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Beyond Users

Author: Alen Faljic

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A podcast that teaches business to designers.
41 Episodes
In this episode, we share a lesson from the d.MBA course. In this lesson, which is a part of the Business Models module, we introduce ten famous business model patterns. We go through their advantages, disadvantages, and explain when to use them. We compare e-commerce with brick and mortar models, talk about white label solutions, open-source models, freemium, subscription, razor and blade mode and many more. If you want to see this lesson's slides click here -->
David J Bland is the founder of Precoil to help companies find product market fit using lean startup, design thinking, and business model innovation. David has helped validate new products and businesses at companies such as GE, Toyota, Adobe, HP, Behr and more. David is the co-author of Testing Business Ideas, a Wiley business book with Alexander Osterwalder. In this podcast, we talked about David’s new book Testing Business Ideas. We covered: three types of risks facing your business and product ideas how to design experiments for these risks, and how you can use experiment sequences to design better products.
Designers are used to using prototypes to test usability and desirability. You put a wireframe in front of a user and you can quickly learn if they like (or know how to use) something. What if we could do the same for viability? Well, we can. With math. In this episode, you’ll learn how to use simple math to: estimate the business impact of your product changes calculate in money what value can your project have and how you can use that to talk to managers in your company.
Have you ever been told to be more strategic? What does it mean though? Strategy, unfortunately, has different meanings for different people. It is one of the most widely misunderstood concepts despite being crucial to the success of business and design. In this episode, we talk about a difference between strategy and business strategy, what you should do if you find yourself on a strategic project, and how to create strategic prototypes.
Trent and Alen discuss the importance of design research and desktop research from the perspective of business designers. In this episode, we are covering: conducting looking-ins (internal interviews) and looking-outs (customers and outside stakeholders), doing desktop research (analyzing industry and competitors), using data, and much more!
“My name is Jason Barron, and I’m a designer. I’ve always been doodling, sometimes when I shouldn’t - like in class as a kid. Fast-forward 20 years and not much has changed. Except that I decided to put my lifelong doodling habit to work when I received an MBA from a top 40 business school, Brigham Young University.” Jason is an author of The Visual MBA, a great book explaining all key business school concepts and frameworks through illustrations. It’s a perfect book for all designers who want to grasp basic business concepts in a language that we are well versed in - images. In this podcast we talked about: Jason’s favorite business school concepts, if he would recommend other designers to take an MBA, and how he decided to publish the book.
Imagine working on the iPhone before its release in 2007. Imagine the number of design decisions to be made. No one knew if this is going to be successful. Now, imagine working on the iPhone in 2019. Now, the level of design work is completely different, for sure.  Each product has its lifecycle and its strategic position in the company. If we learn what type of product we work on, we will know where design has the most value. In this episode, I talked about: why iPhone is a “cash cow” and iTunes a “dog”, the growth-share matrix that helps us categorize our products, and what the role of a designer is for each product strategy.
Customer is king. Especially to designers. We would do everything for them. We fight for what they want and need. But is that always a good idea? I would argue that it is sometimes self-destructive. That it is against what customers actually want. Find out more in this episode in which we discuss the fundamentals of a business strategy
This week, I published the Business Design Guide, which introduces business design as a design discipline. In this episode, I present the outline of the guide and share a few stories from my career that led me to write this guide. I took one topic from the guide and presented it in more detail. What most budding business designers overlook is the importance of a design mindset. So, I share six mindsets that make a business designer, business designer.
John Oswald is a business design pioneer. He was the first business designer at fjord where he defined its role and built the team. He is currently a managing director at a strategic design consultancy Method London. With John, we discussed: the early days and evolution of the business design, five patterns of business design talent, how hiring business designers work, and how typical business design deliverables look like.
