The Dirt (tech)








January 2021
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Pluralsight is looking to change the way the world learns. That may sound like a big goal, because it is, but I wouldn't count them out. James Aylward is the Head of Data Product at Pluralsight. Part of his task is to lead this charge using data and human-centered design. Anytime I can talk to someone at Pluralsight I do it! I always walk away feeling inspired to up my product experience game, and this was no exception.

Direct download: James_Aylward_-_Final.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 12:12pm EST

Who should talk to users? The answer is EVERYONE should talk to users. That means designers, product managers, sales, marketing, and yes, engineers. Without user research, how will you know you are building products that people will want? I sat down with Paul Cheek and C. Todd Lombardo of Vempathy to talk about quantifying qualitative user research using AI and machine learning.

Direct download: Vempathy_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:53am EST

Claudette Stevenson was on the forefront of the GPS-enabled sport watch. She started her career as a software engineer at Garmin International back in 2000, and by the time she left had co-invented eight patents that are the foundation of the successful Garmin GPS fitness enterprise. As a fitness enthusiast, I was particularly excited to have the opportunity to speak with someone who was so instrumental in bringing the first wrist-worn GPS device to what is now a six billion dollar global wearables market. And yes, I've owned just about every Garmin model since.

Direct download: Claudette_Stevenson_-FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:29am EST

Ask any product manager how they got into the role, and they are likely to share some story about how it "happened by accident" or "they had some other job and they fell into product management." Some even say "I didn't know what a product manager did." And the current President of the Boston Product Management Association, Bruce McCarthy, is no different. In this episode, Bruce talks about the biggest challenge for product managers - product roadmaps. Roadmaps done right can be a powerful way to get everyone on board with your product strategy and focused on delivering value to customers and the organization. Done wrong they can lead to broken promises and unhappy stakeholders.

Direct download: Bruce_McCarthy_-_FINAL3.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 12:34pm EST

Have you ever been told “you are done.” And not just that you are done, but you are done with the one thing you’ve spent your entire life to that point working on? Our guest this week is Olympic silver medalist and UX Fest speaker Paul Wylie. He was "done" twice in his life - once as a skater and another as a human walking this earth. Literally. Experiences shape who we are and how we deal with adversity. Paul and I touched on these two life-altering experiences without giving away his full story. You have to come to UX Fest to hear that!

Direct download: Paul_Wylie_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:38am EST

Our guest for this episode is UX Fest speaker Sarah Bernard of Crisis Text Line. Sarah has only been with the organization for a little over 60 days, but that’s actually what makes our conversation more interesting. We chose to focus on how she approached her own on-boarding - how she managed to get close to their users in short order and immerse herself in the culture and mission of this non-profit that’s doing great things for people in crisis.

Direct download: Sarah_Bernard_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:41am EST

Building vision-driven products that solve real pain points shouldn’t be a radical idea, but in practice it often can be. So Radhika Dutt and her colleagues, Nidhi Aggarwal and Geordie Kaytes set out to create a toolkit to help product leaders when good products go bad.

Radical Product is a free and open source toolkit for building great products. Radhika and I talked about the Radical Product framework and how it can be applied as a cure for the four product diseases.

Come to UX Fest on June 4th to hear Radhika speak about building radical products!

Direct download: Radhika_Dutt_Final.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:43pm EST

David Delmar is looking for a fight. Not in the pugilistic sense, but rather the fight for social progress and income equality for those who just need an opportunity.

His original plan coming out of the Boston University College of Fine Arts was to be a comic book illustrator, which seems appropriate since you get the impression he’s doing superhero things when you hear David speak passionately about Resilient Coders.

Come to UX Fest on June 4th to hear David speak about job creation and what that means for our tech community.

Direct download: The_Dirt_-_David_Delmar_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:48pm EST

Kyruus has built a provider data management platform that considers billions of data points about physicians from thousands of different data sources to solve what they call the Patient Access Paradox.

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Julie Yoo has learned a few things since launching the company with Dr. Graham Gardner back in 2011. Julie and I talked about her background and the challenges of leading a company through significant growth and beyond, including:

  • How they’ve organized their product teams to more closely follow the user’s journey and support continued growth,
  • Deciding what to do and what NOT to do as a Chief Product Officer
  • The future role of EHRs in healthcare
Direct download: Product_Hero_Julie_Yoo_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 7:50pm EST

I sat down with HBS Senior Lecturer and UX Fest 2018 speaker Julia Austin to discuss her article "What It Takes to Become a Great Product Manager." As an investor, board member, and advisor for over a dozen companies, Julia has the experience to identify some of the biggest reasons why early-stage companies succeed (and fail).

