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A podcast that explores the world from the lens of a designer. A deep dive on the intersections of the following topics: Technology, Writing, Human-Computer Interaction, among others.


working title nikki espartinez

    • Arts

A podcast that explores the world from the lens of a designer. A deep dive on the intersections of the following topics: Technology, Writing, Human-Computer Interaction, among others.


    #39: On Saying Yes and Having More

    #39: On Saying Yes and Having More

    One can’t go through a conversation nowadays without having the word, ‘Multi-’ attached in it. I took up Multimedia Arts in College a decade ago and even up to this day, I still can’t come up with a proper, simpler, perhaps more succinct description for what it actually means. It’s a fallacy, really.

    That ‘many’ would always be synonymous with the ideals of ‘better’, ‘progress’, ‘success’, ‘the right way to go’. Take American big box stores, for example. I don’t frequent a lot of them for this very reason: I have very little need for ‘more’ of what they are selling. Although they all have varying degrees of business models, store experiences, target audience range and branding, they all seem to preach the same message to the loyal masses: bigger and more stuff for absolutely lower prices, guaranteed. BIGGER. MORE. LOWER PRICES. I have no doubt in my mind that, in terms of modern day business strategy, this is actually genius work. It is effective for what it sought out to do. It just works for almost everybody.

    But at what cost? Do we really need more stuff? Is there a correlation between how big our garages and TVs are with the growth of own personal happiness? Why does it matter that it’s on sale if the one we have right now is perfectly working? At what point will we stop and say, ‘maybe we don’t need to part with our money right now to feel accomplished’? Am I getting high off the ubiquitous ‘add-to-cart’ buttons especially with the stress of the world right now?

    It’s not so bad, right? It’s all harmless… stuff, right?

    Unfortunately, there’s a hidden cost to having ‘more’ of what we can actually handle. In Product and in UX, this is usually resolved with the practice of Feature Prioritization. You basically group features and rank them based on a few different metrics: value, technical difficulty, strength of user need and demand etc. It prevents teams from clogging up softwares with untested stuff simply because every single one of them costs money and energy. So, therefore, one has to bet wisely and make smarter decisions with where to focus on with the highest chance of impact possible. No decent product manager in the world would disagree to this. At least, I would hope so.

    More is not always better. Focus is completely underrated in a world where everyone is trying to have everything, even at the expense of these hidden costs:

    Quality: Are we doing more things but with less than the capacity and attention it deserves?

    Environment: Is—whatever this is—sustainable? If not, is it worth the harm it’ll produce naturally? Or will it be just a forgotten thing a few seasons from now?

    Morality: Who is making that sacrifice so we can all enjoy a low-cost _insert X consumer product_?

    Time: By saying Yes to this, what am I saying No to? I have limited time to really live, is this the best use for it at the moment?

    Personal: Will this—whatever it is—make me feel more and more human (compassionate, empathetic, generous, conscientious etc)? or will this do the exact opposite? And how is this good for the world (country, society, home) right now?

    If all of this is true, and there really are hidden costs to saying yes and having more, then what is stopping us from changing this culture? Is this the kind of world we want our kids to wake up to and get excited about? Whatever happened to the good old fashioned selective and deliberate ownership of time, money, energy and resources.

    There is a price to pay for saying yes and having more. It’s just not as fashionable nor profitable nor, in some cultures, acceptable to say out loud. I have faith that we can change that by design.

    To be extra focus and intentional for every single bucket we pour our time, money and energy on is the daily goal.

    Who knows, if we do that often enough, maybe we can wake up in a world where the most exciting thing to talk about is less Black Friday sales and more of the

    • 6 min
    [AUDIO BONUS!] Chasing The Flow State Through Writing and More

    [AUDIO BONUS!] Chasing The Flow State Through Writing and More

    This was first published on my Medium account. Loved it so much that I’ve decided to create an audio recording of it. I hope you enjoy!

    Some thoughts about what I’ve learned so far from starting a newsletter:

    Writing is an act of thinking made public.

    I don’t need a quote to confirm what’s already pretty obvious: Writing exposes a person’s brain. A trick I often use every time I find myself stuck on a difficult problem: I write about it. Everything from defining what the problem is to articulating, sometimes not very well, the big picture, it helps to truly (and I mean, truly) understand things from first principles. At the end of the day, words are the most accessible medium we have. It pays to master them. It pays even more to be brave enough & share them.

    Networking as an experience, typically, sucks. Connection-building through content creation is a better, more superior alternative.

    When you share a piece of you through the work that you do, you tend to put yourself in such a unique position for serendipity. Especially with the internet, user-generated data finds a way and it only takes ONE to lead you to that rare, like-minded person, a problem-ridden, design-starved startup, a future colleague or simply an accidental friend. I can attest to having encounters with at least one of these. Newsletters isn’t just a platform. It’s a bridge. A damn valuable one for people, if you ask me.

    The ROI for writing is flow state.

    Flow state is a fleeting moment, a little congested bubble of tremendous energy, a temporary state of mind. It is difficult to describe for people who don’t chase it, don’t want it or worse, do not care for it. In a nutshell, flow is a force that makes anything and everything possible. It is both internal and externally-driven. I can never get enough of this. Behind every post, draft or published, is a jolt of it. Clearly, it is more potent and more powerful than any other motivator. To me, anyway.

    Write everyday, even if it is not easy. A message I told myself from day one when I was wrapped with anxiety, excitement, fear and a plethora of other emotions that come naturally with creative pursuits.

    Outside of personal relationships, nothing made me feel more alive than this longterm relationship I have with words. I consider this a priceless asset.

    Thank you for reading,


    🚨🚨🚨 PRO-BONO 🚨🚨🚨

    MANILA, PHILIPPINES ONLY — Are you a student or do you know of students who need UX or Design mentorship? Looking to get into tech as a career path? I am willing to donate a portion of my time for free this Christmas for folks who need help. In general, for knowledge work (product, design, startups, innovation) categories. Exclusive for fellow Filipinos in the Philippines only.For serious inquiries only. Please get in touch: nikkiespartinez@gmail.com

    Random media

    A podcast episode I would recommend:

    Lessons of Greatness: Finding Success With ‘Big D Design’ by Mike Maples Jr. — This was so good, I listened to it twice. A short monologue about design in the most holistic point-of-view: companies, team, lifestyle, self. It’s punchy, gritty and honest-to-the-core about what it means to really live a well-intentioned, well-designed LIFE.

    A book I am currently reading:

    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain — Finally, after months of watching the author, Susan’s talks, I caved in and bought this amazing book. I’ll reserve a lot of what I feel about it once I’m done. Just to emphasize just how engaging this book is: it’s too powerful and tremendously thoughtful, it temporarily made me forget all the other books I am currently reading.

    🎁 Give the gift of learning. I wrote a yearend post, a package of some sort, to summarize the best of what I’ve written this year. Whether you are a designer who cares about business, or you are a curious person who’s into design, there might be something h

    • 3 min

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