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3MinSB - Issue #33: Observer Effect



October 8 · Issue #33 · View online

Thoughts on life and the everyday.

Hello world and welcome back!
~Fifteen years ago, I made a definitive promise to my parents that if they bought me ‘Where’d You Go’ by Fort Minor on iTunes, I would never ask for another song again. Of course, my one song addiction quickly switched as I posed the same question for ‘Love Drunk’ by Boys Like Girls one week later(😶).
Spotify has revolutionized music consumption.
Product interview questions are often quite vague, but one of the questions I’ve encountered time and time again in preparation is the classic ‘What is your favorite product? Why?.’ For a while, I crafted my answer around Spotify. Turns out, Spotify has fallen into one of the more ‘cliche answers’ that should probably be avoided. I’ve written about their adaptive algorithms and user experience in the past, but until now had little knowledge on the actual founding team and beginnings.
The Observer Effect is a fairly recent publication with only two interviews so far, both of which I’ve found truly fascinating. Written by a long-time product leader Sriram Krishnan, the questions touch on the pieces of life and work that are personal yet representative: on delegation, learning, time allocation, work/life balance, creativity, risks, and more. They are easily digestible yet thorough and well thought out.
Tim Ferriss interviews his guests about topics he is genuinely curious in, and both of the transcripts attached seemed to follow a similar structure. The first interview is with Marc Andreessen, who runs one of the most impactful and influential venture firms in Silicon Valley. The most recent is with Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify. So many nuggets of wisdom in here about personal style defining company management and outlook. His Swedish roots do drive his core ideas on balance and social obligation, which impact his methods for running Spotify.
Read for yourself here: highly highly highly recommend.
Round 33!

A Design Shift Worth Realizing
Google is changing their signature G Suite icons as part of a shift to the new Google Workspace. The shift comes with a new price plan as well as feature enhancements to the more core products, though the impact of the adaptations of the icons has been a heavier focus than I anticipated. Linking an opinion piece below which does discuss some minor details that wouldn’t normally come to mind:
  • Color: The icons shifted from their more recognizable shapes and colors (think Google Sheets green, Google Docs blue, Gmail red). These colors go way back and become distinguishable over time
  • Recognition: The color was the feature that differentiated the icons, especially when they lived on the corner of one of many tabs. I am a tab maniac, so the icon is hugely important to me (example from my current session below). This newsletter tab is a recognizable orange, Youtube in its its classic red, TechCrunch in its neon green - all minor details that would allow me to quickly switch back and forth without the need for text.
The Workspace tabs, unlike G Suite, represent all of Google’s colors, making it that much harder to quickly discern in a quick click:
  • Shape: Four of the five icons are essentially holes. All five seem to be transparent: This leaves their visibility and ‘pop’ to that of the background it lies on. White, sure. A similar colored green? Not so much.
  • Brand: Obvious but true. The G Suite icons are understood and recognized. The existing G Suite has over 2 billion users, all who have created mental models for the products and their corresponding look.
Goodbye Red envelope!
Google’s new logos are bad – TechCrunch
Topic I Find Interesting
Last week I wrote about the Social Dilemma. I recommended the film, though the portrayals of the technology/algorithms were clearly embellished and forcibly visualized. Of course, the depictions would not go without pushback. Facebook responded this past week, claiming that the film simply ignores the larger and more complex societal issues that already do exist, as well as the lack of information on the methods that these companies are using to tackle such issues. The problem with any documentary, regardless of its success, is the inherent reliance on survivorship bias. Only the thoughts that confirm the assertions are added while any other valid arguments against can be left out. Nir Eyal, an author who wrote two books on the subject, even mentioned that he had multiple interviews for the film, all of which were left out. Official Facebook response linked here:
What 'The Social Dilemma' Gets Wrong
Design I Love
Apple’s online store recently launched in India, and they created a spectacular design on the homepage, integrating the look at feel of Apple with the intricacies of the the Indian Mehndi design, all while tying in the spectrum of products they offer.
Thank you all for reading! Until next week.
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