Direct download: Julia_Austin_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:34pm EST

We are bringing UX Fest back! What is UX Fest, and why are we bringing it back? Since I wasn't here in 2014 (our last "fest"), I decided to sit down with Richard to ask him about how it will be different and even better than the last time. We talk about the themes of the event, who should attend, and three things we learned from 2014 that we've changed for this year's event.

Direct download: TheDirt_Announcing_UX_Fest_2018_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 12:13pm EST

It's not all that uncommon for companies to have to communicate with multiple different constituent groups. In Torchlight's case, they have customers who are licensing their software, and they have caregivers who are the actual users of the platform. To complicate things further, these caregivers don’t necessarily always self-identify as users/caregivers. And when they do, their use tends to be more episodic and sometimes in a moment of crisis! How do you then resolve that balance between communicating to each of those constituents in a manner that doesn't feel confusing or at least targets them when they're in the right frame of mind for interactions with you?

In this episode, Carolyn discusses how Torchlight uses data from multiple constituent groups to inform their product releases, messaging, and driving value for their customers.

Direct download: Carolyn_Romano_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:09am EST

Founded in 2015, Boston Women in Product is a community that empowers women to be influencers in their role, inspiring them to make a difference and grow in their career. Their mission is to inspire, equip and help advance women in product by encouraging career leadership, development, support, mentoring, and building relationships with like-minded women.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with three key members of this group to talk about what Boston Women in Product is doing to support women in product leadership roles.

Direct download: Boston_Women_in_Product_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:34am EST

This week we sat down with Dan Williams, Executive Director of Innovation at DentaQuest. A little over nine months ago, Dan was brought into what he thought was a dental insurance benefits organization but turned out to be a business that's evolving into a care delivery model. At DentaQuest, their challenge is to evolve their model and story from the predominant "drill and fill" restorative services culture to a model that's focused on prevention. More than just a digital transformation, Dan and his team are focused on an entire cultural transformation using design thinking.

Direct download: Dan_Williams_-_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 7:45am EST

This week our product hero is Ben Ho, Senior Engineering Manager, Mobile at Everbridge. Ben and I covered a lot of ground in our discussion, so we've split the interview into two parts.

In Part 2, we dove into Ben's past as a chef and how that informs everything he does as an engineering leader today. Ben started in tech but eventually became disheartened with it. So he just decided to leave the industry behind to become a chef working in some of the best restaurants in the country for almost a decade! Ben rediscovered his passion for technology when the first mobile OS was released. Although it's been awhile since he's "done the chef thing," Ben feels it's something that never really leaves you, and he feels that chef perspective pervades everything he does, every single day. It's still about passion, craftsmanship, and figuring out how to build and deliver something really cool.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Ben_Ho_Part_2.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:45am EST

This week our product hero is Ben Ho, Senior Engineering Manager, Mobile at Everbridge. Ben and I covered a lot of ground in our discussion, so we've split the interview into two parts.

In Part 1, Ben and I focus on everyone's favorite topic - Agile. Agile's not new - a lot of people and teams know what it is and have moved in that direction. But many are finding it harder to fully embrace. Typically when we talk to teams, there are still some lingering habits of the old waterfall method or whatever used to be the way of life. Everyone defines agile differently, so Ben and I talked about his definition of Agile and how, if at all, it differs at Everbridge.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Ben_Ho_Part_1.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:43am EST

The statistics for minorities in technology and entrepreneurship are underwhelming to put it mildly.

  • 9.2% of tech industry employees are Latinx and African Americans
  • 0.2% of venture funding goes to black females
  • 20% of firms with paid employees are owned by minorities
  • The average net worth of blacks in Boston is $8

Enter Smarter in the City, which was created as a way to diversify Boston's tech sector by reaching out to entrepreneurs with less traditional backgrounds from less traditional neighborhoods in Boston. The organization believes that supporting a diverse ecosystem of entrepreneurs makes the startup community better while also allowing mentors to go back into their communities and improve the diversity in their own organizations. Since their founding in 2014, they have helped launch 20 startups led by underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Direct download: Smarter_in_the_City.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:30am EST

Product Innovation is a subject on everyone’s minds so we’ve been digging deeper into what that actually means. Who is responsible for product innovation? What does it look like in growth companies vs. enterprises? How do you make innovation part of the culture of an organization?

My guest today is Deanna Aho. Deanna has over 22 years of design and innovation leadership experience at organizations like Northeastern University, Cengage Learning, and most recently Quick Base.

Direct download: Deanna_Brown_Aho_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:07pm EST

This week our product hero is Emera Trujillo, Senior Product Manager at MediaMath. Emera started her career in customer services at but eventually found herself seeking to satisfy her growing customer-centric mindset through product management.

