Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Things I Learned This Year

  1. Personalisation sells, but good design satisfies.
  2. Don't wait for perfect execution. Ship and iterate.
  3. You don't need to fill your time. Creating calendar white space provides a buffer for work and play.
  4. Find the intersection of doing what makes you happy, what is smart for you long-term, and what is useful to others. Whatever that is, do it often.
  5. Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
  6. The extremes inform the mean, but not vice versa. Design for the edge-cases; the middle will take care of itself.
  7. Friends are not forever, but they enrich our lives like no others can.
  8. Age should never hold back your confidence.
  9. Drinking enough water in a day is actually pretty hard.
  10. Nobody cares how many books you've read. People care what books you've read. And timing can determine quality. The impact a book can have on you is dependent on where you are in life.
  11. Don't dwell on augmenting your life. Self-care is more important than you probably think.
  12. Move to your own rhythm. This is where progress is realised. Keeping pace with others is a losing battle.
  13. How slowly or quickly you think is not an accurate measurement of your intelligence. Slow thinking is more deliberate and less emotional.
  14. Just because AI is available, doesn't mean you need it in your product.
  15. Personal websites and newsletters are far more valuable than any social media presence.
  16. You can’t teach minimalism to somebody who hasn’t felt the pain of having too much stuff.
  17. Solo projects evolve faster, but collaborative projects evolve better.
  18. We don't need a million followers. And maybe we don't need a thousand true fans. But we probably could use ten good internet friends to make our digital life better.
  19. Email is the best form of communication. Especially if you write informally.
  20. It's okay to obsess over numbers, but only if they give a sense of mission rather than distraction.
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