FWD: Outlook — November 11, 2015

The top two stories of the day in tech from around the web

I’d like to take a moment to pause before going into today’s FWD: Outlook and give thanks to all of our veterans and active members of the military. Friends and family like Bruce Jewett, Evan Shawler, Ryan Stumph, and many more keep our nation safe. They sacrifice their health to defend our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To our veterans and active members of the military, thank you for standing up for your nation; thank you for your service to our country.
Since the best thing I read every day is the first article in FWD: Outlook, I’d like to point to something I unearthed for Veterans Day that’s nearly a decade old. I have a childhood love for our military and for newspaper comic strips. I grew up in a military town whose values were reflected in my home and hobbies; I learned to love to read because of the Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Garfield books that littered my room. Every morning, my brother and I would fight for the paper, tearing the pages away from each other at the breakfast table. I can still picture my brother scanning the page as if he were hunting for a stock ticker, holding the funnies unfolded above his Cheerios, his nose inches from the ink, murmuring, “Almost finished, almost finished…” And I remember the comics in this piece as if I read them this morning. “Doonesbury’s War,” an exposé written by Gene Weingarten in 2006 for The Washington Post, details a fascinating inquiry by a cartoonist into a soldier’s life upon their return from duty. I can clearly remember when B.D. lost his leg in the comic, mentioned later in Gene’s story. B.D.’s story completed the war’s odyssey from a far-away battlefield to the still-distant front page to the funny bone of America. Shortly after the story ran, Trudeau (the cartoonist) received a call from the Pentagon asking to collaborate on PTSD awareness.
It was the best thing I read all day.

This Is About the Time I Chose Not to Die
Mike Monteiro of Mule Design Studio

There are some great design talks out there — the slides are beautiful, the storyline is compelling (or at least exists), and, if you’re lucky, a there’s a philosophical question baked in that’s ready to be resolved.

Mike’s famous for a different kind of talk. “F*ck You. Pay Me.” is the best design talk on the web if you’re not a designer because it helps non-designers empathize with the profession; it’s the best talk for designers because it cathartically and emphatically reinforces that their work has intrinsic and monetary valuable from day one. No more it’s-not-what-we-were-hoping-for’s; no more we-wound-up-not-pursuing-the-project. Designers deserve to get paid to do mock ups and concepts, and Mike drives that point home in his talk.

Today’s piece, however, is not about that. It’s about depression. One of the most famous design consultants in tech can still suffer from depression. Incredible VCs (and damn fine people) like Brad Feld and Ali Hamed write openly about depression. Founders have the weight of their dreams and those of their employees’ on their shoulders; it’s a lot to manage without depression, and it’s an Atlas-esq trial to do so with depression weighing you down. When 9% of people suffer from depression in America, it’s right that we talk about issues of mental health in tech. I hope you’ll read Mike’s article about how he grappled with depression as a founder, and how he’s doing today.

Thanks for writing, Mike.

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures

Pissed off about Twitter hearts? Get over it, says Fred. Minor UI changes that can feel like seismic betrayals to “power users” of a service are likely not poorly thought-out, hastily made decisions.

“Loyal users are always going to hate a big change to a service they use every day. I recall the outrage when Facebook rolled out the news feed, which has become the central feature of its product. It was as if they had destroyed the service.”

Fred points to this article by BuzzFeed that lists the actual metrics that drove the change. I remember when my friend pulled up Twitter and discovered that she was a part of the testing group for Project Lightning (you might know it as Moments). Wish as I might, I wasn’t a part of the test group. But engagement increased and it stuck. So they launched it.

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Thank you for reading. If you like what you’ve read, please consider sharing or following me on Medium or Twitter. Also visit FWD: Outlook’s website at fwdoutlook.com.

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