Along with former Product Heroes Vanessa Ferranto, Cait Porte, she is an organizer for Boston Women in Product, whose mission is to inspire, equip and help advance women in product. Part of the larger Boston Product Management Association, the group organizes events for local female product leaders to learn and affect one another in an open, casual setting.

Direct download: Poduct_Hero_-_Emera_Truijilo_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:24am EST

Our guest this week is Mike Brown, Head of Product at GenePeeks. Mike has the unique distinction of being named our very first Product Hero. And he’s also the first one to return as a guest on our podcast. The GenePeeks platform has expanded a few times over the years, something that Mike and I talked about in our interview. What were the signs pointing to this expansion, and how did they know that the time was right?

Direct download: Mike_Brown_-_GenePeaks_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 5:53am EST

This week we sat down with Brian Lindauer, EVP Product and Engineering at Mavrck. Brian runs both engineering and product at Mavrck, which he says some find controversial but he finds interesting and important to satisfying his organizations "need for speed." Leading both groups allows the product team to move very fast and resolve conflicts across those two groups efficiently.

Direct download: Brian_Lindauer_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 6:22am EST

This week we sat down with José Manuel dos Santos, Head of Design and User Experience at Philips Lighting. José joined Philips during an interesting time in the company’s history as they are currently in the process of splitting from Royal Philips to become a standalone lighting company, which is interesting given Philips started out in lighting 129 years ago. José understandably views this as both a challenge and an opportunity to find out what makes sense for the future of the company as it relates to design and innovation.

Direct download: Product_Innovation_-_Jose_dos_Santos.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:29pm EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series that highlights outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week's Product Hero is Stephanie Tanner, Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies.

Direct download: Stephanie_Tanner_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:44pm EST

This week we kick off a new series on Product Innovation by sitting down with Michael Affronti, VP of Product at Fuze. We talked with Michael about dividing his time between making sure they are moving the ball forward on the short-term product changes and talking to customers about their needs all while continuing to innovate. Protecting innovation is one of the most difficult challenges for a company in the “hyper-growth” stage. Michael reveals how he challenges his team to think longer than three to six months out.

Direct download: Michael_Affronti.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:12pm EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series that highlights outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Thor Ernstsson, CEO of Alpha

Direct download: Product_Hero_-_Thor_Ernstsson.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 7:12pm EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series that highlights outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Daniel Elizalde, Founder at TechProductManagement.

Direct download: Product_Hero_-_Daniel_Elizalde.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:07am EST

A little over a month ago, we were invited to participate in General Assembly's Inside the Minds of Brilliant Designers series. The idea of the series is to provide practical tips and insights from expert designers on how they're solving problems through design. We're always game to discuss UX design, product design, and design thinking, so we gladly accepted the invitation. Building digital products is a team sport, with both strategy and design complimenting one another. So we decided what better way to underscore this point than recommending a panel discussion on the topic of how designers and strategists working together at Fresh Tilled Soil?

Direct download: GA_Panel.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:27pm EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series to highlight outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Barbara Dumery, Sr. Vice President of Product Management at Imprivata.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Dumery.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:07pm EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series to highlight outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Jason Fournier, Vice President of Product Management at Pearson MyLabs.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Jason_Fournier.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:59am EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series to highlight outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Martin Eriksson, Co-founder of Mind the Product and founder of ProductTank.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Martin_Eriksson.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 1:40pm EST

Product Hero is our bi-weekly series to highlight outstanding members of the product management community. These industry leaders share tips on processes, team building, how to be a better product manager, and who they are outside of their careers. This week our product hero is Karen Tirozzi, VP of Solutions at ZappRx.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Karen_Tirozzi.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:07am EST

An interview with Marla Runyan, Director of Digital Accessibility at Perkins School for the Blind. Marla sits down with a few members of the Fresh Tilled Soil team to talk about accessibility standards, common issues designers and developers make that create accessibility issues, and how to fix those errors. 

Direct download: 007_Perkins_Accessability.m4a
Category:tech -- posted at: 12:31pm EST

Nate Walkingshaw, Chief Experience Officer at Pluralsight joins C. Todd Lombardo, our Chief Design Strategist, in the studio to discuss what's wrong with the majority of product roadmaps, how to be a better product leader, and how to get closer your customers.

Direct download: Product_Hero_Walkingshaw.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:25am EST

Nate Walkingshaw, CXO of Pluralsight, and Richard Banfield, CEO of Fresh Tilled Soil, sit down to talk about a range of topics related to product leadership. Creating an environment for Directed Discovery, optimizing work style over work process, building trust within groups, eliciting change within an organization, and their latest book entitled "Product Leadership".

