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Weekly Inspirations: December 1st, 2017

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

Design Systems Handbook

A design system unites product teams around a common visual language. It reduces design debt, accelerates the design process, and builds bridges between teams working in concert to bring products to life. Learn how you can create your design system and help your team improve product quality while reducing design debt.
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Are you familiar with the concept of design (or digital) debt? It happens when you forego operational solutions that could catch up with your team later and contribute to the natural decay of a long-term project. Design debt might be inevitable, but there’s a way around it—design systems. Unlike cobbling together design components like pattern libraries and style guides, a design system functions as “the official story of how an organization designs and builds products.” It includes ingredients, as design system expert and Atomic Design author Brad Frost says, like design principles, UI components, UX guidelines, code standards, processes, design toolkits, code repositories, resources, and more.
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When it comes to designer-developer collaboration, these are 3 of the biggest issues: lack of alignment, bottlenecks in delivery, and no central hub. One of the easiest solutions is to just have everybody sit together, but that’s not exactly possible when you’re a remote worker. With more and more companies going fully remote or giving employees the option to work remotely, it’s not uncommon for design and engineering teams to be located across different time zones. So, let’s get to it: here are 4 ways for remote designers and developers to close in on better collaboration.
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Ditch Your Lame PowerPoint And Try These Apps Instead

Four years ago, FiftyThree—the team of ex-Microsoft creatives who launched a wildly popular iPad sketching app called Paper—was flush with venture capital and full of expansion ideas that they put into action. They started producing hardware: an iPad stylus called (unluckily) Pencil. They expanded the app to work on iPhones as a Post-it-esque idea jotter. They experimented with in-app purchases and a patronage model. They even soft-launched a whole new app called Paste, which lets Slack users pass visual materials back and forth with ease. But all this activity had a somewhat flailing feel: What was Fiftythree’s core business? Was it about productivity software, or creative apps? Now, with a relaunch of both Paper and Paste, the company seems to have its story straight again. And that story is . . . they’re about productivity and creativity. And making great slide decks.
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How Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Amazon Learn from Failure

Why, all of a sudden, are so many successful business leaders urging their companies and colleagues to make more mistakes and embrace more failures? In May, right after he became CEO of Coca-Cola Co., James Quincey called upon rank-and-file managers to get beyond the fear of failure that had dogged the company since the “New Coke” fiasco of so many years ago. “If we’re not making mistakes,” he insisted, “we’re not trying hard enough.” In June, even as his company was enjoying unparalleled success with its subscribers, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings worried that his fabulously valuable streaming service had too many hit shows and was canceling too few new shows. “Our hit ratio is too high right now,” he told a technology conference. “We have to take more risk…to try more crazy things…we should have a higher cancel rate overall.”
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Jim Beam Has the Sassy, Whiskey-Pouring Voice Assistant You Never Knew You Needed

Jim Beam is making a foray into the newly popular voice-activated home tech category … with a delightfully absurd machine. The whiskey marketer is billing it as the “first-ever artificially intelligent decanter,” and calling it, naturally, “Jim.” A parody of toys like Amazon Echo and Google Home, it’s available for pre-order at $34.90 and voiced by Fred Noe, seventh generation master distiller for the brand.
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