The Dapper Designer, Scientist, And Writer Josh Kinal

INJ 17 | User Experience Design


Every job is problem solving. We solve problems, we design things, and everyone designs in their own way. Experience designer and writer Josh Kinal says design is in the intention from the start. If you’re not building something with intention, you are not designing. User experience design, in a nutshell, is creating products with a focus on providing quality and meaningful experiences to users and culturally relevant solutions. Despite his degree in Immunology and Reproductive Endocrinology, Josh headed into the world of entertainment journalism, broadcasting and screenwriting. He created the Boxcutters podcast, the first Australian podcast to be invited to perform live at SXSW. Nowadays, he designs experiences for people using technology. He is a Lead Experience Designer at ThoughtWorks in Melbourne and speaks eight languages well enough to order sandwiches in at least four continents.

Listen to Episode #17 here


The Dapper Designer, Scientist, And Writer Josh Kinal

Our guest is Josh Kinal. Despite his degree in Immunology and Reproductive Endocrinology, Josh headed into the world of entertainment, journalism, broadcasting and screenwriting. He created the Boxcutters podcast, the first Australian podcasts to be invited to perform live at South by Southwest. Nowadays, he designs experiences for people using technology. He’s the Lead Experience Designer at ThoughtWorks in Melbourne. Josh speaks eight languages all well enough to order sandwiches on at least four continents. Welcome, Josh.

Thank you, Pete. I can’t remember now which article you used for lead designer, but I’m “a” lead designer, not “the” lead designer.

How can there be more than one lead designer?

The intention is that the lead designers go to different projects and on those projects, they are the lead designer. I’ve also been on a project that has had two lead designers.

This is like the corporate version of participation medals. Everybody’s a lead designer.

That is only a joke. When I got my second job in web design, I was senior web developer. There were no junior web developers, there were only four people in the business. I was a senior web developer and I got business cards but they didn’t like me to go and meet with clients. There is this thing in business where people put themselves up in terms of their titles or especially in small business where the boss will decide that everyone gets to be vice president of something. At my wedding everyone who wanted to be a flower girl could have been a flower girl. It’s that letting everybody have whatever they want, or maybe it’s about making people sound more important than they are.

I guess the question is, “Is it helpful from an external standpoint or from an internal standpoint? Is this about how you feel good as the lead designer or a lead designer?” I’ve had people talk about this. The client has said, “We’re going to give you our best people.” Then, “How do you know I’m getting the best person?” “You’re getting a lead designer on this project.” It could make good sense in terms of marketing.

For a lot of businesses, that does make sense in terms of marketing. I do have to say that for ThoughtWorks, which is the first place I’ve worked that has had more than probably 25 people working there and this is a 4,500-person company worldwide, a lead is like an element. It’s not necessarily prestige but seniority. There are graduates who come in and they do graduate-type work. There’s been this expectation that in order to graduate to be a consultant, they do something the consultants think and become senior consultants, senior consultants become leads, leads become principals. It’s like having tenure.

If you weren’t working in design, what would you be doing?

I would probably be eating while angry at myself for not writing.

You’d be a writer?

I’d be an eater but with the intention of writing. I would want to be a writer.

What would you want to be writing?

There were so many things that I want to write and one of the problems that I have is I have so many ideas that while I’m writing 100 words, I’ll have another idea and then I’ll think, “That’s a much more exciting idea.” Because I already hate myself over this one because I’m not able to fulfill my own belief about my abilities, I’m going to now just swap to this other thing and start writing that thing and then I will end up having a hundred different things at the moment.

Your Twitter handle was @Sealfur. What’s the background? I’ve never asked you what the background is for that.

I need to invent a good story for it because there’s no good story. I have a blog running there and someone said to me, “That’s too long.” I was unemployed for a while and had nothing better to do with my time, but look for shorter domain names. I was thinking of two words that went together in a sensible way, couldn’t be misspelled from hearing it and was around seven letters long.