Direct download: 005_TheDirt_-_Nate_Walkingshaw.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:18pm EST

The common thread to every design sprint is there's a problem (usually a hairy one) that needs to be solved. There could be a lack of clarity around a product, service, or direction. Perhaps an organization has made assumptions without a high level of confidence. Or there's a high level of risk associated with being wrong. But every design sprint can still be different. In this episode, we talk about how to address these differences and tailor the design sprint process to maximize the outcome for your organization.

Direct download: 003_TheDirt_Tailoring_Design_Sprints.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

Fresh Tilled Soil CEO Richard Banfield sits down with Heath Umbach to talk about the fact that hiring remains a big problem facing product teams. The supply of solid product focused design and development talent has not kept up with demand. What’s worse is that recruiters and hiring managers have almost no idea how to hire for these product specific positions. But this challenge need not get in the way of your product success. Hiring talent is not a linear approach - you need an immediate-term, a medium-term, and a long-term strategy to keep the rails on the track.

Direct download: 00420TheDirt20Hiring.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 6:59pm EST

Fresh Tilled Soil strategists C. Todd Lombardo and Jill Starett sit down to talk about Design Sprints again. This time, the discussion revolves around what to expect when it comes to Design Sprints, and what can organizations do to prepare in order to get the most out of them. The purpose, the problems, the plan, and even the people you should involve in a Design Sprint.

Direct download: 002TheDirt_Planning-Design-Sprint.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 12:51pm EST

What kinds of problems can you solve with a Design Sprint?

Fresh Tilled Soil digital strategists C. Todd Lombardo and Jill Starett sit down to answer one of the most common questions we hear: “What can a Design Sprint help us do?”. The most common goal of a design sprint is to assess an opportunity and reduce the risk of failure. That sounds great in the abstract, but what does this really mean in practice?

Design sprints get the most traction in the digital products space but they are a flexible framework and can be tailored to fit a plethora of different problems and organizations. At Fresh Tilled Soil, we’ve conducted design sprints for products, services, and hybrids of the two, for digital and physical solutions, and for customer facing and internal facing opportunities. We run design sprints for organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, and for industries ranging from education to high finance.

We recommend a Design Sprint when a client needs answers to a BIG question.

Direct download: TheDirt_What_kinds_of_problems_can_you_solve_with_a_DS_FINAL.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:16am EST

User Offboarding

In this, the most important episode of The Dirt ever, Mark, Steve and I talk about a term we frankly invented for this show:User Offboarding. We discuss how to let go of your users whether it be through an acquisition, sunsetting a service, or users themselves walking away. We go through the different reasons a service might end and how to do so in a responsible manner. We also talk about what to do with someone's data once they leave your service. Once again... the most important episode we've ever done... listen in.

Direct download: 166-offboarding-final.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:41am EST

From The Dirt Archive: Maintaining Open Source Projects w/ Jenn Schiffer

On The Dirt today, please welcome Jenn Schiffer of Bocoup. We talk about the details of contributing to and maintaining open source projects, including: setting maintenance expectations; guidelines for being a good contributor; and how to ignite Jenn's ire by nitpicking her build files.

Direct download: 166-schiffer.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:00pm EST

In part 2 of our series on Successful Product Management we have an in-depth conversation with Instapaper CEO, Brian Donohue. Brian takes us through the beginnings of the product and it's transition from Marco Arment's baby to ownership by Betaworks. We talk about the challenges of growing with new and previous users and the importance of onboarding. Wait... where's Tim?

Direct download: 164-donohue.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:49pm EST

Successful Product Management, pt 1: Colin Kennedy of Sonos

This week we kick of a new series on Successful Product Management by sitting down with one of the greats, R. Colin Kennedy of Sonos. Colin takes us through the ins and out of how a product comes to life in the Sonos family. We talk about the inherent differences between physical and digital products, and where they meet in the middle!

Direct download: 163-kennedy.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:59am EST

Designing Your Career, pt 3: The Long Game with Larry Goldberg

For the third chapter of our "Designing Your Career" series, Larry Goldberg takes us through his long career in accessibility, from nearly 30 years at WGBH to his current role as Director of Accessible Media at Yahoo. Listen in for Larry's take on building a fulfilling career as well as conclusive proof that Steve is the most gullible person you know.

Direct download: 162-goldberg.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:23am EST

This week on The Dirt, we sat down with the large man of tall tales, Mr. Aaron Draplin himself. Aaron reveals how to transform the passion that feeds your soul into a passion that feeds your... stomach... Brought to you by three designers, one developer, and some magnificent facial hair. In all seriousness, if you hear a crackling noise on the track, that's Aaron's beard.

Direct download: 160-draplin.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:36pm EST

Today on The Dirt: how to actually make a plan for your career and then follow through with it. You know, the way you're supposed to with your projects but never even thought about applying to yourself. Listen as Kate Matsudaira gives up all the secrets to making your own plan and making it work.

