Plus the world’s greatest sports competition 
The Last Few Weeks.

A monthly roundup of product design, email, and climate news.
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Welcome to Issue #5.

The world cup starts this weekend. I grew up playing and have followed professional teams most of my life, so to say I’m excited is an understatement. If you’d like a primer, N+1 has published some funny previews for past tournaments (2010, 2014, 2018).

I’m supposed to root for my home country, but America doesn’t prioritize world football so I usually root for Germany since my dad is german. Though despite being a perennially strong squad, Die Mannschaft is between golden generations and probably won’t win this year. I predict Belgium wins this one before their own golden generation ages out.

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to a month of top shelf football.

In this issue: Swim lanes, climate questions for designers, and really good illustrations.

Opening scene from the NRA episode of the simpsons where a cowboy takes a flaming soccer ball off a grill and shouts 'Open wide for some soccer!'.

⚽️ Product Design

I recently read an interview with Figma’s first product manager and this part stuck out.

Product Managers were not authoritarians. We were on the same sphere as engineers and designers. The culture at Figma facilitates the best ideas to emerge, rather than ensuring that Product Managers have some kind of overt authority. That's what works – I give feedback on design and they give me feedback on my product plan. If they felt it was important to give me feedback, then I should take it seriously.

Hell yeah!

This reminds me of swim lanes, the concept that everyone should stick to their specialty.

I love working on teams where folks DON’T stay in their lane. Designers writing specs. Engineers doing research. PMs creating wireframes. There’s so much value in collaboration that breaks down the silos between disciplines.

I firmly believe many great design ideas come from non-designers.

🏟 Climate Tech

We all have a role to play in tackling climate change, even if we don’t work in the climate sector. Microsoft’s Leave No Trace suggests a few questions we can ask when starting any new project:

Are we encouraging people to conserve or consume?

What resources are we depleting, and how could we regenerate or offset them?

Who is harmed, and who is helped if this project succeeds?

Are we helping a community regenerate a resource at the cost of depleting that of another community?

By asking these questions, we can get a climate conversation started at our own companies without changing job titles. “It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?”

I should add these to my design spec template.

🏆 Fun

Lex logo.

Lex helped me write this email. I started each section with a sentence or two of my own, asked Lex write more, and edited (or deleted) what it spit out. It can’t write an entire newsletter, but it did help me get unstuck several times.

P.S. I have a few invites, reply to this email or DM me on Twitter if you’d like one.

While reflecting on my three months writing this newsletter, I realized that doing this every two weeks doesn’t leave time for much else. So I’ll probably start sending this once a month to make time for other projects. I’ve already started this transition: Did you notice the name of this email is now “The Last Few Weeks”? Because “Few” rhymes with “Two”… it’s play on wor… oh you get it.

That’s it for now. Hopefully you enjoyed reading about something other than American politics, tech layoffs, or a certain social network with a tyrannical owner.

See you in December ✌️
- Ted