Nine. (cc) Peter Burka

Exactly five years ago, I published Nine Nasty UX Truths, and to my surprise the article got over 50k views here on Medium, a bunch of reposts and tweets, and even a translation in Russian.

All of this led to some powerful conversations which helped me grow as a designer. Meaning I’ve messed up bigger, learned a lot more, and probably grown nastier with age.

So here are nine more truths that you’re not likely to hear everyday from our wonderfully empathetic and confrontation-adverse community.

By the way, I do love you. Nonetheless…

(1) Fuck your design system.

Hear me out: Yes, of course, if…


Early in my career I worked very hard not to ruffle feathers. I had a lot to learn from everyone I worked with, and if something was amiss, it was most likely my fault.

Later in my career I’m proud of the feathers I ruffle. I still have a lot to learn, but not from everyone I work with, and if something is amiss with them, I don’t lose sleep over it.

I once worked with a VC who was trying his hand at being a founder: launching a new business with a cofounder who was a current client of…


We needed change and now we have it.

We’ve quit road-raging our mind-numbing commutes.
We’ve reduced our carbon footprint.
We’ve stopped the economics of inequality. We’re not running the rat race.
We’re spending time with our families, not bleeding money mindlessly at the mall.

Nobody thought any of those things could ever change. Or at least, not for a long time.
And it was painful, but we did it

The last step we need to make is a simple one. But profound.
Let’s make this the new normal.
Let’s use this change to think hard about tomorrow.
Let’s imagine a tomorrow that’s different from yesterday.

Let’s never go back.

Let’s go forward.


Mark Twain said “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

I thought this was a clever quip. I came to learn that it is deep wisdom.

I dropped out of my finance+marketing degree program in 1995, after spending most of the previous 3 years in the business school’s computer lab, learning about the internet and a brand new tool called the World-Wide-Web.

I immediately started a freelance business and became one of the first webmasters. The University of Denver had taught me all the skills I needed, some in class, many outside of class. I pursued an…


You’re deader each passing day. Your words that echo in my head are lost in years long gone, resonating in places and times where no one lives anymore. Your advice is starting to tinge with ignorance, your wisdom dusty, you’re getting hopeless. No, these things are no longer really what matters. No, that’s not really the point anymore. No, we’ve moved on, papa. These things have been settled. Sorry, you’ve been proven wrong, since you were stuck down there in that box. I’m sorry.

Death is getting its revenge on you, making you sound old, making you sound senile, although…


“Forêt vierge au soleil couchant. Nègre attaqué par un léopard.” — Painting by Henri (Douanier) Rousseau, 1910
“Forêt vierge au soleil couchant. Nègre attaqué par un léopard.” — Henri (Douanier) Rousseau, 1910

Humidity was 49% at 5:48am, sunrise.

I, robot Robert, collect dew drops from neighboring blades of grass. I spray them on the walls of my storage hopper, for evaporative cooling.

A mild day predicted, starting at 15 C in the shade of the big oak tree by the river bend, with a barometric pressure of 1013.2 mbar.

I bend the shoots of a bean sprout sideways, so that it will grow into the spot where a well of light remains all morning long between the oak’s branches’ shadow. In a week it will latch onto two cattail reeds I planted…


ALEXCALIBUR, pourfendeur de monstres.

Dans le monde du digital, qu’on soit ingénieur ou designer, on a un trait de personalité qui nous définit, nous anime, nous motive au-delà de l’appât du gain, de l’admiration de nos pairs, de l’approbation sociale ou de la célebrité.

On aime résoudre des problèmes.

Plus le problème est compliqué, plus on est intéressé. Plus il est difficile, plus on jubile. Plus il est obtus, plus on est têtus. Plus il nous résiste, plus on persiste.

Au niveau physiologique, la solution d’un problème complexe, quand elle nous vient à l’esprit, nous fait un effet quasi-orgasmique: Un torrent de dopamine, d’endorphines…


Caspar David Friedrich — Nordsee Im Mondlicht

If we could tell our time is nigh,
That onwards one alone is bound,
I’d want to sail with you my love,
Until the tide runs us aground.

The sea would swell under the moon,
The milky way would fade away,
T’will be the end of time my love,
If it’s the night of our last day.

We’ll sail in silence in the darkness,
There will be not a word expressed.
You’ll know my heart and yours, my love,
Will not want its sorrow confessed.

The zephyr wind lifting your hair,
Will dry no tear upon your cheek.
I too will be…


Whipple T. Pants was not the most obnoxious artist the world had seen. In the late twenty-twenties, a wave of weird was sweeping the world, and his particular brand of strange did not stand out much against the backdrop of the schizo craze, blubber rap, beastie girls, hammerheads and communist parties.

In 2034, all of these nihilist and attention-seeking fads were either wiped out by the plagues or snuffed out in the quarantine caves. By then, Whipple T. Pants had accumulated a solid following among the high-culture set, who appreciated the conspicuous lack of bad taste that permeated his peculiar…


With hindsight, I can say that immortality actually is all that it’s cracked up to be.

I’ve gone through almost all seventeen stages of immortality, from the early age-reversal therapies, clone farming, and nanotech, to consciousness uploading and backups, virtual identity networks, and ethereality. I’ve existed in human, transhuman, digital, animal, robotic, mechanical, liquid, plasma and condensate bodies. I’ve been stored and computed on electrons, photons, gluons, gravitrons and chronons. And occasionally morons.

I’ve lived on planets, moons, asteroids, spaceships, dust clouds, and floated around in interstellar space for more millions of years than I care to count. I’ve also…

Antoine Valot

...should have been born tomorrow.

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