You’re (likely) not a pro

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a new pair of shoes.

I don’t do that often – it’s kind of one yearly event – and I settled on a pair of ‘Nike By You‘ customized shoes. Not because I wanted to but because they were actually cheaper than some of the other models, I looked at.

Anyways, I started customizing. And because I didn’t want to customize, I asked myself:

“How can you make the most conservative shoe that goes with pretty much anything?”

The answer?

Make every choice as black or dark as you can. No frills.

So I did that. And I mused that the program had well over 5 billion combinations, when all I just ended up with was a black shoe.

Turned out, I didn’t.

I ended up with my shoe alright. But the devil was in the details.

A laze is not just a laze even if it’s black. And the lazes I had chosen, because I didn’t really bother and didn’t really give it the love, a custom design deserved, were a pair of lazes, I would otherwise NEVER choose.

My point?

I got a customized product that was customized indeed; a hodge-podge of various styles and parts that make them look like Frankensteins monster, and where my only comfort is that they are so dark, you won’t notice the weird choices, I have made.

Where am I going with this?

Even if you get the opportunity to design, chances are you will suck at it – unless you’re actually skilled or trained in it.

The same goes for any other craft, you obviously don’t really know anything about but where the combination of sheer naivety and stupidity combined with cool technology makes you think you’re a seasoned pro, where in fact you’re nothing but a full-blown amateur.

Do what you’re best at. And leave the other parts for the pro’s.

I’ll do that with the next pair of shoes, I invest in. Next year.

(Photo: Private)

Design for the flipside

The events of recent years have shown that with great technology comes great benefit and great risk. Even the best services and tools can be used in ways that have opposite consequences of what was intended. And the risk of the latter happening gets compounded when the genie is out of the bottle; it gets super hard to stop again. In most instances it is not even possible.

For that reason we need to design products, services and tools in a different way. Where we have long made security a key component of how we think about designing systems, we should also have what I would call the flipside as a key consideration: How could this be exploited to evil ends, and what do we build into the product or service that will help prevent that.

I think that it is both a needed thing to do and a potential gamechanger for many. Trust has eroded in a lot of the platforms and companies that have struggle with ‘doing no evil’, and tomorrows winners will be those that serve an entirely good purpose and – by design – prohibits evil exploitation.