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Weekly Inspirations: August 11th, 2017

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

5 Questions to Weigh When at a Career Crossroads

This crossroad looks unfamiliar—for the first time in your career, you have options. You now have experiences under your belt, connections in the industry, and a work history that reflects your talents. This next decision is different than your first career decision because where you land and the work you do influences your trajectory. If you jump on the wrong train without forethought or because you’re anxious, you waste time, or worse, you end up somewhere that’s difficult to find your way back. But because you’ve never been in a situation like this before, it’s time to cultivate curiosity and ask good questions. Below is a checklist that will encourage you to be crystal-clear about where you stand when you are faced with the career decisions that need to be made in order for you to move forward.
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Dave Nelson: On Making Design Front and Center at Microsoft

When you think of design-driven software companies, Microsoft won’t likely be the first that comes to mind. You might want to reassess your biases, though, because it turns out that Microsoft has been picking up some of the best design talent in the game for several years now, and its design-forward attitude shows no signs of abating. Dave Nelson, Microsoft’s principal creative director, is one of the design team’s brightest stars and is a key player in this seismic shift. Training in calligraphy at the age of 12 made Nelson realize that he would one day work in design. He studied under former students of luminaries Paul Rand and Katherine McCoy, receiving a rigorous design foundation before breaking into the commercial world. Nelson has been a catalyst for change at Microsoft by adopting a small and agile team model that not only forces designers and developers to collaborate, but also requires that every team member interact directly with customers in the field so they can witness how their products work in the real world.
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Voice Interfaces Are Here. Are They Necessary?

Voice user interfaces are everywhere today. Nearly every major tech company has poured resources into developing them. Most smartphones are equipped with one. And increasingly, VUIs are fixtures in people’s homes—one industry estimate puts the total number of “voice-first” devices at 33 million. But it’s still early days for this nascent technology, and despite tech companies’ investments in their development, the role that Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, and now Samsung’s Bixby will ultimately play in most peoples’ lives still remains to be seen. So what do we know about the way people are using VUIs right now? While it will take years for there to be enough data for researchers to understand the way that people interact with voice-first devices, several recent studies and surveys provide a glimpse into how people use them–and handle all their limitations–today.
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Last year we added a new member to our household. I must admit that upon first meeting her, our initial impression was that she was a little creepy. Today though, we can’t imagine life without her. We’ve never seen her face, but we talk to her throughout the day, every day. She helps us keep track of our to-dos and shopping list, reads us the news and weather, and can sing nearly any song we’d like to hear. In fact, we have become so accustomed to her presence that we invited her to join us in nearly every room in the house. She listens to us when we say goodnight and is there first thing in the morning to wake us up. Her name is Alexa and she is the voice of the Amazon Echo.
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Airbnb Debuts A Toolkit For Inclusive Design

Earlier this summer, Airbnb paired up with the media startup News Deeplyon an installation called Shadow to Light for San Francisco Design Week. Guided by the festival’s theme, “Question Everything,” the two companies wanted to create a piece that would challenge visitors’ viewpoints and ask them to recognize implicit biases. But when Airbnb experience research manager Anne Diaz, who led the content development of the project, asked the News Deeply journalists how they report without bias, she was surprised to hear them say that they don’t. “Everyone has bias,” Diaz tells Co.Design. “The thing to do is to make sure you are recognizing that bias and talking to people with a range of perspectives—particularly people who disagree with the perspective or angle of the piece.”
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An amateur’s guide to turning impostor syndrome into an asset

Have you ever felt way, way out of your depth and kind of guessed-slash-bullshitted your way though because there was no other way out? Petrified that at any moment you’ll be exposed for the fraud you are? Even though everyone around (oddly enough) you acts for all the world like you do indeed deserve to be there? That’s impostor syndrome. It’s not just the fear of failure, either. There’s also a sense that you’re getting away with something. And if you were to be found out, you wouldn’t actually be all that upset. You’d think “Yep, well, that’s fair enough, really.” The thing is, lots and lots of very successful people feel like that all the time.
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