Imagine you are running a hotel. Who would you rather have as a customer? High value but one-time visitor or an average customer who will keep coming back for many years? It depends, right? Lifetime Value (LTV) is a concept that can help us determine the business value of our customers and with that understand: who is an ideal customer, how much they are worth to a business, and how much we can spend on acquiring a customer. In this mini d.MBA episode we cover the definition of lifetime value and its relevance for designers.
When you open a yoga studio, will you hire yoga instructor full-time or will you find a contractor? Will you sign a one year lease for your studio that you can equip the way you want or will you try to rent a pop-up store that gives you more flexibility? These are all design decisions that entrepreneurs and designers should think about. In this mini d.MBA episode, we spoke about: the difference between fixed and variable costs and calculating a break-even point.
In the second mini d.MBA episode, we look at two related business concepts: Opportunity Costs and Return on Investment (ROI) If you take a year off from work and do an MBA, this doesn’t just cost you $100k. During that same year, you could be earning your salary. So, your opportunity costs (for that year) are way above $100k. A freelancer that takes on a project with a 50% discounted rate won’t be able to sell that time to a much better paying corporate gig if it shows up at a later point. How can we best decide among different opportunities and their costs? One way is calculating ROI.
This is an experimental episode where I present one business concept and explain its relevancy for designers work. In the first mini d.MBA episode, I talked about cash flow and its importance. It is one of the most common reasons companies go out of businesses. When you run out of money, the game is over. If you like chocolate, expensive apartment buildings, Walmart, and loans, you will love this episode. You will learn how you can affect the cash flow as a designer and drastically improve the health of your product and business.
The Business Design Jam is back. In the third session, David Schmidt, a business design partner at United Peers, and I discuss four business design topics: how misaligned incentives fundamentally hurt user experience across different industries and what we can learn from Lemonade (the insurance startup from USA), why creating sustainable brands could be the next big wave in business innovation (we talked about Patagonia as an example here), we discussed a question that very few designers and entrepreneurs ask themselves: “how big should my company be” (hint: growing is not always the best answer), and we discussed what separates a successful corporate innovation from the ones that are likely to fail. If you want to add to our discussion, reach out to us on Linkedin (Alen, David) or Twitter (Alen, David).
Matic Pelcl is a director of product at Celtra, a creative management platform for digital advertising. Matic has gone through the experience of starting as a junior designer to having the proverbial seat at the table today. In this episode, we spoke about: why scalable design is important and when companies should start implementing it, what does having a seat at the table mean, and how does a design process look like at Celtra?    
Watch the video version of the talk. Recently, I gave a talk titled "Good design is good business" at the UX/UI Meetup Berlin. I presented the synthesis of my research on the heritage and purpose of design. The basic question I was trying to answer is "what is the purpose of design" and "how designers can achieve it". In this talk, I share my answer. 
Jules Ehrhardt is the founder of FKTRY, a creative capital studio aimed at revolutionising how creatives get paid. Jules was previously an owner of USTWO, the pioneer studio that kicked off the digital product studio trend. Jules left USTWO couple of years ago to focus on building one of the first creative capital studios and to create an example of a new business model for creatives, which he laid out in his seminal pieces called State of the Digital Nation 2020 (and 2018). In the episode, we discussed: if the design agency model is doomed, how creatives will get paid in the future, and how the lack of economic literacy blocks creatives from achieving their full potential.
Tulio Jarocki is a product designer at Blinkist, a subscription service that summarizes non-fiction books so they can be consumed in just 15 minutes. The company has over 2500 books in its database, more than 6 million customers, and it has raised over $35 million. In the episode, we spoke about: the checklist design process that product designers use at Blinkist, how designers at Blinkist use data in their design process (and where they get it from), and differences between USA and Europe in design maturity.
Mackey Saturday is a world-renown graphic designer who created visual identities for some of the most famous brands of our time: Instagram, Oculus, Luxe and recently also Unsplash. He is currently running a brand agency based in New York City. In this podcast we talked about: his early beginnings and how he learned to sell his services, how we can avoid taste based discussions with clients, when a brand redesign is a good idea and when it is not, and why do business even invest in logos?
Comments (1)

Miguel Alvarez

uin n kjii.

Dec 24th
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