Direct download: 161-matsudaira.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:21am EST

Designing for the Future, pt 5: Wearables with Josh Clark and Liza Kindred

This week we sit down with, newly married couple, Josh Clark and Liza Kindred about the future of wearables. We chat about a magic wand Josh made, Liza's WIFI hotspot handbag, and blue sky some idea about what the future looks like without drumpants.

Direct download: 159-josh-liza.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:44am EST

Designing for the Future, pt 4: The Physical Web, with Scott Jenson

On this episode we have the great pleasure of sitting down with Google's Product Lead for the Physical Web, Scott Jenson. We discuss the Internet of Things, how Scott much hates it (the term), and where we think this whole thing is headed.

Direct download: 158-jenson.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:09am EST

Designing the Future, pt. 3: Accessibility

To close out our series on designing for the future we talk about near-future possibilities and products focused on creating accessible experiences.

Direct download: 157-a11y.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:11pm EST

Working Remotely

This week we sit down to talk about the pros and cons of working distributed versus in a centralized location. We discuss it from side of the employee as well as the business.

Direct download: 156-working-remote.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 1:58pm EST

Designing for Literacy Challenges

This week we take a look at the particular challenges of an oft-ignored audience: users with literacy issues. Listen in to find out how you can improve the usability of your site for your entire audience by focusing on the challenges of users that are lower on the literacy spectrum.

Direct download: 155-literacy-challenges.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:57am EST

Dirt Bonus! B-roll

Today, we're ashamed proud to bring you a horrifying special bonus episode of The Dirt! We've assembled our favorite b-roll clips (the out-of-context bits that bookend each show) from the last few months that failed to make the final cut. These never-before-heard clips are finally ready for their time in the sun. Enjoy some idiotic charming humor and a mild increase in profanity.

We'll be back next week with an all new episode of The Dirt!

Direct download: 154-point-five-b-roll.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:35am EST

Designing the Future, pt. 2: Designing for Space Exploration with Jesse Kriss of NASA's JPL

This week Mark and Steve interview Jesse Kriss of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory about designing for space exploration. Seriously. This episode is about designing for space exploration. Yes, that sound was Steve's heart exploding from happiness.

Direct download: 154-kriss.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:59am EST

Designing the Future, pt. 1: Fictional UI with Chris Noessel

This week we sit down with Chris Noessel, author of Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction to talk about fictional UI. Steve actively exposes how much of a dork he is throughout this epic Dirt episode.

Direct download: 153-noessel.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:43pm EST

From The Dirt Archive: Conflict is the Key to Great UX, with Steve Fisher

On the heels of a great series, we step back a bit to remind ourselves how awesome our friend Steve Fisher is by pulling this classic episode from the archives. We discuss how creating conflict on a project can lead to a much better experience for the end users.

Direct download: 152-archive-fisher.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:41am EST

Performance, pt. 2: Edge-case Web Speed with Colin Bendell of Akamai

Today: a special super-sized episode of The Dirt featuring Colin Bendell, Director in the CTO Office at Akamai. In this wide-ranging discussion, we explore the performance implications of responsive design, the role of CDNs in major world events, and much, much more.

Be sure to listen through the closing music for a bonus, extra-long, extra-thrilling after-show conversation. We had so much fun with Colin, we simply wouldn't let him get back to work! Seriously, this is a good one, folks.

Direct download: 150-bendell.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 7:56am EST

Performance, pt. 3: Designing with a Budget with Dan Mall

This week we sit down with SuperFriendly founder, Dan Mall. To close out our series on performance, we chat with Dan about building and implementing a performance budget. The budgeting design has been an important part of our work in delivering the best experience possible and we're thrilled to have the chance to discuss it with Dan.

Direct download: 151-mall.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:22pm EST

From The Dirt Archive: Responsive Typography with Jason Pamental

With the great news of our friend Jason Pamental coming on board here at Fresh Tilled Soil, we decided to re-release Jason's episode on Responsive Typography. It originally aired on July 29, 2014 and has since been one of our most popular shows. Enjoy!

Direct download: 148-archive-pamental.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:05am EST

Performance, pt. 1: Designing for Speed with Lara Hogan of Etsy

This week on the show, we sit down with Lara Hogan. Lara is the Senior Engineering Manager of Performance at Etsy and author of Designing for Performance. We chat about the importance of performance in experience design, how to get it into our design processes, and how to sell it as part of the culture at a company.

Direct download: 149-hogan.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:25am EST

Successful Product Design, pt. 4: Atomic Design with Brad Frost

For the fourth chapter in our series on Designing a Successful Product, we sit down with Mr. Brad Frost to discuss Atomic Design and creating visual systems. Brad takes us through the benefits of designing systems rather than individual pages. We chat about Pattern Lab, creating style guides, and how to sell someone on the approach. We do all of this with the grace and elegance of a gazelle.

