The Final Post

Karangahape Rd, Auckland 2019 (Photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

Thank you.

For the past four and a half months, you’ve read my ramblings as I etched my thoughts on here, one post at a time.

Looking back at them I see this has been a practice in sharing and reflecting, which developed into a daily ritual. Posting the blog created structure amongst the empty space I was in. It was a voice I didn’t know I had.

Now I feel it is time to say goodbye. I am grateful for anyone who read my blog, took away from it, and I can say I enjoyed every minute of it.

Go well and kill it in the game 🙂

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

– Albert Einstein

Dust in the Wind

Skycity, Auckland City 2019 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone.

All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity. Dust in the wind. All they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea. All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see.

Dust in the wind. All we are is dust in the wind. Oh, ho, ho.

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky

It slips away

And all your money won’t another minute buy

Dust in the wind

All we are is dust in the wind.”

– Kansas, 1978.

Fire in the Sky

Auckland City, NZ. October 22, 2019 (Photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

Today the streets of Auckland Central were at a stand still as fire and black smoke engulfed the blue sky.

Passers by including myself looked on in awe and took pictures as the roof of the Skycity Convention Centre went up in flames.

There is a raging and unstoppable burning fire tonight.

Civil defence have issued an emergency alert to all mobile phones across the city. We are being told to stay indoors and away from the toxic smoke.

Tonight will be restless from some, as firefighters carry on through the night.

The fire burns on, hard and fast.


Parnell French Market, Auckland NZ 2012 (Photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

From time to time we all just want some treats.

You can only tempt so much before we feel that we have earned the prize.

If you create an expectation of a reward, a build up, then you should be prepared to deliver. When this does not happen we lose trust.

The reward should exceed expectations. It should shout from the rooftops “Here I am!” in a way that you would never have expected.

It often doesn’t take much to give, and you will gain the hearts and minds of all that receive it.

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”

– Og Mandino

User Experience

Auckland, NZ 2012 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

It never leaves your side, it is the single most used item in your life right now, and you take it absolutely everywhere you go. You rely on it for almost everything, and it has the power to cause you major stress when you can’t locate it.

Welcome to your mobile phone.

Of course not everyone will fit into this category, but for the majority of the western world, our phones have become ubiquitous, and we seldom use them for actually talking to people.

Now let’s talk about you for a minute: the user.

You’re either in your teens, living on Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify. Or maybe your twenties, also living on Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify (though you may have discovered Podcasts too). Perhaps you are a fifty two year old sales rep for a pharmaceutical start up and you need some big and bold TEXT and long lasting battery life. So, as the product manager for [insert your phone brand of choice here] you need to cater for the needs of many. How on earth do you tackle such a monumental endeavor?

You could start with why.

Why are you creating this thing? There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of creating amazing products that people fall in love with, and usually the user won’t know what hit them – and they probably never realized they wanted it in the first place!

At its core, products are made with people in mind. How will people interact with it? What feelings will it bring them? Will it be a thing of beauty as well as function? Last but not least, can you ship it? Because a beautiful product that is not ready to ship is a ghost.

Empathize with the user, and put yourself in their minds and hearts. Design the things that you would want to have for yourself. Design with passion and love.

If something is not good enough, stop doing it.”

– Jonathan Ive

Source of Truth

New York 2017 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

Ask any teenager what they learned in Mathematics this week and you might receive a look of deep pensiveness followed by some slow head scratching. Now ask that same teenager to name their top five mobile apps, and they will spit them out in less time than it takes you to unlock your phone.

We’re living in a new frontier, a digital landscape that is ever changing, growing exponentially and shaping more than just our technology. Cars, Kitchens, Watches, Security, are just some of the ‘Internet of Things’, and this will evolve rapidly over the next 5 years. Disruption isn’t simply a buzzword that employers and entrepreneurs like to toss around, it is real now in every sense of the word. From innovation to job losses, is disruption becoming the new norm?

How many teenagers are growing up believing that YouTube is the center of all information? There is a part of me that worries about the future landscape from a quality perspective. Some major leaps we’ve made in AI engineering and automation have resulted in quite terrifying results (again I link to Cathy O’Neil’s book ‘Weapons of Math Destruction‘), and I hope that we can regain our humanity in some way, amid such a fast paced revolution.

In order to determine how the world will look like five years, simply observe any teenager right now. How they treat others, how they treat themselves, and how much of their time is spent interacting with their mobile device/ console/ computer, blissfully unaware of the real world around them.

“Whereas before, if I watch this video from a comedian, our recommendations were pretty good at saying, here’s another one just like it. But the Google Brain model figures out other comedians who are similar but not exactly the same — even more adjacent relationships. It’s able to see patterns that are less obvious.”

– Jim McFadden, the Technical Lead for YouTube recommendations

Art of Deception

Auckland City, NZ 2019 (Photo Credit: Christian Espinoza)

We are all storytellers, every single one of us. Our method however, is largely non verbal.

I always used to tell my son that he has no poker face, because he simply couldn’t lie to save himself. But like him, not all of us are experts at lying, in fact we rarely are. Our body language gives us away.

Incongruity is prevalent when we’re really trying to deceive, we can’t hold the lie for too long before slipping up somehow. My son’s friend is a classic case. For a thirteen year old he’s surprisingly good, but as soon as I suspect he’s pulling a fast one on me, I hit him with some incredibly specific questions. It forces him to think about the story of the lie (whilst ultimately knowing the truth) and that’s when it becomes apparent. I notice his eyes drift upward to the ceiling as he processes the lie in his head. His hands start rubbing against his neck as a means of self soothing, and the main the main giveaway is the lack of eye contact.

Just for fun, next time you meet someone for the first time, notice their non verbal language. For example, how far away they stand from you, if they make eye contact, where they position their hands, what their feet do, whether or not they’re well groomed.

People are always talking, but we should learn to listen more with our eyes.

Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.

– Arthur Conan Doyle, author of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes