March 2021 CX Briefing

John Maeda
2 min readMar 21, 2021
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 a technology that can make things better? It turns out it’s a set of technologies, and a set of skills and competencies that comprise what’s called “the safety stack.”

* The safety stack has become more visible due to a combination of the prolonged impact of C-19 and our discovery that there’s more to life than “top-of-Maslow’s” tech hedonism.

* When a technology becomes commoditized, design is what differentiates. When a technology achieves mass adoption, its potential to cause problems becomes more evident.

Three Things I’ve Noticed In The Last 30 Days

* There’s increasing awareness that the word “black swan” doesn’t necessarily mean a negative unexpected event. There are positive black swan events too, like the World Wide Web.

* On the one hand, resilience can be considered a costly affair. On the other hand, it can be considered a wise investment when wanting to reduce the impacts of a negative black swan.

* The global supply chains were impacted by C-19 due to our world’s relentless pursuit of achieving cost efficiencies. So instead of achieving resilience, we achieved brittleness.

Two Unsolicited Non-Tech Products That I ❤

* Susan Kare, of Macintosh 1984 fame, has a new line of bitmapped coasters and towels.

* The Cooper Hewitt Shop has an ongoing spotlight on design items by women designers.

One Special Link

* The abridged edition of the new CX Report is now on YouTube: https://youtu.be/anK8Xr-V288

One Final Point

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

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John Maeda

John Maeda: Technologist and product experience leader that bridges business, engineering, design via working inclusively. Currently VP Design and A.I. at MSFT.