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Nuggets of Knowledge: April 2015

By April 30, 2015Nuggets of Knowledge

Mack Web is now Genuinely. Learn more.

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Systems and design, quitting and creativity, a scathing denunciation of dickheads – such a collection of introspection, practical advice, geekery, and judiciously applied profanity can only mean one thing. That’s right, friends. It’s NOKlist time.

(If you’ve never had the pleasure of reading the Nuggets of Knowledge our team collects, check out the NOKlist archive.)

Ayelet’s Pick

The Fringe Benefits of Quitting

by Liz Danzico



If you have 26 minutes to spend doing something today, spend it watching this talk by Liz Danzico, NPR Creative Director. You will not be disappointed. (Unless you were hoping to talk about the latest SEO algorithm changes, in which case I can’t help you.)

What Liz takes on in this talk is the idea that we have to finish everything that we start, whether in our personal or professional lives. Sometimes we’d do better to shift or change our original plan rather than just hit all those milestones. By doing so, we’re allowing ourselves to become more effective in our work and in our lives. It was an empowering talk and one that I may have to rewatch in the future. If you’re ready to reclaim the words “quit” and “failure,” watch this talk.

Watch the talk

Mack’s Pick

Here’s Why You Should Care About Holacracy

by Adam Pisoni



I’ve always been a sucker for systems and processes. I’ve done a whole lot of reading about how you can make the systems and processes in your organization more adaptive so that they’re flexing and breathing with the rhythm of your organization rather than causing road blocks or stunting growth.

Lately it’s been Holacracy that has been providing the insight and wisdom that has me completely absorbed. It’s a more progressive way of shaping your organization and it helps you operate with greater efficiency and also better distribute the power and authority in your company.

What I love about this post is the honesty that Adam provides about Holacracy and how, like any big change you’d make in your organization, it’s not an easy journey. Mack Web has been implementing many Holacratic principles, testing it bit by bit to see how it treats us. We’re observing and adjusting and making it fit for our culture and our company as we go, but we’re committed to a better way of building this company. The best part about this is how it ultimately changes the companies we have the opportunity of working with and shaping.

There’s so much great insight in here. I’d highly recommend this post and would love to hear how your organization is using Holacracy.

Read the post

Nat’s Pick

7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility

by Jesse Hausler



The web is an integral tool in our day-to-day functions. Often times, it’s the first place we go to check finances, access health care, search for jobs, get driving directions, or connect with friends and family. Which means it’s more important than ever to design solutions that work for everyone, including those with disabilities.

Accessibility, as this post defines it, “enables people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web.” A great reference piece, this post will provide you with a list of design rules to keep in mind (and has plenty of visual examples). Use it to ensure your website or product meets minimum accessibility standards, and ultimately, becomes accessible for a wider set of users.

Read the post

Olivia’s Pick

No Dickheads! A Guide to Building Happy, Healthy, and Creative Teams

By Rhys Newman and Luke Johnson



“There is a perpetuated myth within the design community, that a single visionary is required to build great products. Rubbish. Great teams build great products.” Yes to this. And yes to every one of the insightful, incisive thoughts that fill every paragraph of this article.

Though this piece about how to build great teams is framed within the context of a design studio, it’s abundantly relevant to teams everywhere. The common theme here: there’s a deep connection between how team members connect and treat each other, and what that team builds and does.

Rhys Newman and Luke Johnson dive into the behaviors that create a positive and creative place to work. Some of these are what they term “subtle rituals” (saying goodbye and goodnight, eating together, for example); some of these relate to attitude (choosing optimism and laughter); some relate to behaviors (we can all learn from storytelling, so read and study fiction. As an English major, I wholeheartedly approve this message); and one is perfectly titled “No Dickheads Allowed.”

All are worth reading—and remembering.

Read the post

Rebecca’s Pick

Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show

by Des Doyle, director; funded by the Irish Film Board and Kickstarter



There is one sure way to get me to stop watching television and do something relatively productive: start a documentary.

Recently, however, this tactic failed … miserably. The detachment of arse from couch had finally succeeded, and I was considering my next move when, all of a sudden, I heard these fateful words from my husband’s lips: “Oh, crap.”

My head rose up from my current distraction, much like a prairie dog from her hole, to see geek god J.J. Abrams on the screen, followed by (no lesser of a god) Joss Whedon. With jaw in dropped position, I was barely able to make it back to the couch without tripping over the cat (sorry, pal).

Showrunners is the first ever feature-length documentary film of its kind (and now a book!), and it’s been many years in the making. As a part of the growing segment of TV watchers who nerdishly desire to know how the proverbial hot dog is made, this insider’s guide is like catnip (again, sorry, pal).

Fortunately, this increasing appreciation for the creative process (triumphs, heartaches, and everything in between) has turned previously invisible – and sinfully unappreciated – behind-the-scenes men and women into celebrities. And it’s also incredibly validating for anyone who works hard to bring any piece of creative to fruition.

Watch the brief trailer to get a taste for Showrunners, and then go stream it on Netflix (cat tripping not required).

Watch the trailer

Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

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