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XX.6 November + December 2013
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Blog: Canyonlands

(by Jonathan Grudin; http://interactions.acm.org/blog/view/canyonlands)

Sounds like you had a great vacation in stunning scenery and in great company. However, I’m not sure you experienced “how life once was,” even if it perhaps felt like it then/feels like it now. Rather, it seems like you experienced the time offline in that particular way because it was marked by being different than what you normally experience, and being marked by not being like that forever.

I am reminded of an essay criticizing Sherry Turkle’s “alone together” idea, arguing that Turkle is fundamentally wrong when she so clearly separates that which is connected/digital from that which is not: http://bit.ly/180jOHd

I’m not calling you a digital dualist; however, you also say that one of the best parts of the trip is that you now have three more people in your online connections.

But even with an Internet connection you would perhaps have gotten to know them anyway

Lone K. Hansen

Blog: The UX ownership war is over… and we have lost!

(by Daniel Rosenberg; http://interactions.acm.org/blog/view/the-ux-ownership-war-is-over-and-we-have-lost)

What if the new CEO is the guy with the purple hair and body piercings? If you think that all CEOs are suited mannequins, then you are not getting around much.

Vladymir Rogov

I am motivated to respond to [Rogov’s] comment, which I assume was offered in jest. I know a few CEOs here in Silicon Valley with purple (or orange) hair and many more with body piercings. Some of them have MBAs, some don’t. The point is they are the CEO. They have the ultimate skin in the game. My favorite is Quixey, where the CEO is a childhood friend of my son (and this is his second company). It is a well-funded startup with some big-name investors like Peter Thiel.

The important point is that while running very leanly he prioritized not only having UX designers but also having a user research function in-house over many other things. These are the next-gen leaders, and while not designers they have strong opinions on design. As CEOs they also hold the gold and are their companies’ UX leaders through words, actions, and investment choices.

Daniel Rosenberg

Blog: The past, present, and future of women in STEM

(by Ashley Karr; http://interactions.acm.org/blog/view/the-present-past-and-future-of-women-in-stem)

I think the small daily actions here are great. It’s particularly nice to read your examples of what can happen if you change your own behavior rather than waiting for the world around you to change. I think those personal, positive stories are important, so I’d like to share one.

I was recently invited to a careers panel session at an event for end-stage Ph.D. candidates. I have a Ph.D. in computer science, had a short but successful academic career, and now run a training consultancy business. The panel was entitled “What do employers look for?” and having previously been both a postdoctoral employee and employer I had much to offer.

There were five people on the panel and I was the only woman. The first question was asked and I had some thoughts to share, but I waited for one of the others to answer first. Then, probably for the first time in my life, I noticed myself doing this: stepping back to give the guys a chance to speak first. It was like being struck by a bolt of lightning. For the next question I had some experience to share so I jumped straight in.

My response sparked a meaningful discussion and this gave me confidence. For the rest of the session if I had something to say I didn’t wait for the others to have their say first—I just spoke up. No one was offended, no one reigned me in, and on several occasions I heard the other panel members saying “I agree with Jen…” or “Jen’s absolutely right…” and then giving their answers. At the end of the session I was happy that I’d made several important contributions and this was confirmed by feedback from the participants and my colleagues on the panel.

I can’t remember ever being explicitly told to wait and let boys speak first, but perhaps I’ve picked up cues as I was growing up that this is how I should behave. Anyhow, now I’ve called my subconscious out on its sabotaging behavior and I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to speak over it.

Jen

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