17 December 19 -

Super8: Eight intriguing articles in December.

As 2019 draws to a close and we think about the exciting things a new decade may bring us, it’s only fitting that this month’s Super8 is a Christmas curation of our favourite pieces from throughout the year.

Selected by Sarah El-Atm, December’s Super8 sets you up for some peaceful holiday reading to get across the best pieces from 2019. Save this edition for some post-Christmas edification, and let your brain be inspired, creatively motivated, renewed, and challenged. Happy holidays!

1. 11 things I learned about user research from watching Mindhunter.

‘Mindhunter’—the true story of how the FBI developed psychological profiling techniques for criminals in the ‘60s and ‘70s—is an excellent TV show, but for Arnav Kumar, it’s also an elucidating framework for user research practices.

Challenge your thinking this month and consider how contemporary television can change the way you approach user research. Learn about the importance of listening, the value of strategic improvisation, the significance of patterns, and how to make participants comfortable. That is, if they’re not shackled to a chair in a maximum-security prison.

2. Why asking for advice is more effective than asking for feedback.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Jaewon Yoon , Hayley Blunden , Ariella Kristal , Ashley Whillans.
  • Contributor: Daniel Banik.

It turns out asking for feedback is not the most effective way of getting an honest, unfiltered opinion on your performance. Instead you should ask for advice.

Perhaps hold off reading this piece just before Christmas lunch with the extended family, but definitely add it to the schedule for before you head back to work.

This fascinating article from Harvard Business Review (backed by science!) explains why asking for advice is far more effective than asking for feedback. With that in mind, what could we do to make Super8 better in future?

3. The myth of ‘making it’.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Soraya Roberts.
  • Contributor: Geordie Launder.

If you’re a keen gardener, you’ll know that your garden is never finished. It’s a continuous process of organic evolution and experimentation; part-elation with some disappointment dotted along the way. Success is the same. It’s just like tending to a garden.

In this long-form think piece, Soraya points out that some of the most financially viable and critically acclaimed artists on the planet don’t feel successful.

Success is more like tending a garden than building a house. It’s an organic, ongoing and evolving proposition rather than a standalone endpoint.

So when you’re out in the garden this festive season, take a moment to reflect just how analogous it is with success, and celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through another year: ups, down, and everything in between.

4. Six timeless business lessons we can all learn from Drake.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Jack Martin.
  • Contributor: Elliott Grigg.

How could we not include this article from 2019! I’ve left Elliott’s original wrap up in here because it captures the essence of this article so well. ‘Nuff said. Enjoy:

Auctoritas’ is the Roman Virtue of ‘spiritual authority’. Loosely translated from the original Latin, it refers to ‘the sense of one’s social standing built up through experience’.

Admittedly, spiritual authority is probably not the sort of concept you associate with rappers, but here, Jack Martin identifies six key behaviours from the ‘six God’ himself—Drake—to help you build valuable experience and improve your entrepreneurial standing.

From collaborative networking through to using vulnerability to your advantage, turns out there’s lots to reap from rap.

5. How to use writing to amplify your leadership impact.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Julia Clavien.
  • Contributor: Geordie Launder.

We are avid proponents of always being able to improve your communication. I loved reading this piece earlier in the year because it reminded me of just how powerful good writing can be. More importantly, why taking the time to write well, and practice this craft, is worth the effort.

When you take the time to write something, it gives you time to think it through and organise your thoughts before they are shared—improving critical thinking and allowing you to take ownership of your expression.

6. Accessibility guidelines for UX designers.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by UX Collective.
  • Contributor: Isabel Silvis.

Striving for accessibility in web design and digital services is a no-brainer.

It’s a team responsibility and it should never be overlooked or compromised. One lens with which to view a UX designer is as a conduit between different teams with different priorities: someone to ensure that accessible design is celebrated, not enforced.

This piece on accessibility guidelines aims for WCAG 2.1 conformance level AA. Covering content structure, device design, touch targets and keyboard-only users, this guide can help build empathy through products and platforms that are inclusive of a wider audience.

7. What are the biggest hurdles faced by women in the design industry?

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Emily Stevens. 
  • Contributor: Bridget Noonan.

Did you know female creatives only hold 11% of leadership positions in the design field? We’ve come a long way as a global society in terms of an equitable and gender-balanced workforce. However, we still have a way to go.

Emily shares the message that businesses must encourage and champion equity, while women should feel empowered to ask for their share of equal pay and opportunities in the workplace.

Studies have shown that female role models encourage and inspire other women to make different choices. So, in 2020, how will you inspire and empower others to speak up?

8. Why you should work less and spend more time on hobbies.

  • Read the full article here.
  • Written by Gaetano DiNardi.  
  • Contributor: Sarah El-Atm. 

We couldn’t have a December edition of Super8 and not include one of my favourites in 2019 that reminded us to keep doing the things that matter to us – and these things aren’t work.

Author Gaetano DiNardi shares his personal experience of trying to find time to compose music, while maintaining his role as head of demand generation for Nextiva.

Coming up with a fully original idea can be difficult when your mind is filled with targets, metrics, and deadlines. A creative hobby pulls you out of all that. Whether you’re a musician, artist, writer, or cook, you often start with a blank canvas in your mind. You simply think: What will I create that will evoke the emotion I’m going for?

If you’ve no other article in this month’s Super8, read this one. Read it before Christmas and set a rejuvenating tone for the Festive Season.


So that wraps up 2019 and another 12 months of August’s Super8. We hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s collections and we can’t wait to see what people are writing about in 2020!