Immersing ourselves in other cultures can cultivate creativity, connection, and compassion

A landscape view of a tropical mountain in the distance surrounded by clouds and the ocean.
A landscape view of a tropical mountain in the distance surrounded by clouds and the ocean.
Photo by author in Tahiti

Traveling can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. Meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and appreciating new aesthetics can help us grow both personally and professionally.

Travel invites us to break out of our routines and observe and learn about the world around us. New experiences challenge us to take on new perspectives and spur creativity, while learning about new cultures, customs, and languages builds empathy and understanding.

Breaking out of day to day routines enables a mental reset and reduces burnout


Why we should all care about privacy (before it’s too late)

A brick wall is filled with rows and rows of security cameras.
A brick wall is filled with rows and rows of security cameras.
Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash

When technology, data, and privacy have come up in conversation with friends and family, I’m often surprised by how little people know and care about them. During a stint in the adtech world, I was horrified to discover the true extent of how much time, money, and effort organizations spend to collect and sell personal data. While privacy is becoming a more prominent topic, I’m still generally met with some version of “Well I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t care about privacy”.

This is very short-sighted.

After witnessing how much personal data companies are collecting every instant of…


Does a crowdsourced network justify the privacy concerns?

Branding sketch of Amazon’s new sidewalk functionality.
Branding sketch of Amazon’s new sidewalk functionality.
https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Sidewalk/b?node=21328123011

On June 8, Amazon is rolling out Sidewalk, its mesh network designed to amplify its hardware ecosystem by improving device setup, range, and wi-fi reliability. Amazon device owners will be automatically enrolled. While they can opt out, privacy advocates worry the default opted-in approach will push people into an untested network.

What is Amazon’s Sidewalk Network?


Research is worthless unless people care about it.

A group of professionals sit together in a conference room reviewing customer feedback.
A group of professionals sit together in a conference room reviewing customer feedback.
Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

You can conduct the most brilliant and insightful research, but if no one cares or uses it, it’s all for naught. While working at a Fortune 500 company followed by a variety of startups, I’ve experimented and iterated on how best to share research findings. I’ve found that small tweaks to the synthesis and shareout process can make them more engaging, effective, and impactful.

How research findings are typically shared

I’d walk through the deck…


What neuroscience tells us about the successful introduction and adoption of new ideas

A plate holds several pieces of a California sushi roll.
A plate holds several pieces of a California sushi roll.
Photo by douglas miller from Pexels

Crafting modern, captivating, and worthwhile products and services is challenging. Yet even after building something great, attracting and amassing customers can be arduous. As companies push to create the next big thing, they need to ground these next-gen innovations in our existing mental models so we’re willing to give them a chance. Does this limit the pace and scope of innovation though?

A lesson from sushi adoption in America

Then the California Roll was born, combining familiar ingredients in a new way. In Los Angeles, chefs used local…


Education, authenticity, and designing for both short and long term needs can make or break customer trust

A phone has the Robinhood app open with a graph of the GameStop stock price.
A phone has the Robinhood app open with a graph of the GameStop stock price.
Photo by Tech Daily on Unsplash

Robinhood is a Silicon Valley darling, pairing the bold mission of democratizing the financial system with a sleek design and explosive user growth. However, in the past year, we’ve seen some serious cracks in their public image.

Last summer, a 20-year-old took his own life believing he lost almost $750,000 through risky bets on Robinhood. Despite being young and completely inexperienced in trading, Alex Kearns was allowed to buy and sell options, opening himself up to increased risk and potential losses. …


Consolidation can stifle systemic disruption and disincentivize bold new ideas.

Pairs of similar looking leaves are arranged along a central line.
Pairs of similar looking leaves are arranged along a central line.
Photo by Tolga Ulkan on Unsplash

In the early days of Silicon Valley, innovation and disruption were king. Visionaries, optimists, and risk-takers focused on big, paradigm-shifting ideas. The internet was exciting new technology in the 1990s, and smartphones followed in the 2000s, ushering in an entirely new ecosystem of digital products, services, and markets.

However, as markets saturate, products mature, and companies consolidate, risky new ideas are less incentivized. Instead, we’re seeing homogeneous product portfolios and smaller, more iterative feature improvements proliferate.

Small, nimble startups succumb to tech behemoths


While disruptive innovation is revered, iterative innovation and exceptional execution are crucial in driving businesses forward

Butterfly cocoons hang next to a new butterfly.
Butterfly cocoons hang next to a new butterfly.
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Are you an innovator or an executor, an “ideas person” or a “logistics person”?Innovation” is associated with open-mindedness, creativity, experimentation, and flexibility, while “execution” makes us think of rigor, responsibility, focus, and grit.

In the early days of Silicon Valley, disruptive innovation was king. Big, bold ideas were in, small, iterative improvements were out. The sky was the limit as the internet ushered in a whole new era. Social networks, smartphones, streaming platforms, and more were just getting started.

More recently, as markets have saturated and products have matured, rigorous execution and iterative improvement are more prominent.

What, then…


Cancel noncritical meetings and see how much you can accomplish

A hand holds up a magnifying glass to bring a lush, green landscape into focus.
A hand holds up a magnifying glass to bring a lush, green landscape into focus.
Photo by Ethan Sees from Pexels

After more than a year of the global pandemic, many are feeling burnt out and overextended. Balancing work, care giving, and family can be exhausting, and it can threaten an already perilous work-life balance. The shift to remote work often entails additional meetings, since quick updates and conversations now need to be formally scheduled. As week after week fills up with meetings, it can decrease concentration, deep thinking, and productivity.

To combat these challenges, our cross-functional team (Product, Engineering, Design, Research, Analytics, and QA) decided to test out “Focus Week” — where we cancelled all noncritical meetings. …


Get paid for your writing and expand your career

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Diversification is key, and we can all benefit from publishing across an array of platforms and publications to gain exposure, prestige, and a more diverse following. Check out these paid writing opportunities, and see which ones may be the best fit for you.

Arts, culture, and lifestyle focused publications

Meghan Wenzel

UX Researcher and Strategist — “It’s not the story you tell that matters, but the one others remember and repeat”

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