Direct download: 147-frost.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:55pm EST

Successful Product Design, pt. 3: Creating Habits with Nir Eyal

This week, we sit down with Nir Eyal, the author of a book we all love, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir takes us through how to design a successful experience by getting your users to come back. We go into detail about his Hook Model, how people have successfully applied it, and what's coming down the line. Settle in folks, this is a good one!

Direct download: 146-eyal.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:48am EST

Successful Product Design, pt. 2: Branding with Paula Scher of Pentagram

This week on the show we are humbled to sit down with, pillar of the design community, Paula Scher, Partner at Pentagram. We continue our series on designing a successful product with a conversation about the importance of branding. Paula has, in some way, affected all our careers and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with her for this show.

Direct download: 145-scher.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 5:36pm EST

Productizing Your Services

Boston's record snowfall finally caught up with us! We're taking a short breather to prepare a bunch of great new episodes. Today we're republishing one of our favorites from our archive, which originally aired in July 2014. We'll be back with a brand new Dirt next week.

In this classic episode, we talk about how to be a better freelancer by productizing your services. This conversation was recorded on the heels of an article by Robert Williams called Freelance as a Service. We discuss what it means to deliver a service to clients and how to package that up in unique ways. Differentiating yourself with a service-based product can help steer you toward the clients you want and away from the ones you don't.

At the end of the show, we mention Corkscrew, our style guide framework that was in private beta at the time. Corkscrew is now publicly available on GitHub, so check it out!

Direct download: 144-archive-productizing-services.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:58am EST

Successful Product Design, pt. 1: Onboarding with Samuel Hulick

This week, we kick off a series about successful product design by sitting down with Samuel Hulick for a chat about how to onboard users into your product. Samuel is the man behind and has done teardowns for all of our favorite apps including: Slack, Netflix, and Duolingo.

Direct download: 143-hulick.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:00am EST

For part 3 of our series on Experience Development, we sit down with Lead Front-end Developer at Shopify, Jonathan Snook. On this episode we talk about roles in Front-end Development and the importance in identifying the difference between "design implementation" and "application development" can be critical to having a successful team.

Direct download: 142-snook.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:41am EST

Experience Development pt. 2: Progressive Enhancement with Jeremy Keith

This week Steve and I get a chance to sit down with Jeremy Keith of Clearleft and talk about a topic that is very near and dear to our hearts: Progressive Enhancement. We clear up the common confusion between PE and a similiar (but very different) concept in software develoment called graceful degradation, and even get into JavaScript frameworks. Tune in this week to learn from the master, in part 2 of our Experience Development series.

Direct download: 141-keith.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:52pm EST

This week we kick off the start of a new series entitled Experience Development where we look at the coding site of UX. This week's topic is: Universal Access. We sit down with the co-authors of Rosenfeld Media's A Web for EveryoneSarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery to talk about digital accessibility.

Direct download: 140-everyone.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:14pm EST

Creating a Successful Product pt. 3: Getting Funded, with Erin Glenn of Alphaworks

In part 3 of our series entitled, Creating a Successful Product, we sit down with Erin Glenn, CEO at Alphaworks. Erin takes us through the all-important phase of any successful product: getting funded. We talk about classic funding models, kickstarter (crowdfunding), and the new model Alphaworks has been implementing. This is a great episode to find out exactly what it takes to get your product funded!

Direct download: 139-glenn.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:44am EST

This week on The Dirt, we kick off 2015 with a new series entitled, Creating a Successful Product. We sit down with Mike Kruzeniski, the Design Lead at Twitter to talk about his thoughts on how to design successful product. Mike exposes the design culture at Twitter and how they make sure all products are of the highest quality.

Direct download: 137-mkruz.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:50am EST

Creating a Successful Product pt. 2: Marketing & Positioning, with Studio Neat

In part 2 of our series entitled, <em>Creating a Successful Product</em>, we sit down with Tom &amp; Dan from Studio Neat. Studio Neat is a design shop for physical and digital products. We chat with them about marketing, positioning and pricing a product to succeed in the marketplace!

Direct download: 138-studio-neat.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:40am EST

Educating the Web pt. 5 with Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media

This week on the show we sit down with Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media to talk about the role of physical media in Web Design/Development education. Rosenfeld Media has put out many of our favorite books over the years; it was a real treat to sit down and chat with the man behind the paper

Direct download: 136-rosenfeld.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:12am EST

Design Pillars pt. 3: Layout with Nathan Ford of Monotype

On today's episode of The Dirt we sit down with Nathan Ford, Product Manager at Monotype and original conspirator behind Gridset. We take a look at the mysteries of content-out layout, the complications inherent to building great grids, and why all those damned kids love the 960 Grid System so much.

