richard muscat

designer. growth engineer at automattic. occasionally also scuba diver, bad pianist, aspiring sailor.

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updates from the blog

last updated: 25/05/2015

How do I get myself a design career?

Posted on October 20, 2014

About once a month I get a random email from an aspiring designer asking me a variation of the question: "I don’t have a background in design but I’d really like to get into UX design. What can I do?"

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Farewell Red Gate. Hello Automattic.

Posted on February 06, 2014

About 4 and a half years ago I was offered a job at a company Red Gate. I took it and soon found out that I’d been lucky enough to join a company that’s literally one of the best software companies to work for in the UK. As a bonus, Red Gate is based in the best place to live in the UK: Cambridge.

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Depression, death and the software industry

Posted on November 14, 2013

Last year, a colleague of mine, somebody I helped hire and eventually managed at Red Gate, committed suicide.

In hindsight, this must have come at the end of a long period of depression and anxiety during which whatever led this person to do this was not ‘fixed’ – possibly not even ‘diagnosed’ so to speak. (By this I don’t mean necessarily medically diagnosed, but that nobody around him, including himself, was quite realising the severity of the situation or that there even was a situation.)

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Top 10 tips for getting a design job

Posted on October 2, 2013

I previously wrote about how to get a graduate position in UX or design. That post came out of two things: the fact that we were hiring graduates at the time, and that I was asked quite regularly at conferences and events what candidates should send us to demonstrate their suitability.

Now we're recruiting again–but this time, we’re looking for senior designers.

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I'll be writing a (short) book.

Posted on June 12, 2013

The lovely folk at Five Simple Steps have courageously agreed to publish a short book written by me as part of their Pocket Guide series.

This is great news (for me anyway) for two reasons.

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A simple technique for having excellent meetings

Posted on April 20, 2013

I run and attend a lot of meetings in my day to day work. The one common thread to all meetings is that everyone claims to hate them. There’s a lot that can be improved in meetings by applying standard and not so standard facilitation techniques. But that’s often hard and takes a lot of practice.

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Thoughts on Business of Software 2011

Posted on October 27, 2011

I find myself in LA getting ready for SQL in the City head still whirling from a fantastic 3 days of talks and networking at this year’s Business of Software conference in Boston.

The speaker line-up was amazing as were all the attendees. There’s no way I can do the event justice in a meagre blog post however, while its all still fresh, here are my key takeaways:

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UX Cambridge 2011 workshop

Posted on October 20, 2011

The UX team at Red Gate will be attending UX Cambridge 2011 next month. We’re very excited to have a fully-fledged UX conference in our own backyard finally. So much so that two of us are running sessions at the event.

My workshop, together with Chris and Helen, will be tackling how UX and Agile can work better together.

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The price of “Free”

Posted on June 20, 2011

In my last post I promised that I’d elaborate on why I think “Free” is a flawed and misunderstood business model. This is that post. It’s a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now; ever since I read Chris Anderson’s book Free around two years ago in fact.

My contention is that “Free” as described and used in many contemporary web-based businesses is a non-business model that is not only broken, but actively harmful to entrepreneurship. Free rarely works, and all the times that it doesn’t, it undermines entrepreneurial creativity, destroys market value, delivers an inferior user experience and pumps hot air into financial bubbles.

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