Agile is the new heroin

The phrase Agile UX or Lean UX has reached new heights of obsession with clients and agencies in the UK. Geoff God’sElf [sic] has possessed everyone with his demonic words. Do I hear Moohaha? Just kidding.

I attended one of his courses and it’s all very sensible, altough his methods are wonderful there’s a danger they’re seen as a complete replacement of all types of research. I worry that the discovery phase will be skipped over in favour of asking 3 people every two weeks what they think of your prototype. I’m sure Geoff knows what he’s doing, but clients read ‘cost and time savings’ every time they see the word agile.

I’m not the only one with reservations… https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=notes+cafe+leicester+square&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari

Ok people, get out there an open up some cans of woop-ass

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My morning commute

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Taken at Canary Wharf Pier

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My standing desk

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Taken at Shooters Hill

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An amazing local bookshop

After reading the shameful news about Amazon’s tax dodging schemes in Europe and the US, I decided to return to purchasing books from local bookshops whenever possible. To that end I happened upon a shop that opened about a year ago in Eltham. It’s run by Zoe, with moral support from Andre her partner.

The shop is quite modern, but still welcoming. Although it’s not a 4 storey Waterstones, the books they choose to stock are all of excellent calibre. I walked out of there with several great books after a fascinating education in literature by Zoe who opened up new literary vistas so to speak.

As well as meeting nice people, you can also discover new things when you visit bookshops. For example I happened upon the new Flipback books, which are very cool.

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Ink & Folly

265 Eltham High Street, Eltham, London SE9 1TY, United Kingdom

+44 20 7998 3398 

Google Map

 

Inkandfolly

Why you might want to boycott Amazon

Amazon: £7bn sales, no UK corporation taxhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/04/amazon-british-operation-cor…

Amazon is damaging the high street book trade and threatens to undermine the nurturing of new talent: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/apr/05/amazon-dangerous-ottakar-james…

More bad news…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/apr/04/amazon-tax-loopholes-us

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/26/amazon-publishing-destroying

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Lisbon, the startup spirit

In April 2012 I was given the honour of speaking on the subject of ethnography at UX Cocktail hour, which was hosted by Startup Lisboa.

The initiative was the brain child of James Page and Sabrina Mach who run Webnographer, which is one of Lisbon’s few dedicated user experience consultancies.

For those that are interested, I’ve written up a summary of my talk, which I originally gave at the UK UPA.

A city of talent

In many ways, the spirit of the people I met in Lisbon reminded me of the excitement I experienced in the mid 1990s when the world wide web was a new frontier. There are so many people starting ventures, such as Table and Friends, which arranges people to meet at a restaurant based on interests or as a service that can be offered to event organisers.

In London, communities can be somewhat fragmented, probably due to the amount of events and the limits on everyones’ time. However, Lisbon’s design, coding, service, innovation and startup scene is much more interesting as there are more opportunities for people from all disciplines to meet.

An example of this is when we went out to celebrate the opening of a new wine bar, which was the initiative of a friend of James and Sabrina. There I met with someone from the World Bank, who was working on a project to establish a online trust system. Listening in on conversations, everything was being discussed from psychology, functionalism, anthropology, open source, social design and the best breed of cat! It felt like I was in the Café de Flore, with the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre.

I can’t stress just how friendly and hospitable everyone was during my stay. The Portuguese enjoy a reputation for their hospitality and their amazing wine enhances the whole experience! 

A business opportunity

With such a rich pool of talent, an amazing city, fantastic weather and a plethora of charming offices and houses, Lisbon is an ideal place to establish a European business. The upside of the economic downturn is the fact that it’s cheaper than ever to establish a business.

Pioneering Webnographer

I know James and Sabrina from working with them at bSkyb in London. At that time they were situated near Brighton. I was somewhat surprised when they told me they were relocating to Lisbon. However, as the service the’ve created allows them to operate anywhere, it makes a great deal of sense they would make the move. Especially since James’s father, Martin Page, wrote a seminal book on the Portuguese. Read the full story on their blog.

With an airport only 15 minutes from the city centre and cheap EasyJet flights they can be in any capital city within 3 hours from their front door. These guys have the best of both worlds, the charm, affordability and wether of Portugal, whilst reaping the economic benefits of service the international markets.

I would like to than everyone that was so kind to me. A special thanks goes to the whole Webnographer team!!

Useful links

Seed capital

Wine sharing http://www.adegga.com/

Webnographer’s blog

 

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The happiness of mediocre pursuits

I love Flaubert’s pros in Chapter 7 of Madam Bovary…In the chiaroscuro of the workshop, the golden dust was streaming off the lathe, like the plume of sparks at the hoof of a galloping horse; the two wheels were turning, buzzing; Binet was smiling, chin down, nostrils dilated, apparently lost in that state of complete happiness which belongs no doubt only to mediocre pursuits, those that amuse the intelligence with facile difficulties, and appease it with an achievement that quite dulls the imagination.It reminds me of the state we seek out, be it with a jigsaw puzzle or video game. Mankind has always found ways to revel in the flow state.

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Cohdoo phone doo

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Unboxing of Cohdoo’s phone foo templates. They are reusable shiny phone drawing areas. They are heavy weight and magnetic.http://www.cohdoo.com/phonedoo.php

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