The importance of feedback in user experiences

I wrote this piece on Medium first about my work as a Product Manager:

I work in a large room that’s offset from a larger and more public area. The room is locked, so that only people who work for my company can enter as long as they have an ID badge with the appropriate permissions assigned. There are two doors through which one can enter the room. These doors can be opened by anyone from the inside of the room, but you must first push a red button adjacent to the door.

Buzzers
Buzz Me by Jen Gallardo

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Atlanta Trip

My husband and I went to Atlanta end of April leading into early May which honestly now feels like forever ago. I think that's usually the first indicator that I need to start planning another vacation! But first, let me tell you about Hot-lanta.

Of course, I always unfairly compare all new cities I visit to my hometown so while Atlanta didn't make my list of cities I'd want to live in one day, it's still a neat town. Here are some highlights.

At South City Kitchen in Midtown

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Let’s Just Start Over or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Product and Comfort a Cranky Stakeholder

I wrote this piece on Medium first about my work as a Product Manager:

Last week, colleague walked over to my desk to ask me about the product I just started working on. And by started to work on, I mean I inherited this product in part because there was some significant “clean-up” needed and rumor has it that I’m good with fixer-uppers. His question to me was, “How about we just start over?” In short, stating that he’d almost rather walk away from this dumpster-fire mess than somehow try to put out the embers and make something of the leftover half-burned pieces of fresh garbage. Well, this isn’t exactly what he meant but that’s probably how I felt when I heard the question and realized the hole I now needed to climb out of.

Bonfire at Night
Bonfire #8 by Jen Gallardo

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Reviewing the Leica Q

Lately, I've been into carrying smaller purses on the weekends. It forces me to think about the bare essentials and probably reduces strain on my shoulders that are accustomed to carrying a bag that can at worst accommodate a 13" work laptop or at best carry around my 9" iPad plus a number of other odds and ends (giant wallet, makeup bag, etc).

This is a big shift for me as, for a while, I was only buying bags that could fit my camera. Since my camera (Canon DSLR) takes up a lot of room, I've been seriously considering down-sizing and have rented other cameras over the last 6 months just to get an idea of what I might like to buy (or not). When Adorama Camera had their infamous Passover rental special (10 days more or less for the cost of a weekend), I decided to pick up a camera I had wanted to try the last time they had one of these sales — the Leica Q. Continue reading "Reviewing the Leica Q"

Finding a Home

Finding a home is probably now one of my new-found least-favorite activities. I think it ranks up there with cleaning floors and doing laundry, which are some of my least favorite chores. I should probably clarify; finding a home that is within the realm of what I want to pay, doesn't increase my already hour-long commute and has laundry within the unit is a huge chore. Continue reading "Finding a Home"

Travels In Europe

It's February which means I'm officially back in New York City (at least for now). I've always wanted to travel in January and February but husband and I historically have rarely been able to get our act together to do it. This time, I was traveling for work so everything was booked and mostly organized before 2016 was over. Of course, there's a saying about the best laid plans…in short, they don't always go as planned.

I happened to be flying to London the day of the first major snowfall of 2017 in New York City. Of course it would be a snowy day! Why wouldn't it be? Throughout the day, I kept checking on the status of my flight and it continued to say it was "on time." Meanwhile, the cost of my Uber to the airport was double the cost of a regular taxi (hello, surge pricing!) and the fact that I even took an Uber tells you a lot as I never take Uber (for personal reasons I'll discuss at another time).

To make a long story short, my flight did not depart until FOUR HOURS after its scheduled time. I think I learned my lesson about flying during peak New York snow season! However, I did get to fly Premium Economy on a Delta flight operated by Virgin Atlantic. In this class, I was greeted with a welcome sparkling wine. Delays and all, I could definitely get used to flying like this.

Pre Flight Drink
I can get used to welcome champagne and a cute little overnight bag.

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Can't. Hardly. Wait.

I got back from New Orleans a few days ago and soon I'll be back on the road visiting London on business. London is one of the few places I've been where I can see myself living. The pace is similar to that of New York and there's a ton of culture every way you look at it: old buildings alongside new, diverse food options and a ton of museums and theaters. Of course, I will mostly be in an office building but that's merely a minor technicality!