I thought it was like a political thing.

That’s what I’m saying. I wish I had a better story for it. I bought the domain and never used it for anything, it redirects to one of my other unfinished projects. I have lots of unfinished projects, which is why I need to be a designer working for someone else.

Unfinished projects are fine as long as some projects are getting finished. The Boxcutters was a project and it got finished.

It got finished because I decided to finish. It could have gone on but it got to maturity. At some point, you have to realize what the maturity is and sometimes that maturity is enough to not have to go on anymore. Sometimes things are mature enough for the moment and then you can go back to them. An example of that would be, say I’ve written a screenplay for a film and I know that it’s not ready to be produced. I also know that I’m not ready to move it forward, I can put it aside for a while and then pick a time to come back to it when I feel I’m ready. That’s the theory. That’s the things come to maturity, but then it’s not necessarily a maturity. It’s more like a hibernation.

INJ 17 | User Experience Design
User Experience Design: At some point, you have to realize what the maturity is, and sometimes that maturity is enough to not have to go on anymore.

The difference between that, which is a solo endeavor. By me, writing papers is when I feel like I get to that point, I just drop it in the lap of one of my co-authors. I feel like the project still moving but I don’t have to deal with it and presumably what they’re going to do is make it better in some way and I’ll be happy to see it when it comes back.

That is an interesting point because I feel like I don’t work well in a team, but I also need a team in order to work well. It’s a communication issue or it might be a perceived communication issue because everyone I’ve worked with in recent years has enjoyed the work that I’ve done with them. It might be just the way I see myself, but I feel maybe I’m not being communicative enough. I also need other people around me and to rely on me doing my work to give me enough pressure to finish. That would be the same thing if I had co-authors.

You’ve never tried to co-write a screenplay?

I’ve tried to co-write a TV series with four other people and that went well for about a year and then everything fell apart when everybody fell in love with everyone.

I’ve known you for five plus years. You’re not a comedian, yet you made the cut for this show. That happens. There’s not many, but these are usually people I know. They’re funny. For the audience, I had a late lunch with Josh and we were chatting and I laughed ten times harder during that meal. I was like, “Josh, you got to be on this podcast.” It seems to me like when I think about you and your work and even just your answer to the question of what would you do if you couldn’t be working in design, you like doing creative things. You like making things.

Yes, that’s the ABC, Always Be Creative. That’s not even my joke. That’s somebody else’s joke that I’ve stolen because I love it so much. I constantly make things. How else do you know you’re alive?

You were referring to the difficulty that you have in making things. This is a common narrative among creative people, especially writers where they sit at the typewriter and open a vein or it’s just that the work is so hard that they procrastinate. Yet there is this fulfilment, there’s the notion of engagement and flow states are connected to creativity. I want you to try to help me solve this puzzle about why is it that so many creative people who are compelled to do it also find it difficult to do?

A comedian friend of mine says that if he could do anything else, he would be doing anything else because it is so hard to do. When I was writing screenplays and I was thinking about it as my career, it seemed to me more like a compulsion or a calling than any conscious decision. There is also a great deal of discipline in this, the feeling that one can get from producing something that they’re happy with is better than anything else. If I write a killer joke, then that can keep me going for weeks. I entered the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest for the first time in about four years because it was the first time I’d come up with a caption that I thought was worthy of entering. I dined out on that in terms of my own ego for about four days. I took a screenshot of it, sent it straight to a friend saying “I think I’ve got this one in the bag.”

Can you describe it?

There’s a mountain top and there’s some guru sitting on the mountain top, which is an old trope. There’s a traveler with a big backpack and hat and has clearly climbed the mountain top to see the guru. Behind the guru, there are cafe tables, people drinking coffee, and sitting with laptops. My caption was, “I’m sorry, enlightenment is for customers only.”

Which the New Yorker liked?

