Book Reviews

I’ve recently decided it would be a good idea to write down some of the things I’ve been reading and learning over the past couple of months. What better place to do that than here? So with this post I am going to present short reviews of four books I’ve read recently: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Rohnson, Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, and Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni.

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Communication & Transport Waste

In his book on the Toyota production system Taiichi Ohno writes that the preliminary step toward applying the system is to identify wastes completely and proceeds to list seven types of waste:

  • Waste of overproduction
  • Waste of time (waiting)
  • Waste in transportation
  • Waste of processing
  • Waste of inventory
  • Waste of movement
  • Waste of defects

As I thought about these seven wastes and what their corollaries might be in an information economy one in particular stood out to me. Ohno refers to “waste in transportation”. In an information economy we transport fewer and fewer atoms and more and more bits and ideas.

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My Greatest Design Challenge

This school year I taught a class in Interaction Design for high schoolers at the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology. We designed an iPhone app, the details of which have been covered in a few publications. I was very pleased with the coverage, but what I haven’t been able to share in those articles is the experience of being a first time teacher struggling to find his way.

I’ve spent the past few months watching full time WMCAT teachers work miracles each day and I’ve become incredibly aware of how much I value them. Over these months I’ve collected a handful of transformative stories—they have years of them—stories that would make anyone ask: “How can I make sure these individuals have every resource they need?”

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Why Do We Need Women in Tech?

I was recently asked an interesting and challenging question by a female colleague. In her experience (as a female and a programmer) she’s often asked, “How do we get more women involved in technology?” to which she proposed a “more interesting question”: “Why do we want more women [in technology]?”. She challenged me to come up with something better than a “generic ‘increased diversity’ answer.”

Here’s my attempt …

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