Direct download: 134-nathan-ford.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:37am EST

Open Source pt. 3: The Open Web with Bruce Lawson of Opera


To (maybe) close out our series on Open Source, Steve and I sit down with the great, Bruce Lawsonof Opera! Bruce schools us on why the Open Web is so important to the past and future of our industry. We also chat about the accessibility of Web components, standards and making sausages.

Direct download: 134-lawson.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:05am EST

Design Pillars pt. 2: Typography with Dave Crossland Google Fonts

Today on The Dirt join us for an interview with Dave Crossland, instructor at Crafting Type and consultant to Google Fonts. Join us as we discuss Dave's background and his move to creating typefaces, his open source motivations, and the reasoning behind the existence of Google Fonts.

Direct download: 132-crossland.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 1:03pm EST

Design Pillars pt. 1: Color Theory with Dave Alonzo of Adobe

Today on The Dirt we sit down with Dave Alonzo, Senior Experience Designer at Adobe and member of the Adobe Color CC team. We discuss the Color app for mobile, its evolution from the old days when it was named Kuler, and Adobe's embrace of mobile as an extension of our creative workspace.

Direct download: 131-alonzo.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:30am EST


Today on The Dirt, we finally wrangle the gentleman hosts of BizCraft into the studio. Tune in for a discussion of the death of originality in web design, commoditization of the low end of our market, the actual starting time of beer ‘o’ clock in Florida, and how our profession has responded to a proliferation of high quality and cheap design options.

Direct download: 130-bizcraft.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:57am EST

Open Source pt.2: Licensing Matters with Gabe Levine

Today on The Dirt, join us as we discuss the mystical art of open source licensing with super lawyer Gabe Levine, Esquire. Why should you license your projects? What happens if you don't? Listen in to find out.

Direct download: 129-levine.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:38pm EST

Open Source pt.1: Maintaining Open Source Projects with Jenn Schiffer

On The Dirt today, please welcome Jenn Schiffer of Bocoup. We talk about the details of contributing to and maintaining open source projects, including: setting maintenance expectations; guidelines for being a good contributor; and how to ignite Jenn's ire by nitpicking her build files.

Direct download: 128-schiffer.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:20pm EST

Educating the Web pt. 4 with Paul Jarvis

This week on The Dirt we sit down with web designer, best-selling author &amp; gentleman of adventure Paul Jarvis. Paul gives us the background on his career and how he got into writing and educating as part of his professional offering.

Direct download: 127-jarvis.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 8:31am EST

This week on The Dirt we welcome Dudley Storey, instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, to defend the side of higher education in our ongoing series on education in the web profession. Join us as Dudley fills us in on how web dev education works at his institute and makes us all immediately wish we'd attended college in Canada.

Direct download: 127-storey.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:31pm EST

Today on the show we take a look at our internal methods of professional development at Fresh Tilled Soil. Join us as we discuss our apprenticeship program, the now defunct FTS Labs program, designer/developer knowledge sharing, and the UXpert program.

Direct download: 126-prof-dev.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 9:24am EST

This week on the show Mark and I sit down with Treehouse Teacher and Co-host of The Treehouse Show, Nick Pettit to talk about the current state of education for aspiring Web designers & developers. We discuss the glaring holes in University systems, horrible red tape, and how the folks over at Treehouse are trying to change the way we learn.

Direct download: 125-pettit.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:21am EST

Today on The Dirt we take a look at universal design, the idea of designing and building everything to be accessible to the broadest audience possible regardless of ability, means of access or other constraints that we as designers don't control. Join us for our take on the real meaning of designing for everyone.

Direct download: 124-universal-design.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:44am EST

Live at UX Fest! This week we do a special show in front of a live audience (just like the Cosby Show). We breakdown the concepts behind MVP, talk about how they have been bastardized over the past few years, and what an ideal MVP should look like.

Direct download: 122-mvp.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 1:50pm EST

This week on the show we sit down with Jeff Miller, the Experience Design Director at Foodler. Jim gives us a look into the UX process inside Foodler as we discuss the differences between agencies and product companies (I think Jeff is soured to agencies...). We also get a cool look at new features coming out a Foodler!

Direct download: 121-miller.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:58pm EST

Conflict is the Key to Great User Experience with Steve Fisher

This week on the show with sit down with the UXFest workshopper, Steve Fisher. We discuss how creating conflict on a project can lead to a much better experience for the end users.

