Jon Gold


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January 03, 2012 · 1 minute read

Being a Dick & Challenging the Status Quo

There was another little tiff on Twitter today.

The names don’t matter; the song remains the same as ever.

An experienced and well-respected designer wrote a blog post suggesting that a current school of thought is the One True Way (OTW), and anyone not practising OTW isn’t a real web designer. An up-and-coming young designer disputed that and called him a dick. Cue lots of people attacking and defending both sides.

The thing is, nothing should be holy. OTW is great right now, and I have a great deal of respect for the industry figures pushing it and opening our eyes to it. But it’s just a school of thought. Quickly and routinely suppressing any mention of criticism to get more life out of your current conference talk? That’s pretty lame, and it’s against the spirit of innovation.

Up and coming young designers should be questioning every single thing we hear at conferences, intelligently reasoning with every blog post and every hot new technique. If you come back at the end of it agreeing with the motion, great. If you disagree, also great. This industry is about figuring things out and innovating. Making up your own mind. Not getting preached to.

But don’t be a dick, and don’t call people dicks. And if you’re that well-respected industry figure, you should know better than to threaten to break a 21-year-old’s fingers.

There’s also been talk recently of less ‘snark’ on the internet recently. This isn’t what this or this were. Just to keep that clear. Constructive criticism isn’t always a personal attack, and without constructive criticism we won’t progress as an industry..

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Jon Gold

Jon Gold is a technologist, musician, and attention activist researching the long-term future of computation at Airbnb, focusing on the intersection of Artificial Intelligence & the creative process. Contact