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2 posts from October 2016

FrieNDA Revised Template v1.26

FrieNDA Shrug


Hello George and Joanna,

I’m looking forward to having brunch with you on Sunday and catching up. It’s been so long since we last talked. Can’t wait!

Just so you know, there were some sensitive things I wanted to discuss as part of our conversation. Would you be so kind as to print and sign this, and bring it with you?

Thanks! And say hi to the kids for me,


P.S. If you have any questions or want to make changes to the attached document, just let me know. I’ll just need to have my lawyer review them.


FrieNDA Revised Template v1.26

This Friend Nondisclosure Agreement (this “Agreement”), effective  [month and day], [year] (“Effective Date”), is entered into by and between [insert name] (“Me”) and [insert names], (“Recipients”) (each herein referred to collectively as “Friends”).

In consideration of previous conversations and the conditions contained herein, the Friends hereby agree to the following:

1. Purpose
The Friends wish to discuss issues of mutual interest (“Issues”). In connection with the Issues, Friends have disclosed, or will further disclose certain Confidential and Embarrassing Information that the Friends may wish to forget entirely.

2. Confidential and Embarrassing Information
“Confidential and Embarrassing Information” means any and all information disclosed between Friends, including, but not limited to, any information disclosed prior to the Effective Date of this agreement, either directly or indirectly in writing, orally or by inspection of items that relate to Issues (including, but not limited to, napkin sketches, images, emails, text messages, video and audio recordings, Vines, snaps, animated GIFs, emojis, and so forth), whether designated or not as “Confidential and Embarrassing” at the time of disclosure.

Exceptions. Confidential and Embarrassing Information shall not include information that the Friends (i) had disclosed as a matter of public record (you can’t fake births and deaths); (ii) posted to social media (including snarky comments that received no Likes); (iii) publicly disclosed more than five years ago (Google never forgets).

Compelled Disclosure. If Friends are legally compelled to disclose any Confidential and Embarrassing Information, you have the right to be notified by the Friend first. This right can only be forfeited by death, bike accident, or request to deliver a TED Talk. (TEDx talks do not apply.)

3. Nonuse and Nondisclosure 
Friends shall not use Confidential and Embarrassing Information for any purpose outside of their 1:1 conversations. If Friends are in long-term relationships or partnerships, expect that after each disclosure they will consider said Information and form additional opinions with their partner that they may disclose to you at a later date as “Advice”.

4. Maintenance and Confidentiality  
Friends shall take appropriate measures to protect the secrecy of and avoid disclosure of Confidential and Embarrassing Information. They shall not write down or make copies of that Information. If Confidential and Embarrassing Information is shared that you didn’t anticipate, for whatever reason, all parties agree that (i) if it was shared publicly, it will be immediately deleted (though see Google Exception, Section 2); (ii) they will reach out to those impacted by the Information to reinforce its confidential nature; (iii) they shall not speak of that Information henceforth or use it in a punitive fashion under the guise of providing Advice.

5. No Obligation
Nothing in this Agreement shall obligate Friends to proceed with a conversation. If at a future date both parties agree not to be Friends, this agreement is still enforceable and in full effect.

6. No Warranty

7. Return of Materials
If Friends ask you to give back the items that you have loaned them, immediately do so. If you have lost or destroyed them, replace the items within a reasonable period of time, even if they were disposed of during a cleaning binge triggered by Advice. If said items are irreplaceable, work with Friend to identify what would be appropriate as compensation. Otherwise, you are in breach of this agreement (see Section 10).

8. No Myth
If in discussion of Issues, Friends shared their Personal Thoughts, Feelings, Hopes, Dreams, Aspirations, Insecurities, and/or Vulnerabilities, neither party may claim that their Friendship is stronger as a result.

9. Term
This agreement lasts forever, and will be passed down to any successive generation that Friends may produce, including AI computer agents. Have you seen Transcendence? Initial here: [   ]

10. Remedies
Upon breach of this agreement, all retaliatory actions are allowed. Except for dueling with pistols.

11. Notice
If Friends have been out of touch for at least one year, (i) this agreement is still in full effect, (ii) there is no assumed malice between both parties, and (iii) you have probable cause to remove them from your social networks.

12. Miscellaneous
Amendments to this agreement must be co-signed by both parties, but only after splitting the bill for Sunday brunch.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Friends have executed this Agreement as of the Effective Date.





















The Most Abused Word in Product Design

Product. That’s the single most abused word in Product Design.

Products are things that are manufactured for sale, and must be purchasable. The buyer will likely have access to it after they’ve paid for it. 

It’s that simple, and that complicated for today's designers. The word Product has become a portmanteau for the following: Physical products, Internet-connected things, consumable packaged goods, software applications, digital services and platforms, real-world services and experiences, and anything else that can be made and sold which won’t fit into the previous categories.

Applying design to a broader range of things we use in the world—that’s often good for both customers and businesses. However, that’s not so good for those who have decided on a whim to update their title on LinkedIn to read Product Designer. It's also not so good for hiring managers who want job titles to have Product in it. We are seeing this play out in weird job titles and job descriptions, probably written by people who don’t realize they’re compounding the issue: 

  • Visual Design/Product Design Manager (actually UI Design in Scrum/Agile)
  • Senior Product Designer-Visual (also UI Design)
  • UX Product Designer (pure UX/UI Design)
  • Head of Product Design & Development (Industrial Design and Physical Product Development)

And I just looked at the first scroll of a set of job listings.

It’s appropriate to say that your company makes products, and that you have a VP of Product, and that thing that you sell isn’t an old-fashioned manufactured physical product. The writer of an article I read yesterday in the New Yorker went so far as to call an LED product a “product-as-service” because the word Product didn’t really do justice to something that you would lease. (That was thoughtful.) 

So, here's my advice. Be cautious about saying that if you’re working on anything that can be sold, you’re automagically a Product Designer. Because if you say you’re doing Product Design, you’d better nail the basics. A Product Designer should be adept at identifying customer problems (“jobs”), as well as formulating and testing product assumptions and hypotheses around what solutions will help people achieve those jobs. Whenever possible, this should be happening through well-constructed experiments.

When I see work from a Product Designer and they are not doing the above things—or worse, they are not even aware that these are things that Product Designers are supposed to do—we are creating a new set of problems for design organizations, and a new set of demands that design education needs to snap to attention and fulfill. Product Design may require tools and skills that aren't always emphasized in Industrial Design or Graphic Design or UX Design or Interaction Design or Service Design or any of the other flavors that are in the Skittles grab bag of design education. Since the word Product has been so heavily diluted, a Product Designer may need to exercise skills drawn from any of those disciplines depending on the kinds of customer problems they are trying to solve—plus Product Design basics.

It’s unlikely that we can stop this Product Big Bang. But what we can do is be more precise about what we expect from designers, and designers can be more thoughtful about how they want to represent their skills when working on products.

So, what’s the second most abused word in Product Design?