From the Mob to UX — 2016 in words

My reading list for the past year

In the search of hallmarks and indicators for foregone dreams, ambitions and hopes in the past twelve months we consider photographs, videos and music in High-Fidelity-esque best of 2016 lists.

Yet when it comes to what sticks in my brain, it is the written word, slowly twisting itself into my cognitive curvatures, waiting to pop up during conversations and reflections. Some articles are carried along month over month and even so the text might be forgotten, the essence lingers rhythmically around.

I want to use the late opportunity for a review of 2016 and list my personal favorite articles from the past year. Some of these brilliant pieces have been written before 2016, but found their way only in the past months into my hands. I hope you can find the same fascination and inspiration between these lines as I did. At last it is the written word that lasts.

1. The Mob’s IT Department

How two technology consultants helped drug traffickers hack the Port of Antwerp… By Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley

This article will take you deep into the world of cyber crime. But rather than hacking elections or stealing passwords from a quirky search engine provider! the villains are perpetrating shipping containers.

2. Hunter S. Thompson on Finding Your Purpose

The young Hunter S. Thompson is providing his opinion on purpose in life, and work, to a struggling friend. Even in his young years he posses the precise observation techniques which turned his later novels into commentaries on a lost liberal nation. Giving the last turbulent months, Hunter S. Thompson stays as relevant as he always been.

3. Tastemaker

How Spotify’s Discover Weekly cracked human curation at internet scale by Ben Popper

In the search of new user experiences the team of Spotify’s Discover Weekly found a smart and scaleable way to combine human curation and data analysis. I bet you did recognize the differences to Apple’s own playlists!

4. My Best Advice for Conducting User Interviews

by Whitney Hess

A little bit older, but still the gold standard when it comes to conducting user interviews. I am always surprised how many times I keep referring to its simplistic rules for user interviews.

5. The Teflon Toxin — DuPont and the Chemistry of Deception

by Sharon Lerner

It is a very sticky affair — the invention and consistent production of Teflon: the non-sticking pan adhesive causes cancer and other fall-outs on its producers and adherent communities.

6. The Bouvier Affair -How an art-world insider made a fortune by being discreet

by Sam Knight

A read for the pure leisure and an undisturbed view into the world of art trading and investments. It might as well be from another planet.

7. The Strange Brain of the World’s Greatest Solo Climber

by J.B. MacKinnon

Consider you stand on a ledge, 2000 meters above any form of solid matter, and you are not afraid: Are you a blessed individual or a handicapped brain dummy? Alex Honnold, free climber, asks himself this questions and joins the hunt for his very own secret.

8. Set It and Forget It: How Default Settings Rule the World

by Lena Groeger

While providing you with insights for your UX projects, but also for hacking your own personal patterns, we learn that default does not mean basic.

9. Why Aren’t You Asking Questions?

by Janice Gervais

Why? One of the simplest advices for working collaboratively with clients: Just ask questions and try to understand them before you start running in a direction which might be quite off the expected path.

I hope this list provided you with the same inspiration as each article did for me in the last year. While I am not a fan of pledges or resolutions I am trying to find a default setting for my reading patterns. 2017, lets see…



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Niklas Laasch

Niklas Laasch

Innovation, Strategy, Design Thinking, Healthcare