I love the New Yorker cartoons because they have that sense of I understand this so much from real life. This reflects my life but also pokes fun at. It shows how ridiculous our lives are. I have a joke about hating myself, but I have this self-loathing cycle that goes on with the New Yorker where I’ll be reading it, I’ve had a subscription for like eleven years and I’ll be radiant and then I’ll at some point I’ll read something and then think I am doing the most bourgeois thing I could possibly do. It happened when I was reading an article about Suit, another article about Susan Sontag in the New Yorker on a Sunday afternoon. That was the thing to do. It’s ridiculously pretentious, but also amazingly meaningful and I’m aware of the irony or the paradox, but getting back to the writing, writing something that I feel proud of is the goal. The problem is I have very high standards for myself and so do a lot of creative people.

[bctt tweet=”People should dress in a way that is respectful to other people.” via=”no”]

That’s the difference between is it good enough and my wife and I have this phrase, she invented it. I then go off to that which is, “Is it art yet?” She worked with artists and we go to a lot of art shows and sometimes there are installation pieces that have just so many things on them that we imagined some artist working on it, adding another piece to it and saying, “Is it art yet? No, I need to go out and get some coat hangers and shake them like babies and then that’s irony. Then I can add that to this piece and then, is it art yet? No, I’ll go and make a spaceship out of paper mache and add that and is it art yet?”

When it’s not art yet, what is it?

For them, it’s about quantity over quality and that’s the difference between, “Is it art yet?” or “Am I proud yet?” I think, “Am I proud yet?” is about quality. Have I crafted one good sentence? Have I managed to communicate a really difficult concepts in this piece? Have I made it as succinct as I can or have I even filled a page? Sometimes it’s about, “Have I filled a page to get past my own hatred?” Then was that any good rerated? Was that any good? Is there anything salvageable from that? I can use that and I can take it out but I suppose the difference between the two of them is one is edited and one isn’t.

The interesting thing about art is the definition because that’s implicit in this question of, “Is it art yet?” Does it meet some definition? I don’t think there’s a readily agreed upon definition of art in the same way as there might be for entertainment or scholarship or other types of cultural goods that exist. You know when something’s a technical manual, there are good ones and there are bad ones and you can judge the goodness and the badness of it. Even in entertainment, when something’s trying to be entertainment and you can judge the goodness and badness of it. Art is a more difficult one. In art, and this is just my own personal definition, is related to the notion of emotionality and commentary that art is designed to be emotionally provocative but not in the same way that entertainment is designed to be emotionally provocative. Entertainment by its nature tends to try to be pleasing. Art doesn’t always try to be pleasing.

No, and nor should it.

The second part, I’ve never studied art theory, so someone might be making a face as they hear this, but art is you want to create an emotional reaction. You want to change your perspective. Entertainment doesn’t try to create a positive emotional experience, doesn’t necessarily try to create a perspective and it’s where art and entertainment be one in the same.

Sometimes entertainment pretends to be art and sometimes art pretends to be entertainment. I don’t think there are hard and fast rules. There’s a mixed spectrum from a craft through the art and they exist in the same plane. Entertainment is a craft. Entertainment can involve art but art can’t be entertainment, but entertainment on its own like if you’re juggling and you’re a juggler. That is a craft. If you do something with that juggling to make it special, to make it different, then that’s where you’re adding art to it. I’m a big fan of magic shows and close up magic. Close up magic is, by its very nature, just a craft. It is about the slide of hand, you can practice those hand movements all you like. The art comes into how you put that in front of an audience to impress them. It’s harder to grab hold of and it’s harder to define.

INJ 17 | User Experience Design
User Experience Design: Sometimes entertainment pretends to be art and sometimes art pretends to be entertainment.

