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The Secret behind UX: BE HUMAN

User experience... or UX as all the cool kids call it... is an important slice of the pie. It's the place where the thing you've been pouring your energy into intersects with the humans for whom it was made. And this angle of industry is ubiquitous because essentially it's function is to make sure that when that happens -- when people touch / feel / experience what you've worked so hard on... it's a genuinely positive situation. UX is not limited to a department. Proper UX should be woven through the fabric of your brand/organization/product from start to finish. Here's why:

UX = EMPATHY

To effectively filter your ____ through UX, you simply must approach it with empathy at every step of the journey. From "What question does this answer or problem does it solve?" to "Does this aspect of the design create a seamless engagement for the human interacting with it?" ... To literally every other question you should be asking -- the common thread -- the golden nugget -- the question behind the question -- is always centered around placing oneself in the heart/mind/soul/shoes of that person you intend to engage. It's not just about your product. It's not just about your brand. It's ALWAYS about how those things come in contact with that end user -- and ultimately how it makes them feel.

Here's a quick litmus's test: If you've compromised significant quality or design that you know is better/important to the people you touch -- you aren't being empathetic. Try again. Be human.

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EXECUTION

Naveen Jain said "Success doesn't necessarily come from breakthrough innovation, but from flawless execution." His point was no that breakthrough or innovation are bad. In fact, they are pretty important for forward movement. At the end of the day, the thing that allows some to leap ahead while others don't even cross the finish line is simply the grit to do what they set out to do.

So what does effective execution look like? What does it entail?

NO EXCUSES. NO QUITTING. NO WAITING.

Having this mindset creates a powerful culture and shifts the atmosphere. 
It sounds simple. And while it is simple, that doesn't mean it's easy. Any venture worth doing -- large or small -- is going to have hiccups and reason to sideline the project. But if the thing you've set out to do is in line with your vision and strategy, not completing said task is simply not an option. Why? Because to do so would erode the things you say matter, and make it easier to quit or "change direction" again the next time it gets tough! Having this bedrock mindset also means that when you hit that hiccup, instead of it creating a sense of defeat, the auto-response is immediately one of problem-solving. How great would it be a to see each derailment as an opportunity to find new solutions?! And when those difficult projects reach completion, it builds team confidence that the next hill is capable of being taken as well.

The point is this: the cost of incomplete or poor execution are greater than that singular project. It creates cancerous consequences and can alter your organization DNA and trajectory. So... NO EXCUSES. NO QUITTING. NO WAITING.

 

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AMATEUR.

This morning I was surrounded by men, many of which close to twice my age, discussing business and profession and the like. One quip stood out to me more than anything else. A quick observation on the word "AMATEUR".

That word. It's almost intended to be an insult. "Look at that person over there... What an amateur."

But we have it dramatically backwards. The word's original intent had far more to do with PASSION than it did PAY. In other words, the meaning shifted from doing something because you're passionate about it, to doing something without pay. If you google the word right now, it speaks to doing something for free, and the implication is that you're probably not that great at it (otherwise you would in fact be paid for it!)

So, why does it matter? Why bother with semantics?

I would say that we have far to many people working hard to validate themselves as professionals when what we need are few more people who exhibit fortitude and drive hard because it's born out of their passions. We need people doing what they LOVE. Passion is contagious. Passion fuels us. Passion, coupled with a plan, can yield results that exceed simple exterior motivations. Passion fuels us past obstacles. Passion will carry us beyond our natural abilities. Passion is what starts sweeping movements.

The next time you see someone do something amazing or share a revolutionary idea... pause and say, "Whew... now there's an amateur."

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