Product Design in a Normal Interest Rate Environment
The tide has gone out. And we have a higher responsibility then ever to do one thing: Make things that matter.
What actually matters?
Unfortunately, most of the things that matter these days can be traced inexorably to profit.
Does it make the owner class money? Good! Make it!
Marketable opportunities are increasingly narrower. The hollowed out middle class isn't paying for your fun new photo app.
But what actually matters here? Like, how do you avoid contributing to the continued destruction of long-term societal viability (i.e. furthering wealth inequality)?
We can do honest-to-goodness, quality work at a reasonable rate. We can take care of our loved ones. We can give to our communities. We can demonstrate what true selflessness looks like to the ungenerous. We can give till our hands bleed.
And all the while, we can still make real, brass tacks, down-to-earth, better products. Lord knows there's still so much opportunity.
So, what about you? Will you be content with doing an honest day's labor for an honest day's pay? Tightening the belt? Lowering expectations of prestige, accolades, and acclaim?
Can you do the right thing even when it doesn't pay?
It's not easy. It's often unpleasant.
But there's a better world on the other side. There's a better future for our children. And there's a purpose that transcends all the niceties.
Anyone can be a designer in a zero interest rate environment. What about when it costs?