Piccadilly Circus, London
Piccadilly Circus, London

After London, I've decided to book a mini solo trip to Paris since the proximity can't be beat (by comparison, it's like taking a train from New York to Philly). I've never been to Paris so I'm excited to take pictures of and explore the city. I'd also like to try to practice some of the broken French I've learned thanks to Duolingo. I know how to say the cat is black (le chat est noir) and other not too useful phrases. I bought a phrase book to carry with me so hopefully that can help jump start me a bit.

I do love to travel but I'm starting to feel somewhat ready to get back to my real life. Though I'd like to pretend that I'm some sort of jetsetter, I'm really not, especially when it's cold. I don't mind cuddling on the couch with my dear husband and some warm white rose tea (my new favorite tea from T2). I'm also trying to be good (cooking lunches and dinners at home, exercising) so that's going to be a little bit wrecked — but hello, per diems and happy hour!

In truth, when it comes to getting back to my life, I more than anything want to be back from my trip so we can officially start the search for a home. I've been stalking properties on Trulia and Streeteasy which is definitely not the same as meeting with a realtor. However, this is the year that we feel confident financially to buy a property within the city limits.

And every time I come home to find, ahem, surprise visitors of the creep-crawly variety, I can't wait to get started on that search!

New Year and New Camera

Happy New Year!

Champagne I enjoyed at midnight in New Orleans (photo taken by Fuji X100T camera I rented)
Champagne I enjoyed at midnight in New Orleans (photo taken by Fuji X100T camera I rented – click on any photo to see full size version on Flickr)

After many days off from work and some fun travels, I'm now back in New York City and ready to resume my normal routines again — well, somewhat. The new year is all about resolutions but I didn't make any specific ones. Instead, I'm striving to have a majority of happy and healthy days in 2017. In keeping with that, there are a lot of things I will continue to do, or simply do more often, but I'm not aiming for some sort of dramatic change.

I think, despite what we say every January 1st, we are all creatures of habit. I'm going to focus on all my good habits like investing in my body with exercise and eating well and hobbies like reading (now with my new kindle paperwhite – thanks, Santa!), writing and taking photos.

And, speaking of photos, I took a bunch over the past week or so. I've been meaning to try out a mirrorless camera for a WHILE and I just haven't gotten around to it. I think this also ties into my being a creature of habit; I love my old Canon SLR and it, in return, has been very good to me over many many years. I'm typically pretty good with my electronics so they last a while – this camera is no different. That said, it's a little big for traveling and doesn't have any of the bells and whistles that newer cameras have.

So when Adorama (one of my favorite places for camera equipment in the city) was having a Christmas rental deal, I decided to go all out and rent a Leica Q. But that was taken because I didn't act fast enough, so I ended up with the Fuji X100T instead. In truth, I'm glad I ended up with the Fuji because it is way less expensive and therefore something I could consider buying in the future. Though, honestly, I still think I need to do a little more digging before I settle on a mirrorless camera. While the X100T is a really nice camera, there are some things about it that quickly became deal breakers for me. Continue reading "New Year and New Camera"

My 10-Year Test

I use the Pocket app which I love. It allows me to hold on to interesting articles to read (or re-read) later on the subway (where I still often have little signal).

One that I finally got around to reading is titled The 10-Year Test: The Best Way to See if You're on the Right Career Track.

The gist of the article is that, when you feel stuck and you don't think you are making progress, reflect on how far you've come in the last 10 years. I've been thinking a lot about my life trajectory, especially in the wake of this crazy election, but I never really thought of it this way.

The author makes a compelling argument against the constant anxiety around our forward-looking plans.

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#RealTalk Life Advice about Work

At least a few times a year, I'm prompted to think about work. We all go there most days a week but rarely give any thought to whether it still makes sense to be there or if change is needed.

I receive a lot of email newsletters that are focused on career ladies, like myself, and they typically follow the same tired career tropes:

  • Find what you love and you'll never "work" a day in your life!
  • Take a risk and do what you love!

The reason I call these tired is because we all know that doing what you want, in any given moment, is often more fulfilling than doing what you think you should be doing. For example, sleeping in on the weekend is way more fulfilling than spending those hours doing laundry or cleaning. This is common sense and not worth repeating.

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