Bamidele O. Shangobunmi

JANG Speaks!: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I am so sorry

With the February product release, four of PayPal's most-sent emails were redesigned, a very difficult effort that took quite a long time to pull off. It's the first time these emails have been been fundamentally updated since I can personally remember, and I've been a PayPal user since 2000. The new emails look much cleaner, require far less scrolling to get to important info, and even have more useful information in them. Oh, but there's bad news.  For some reason, most of the text is rendered in footnote-sized 11-pixel Arial medium-light gray text. I don't know how this could have happened, but to all PayPal users with less than perfect vision and/or high monitor resolution, I sincerely apologize.  I'm escalating this problem to some high powers and I will make sure this gets fixed as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A rare type of compliment

I don't know exactly why, but I usually don't take well to compliments.  I'm just not into receiving accolades for getting work done; I'm into just getting work done.  Today, though, I received an in-person endorsement that I actually very much appreciated.

I was in the elevator on the way to lunch, and heard a voice behind me say, "Hey that was a great presentation the other day." I turned around and had never seen the person before. He's a content manager of sorts who has been trying to "change the mindset" within the company with respect to presentations, and thought my LEGO-themed standards presentation at a large all-hands gathering a few days back set a good example. We've had senior VPs revolting against neverending PowerPoint decks and insisting that presentations have literally no more than 5 slides.  As a result, some teams now fill up 5 slides with 30 slides woth of bulleted lists in tiny fonts.

This gentleman in the elevator said he was watching people at the preso I gave and it was unlike any other large meeting he's attended at the company.  Nobody was thumbing away at their blackberries, and no heads were buried in laptops during my talk.  Every slide was basically one fun, but effective image, and I was walking people through a cohesive story using plain English.

This was really great to hear, and I hope many people in the future will be able to receive the same feedback.  I just figure, if nobody is going to follow a presentation, why give it at all?  It's better to present a managable amount of information with a delivery that the audience can connect with, rather than trying to push out huge amounts of rock-solid data that's going to fly over everyones' heads.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ah-HA! Take THAT!

I worked all day & night Sunday, and got more actual tangible work product completed than I did the entire week previous.  I've literally completed tasks that have been on the "to-do today" list for over a month!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Different wavelengths

My new work with design standards at PayPal is going so-so, or at least that's how I feel.  UED and development managers seem to disagree.  They're raving incessantly and passionately about what our tiny cross-functional standards "SWAT team" has been able to accomplish in just over three short months, especially compared to the previous status quo.  Me, I simply do not share their enthusiasm.  There have been far too many meetings for the sake of meeting.  Literally every manager or lead in the design organization has tried to get a piece of the new standards pie, and I've been fighting tooth and nail to keep things lean and results-oriented.  If I was able to just do my job, the way I planned out & proposed in October, I estimate that I'd have accomplished literally three times as much by now!

C'est la vie, though.  The fight will continue as I patently refuse to allow "design by committee" syndrome take over an effort with such huge potential to improve both company efficiency and consistency of the end user experience.