, I might be shrinking. Am I surrounded by the wrong people or am I the wrong person? Maybe I’m not meant to be a designer.

I used to want to change the world but I’m not doing anything close to that. Does anyone actually believe in this company’s mission?

If I quit today, it would feel great. I could take some time off and work on side projects. The stuff that makes me feel…

A list for designers who feel stuck, need inspiration or hungry for knowledge.

These books have been the most impactful books in my work+life. They have helped me stay inspired, learn from the experts and motivate my best work.

Use these books to examine your beliefs, attitudes, habits and skills. You’ll learn how to invest in yourself, build a remarkable career and live a fulfilling creative life.

If you’re looking specifically for UX/Product Design book recommendations, see my experimentally hyperbolic The Only UX Reading List Ever

Build your dream career and fly higher

Can you step outside your comfort zone? Bounce back from failure? Build new skills? Tapping your true potential does not just happen. It demands dedication, creativity, and…

“You don’t have what it takes.”

“You’re not talented. You got lucky.”

“You’ve waited too long, you will never be as good as …”

“You’re not like them. You don’t belong here.”

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always struggled with the idea of natural talent. I thought that I was the only one who lacked it, because I was different from everybody else.

When I started to teach myself design, this negative self talk magnified. I didn’t feel like a real designer which made everything feel intimidating. …

Since earning my Bachelor of Computer Science in 2008, I have taken every opportunity to travel (52 countries so far), work and live abroad. Whilst traveling, I learned the importance of diversity in perspective, and how healthy communities thrive in systems where value can be easily created and exchanged.

More recently, I spent a few wild years at Uber and Amazon sharpening my what if’s and WTF’s. While this experience fueled the optimistic skeptic inside of me, the rest of me felt devoid of purpose. …

Continue helping others by starting to help yourself.

“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside.”
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


A negative mindset can kill your creativity, spark unhealthy conflict, damage workplace relationships and impact your wellbeing. Worst of all, negativity can transform you into a grouch — that designer no one enjoys working with.

To work effectively with other people, we must first take care of our own mind and emotions. We need to learn self empathy — the purposeful discovery of underlying thoughts and emotions that guide our decisions and behaviors.

In this…

This reading list is for anyone who wants to learn or deepen their knowledge in the disciplines of User Research, Usability, Information Architecture, User-Interface Design, Interaction Design, Content Strategy or Experience Strategy.

The list is broad and includes books that exemplify design thinking, processes, methods, principles and best practices. Some of the books on this list are over 20 years old, yet still relevant more than ever.

There’s not a day where I don’t find myself applying the ideas from these books. Each has helped shaped the designer I am today, helped me advance my craft. …

Illustration by Kara Gates

How to become a better designer by telling the story of you behind your work.

Your portfolio is a story about you and your work — your expression of growth through all the obstacles, surprises, successes and failures. This is your epic. Illuminate the arc of your career and why you matter.

For the audience, your portfolio showcases your problem-solving superpowers, hard and soft skills, and your ability to reflect upon your successes and failures.

For you, the act of telling your story is just as important for your growth as the story itself. This growth, is what makes you, you.

Do it for you first, employers second.

Here is some advice to help tell…

Simon Pan

The way out is through. Designing the future of news at Google. Ex lives: Medium, Uber and Amazon.

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