To me, you think about someone who’s a furniture maker. They made chairs. That person can become an artist depending on the chair they make. You can go on and on as you think about this along this trades spectrum and trades person to artists

Which is why it’s perfectly valid for the Museum of Modern Art in New York to have a design section where they have aims chairs and 1960’s spaceship looking record player. You can just record covers where these lines are blurred. Something was built for a functional purpose, but it also has this inherent provocation.

I don’t think just because you might use something doesn’t diminish its art-worthiness. I find some of the most interesting art is the one that has a function. I like furniture as an art form and it’s why I like film and I like paintings because they have a secondary reason, which is to be creating an aesthetically pleasurable experience that might hang on someone’s wall or that they can consume on a Friday night.

There’s a big difference between buying something for your house that goes with your curtains and buying something for your house that is not going to scare children, but you can also spend part of an evening with a glass of wine staring at it and thinking about that. One is decoration and the other one is art. I bring this up in work a lot. There is an idea in business that designers are decorators and a lot of the time, we are given an application after it’s been built and told, “Can you add design to this?” I say, “No.” “Can I make it look better? Possibly. Can I make it work better?” The design is in the intention from the start and if you’re not building something with intention, you are not designing.

I had a conversation trying to better understand design and one of the things that came up is that design is about understanding what you want the user’s experience to be. I may be getting this wrong. Design is fundamental about helping to achieve that desired user experience. It’s not about decorating something or making it look pretty.

Which is a skill in itself. I don’t want to discount that because I am terrible at it and I value the people who are good at it.

It’s about this notion of function and form together. You cannot pull them apart.

No, they exist as in Yin Yang.

What are the principles of design? What are the basic foundational elements of design?

The way I work, they’re all question based. Does it need to exist? Does it need to be improved? By working on it, are you making people’s lives better? Those are the three basic things.

If someone come to you or come to ThoughtWorks and they say, “We need a website. We want you to design a website for us.” Your first question is, “Let’s make sure you need a website.”

That’s my first question, generally, yes. Thankfully now at ThoughtWorks, I don’t make websites anymore but, in the previous ten years of my career, someone would come to me and say, “I need a website,” and I would say, “Why?” They’ll come to me and say, “We need an app for this.” I will say, “Why?” They’ll say, “We need to set 40% of our people.” I will say, “Why?” Why is always the start. I am one of the most annoying, expensive people to hire because I’m like a three-year-old, but a bit more challenging because rather than just saying, “Why?” I will also call you out on your own bullshit and try and get to the real reason.

Do you warn people about this?

Sometimes they walk into it unknowing and find it very frustrating but then at the end, there’s this appreciation of where we got to. I had something like that with a client where they were saying this thing that we want to do is impossible. I went through this whole series of whys, and it turned out that they thought it was impossible because there was a blocker in their mind that we had already ironed out and gotten someone else to agree to. With a lot of people, that blocker is so deep inside them that they can’t articulate it until they’re forced to pull it out. When it’s articulated and we say, “If that’s the case, if you think Jim will never agree to it, if we think we can get Jim to agree to it, do you have any other problems with it?”

It sounds like a negotiation.

It’s like, “We won’t go ahead unless Jim can agree to it and it’s safe for everyone to do. We think we can make that happen.” We get that ‘yes’ or this conditional ‘yes’ eventually. It gets people’s adrenaline going and they feel, for better or worse, like they are being attacked when they’re not being attacked. We all want to get to a better way of working, but there is no way to get there without getting them into vulnerable position and then hammering whatever defenses they have until something pokes his head out.

It’s easier to say we need a website and we want to be on brand versus answering all these questions or working. There’s a lot of work, some of it is emotional and some of it is just work. It’s the time that it takes to articulate these things and people have busy lives and so on. They also don’t quite understand what you do then it seems perplexing to have that happen.

Yes, and I had an understanding what I do. I find it very difficult to explain what I do.

A lot of industries want it to seem somewhat magical. The less easy it is to understand it and the more it seems like we’ve got this special sauce allows you to charge what you can charge versus, we’re well-dressed problem solvers.

