Channeled Procrastination

By on in Everything Else, Process

I procrastinate.

In high school it was a huge issue for me, because as a high schooler I was still inexperienced at it. I frequently found myself in last-minute mode, moving swiftly from one self-induced crisis to another.

College wasn’t any better. The assignments were more spread out, but the due dates tended to be final due dates, whereas in high school there were usually several interim deadlines for milestones. Continue reading …


Designing for Engagement

By on in Design

One of the most interesting distinctions we make in design is between service design and engagement design. Service design is oriented around helping someone achieve a task. The interface that asks for information and prints your boarding pass is service design – it’s successful if you get through it without mistakes as quickly as possible. On the other hand, Engagement design is oriented around keeping people’s attention. If you’re binging a TV show, scrolling down a news feed, or liking your friend’s posts, you’re in an environment designed for engagement.

Designing for engagement means offering up lots and lots of content to keep people interested. A key performance metric for engagement design may be how many posts a user reads, or how many videos they go through without returning to the homepage or search. The end goal of both business and user is a steady flow of content that keeps a user’s attention. Continue reading …


Carbon Five Wins Amplitude Emerging Product Leaders Award

By on in Process, Product Management

We were honored to receive the award for Outstanding Product Agency in Amplitude’s Emerging Product Leaders Awards.

This award is for the agency that provides clients the best product development, growth, or strategy support. At Carbon Five, product managers help clients to transform their vision into reality. We also build high-performing teams, mentoring client PMs and leaders so that they can continue to build amazing things once we roll off the project. Continue reading …


Problematic Terminology in Open-Source

By on in Database, Development, Open Source

It remains a common practice in database systems today to refer to configurations where one database is a source of truth, and another database is a replica that follows the state of the source of truth database as a “master/slave” configuration.

Use of this term is problematic. It references slavery to convey meaning about the relationship between two entities. The term “slave” is used because one system is controlling the state of the other system.

Using these terms like this is cavalier. It downplays slavery and the massive human suffering it causes. By having an everyday use for the term “slave” we normalize the concept of having things called “slaves” and it desensitizes us to the seriousness of slavery. More importantly, the casual use of the term may be an unwelcome daily presence in the life of a person of color, for whom slavery has great personal significance. Continue reading …


Dyslexia vs Typography

By on in Design

Design has made leaps and bounds to accommodate for all types of visual, auditory, and physical limitations. However, there are some boundaries to what it can accomplish. One example of this boundary where design has not been able to bridge the gap is Dyslexia.

I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia at the age of eight after three years of struggling through public school curriculum and having teachers say, “You should probably be held back.” It’s an issue that has shaped much of my opinion on design.

Every few months, an article appears in the news about a font that will help people with dyslexia read and “relieve” them of their symptoms; it is frustrating to say the least. What these articles fail to understand is the difference between legibility and accessibility. Let me explain why. Continue reading …


Product Management Resources for Designers

By on in Design, Product Management

Product Managers are awesome! They keep goals in mind and priorities at the forefront –
and when designers get to work with them, it’s a real treat. Clearly, there is a lot of overlap in skill sets, but sometimes you’ll find yourself on a team without a dedicated PM. So if you’re a designer in a position where you need to do a little PM’ing – you’ll want to have these skills.

For a primer on what a Product Manager is and does on an Agile team, check out this great resource. The role is a bit tricky – and as a designer, the work can feel uncomfortable at first because PM deliverables can seem much less concrete than design’s. But, if you can master the secret art of Product Management, you will be a much better designer for it. Continue reading …


Minimum Viable Process

By on in Process, Product Management

If I mention the word “agile” to you, a couple of rituals common to agile methodologies probably come to mind. Daily stand-ups and iteration planning probably top the list, and you probably think of other agile concepts like user stories and estimating their complexity with an arbitrary number of points. Continue reading …


A Proposal: Elixir-Style Modules in JavaScript

By on in Development, Elixir, JavaScript

Moving your code towards a more functional style can have a lot of benefits – it can be easier to reason about, easier to test, more declarative, and more. One thing that sometimes comes out worse in the move to FP, though, is organization. By comparison, Object Oriented Programming classes are a pretty useful unit of organization – methods have to be in the same class as the data they work on, so your code is pushed towards being organized in pretty logical ways.

Continue reading …


Lean Canvas as a Prioritization Tool

By on in Product Management

We <3 Prioritizing

In modern software processes, prioritization is at the core of what we do.

We prioritize because we don’t like waste. Waste:

  • Of human effort, which is disrespectful.
  • Of money.
  • Of time.

If you’re wasting one of them, you’re probably wasting all of them.

Prioritizing is variously simple, complicated, demanding, exhausting, and strangely emotional.

In this series, we introduce some tools and strategies that can help you successfully navigate prioritization on your product, at every level and every phase of product definition and development. Continue reading …