Sign in

John Maeda
John Maeda: Technologist and product experience leader that bridges business, engineering, design via working inclusively. Happily working at Everbridge☁️ :+).
SXSW PanelPicker ends soon: https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/112406

Four Things That I’m Thinking About Computational Experiences

  1. The functional aspects of an experience are covered by considering speed (lightness) and ease-of-use (accessibility). The next level above is driven by values (ethics) and how instrumentation (i.e. being “dataful”) lets you serve the user best.
  2. This “L.E.A.D.” approach is a good enough approximation for the salient aspects of “design” that need to get addressed for an effective computational experience. You can also say that “good enough” is arbitrary and based upon “who’s definition of ‘good’?”
  3. The aesthetic aspects of an experience address the tippy top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and thus they often get marginalized and/or deemed as…


I’ve tried to avoid SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) training for software product development in the past, but this time around I feel motivated to understand it better.

Why? Because there are plenty of opponents to it on the Internet who’ve written terrific critiques, like the storied Marty Cagan:

“I can’t imagine any of the strong tech product companies I know choosing to move to SAFe, and if for some reason they did, I’m pretty certain their top talent would leave.” https://svpg.com/revenge-of-the-pmo/

Having seen my share of SAFe doubters, and having spent an inordinate amount of time scratching my head while trying to read the key diagram that underlies this framework for agile, I felt that I should make more of a concerted effort to learn instead of…


From the new 2021 CX Report

The word “antifragile” accurately captures a quality in systems that can get stronger when more stress is applied. The safety stack enables organizational antifragility.

My “monthly” CX Briefing comes out more like once a year and it follows the same format of 4–3–2–1 as listed below. If you’d like to sign up for it, then that link is here. It’s always in plaintext because I guess I’m still oldskool.

Four Things That I’m Thinking About Computational Experiences

* Electricity was a positive black swan. Technologies with broad, general applications take an inordinate amount of time to truly take hold over society in a disruptive way.

* Is there…


Ever since I moved into the resilience world to work on all-things-pandemic, I’ve been dusting off all of my old crisis management books.

But perhaps the pandemic has made me lazy, because instead of buying more books I’ve started watching YouTube videos. I’ve especially enjoyed looking at Dr. David Hillson’s videos to extract key lessons from his career in risk management. He boils it down to three questions:

  1. What are your objectives?
  2. What events in the future might positively or negatively impact your goals?
  3. Which event scenarios are most likely and most important to you?

These questions enable you to craft a strategy for how you’ve chosen to manage your objectives and their associated positive and negative risks in a prioritized manner. It’s…


My “PowerShop” prototype demonstrated at TED 2013

Registration is now open for my annual SXSW report going live on March 16.

About a decade ago, I served on a World Economic Forum (WEF) council on new models of leadership. Back then I thought a lot about how our world was moving from the hierarchy to the heterarchy.

My thinking at the time for the WEF was influenced by how I was an active experimentalist in using the power of electronic communications to close the distance between leaders and their constituents.

For example, in 2008 I may have been the first chief executive of a university to host an internal blog where I could “talk” with anyone in the organization out in the open. To increase transparency even further, I created an “anonymous Tuesday” where participants could say whatever they wanted to me with…


The 2021 CX.Report is coming soon at this year’s SXSW

There’s been plenty of talk over the past year about the “black swan” event of COVID-19.

Thanks to the work of Hajj Flemings, a friend and a CEO, I’ve long been thinking about how we use the word “black.” So I was intrigued by this letter to the Financial Times written last fall by a professor of finance, and the letter has stayed with me in the months since. The professor was urging us to stop saying “black” swan, due to its negative reinforcement of the word.

But then I discovered that when you dig deeper into the work of Nassim Taleb and his initial coining of the phrase, you notice that he never associated “black…


In my 30s, I had the good fortune to work with AARP and to have the opportunity to think about life after 50 when I hadn’t nearly gotten there yet. It changed my perspective on aging.

Until that point, I hadn’t considered how age-ism operates in our world. And yet I knew that whenever I imagined an older person, I’d think of someone who was keeled over, hard of hearing, and cantankerous in some way — which is how the TV and movies always seemed to depict them. Instead, through the members of AARP I encountered generations of people who came across as enlightened, unusually direct about their opinions, and at every turn freely sharing with me that their sex lives were magnificent.

One of my favorite observations was how the idea of “being old” is…


This is what a Harvard economist warned me about a decade ago

Image courtesy of the author

Ten years ago I spoke at a Marketing Technology (aka “martech”) event that was held at the fancy New York Times auditorium; a famous Harvard economist was the keynote speaker.

Although his remarks weren’t long, they certainly made an impression on me. I’ve held onto what he said and have tried to find the source material for the points he raised, with no success. It went something like this (please excuse my paraphrasing that is likely not proper Harvard economist-speak):

Imagine you are the greatest country in the world. You can manufacture and deliver any kind or size of object…


The Loch Ness Monster is furrealz … well, maybe not.

This post is dedicated to my mother, Yumi, who always told me throughout my life, “I believe in you.” It always made a difference.

I think that I’m more susceptible to clickbait titles than most of my peers because I grew up in a household where The National Enquirer was one of my primary sources of news.

My mom was always busy running the tofu store with my father, and as a big fan of Elvis she always wanted to keep tabs on his latest resurrection from the grave. So whenever she rushed through the shopping line at the supermarket, that’s when she would pick up her newspaper. As a result, I developed a strong interest in Bigfoot, UFOs, and of course the Loch Ness Monster.

When I later left for college I…


Technologies that make us safer comprise the safety stack.

I think we’re all feeling a bit dumbfounded by how we took the feeling of safety for granted before the pandemic. That odd sensation you get when watching a movie where nobody’s wearing a mask in a dense crowd is real. Or, at least for me, the newest member of my “unfavorite dreams” circus — the one where I can’t graduate from high school, the one where all my teeth fall out — is now the one where I’m exposed to some terribly deadly virus. It’s a vulnerable time for many of us. …

John Maeda

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store