There’s something that one of the fifteen things that I’m writing at the moment is a definition of design by what it’s not. There are all these people who say design is this and probably the most prominent one at the moment is design is problem solving. I don’t believe design is problem solving. It was on a colleague’s email signature at work. When we were talking about what we want to do and how we want to work in design. He said to me on design is problem solving and it stuck with me and it was a piece of sand that eventually became an unpolished pearl. Design is problem solving but so is everything, so is mathematics, so is driving a taxi.

[bctt tweet=”I would probably be eating–while angry at myself for not writing.” via=”no”]

Someone needs to get from point A to point B, and they don’t want to walk and they can’t drive. There’s someone else who will drive them from one point to another. They’re solving that problem. Every job is problem solving, that’s why it’s a job. Designers want to feel important by saying we’re problem solvers. We solve problems. We design things. Everyone designs like every manufacturer designs things in their own way. The difference between someone who is purposefully a designer and someone who is just building as a dilatation is that the designer will take a lot of other things into consideration. It’s about knowing where the problems might be rather than just wanting to build something with intention. It’s a lot more than just doing something with intention. It’s also knowing the domain in the same way that a butcher can cut off your arm and a surgeon can cut off your arm. Both are going to have the same end result where you won’t have an arm, but one is going to do it in a much better, more methodical, and healthier way.

I made a joke about being well dressed. You’re typically well dressed. Even your weekend standard exceeds the average Melbournian man’s normal standards. Why dress so well? You wear suits a lot, pocket squares, and ties.

My day-to-day work wear is curated. Very few people want to go to work. I need to put myself in a mindset where I am going to work. Part of that is I am getting up and having some purpose in my life before I leave the door. I’m creating that purpose when I’m putting together an outfit and the outfit needs to be put together. I need to have the right kind of shed. It needs to be cut in a very particular way, so that it makes me look good because if I look good, I’m more likely to feel good. If I’m more likely to feel good, I’m going to be less self-conscious when speaking to someone and I’m going to be a lot more honest with them.

It becomes this series of sequences that resulted in me being better at the work that I’m going to do or better in the world. It can stop if I walk out of the house and I feel good about myself. I spoke before about writing about self-hatred, and all of these things. They all come into it. That’s a very big part of it. I have huge problems, there’s a lot of creative people too, with much emotionality being around other people and revealing one’s self to them.

I put together this outfit for a number of reasons. One of them is because it makes me feel better about myself, but another is it creates a barrier between me and the people I’m talking to while also making me attractive to them. I spoke before about magicians and slide of hand, that’s really important. Other people’s perception is important. I have to say I worry about the way that I dress sometimes because I’m going into a lot of clients who I work with like utility companies where a lot of the people who are my clients started their jobs climbing power poles and then I’ll be seen as some ridiculous dandy. It also set a goal for me to put this facade in front of people, but then also overcome that.

Normally, you think about it as costuming. I do that sometimes. I’m putting on a costume that’s appropriate for the theater. When I used to play Lacrosse, that was a uniform, I would lay out my gloves, helmet, pads, and transform myself into someone to put himself in danger, put others in danger, and then I behaved a certain way in that costume that I wouldn’t elsewhere.

You need to be particularly aggressive, constantly aware that you’re sacrificing some other things, some other parts of yourself for that.

In that case, there are some very utilitarian elements like pads, not only make you look more aggressive, they keep you safer and they can be used for aggression. I feel the same way when I teach, I dress well for what I teach and I do it in part because I want to communicate to the students that I take this seriously. My personal examples I’m giving you are ones in which my dress facilitate my goal and what you’re suggesting, there are times where your costuming decisions actually work against your goal. It’s like creating a constraint. This happens sometimes, where people purposely create a constraint in order to challenge themselves to overcome it.

