product management

Bingo at work

Screenshot of slide deck
Screenshot of “Bingo” card

Last week I played Bingo at work. Well, not exactly; I didn’t have a marker in hand, hoping to snag four corners. Instead I had the pleasure of attending a talk that was part of the SF Fed’s UX Design Center Micro-Series hosted by my buddy and colleague Brian St. John. (That’s him in the tiny square on the upper left.)

The talk was entitled “Listening. Envisioning. Disrupting Business as Usual,” featuring Tracey Kelly (Envisioning Lead at Microsoft–also with a book coming out in September, “Design Thinking in AI and Software Projects“) and Daniel Hunter (20-year veteran at Microsoft, from software development to sales, now Director at Microsoft Catalyst), who spoke about how design thinking was critical to their success.

Instead of the fixed sequence of a PowerPoint presentation, we started instead with a “Bingo” card of topics as the first slide, and we were invited to choose a topic for discussion. I was greedy and chose two. (I’m totally stealing this idea, by the way; it afforded more novelty and audience interaction, especially crucial for a Zoom call.)


Osgood Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015).

The Blackcoat's Daughter
[Some mild spoilers below, but no more than what you’d read in other reviews.]

I was looking for horror movie recommendations a little while back (because it’s Shocktober) and my friend Dan Coffey asked if David Lynch movies counted. I replied that they didn’t; Lost Highway was certainly unsettling, but insufficiently horror-like to me. In my head, at least, I needed strange sounds in the night, supernatural presences, people dispatched in terrible and inventive ways. Things that stalked or crawled. Creatures that fed.


Na Hong-Jin, “The Wailing” (2016).

The Wailing

Na Hong-Jin’s The Wailing (Gokseong, 2016), like the film’s shadowy outsiders who are not what they seem, is a shapeshifting horror movie: it starts off resembling a police procedural, but veers off into unexpected territory. A series of rage-provoked murders in a rural town seem to be unrelated — an epidemic of sorts, perhaps caused by ergotism — and so I sat back waiting for the zombie plague to begin.


Further Thoughts on “My Family’s Slave.”

The other day I attended a panel discussion entitled “My Family’s Slave and the OFW Experience,” part of the Filipino American International Book Festival held at the San Francisco Public Library. (I don’t think I need to summarize Alex Tizon’s article, published in The Atlantic in May of this year.) It was both a puzzling but ultimately instructive experience, as it seemed to replicate, to an odd degree, the Filipino reaction to the article itself.


On Bernie Sanders’ “Our Revolution.”

In early December of last year my friend Becky took me to a Diesel- and Mrs. Dalloway-sponsored “book talk” at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. The occasion happened to be the release of Bernie Sanders’ latest book, Our Revolution, but it was less of a book talk and more of a muted political rally. “I wrote a book,” Senator Sanders said, “but there are a couple of things I want to talk about first,” and he proceeded to discuss just about everything other than the book. I expected as much. He didn’t read from the book at all, and barely mentioned it (though early ticket buyers — thanks Becky! — received signed copies as part of the price of the ticket), and it’s not often that a writer is constantly interrupted by applause, enough so I lost track of the number of times:

“This is not a time to think small.” [applause]

When asked about how he was able to jump up and get back to work after losing the primaries, he responded dryly, “It is appropriate, when you lose, to take a day or two off.” [even louder applause]