Friday, July 29, 2016

Dangers of False Equivalence

Lately I’ve been noticing a growing trend of people (mostly feminists) talking about two very different things in the same context/sentence/paragraph, as if they were one and the same thing. I’m of course talking about the systematic abuse of women in Muslim countries and the gender pay gap in the West. One example: the #whatIReallyReallyWant remake video of the Spice Girls hit “Wannabe” by the charity “Project Everyone”.

On the surface, it seems to make some sense. Both are about mistreatment of and/or bias against women. But can we really suggest that the kind of abuses Muslim women throughout the world face on a daily basis is somehow related to the lack of absolute gender equality in the modern Western workplace? That practices like honor killings, banning of education for girls, child marriages, and female genital mutilations are somehow all issues on an equal footing with the perceived lack of equal opportunities and remunerations for working men and women in the West?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Football Sides

Consider with me the following scenario: you join a friendly football/soccer match that has already begun and is very much in progress. No one is wearing any uniform, and it’s difficult to tell who is on which side. You ask the nearest player (who is on your side) which side you are on. How does he respond?

Surprisingly, his response will depend on his national identity. (I write this from first-hand experience.) If you were talking to a Korean player, the player will have pointed to his own goal post to signal which side you are on. An English/American player, however, will have pointed to the opposite side and say, “we are shooting that way.” They both mean the same thing; however, they are pointing in the opposite directions.

From the two starkly contrasting responses above, we can gain an insight into the different psyches of different countries. It seems that in Korea, team identity is paramount. You first define which side you are on, and out of that sense of unity flows teamwork. On the other hand, it seems that in the West, the team identity is subservient to the overall purpose. The common goal (into which of the two nets are we trying to put this ball the most times?) defines the team, and shapes all strategy/tactic that follows.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Design as Communication

Good design is like a delightful conversation.

A conversation between the designer and the customer.

Over the last ten years, I have noticed that the most successful companies in the consumer tech space are the ones that are able to maintain a dynamic “conversation” with their customers, be it through regular OS updates, annual iteration/overhauls in product design, and though delightful features and functions that address customer needs and desires. Apple has established an annual rhythm; their conversations are both delightful and filled with a contagious passion.

It is the same with games. I am convinced that Nintendo will continue to thrive as long as the “conversation” between their game designers and the players remain as delightful as it has been up to now. Their established Mario/Zelda/Kirby/Pok√©mon IP means that they already share a common vocabulary with their fanbase, upon which to build more exciting and fun conversations. A more literal example of this conversation is their popular interviews, “Iwata Asks”.

What ramifications does this have for CEOs? Make sure that your engineers/designers are given the freedom to communicate effectively with the customer! Let them talk to the customers through thoughtful design choices. Be sensitive to the rhythm of the conversation that is always happening between them and the users.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Faithful Christian Friend Flowchart

A couple of months ago a dear friend of mine emailed me to let me know of an important decision he was about to make. Now, it was not a sinful course of action. I just thought it was not a very wise one, personally. But since the friend was not explicitly asking me for my thoughts on the matter, I didn’t tell him so; I just offered him my support and prayer. Looking back, I feel like that was the right thing to do. I thought about this for a while, and I drew up a flowchart that I used (at a subconscious level) to guide my response to my friend.