People do that with deadlines all the time. They’ll give themselves a deadline. In the creative field, there is a NaNoWriMo, the National November Writing Month, where most people write a novel in a month because that’s how novels are written. Even Stephen King only comes up with one a year, but these people try and get one done in a month. People need that deadline to finish it, to feel accomplished. People do that all the time. They put constraints on themselves.

INJ 17 | User Experience Design
User Experience Design: I have found things that I think need to exist and so I’ll work on them.

There are two different types of people who do that. There are the people who do it as a means of self-control. This work is difficult to do and so you have to create something that forces to facilitate it. Then there’s another type of person, the person who’s good, and they create the constraint to either keep life interesting or to see what else it brings out that might be better or more creative. Which one are you with your suit in the utility company?

It’s the latter because I’m good at my work. If I can be in a client and be dressed the way I’m dressed and still show them that I’m listening to them, that’s success for me, that I might dress this way, but I’m here to do a serious job. If I was, I would expect everyone to dress like me and I don’t expect everyone to dress like me. I expect everyone to dress however they’re going to be the most professional. I also think that people should dress in a way that is respectful to other people.

It comes back to those three things I said before. Is there a need? Is it going to make people’s lives better? Does it need to be improved and work through those things with everything that I do? Do I need to put this out in the world? Is there a reason for me putting this out in the world when I talk about creating, when I talk about making something? One of the reasons that I’ve basically not put anything out in the world for the last eighteen months is because I couldn’t see a reason for them to exist.

Now, that’s shifted. I’ve started to see some things that like this piece that I’m writing about design. I feel there is a need for that to exist. I’m writing a talk about design ethics and what it means to have design ethics, not what your ethics should be but what it means to actually have ethics in design. That needs to exist. I have found things that I think need to exist and so I’ll work on them. The list of things that are hibernating is huge and gets added to every day. It’s like a bookshelf. It’s so much easier to buy books than it is to read books.

I barely have a bookshelf because I feel like I don’t need to display that I’ve accomplished this set of things.

You read a book and you give it away?

I am old school. I take a lot of books out of the library. University life delivers books to me. It’s incredible. It’s one of my favorite things about being a professor. I order a book and then it gets delivered to my mailbox.

How do you browse?

Rarely. I usually use Amazon to browse books. Amazon is very good at recommending other things based upon what you’re looking at. I read some reviews and I talk to people. My other way that I browse books is with one of my questions because I use my guest to tell me what I should be paying attention. I will only do a couple rapid fire ones. What unpopular opinion do you have?

There should be fewer people.

That’s unpopular? It seems like a popular opinion.

Not that we should be slaughtering people. We should not be extending people’s lives the way that we currently are. We should not even necessarily be making decisions to give age to some places where there is constant hardship and aid isn’t going to make those places more habitable. I’m not going to name any names. It is an unpopular opinion. I don’t bring it up much, but I’m not going to congratulate people for getting pregnant because it’s not a miracle. Making people is easy, making people’s lives better is harder and letting people die is really hard. We are bad at letting people die and it’s a terribly selfish thing that we do.

[bctt tweet=”People need that deadline to finish it, to feel accomplished.” via=”no”]

I read this book too late in life, but it’s still always been useful as the Being Mortal book. I wish I could remember the name of the guy. I’ll put it in the exhibits when I launch the podcast, but he’s the guy who wrote The Checklist Manifesto. He’s a doctor, he’s a really wonderful writer. He has a book called Being Mortal, about end of life and with the exception of addressing euthanasia. It’s a pretty spectacular book about understanding this and the advancements that are starting to happen with regard to the topic. For anyone who is an adult child, it should be a must read because you’re likely to have to deal with these things with your parents at some point. I had lost both mine by the time I had read it. It helped me in hindsight in a weird way. That’s an unpopular opinion. What have you changed your mind about lately?

