The Grizzlies make a big bet

The NBA draft was held last week over two days on June 26-27. I didn’t pay too much attention after Boston won the Finals, mainly because the Grizzlies didn’t even make the playoffs so the draft crept up on me this year. I randomly checked out Grizzlies news to see what they were doing in free agency only to find out they’d just made their first round pick–Purdue star Zach Edey. I knew nothing about the guy so I spent the next hour or so reading up on him and watching highlights from his college career. I chuckled when I saw that a Krysten Peek called this one of the worst picks in draft history.” Surely this was no Hasheem Thabeet, right? Right?

From what I’ve seen so far Edey looks very promising, especially if you factor in his dominant game against Clingan who was drafted 2 picks higher and the fact that he doesn’t have an injury history which is a big deal for someone his size. Usually a rule of thumb in any draft is to pick the best player available instead of trying to address a specific need. With this pick the Grizzlies did both. Edey fills the Steven Adams-shaped hole on the roster better than any other prospect and he should fit right in from day 1 by setting screens for Ja, posting up smaller players and grabbing every single rebound.

While it’s a controversial pick, I’m on board with making a bit on a gifted center with terrific upside instead of playing it safe with a wing that wouldn’t have the same impact. In fact, the Grizzlies drafted two of the best shooters in this class in the second round which justifies taking Edey even more with their first round pick.

I can’t wait for the season to start as I’ll be closely watching Edey and Clingan during their rookie years to see which team got it right with their big man selection. In the meantime we’ve got the Summer League to look forward to which is not too far away.

Fatherhood

I’ve neglected a few things in the past few months, including this blog. There’s a very good reason for that though–I became a father to a wonderful little boy. It’s been such an amazing experience that has turned my entire world upside down and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One thing I’ll admit is that I severely underestimated how little sleep I would get from that point onward–people weren’t kidding–but equally I was surprised to see on how little sleep I could function. It’s incredible how quickly the human body can adapt.

Every day is quite different and I already notice how fast he’s changing. He went from not doing a whole lot to reaching for and grabbing objects and even rolling over. I’m excited to be on this new journey and watch him grow up.

2023 AGI Open Aotearoa

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to attend the AGI Open in Aotearoa New Zealand. This was a big deal since apparently it’s the first time this international design conference is held in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s hosted by the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1952 whose focus is on connecting leaders of the global design industry. I thought I’ll share some takeaways of my favourite speakers before I forget all about it.

Taku Satoh

I wasn’t familiar with Taku Satoh or his work so this was a pleasant surprise. He talked about his design approach which is derived from an ancient Japanese philosophy–hodo hodo. It means just enough in Japanese and aims for design to serve its purpose and nothing more. He believes that doing more than enough is just the designer putting their ego in the way of the solution.

It’s about going back to the essence of objects and their function without any superfluous elements. A surfboard for example fulfils its purpose beautifully. It acts as an extension of the human body and allows you to do pretty remarkable things in the water. It does what it’s supposed to and is designed accordingly.

I was reminded of this lovely quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Stefan Sagmeister

I just love Sagmeister’s work and his latest is no exception. It’s unexpectedly brilliant combined with a great personal story. He’s re-used and modified antique artwork that he inherited from his ancestors to overlay various statistics in an abstract way. By doing so he demonstrates that we’re much better off now than 200 years ago when it comes to things like democracy, child mortality, hunger, homicide, etc.

All of this was captured in a book which unfortunately was sold out by the time I tried to buy one otherwise I would’ve loved a signed copy from the legend himself. But I was still able to get my hands on one online and it’s stunning.

I was reminded of the book Factfulness by Hans Rosling, which I enjoyed a lot so this was right up my alley.

Irene Pereyra

I first heard about Irene Pereyra when I was still on twitter ages ago and followed the other half of this duo–Anton so I was pleasantly surprised to see her in person. Her talk was focused on flipping some common user experience best practices on their head and arguing the opposite such as:

Good UX design

  • is usable first beautiful first.
  • minimises complexity relocates complexity.
  • can be measured can’t be measured.
  • doesn’t need to be learned takes effort to learn.

What stood out to me that they don’t do any user testing whatsoever before shipping products which is wild to me. But hey whatever works. She also left us with this gem that just made me nod my head in agreement:

To sell something new, make it familiar, to sell something familiar, make it surprising.

Life with voice assistants

I’ve liked the idea of voice assistants ever since I got my first iPhone and asked Siri the most random things. I’ll admit, at the time I thought it was just a gimmick that could occasionally come in handy when you need to be hands-free like while you’re driving for example. But then years later I fulfilled one of my high-tech fantasies and introduced Alexa to my home and felt like I was living in the future. While she would only do trivial things for me like playing music or dimming the lights it was still pretty cool.

Once the novelty wore off, there were a couple things that kept making me think when interacting with her (or it?).

What about manners when talking to artificial intelligence? I usually utter robotic commands such as Alexa, lights on” or Alexa, play music”. No please” or thank you”. My mother would be ashamed and it doesn’t exactly set a great example for my kids in the future.

But that’s something I can work on myself in order to change or maybe even improve my relationship with Alexa. I wonder if she’d execute my commands faster if I always said please” and thank you”. Or maybe the opposite–everything happens really slowly until your manners miraculously reappear.

When it comes to voice assistants, there’s a pattern that I find both interesting and disturbing. At least out of all the ones I’ve been using it defaults to a female voice. In most cases you can change this but I wonder why that is and I’m not the only one apparently. Perhaps they’ve been mostly trained with female voices and male ones are lagging behind, but surely we would’ve overcome that by now?

Anyway, I’m about to prepare dinner so excuse me while I politely ask Alexa to set a timer for the pasta.

Who pre-orders books anyway?

Almost all my reading is done on a Kindle and I enjoy occasionally window-shopping in the store for anything that might grab my attention. Since I don’t follow any authors religiously–even my favourite ones–I was pleasantly surprised to see Lightbringer by Pierce Brown being advertised with a release date. If I pre-ordered it now, I would have it first thing on the 25th of July.

But then I thought, Why would anyone pre-order a digital copy of a book? At least when you pre-order video games, you usually get some extras for your commitment but books? Come on. It’s not like they’ll ever run out of digital copies anyway.

After checking my order history it turns out I’ve already pre-ordered two books in the past–Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and Dark Age by Pierce Brown.

Looking back, the main reason was to show support and appreciation for the authors since I enjoy their work. It probably makes no difference to them either way but it does make the wait a bit more enjoyable or exciting because I know I’ll be able to get my hands on it as soon as possible.

Like a mini Christmas that you mark on your calendar. And so I marked the 25th on my calendar and added another pre-order to my list.