Direct download: 120-fisher.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:40pm EST

Extending on our last episode, and Mark's love of Apple, we dig into the UX & UI of the Watch we've all been talking about. We talk about positioning a product based on your audience vs. pivoting to explore a new target market. Steve can't wait for Apple to come out with an anklet, Mark continues to love everything Apple does, and Tim injects reality into the discussion.

Direct download: 119-applewatch.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:50am EST

iPhone 6 UX and ApplePay

With the big announcement from Apple about new additions to the Apple family we discuss how the new larger screened devices affect the UX of a phone (poking at Android, of course) and how it relates to hammering home the importance of Responsive Design. We also crack open ApplePay to discuss how it affects the experience of owning the phone and integrating it deeply into your life. Will Apple succeed where others have failed? Tune in!

Direct download: 118-iphone.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:40am EST


This week we’re lucky to have Partner and Experience Director at Funsize, Anthony Armendariz as our guest. Listen in as we tackle the tricky topic of pricing design work and take an in depth look at Funsize’s approach to the issue.

Direct download: 83-armendariz.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:18pm EST


On this episode of The Dirt we speak with Carl Smith, Advisor to nGen Works and all around nicer human being than any of us can ever aspire to be. We take a look at company culture, the good and bad of running a self-sufficient team, and the general superiority of Florida’s weather.

Direct download: 78-smith.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:12pm EST

James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom from UX Podcast


This week on The Dirt, we finally inject some professionalism into what we do. Please welcome ultra-special guests James Royal-Lawson and Per Axbom of UX Podcast.

Direct download: 85-uxpodcast.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:08pm EST


On this episode of The Dirt we’re joined by Erik Runyon, Director of Web Communications at University of Notre Dame. Spurred on by the recent controversies at Mozilla we take a look at how they operate, discuss the effect they’ve had on the open web, and speculate on their future.

Direct download: 89-mozilla.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:04pm EST

Cortana, Amazon Fire and the Picture Element


Erik Runyon of Notre Dame joins us again as we tackle this week’s news on The Dirt. We discuss Microsoft’s backtracking on Windows 8 and their answer to Siri/Google Now, the new Amazon Fire set-top box, and recent work on implementation of the picture element in Blink.

Direct download: 90-news.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 4:01pm EST

David Heinemeier Hansson of Basecamp

In an extra special episode of The Dirt your scrappy UX underdogs jump into the ring with David Heinemeier Hansson of Basecamp (formerly 37signals). We discuss the new solitary focus on Basecamp, the intricacies of changing a company name, and Tim's failed attempt to squat Basecamp's Facebook profile.

Direct download: 75-hansson.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 3:37pm EST

This week we sit down with Dave Levine, a UX Designer at Draft Kings (fantasy sports product), to talk about designing an experience in high distraction environments. Dave gives us insights into the UX process at Draft Kings and we discuss how to grab a user's attention when their focus is elsewhere. Steve isn't here this week so it's safe for children to tune in.

Direct download: 117-draftkings.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:58am EST

Designing Authentication

Today on The Dirt we take a look at the act of authentication and the ability (or complete inability) to balance security and identification needs with a great user experience.

Direct download: 116-designing-authentication.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:20am EST

The U.S. Digital Services Playbook

Welcome to today's episode of The Dirt. Join us as we discuss the latest government tech initiative, the U.S. Digital Services and their Playbook. Good idea, great idea, greatest idea (HA!)? Who knows!?

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Direct download: 115-digital-services-playbook.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Experience Overreach

Today on The Dirt we discuss the idea of experience over-reach, that <sarcasm>glorious</sarcasm> situation when a company decides that what their users really want is brand engagement instead of a good, old-fashioned nice time.

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Direct download: 114-experience-over-reach.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 10:25am EST

Outlaw UX with Adam Sigel of Aereo


Today on The Dirt, please welcome Adam Sigel of Aereo. Join us for a serious discussion of the UX of media consumption, trolling recruiters by using pets, and the inevitable cinematic masterpiece that is ConAir 2 (ConSPACE!).

Direct download: 113-sigel.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 11:06am EST

Today on The Dirt we discuss privacy on the web through the lens of a recent tracking technique known as canvas fingerprinting. If you've listened long enough you've probably got a good idea of where the opinions split on this topic between your absurd hosts.

Direct download: 112-canvas-fingerprinting.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:07pm EST

Today on The Dirt, we welcome Jason Pamental from H+W Design in Providence, RI. Jason recently wrote a book on responsive typography (called, appropriately enough, Responsive Typography) and we took the opportunity to grill him on the topic. Tune in to hear Jason drop some knowledge on web type and our responsibilities as designers/developers, and Tim get all curmudgeonly on cyclical topics in web development.

Direct download: 111-pamental.mp3
Category:tech -- posted at: 2:04pm EST