Probably the biggest one was marriage. It took a lot of convincing though. I believed that it was a ridiculous, outdated notion, and to the extent where I would have arguments. Again, I would say I’m a very left-wing orientated person but I would have arguments with a lot of my left-wing friends when they would talk about marriage equality and I would talk about marriage reduction. I would say, “No, I don’t believe in marriage equality because I don’t believe in marriage. It’s very hard to believe in. It’s like do you believe in polytheism? No, I’m an atheist. Why can’t you believe in polytheism?” It’s complicated and then I realized that while the concept was outdated to the notion of celebrating people’s love wasn’t. Love is such a special thing that two people getting in front of a whole lot of other people and saying we love each other. That’s part of making people’s lives better. I changed my mind about that.

What are you reading, watching or listening to that is good and that stands out?

Watching is a hard one after The Leftovers was finished. I haven’t found anything that is as good as The Leftovers was. If you haven’t seen it, that’s three seasons. It’s extraordinary, when people talk about adaptations of books has never been as good as the book themselves. The Leftovers is an okay book. Tony Perrotta is great writer. The Leftovers is a good book.

What Perrotta and Lindelof did together for the TV series was the greatest TV series about what it means to live. One day, 2% of the humans vanished from the world. That could be anyone, babies, fetuses, old people, people who have been given all clear from cancer vanished. Some people who are terrible humans vanished, some amazing humans vanished. There are all these theories about is it Rapture? What is it? What’s made it happen? How does the other 98% live when they’re all touched by something?

That’s a fascinating premise. It reminds me slightly of the movie Children of Men.

Which I haven’t seen but I want to see.

[bctt tweet=”It’s so much easier to buy books than it is to read books.” via=”no”]

It’s about what happens to a world where people can’t make babies anymore. What does that do to a world? I won’t spoil it by saying it plunges into chaos.

Reading wise, it’s tough. My brain’s been all over the place over the last fifteen months. I only just finished a book now that I started reading, which was Journey to the West, which was a Buddhist tale about a monkey, Tripitaka, and the full pilgrims who traveled to India to get scriptures, which I started reading when I was in China because it was appropriate. I finished reading that. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that as something that other people should read.

I’m reading a really fun comic at the moment called Paper Girls, which is by Brian K. Vaughan, who is a great kind of Sci-fi comic writer. He wrote a series on that topic of people not being able to procreate. You already have a series called Y: The Last Man. There was only one man left alive. All the other men die in this horrible kind of instant Ebola death in a single instance and this one human male survives. He survives having to live as a man in a world populated entirely by women and what that means. Bryan K. Vaughan’s a great comic book writer. I recommend to pretty much anything that he does.

What’s the secret to success that everybody knows but can’t seem to do?

Planning. Everybody knows that they need to plan. Everybody knows that they need to work things out before they start properly and to take things methodically but everybody wants to jump ahead. I’m no different but that concept of knowing that you have to do something, writing it down, putting it in order, and making sure that you can act on it. That’s one of the secrets to success that everybody knows and nobody wants to do because it’s hard.

I’ve warned my students then I had chastised them for ignoring the warning. When I teach marketing management, everybody wants to talk about tactics, but you need to do the hard work on strategy. That’s an example of this, strategies are about planning, and tactics are about execution. Everybody wants to jump into tactics because they’re fun and sexy and familiar, but it’s a planning failure

Because you need to know where you’re going before you need to know whether you can attack.

Josh, thanks for doing this. This was fun.

Thank you very much.

Resources mentioned:

About Josh Kinal

INJ 17 | User Experience DesignDespite his degree in Immunology and Reproductive Endocrinology, Josh Kinal headed into the world of entertainment journalism, broadcasting and screenwriting. He created the Boxcutters podcast, the first Australian podcast to be invited to perform live at SXSW. Nowadays he designs experiences for people using technology. He is a Lead Experience Designer at ThoughtWorks in Melbourne. He speaks eight languages well enough to order sandwiches in at least four continents.



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