Plus the weirdest things you’ll ever see on Google Maps. 
The Last Few Weeks.

A monthly roundup of product design, email, and climate news.
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Welcome to Issue #8.

Just one month in, 2023 has already been “a year.” From the excitement of AI launches (I’m bullish on AI) to the disappointment of tech layoffs. We’re all exhausted and stressed, but are being asked to do more with less because #recession and #capitalism.

If I had to describe my current state of mind, these two tweets would do well:

In this issue: Career advancement for senior designers, interviewing tips, and more affordable solar panels.

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> Product Design|

Mentoring is part of my responsibilities as a principal designer. A senior product designer recently asked what they could do to advance their career, so I collected my thoughts into this blog post. There are plenty of things folks can do to thrive as a lead/staff/principal IC.

The post kicked off a few discussions with folks wanting to advance their career without becoming a manager. After all, not everyone wants to be a manager. I’m glad more companies are exploring career growth opportunities other than the “Senior Designer to Manager” pipeline.

A diagram comparing the traditional linear path of dseign to management and an updated path showing the career path splintering in two directions.

The role of product designer is evolving and that means existing career ladders need to evolve with it. Designers can lead without becoming a manager.

My friend Stéphane also wrote about this, and I wrote about something similar a few years ago.

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> Climate|

We’re getting solar panels! Well, unless you talk me out of it.

Solar panels are one of the most impactful things we can do as individuals to address the climate crisis. What’s kept me from having them is the cost; upwards of $30,000 I thought, and I just don’t have that much money lying around. So I procrastinated…

Last week I finally spoke with someone in depth. A rep from Trinity Solar explained a different business model, one that would allow us to loan the panels instead of buying them, meaning we’d finance the panels as part of our energy bill (which would still be lower than it is today). Combined with a warranty that covers our roof and the panels for 25 years.

Now, I’m fortunate to own a house with ample sunlight exposure and a new roof, have good credit, and to live in a region with multiple government rebates. I am incredibly privileged.

Still, this seems a bit too good to be true. $0 up front, cheaper energy bills, and a free warranty that covers our roof and the panels for longer than we’ll live here - has the market really advanced this far?

I’m leaning towards getting them. I'm not motivated by the potential savings, but I don’t want to incur a significant loss either. I want solar panels because I believe it’s the right thing to do. If you’ve gone through this, I’d appreciate hearing about your experience!

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> Fun|

I waste lots of time on Google Maps. So I immediately lost an hour of my life when I discovered Neal’s collection of odd things caught on Street View.

I don't know why there’s a Google Street View of someone climbing El Capitan, but I am here for it.

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One of my goals for this newsletter to keep my email design skills sharp and experiment with new code. Since each issue has a different design, that means errors will slip through. There’s been errors in every issue so far, which tells me I need to step up my QA game. Please bear with me, dear readers!

As always, thanks for reading. Until next month ✌️