Jomi Cubol

Design. Strategy. Leadership.

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Jeff Bezos’ Grand Vision

ReCode: Watch Jeff Bezos Lay Out His Grand Vision for Amazon’s Future Dominance in This 1999 Video:

On what would distinguish Amazon: “Exhaustive selection.”

On Bezos’s decision to walk away from a good job to start a business in Amazon that he thought would likely fail: “When you’re 80, you want to minimize the number of regrets you have in your life … I think a lot of people live their lives this way. Very few are nerdy and dorky enough to call it a ‘regret minimization framework,’ but that is what I came up with.”

On where to focus fear: “We should be afraid of our customers … they’re loyal to us right up to the second that someone offers them better service … and that has been our mantra. We’re trying very hard to be a customer-focused company and not a competitor-focused company.”

On the power of customer reviews: “It’s customers helping customers make purchasing decisions...

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No Silver Bullets in Design

Jasmine Freidl, product designer at Facebook, on “What I’ve Learned Designing Small Things at Facebook”:

If you work with a silver bullet mentality and put all your resources and energy into the one thing your team is super enthusiastic about and it doesn’t work out, it’s incredibly disappointing. No one wants to see teammates discouraged, to see ideas fail or abandoned and work scrapped. The easiest way to bounce back from this is to be producing at a quick pace and a steady cadence.

A successful team moves fast, and they do often leave a trail of failed experiments in their wake. But here’s the deal: quick experiments, even failed ones, are the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t. So when the first two things don’t work, try two more. And when that doesn’t work, try two more. And if those fail too, perhaps it’s time to approach something from another angle, but give it...

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The Ultimate Adrenaline Rush


George Lois, legendary ad man, in his book Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!):

The point about unusual ideas has to be their proximity to madness. Creativity is the ultimate adrenaline rush. If you have what you consider to be a fantastic concept, you must drive it to the precipice. If you don’t take it to the edge, you’ve chickened out. …The real challenge is knowing when to stop. When you go too far, lots of people think you’re nuts. And for all you know, they may be right. But you must take the risk.

Another good one:

Work is worship.

Working hard and doing great work is as imperative as breathing. Creating great work warms the heart and enriches the soul. Those of us lucky enough to spend our days doing something we love, something we’re good at, are rich. If you do not work passionately (even furiously) at being the best in the world at what you do, you fail your...

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Simplicity Pays

Siegel+Gale, the global branding agency, launched the 2015 Global Simplicity Index, an annual survey that asks thousands of consumers on which brands are the simplest and which are the most complex.

They define simplicity as:

  • Easy to understand
  • Transparent and honest
  • Making customers feel valued
  • Innovative and fresh
  • Useful

Being that simplicity is the firm’s core ethos, they make the business case of why it’s critical for companies:

  • 214% – percentage that a portfolio of the world’s simplest brands has beaten the average global stock index since 2009
  • 69% – percentage of consumers who are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications
  • 63% – percentage of consumers willing to pay more for simpler experiences

They explored this idea deeper in one specific digital experience—social media—and listed three opportunities for brands in how...

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The “Brute Force” School of Design


I was reading Digiday’s piece on Work & Co, the digital agency started by a roster of mostly former Huge execs, and how in 2 years their 100-person 3-city shop has a 100% employee retention rate. Pretty bad-ass.

Somewhere down the rabbit hole of looking at their exceptional work, I stumbled upon 99U’s interview with co-founder and design partner Joe Stewart, who remains to be one of the people I look up to in digital design.

It resonated with me tons, especially this part:

What advice would you have for a new digital product designer?

The unfortunate answer is that it’s just really hard. I think it is one of the hardest aspects of digital design for sure. It’s just hours and sweat. There’s no magic answer. We call our design process “brute force.” We just do a hundred versions of everything. We are the first generation of people to be doing digital design, so there are no...

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Pareto Principle Applied to Learning

“Specialization, Polymaths And The Pareto Principle In A Convergence Economy” by Jacob Chapman:

Where I think the Pareto Principle is at its most interesting is when thinking about our own growth potential as human beings. Imagine if you had 100 units of learning (like experience points in a role-playing game) to assign to various skills throughout your life. How should you spend those points? Do you spend all of them in one subject and try hard to become a true subject-matter expert? Or do you diversify your skill set, trying to make yourself into a well-rounded person?

These questions are some of the most fundamental questions we face as humans. Who do we want to be and what do we want to do with our lives? The Pareto Principle says that you will overwhelmingly get more bang for your buck if you spread those points around.

This post was very convincing. Admittedly I’m biased...

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The Importance of Unit Economics

If you hold yourself to the standard of making a product that is so good people spontaneously recommend it to their friends, and you have an easy-to-understand business model where you make more than you spend on each user, and it gets better not worse as you get bigger, you may not look like some of hottest companies of today, but you’ll look a lot like Google and Facebook.

— Sam Altman, YCombinator

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On the Recent Explosion of Prototyping Tools

Khoi Vinh, now Prinicpal Designer at Adobe, on “Where We Are Today with Prototyping Software:”

Prototyping as a craft, or even as a subset of the craft of user experience design, is still young enough that it would be premature for us to try and settle a winner in the short term. This somewhat awkward, highly formative stage in which we basically get a brand new prototyping app every month or so is actually one of those rare necessities that feels like a luxury. All these independent attempts at figuring out how this new discipline should work are good for our craft, not to mention tons of fun, and there’s no reason it has to end soon. Barring a butterfly flapping its wings the wrong way on a trading floor in China, it may in fact turn out to be a good long time until we need to declare a winner at all in this space. To be sure, a winner will be crowned eventually—that’s capitalism...

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Networks Are Eating The World

Software may be eating the world, but I posit that networks are going to eat an outsized share because they capitalize disproportionately on the internet. Journalism, advertising, video, music, publishing, transportation, finance, retail, and more—networks are going to enter those spaces faster than those industries can turn themselves into networks. That some of our first generation online social networks have begun self-actualizing is just the beginning of that movement.

— Eugene Wei, “The Network’s The Thing”

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Creating a Design-Driven Organization

It turns out leadership is not a role. No one’s title is leadership. Anybody can be an advocate. Anybody can be a collaborator, be an idealist. And if you can’t impact the entire organization (also that’s a really big order for somebody), create change locally. Think about your team, start to change things just with the few people you work with every single day. Inspire the people around you. And if you have a lot of success with that team and the way its working, other people will wonder what’s going on. And you’ll tell them and hopefully things will start to change around you.

I think designers make it seem like we only empathize with the user and we only design the products, the graphics, and the ads. We have stop doing that. We have to start treating the organization and the teams and the people we work with as user experience problems. It’s like design in real life. It’s the...

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