In the clouds

We all know by now that peer reviews are a valuable means of saving ourselves the heartache of trial and error for products and services we are considering. 

We also all know that when you see repeated reviews stating "this app is the best" with no reasons why and no caveats for its imperfections (usually one lone naysayer gives too many specific flaws to ignore) that those reviews are not real. 

There is conjecture as to who writes them just as it's assumed but not confirmed who writes certain propaganda, but it's hard to trust reviews in the App Store these days. 

The ghosts of subpar apps haunt your devices and a quest for improvement often leads into a vortex of more of the same frustration.

Time is the one thing in finite supply for each of us and we are looking for ways to take care of business more efficiently so we can spend more hours being creative, enjoying the company of our loved ones and exploring our interests. 

We don't want things that trick us, saying they will do all that only to fail in the crucial delivery of improving our actual lives. 

That is why designers must think like humans who need what they're designing, engineers must test for contingent parameters that could arise to completely disrupt their intention, and distributors must understand what need their product is filling to drive demand.

To half-ass the "tool" you profess is "the best" for solving some problem a human has somewhere in the world seems counter-intuitive yet they do it all the time. 


When I got laid off from a particularly abusive post, I was deep in the late stages of "brownout," which career advice specialists define as extended burnout. I'd been working in burnout stage for years (working as a woman in entertainment meant 80 hour weeks at 30% less pay than male counterparts so the catch-22 is you always have to work 80 hour weeks to survive). 

I had managed to save enough for a few months so I took the opportunity to test all the tools available to me to become the super-producer I had in me but never had time to fully explore. Trial and error, exhaustive research (I always try to seek three sources which takes a long time in some instances) and testing all the productivity, visual curating, storytelling and content creating applications I found through business and creative articles, peer recommendations and the dreaded App Store and google chrome extension apps. 

I've narrowed it down to categories (of course, I am OCD Virgo, scored 98% on GRE logic tests, got an A+ in philosophy at Berkeley & am known to be precise with some notable mishaps and exceptions but not in this medium) and given empirical rationale for my ranking. Or I should say I will. I have written my notes on paper and in evernote but I want to compile them here. 

The column will be called "don't waste your time!" (Because I already did!) 

More to come! Stay tuned!