Aging into Obsolescence

Giff Constable management, startups, technology

The structure of modern business forces people to become stale as they age. The economic incentives of most creative industries, including tech, all point in this direction. When you are young, you *make* stuff. You code, you design, you write, you execute. You constantly get to practice and improve your making skills. The normal definition of success implies moving up …

Product Theory, a curated software “making” zine

Giff Constable technology

I’ve started curating a “zine” called Product Theory which covers my favorite articles on the broad topic of making great software products (design, management, coding, business models, lean / agile, etc). Product Theory began life as a Flipboard magazine, but thanks to the magic of IFTTT, you can also access the links at and Twitter.

The best take on Google Reader’s demise

Giff Constable technology

The other week, I was saddened to learn that Google Reader is shutting down.  While it feels like much of our industry has switched to Twitter for discovery, I still like following “voices”. Amidst the various reactions to Reader’s demise, the most thoughtful response came from from Vin Vacanti: Glad google reader shutting down. They weren’t improving it and now …

Pitfalls for Designers Learning to Code

Giff Constable technology

Back-End Thinking Getting in the Way Over the last 3 years, I’ve worked on becoming more comfortable with modern tech stacks, starting on the front-end and moving to the back-end. Last week, I noticed a problem when I was doing some collaborative design: I was letting the data model influence my design thinking. i.e. my brain was taking the components of …

What is a Product Designer?

Giff Constable technology, UI/UX

Ross Popoff-Walker asked me on Twitter, “What do you feel is the key difference between a UX Designer and a Product Designer?”. The answer, of course, depends on whom you ask. I use a very expansive definition of the word “design”. Pretty much everything is a design decision. UX, like “product management”, is loosely defined in our industry, but to …

Stop Pretending You’re Not a Tech Company

Giff Constable management, technology

I keep on running into large companies who say they are not a technology company. All I want to do is shake them and say, “Don’t you get it? We’re all technology companies today.” But instead, software gets treated as “IT” and outsourced or managed as a utility. Too often, they don’t hire for creative people; they don’t differentiate creative …

Extrapolating from Kids

Giff Constable technology

It can be amusing to watch adults try to peer into the world of youth and how they use technology. “What can we learn from these alien creatures?” While kids can indeed show future trends, you have to be really careful extrapolating behavior into the future. Examples of mistaken extrapolation: – “Kids love using Club Penguin, so when they grow …

It is easier for e-commerce to embrace content than vice versa

Giff Constable technology

Erin Griffith’s article on content and commerce in PandoDaily got me thinking about the space, now that I’ve had a couple more years of observing players in the market. Some initial observations: Great e-commerce businesses are not affiliate businesses. Rather they have their own products to move (whether branded or third-party vendors). Commerce businesses want growth and engagement, but most …

SSH keys and multiple heroku accounts

Giff Constable technology

When you get stuck on tech ops problems, the web is your friend.  So I figured the least that I could do is contribute for the next person banging their head on this issue… I have multiple heroku accounts for personal and work.  Yesterday, I found that I could not push from git to heroku for a new work project. …

Improving the mobile failure rate

Giff Constable lean, technology, UI/UX

Like much of the tech community, I find mobile incredibly exciting. It brings new use cases and design/tech/marketing challenges galore. But you have to raise your eyebrows at the sheer number of new apps being created right now that only collect dust. There are plenty of startups with dead-end ideas, and that comes with the territory, but especially egregious to …