On Saturday, we met some good friends for lunch and day drinking. Bounced around a few places. Had a great time. On the way there, we passed this place where a dozen dogs were doing some hanging out, too.
It's Nice That featured a few brick and mortar projects by design studios. It's a trend, apparently. I know I'd be tempted if I ran a studio, myself. Especially if that was in a smaller town with affordable retail real estate.
I've been going into the office more often, lately. Midtown is still a drag, but it's nice to see my colleagues in person.
Cory Dransfeldt writes a reminder that "renting your music means accepting that it will disappear." This is the main driver behind my interest in vinyl. I don't listen to much music on the turntable, but I do intend to buy all of my favorite records as LPs. As many as I can. One day, my 25,000 track collection on Apple Music will disappear. Either because Apple closes it down or a random bug wipes it all. I'm resigned to that happening. Everything digital is temporary.
Every time we plan a trip to a place relatively new to me, I scour the web for the general weather I should expect in that location around that week/month. There's a nice tool at Google for this: the Well-Tempered Traveler.
I really enjoyed reading Bobby Aaron Solomon's process in his just-for-fun book cover design for McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Made me miss my graphic design days.
I couldn't agree more with Rune Madsen's article on the gulf between design and engineering in some organizations.
I believe the way most organizations produce digital products is fundamentally broken. The elephant in the room is a dated understanding of the role of both design and engineering, which in turn shapes how organizations hire, manage, and produce digital things. These companies invest billions of dollars building teams, processes, and tools on top of an immature discipline and an outdated waterfall model that ends up being detrimental to productivity, team happiness, and ultimately, the resulting experiences we bring to life.
I work at a company which is a nestled set of orgs within orgs. A sibling design department to mine has recently finalized their waterfall process with a very detailed document. It's really well done, and a big achievement for our Design Ops. I'm reading it, though, and realizing that it could not possibly work for my department without introducing bottlenecks from design and slowing down the rate with which we ship. That documentation clearly solves an org problem, albeit one out of my view — I suspect a political one concerned with executive reporting. That's fair. There are many acceptable reasons for leadership to prioritize what they choose. In a big org like the one I'm in, accountability can take precedence over product. Again, fair.
My team — as opposed to the others — operates as Madsen describes: integrated with engineering. Every week, we're shipping new features across multiple Publishing tools. And at various levels. Sometimes the feature is a new button in the UI for a new function. Sometimes the feature is a systems-wide capability which cuts multiple steps out of a newsroom workflow. The high speed with which we work depends on the tight partnership between design and engineering. Because of this, possible ship-sinking icebergs in the engineering phase can be avoided by steering design in the right direction from the very beginning. We move smoothly and quickly from concept to launch.
It's very worth reading Madsen's entire article. I started to clip quotes from it and couldn't stop. What I'm going to continue thinking about is the various reasons an org may choose to operate differently. What are the orthogonal complications which prevent a team from working this way? What other company priorities may be worth sacrificing this efficiency for? (via Brad Frost)
Rob invited me out to the NYC Philharmoic on Saturday. We started the night with dinner at Jeju in the West Village, an excellent Korean place I'd return to. I had the gochu ramyun, Rob the donkatsu, and we split the fried chicken app. We had extra time, so we grabbed some scotch at the old Art Bar; place was still packed and going strong.
The performance was really nice. I don't have the words to appropriately describe the pieces, but I did learn plenty from Rob, not only about the music, but how orchestras and players work as an industry and career.
- Mozart: K.505 aria
- Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major
- Mahler: Symphony No. 4
The 2026 World Cup will be hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico. This weekend, they announced the Final will be held at MetLife Stadium in NJ, right over the Hudson from Manhattan. Going to be so much fun for Americans this time around with games at more easily watchable times for us. I can't wait.
Court Street Bagels in Brooklyn abruptly closed last week, but then mysteriously reopened like a zombie shop. What happened is a mess of landlord greed and extremely shady business practices by the new owner (who also owns Smith Street Bagels). These were two of the best spots for bagels in the neighborhood. At the moment, it doesn't seem right to shop at either.