10 Must-Reads for Every Product Developer

10 must-reads for every product developer

Let’s be honest. As product developers, we’d rather be in our labs, plugging away at our latest project and actually, you know, creating.

But even the most creative brains need to power-down and seek inspiration from other creative brains once in a while. It keeps us fresh…

And who doesn’t love seeing some amazing new design someone else has come up with? If only so that we can say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!?”

But sadly, the time of a product developer, designer, or manager is precious and limited, often with little time to search out spots for fresh ideas. So we’ll help you out!

These are the top 10 items on our team’s collective online reading list (plus 1 shocking bonus item).

X, the Moonshoot Factory

Whether you pour over their blog or follow them on Twitter, the content that this team cranks out will motivate, educate, and inspire you to know that your work matters.

With a goal of inventing and launching “breakthrough technologies that have the potential to solve the world’s biggest problems,” the team at X is actively pursuing answers to questions like

  • How can balloons deliver the Internet to rural and unconnected places?
  • How can kites be used to generate electricity in unexpected places?
  • How can beams of light support the rapidly growing global demand for data?

Certainly conversations you want to listen in on.

Greg Satell

It’s hard to imagine how Greg Satell—an author, speaker, innovation advisor, and contributor to publications like Harvard Business Review and Inc.—also manages to blog as frequently and thoughtfully as he does.

But we are so not complaining.

At DigitalTonto, Satell shares insightful posts that provide great brain fodder to accompany your morning cup of coffee. He’ll get you thinking, give you perspective, and help you stay on the cutting edge of our constantly evolving industry.

P.S. He’s worth a follow on Twitter as well.

The Fictiv Hardware Guide

Fictiv’s Hardware Guide is “a collection of the best articles from the hardware community.” Within it, they share collective knowledge and lessons from the trenches of development.

From R&D to planning, design, fabrication, assembly, and testing, Fictiv explores the stages and nonlinear processes of our business with smarts you can turn around and apply.

Martin Eriksson and Mind the Product

Martin Eriksson is a product leader, author, speaker, and thinker who is well worth keeping an eye on.

While his blog seems to become more insightful every day, he also helps to crank out great content in myriad directions—on Twitter, via the product-people meetup ProductTank, and through Mind the Product, “the world’s largest product community” and a great reading pit stop to boot.

Core77

If you’re the kind of person who likes to start dinner by eating dessert, then you’ll probably like starting your day with a perusal of Core77.

For the industrial design set, this publication is pure yum. Publishing everything from articles to discussion forums, event info, portfolios, job listings, and so much more, Core77 bills itself as “a gathering point for designers and enthusiasts alike.”

If you’re committed to keeping in tune with the latest and greatest in design, then it’s a gathering you don’t want to miss.

Matt May

We’ve got good news and bad news on Matt May:

  • The good news: he’s awesome—full of applicable knowledge that’s likely to influence your creativity, innovation, problem-solving, and then some.
  • The bad news: he closed down his blog a while back, in favor of publishing on other platforms, so his content is a smidge harder to find than it once was.

But not to fear! Twitter is here. Along with the bottom half of his homepage, where he includes links to his latest, greatest articles and broadcasts.

Get ready for some fresh perspective.

Cool Hunting

If you’re not sure what mood you’re in the mood for, Cool Hunting might be the place for you today.

Catering to the “community that’s designing the future,” this online publication explores the goings on at the intersection of design, culture, and technology.

Eclectic doesn’t even begin to describe it.

At the time of this writing, for example, the home page included articles about a go-go gadget-esque backpack of robotic arms, a Loire Valley bed & breakfast, and an organic duck-print sweatshirt for little kids, among others.

Looks like your coffee break just got unexpectedly interesting.

Jason Silva

Considering what we do for a living—and considering the fact that we’re insanely passionate about it—we tend to perk up when anyone is described as a “futurist.”

But retaining our interest? That’s a more challenging feat. Enter Jason Silva.

Jason sprang onto the futurist scene through his National Geographic series, Brain Games. He’s now on Shots of Awe, a YouTube channel on the Discovery Digital Networks. His predictions, ideas, interviews, and speeches are always super interesting and entertaining.

Check out his website and Twitter feed for tons of great daily insights, articles about humanity, and thoughts on where we are heading as a global family.

We think your future career will thank you for following this one.

Design Milk

Ever notice how graphic designers tend to put a lot of thought into what they wear?

How every architect you know seems to keep her sleek computer in a clean-lined bag?

How when you visit an industrial designer’s home, you wonder if he moonlights as an interior designer?

That’s because no matter what “type” of designer you are, you’re a designer. Period. And you care about design.

Hence our obsession with Design Milk. This online magazine shares news of what’s new in art, architecture, interiors, fashion, and tech.

So since keeping up with what’s new is part of your job, don’t toss Design Milk aside simply because it’s going (going gone) mainstream. Get it bookmarked and get reading.

UX Magazine

In case you haven’t heard, we’re very opinionated when it comes to user experience.

So we would be remiss if we didn’t include a favorite UX resource on this list.

Focused on exploring various facets of experience design, UX Magazine leverages wise voices from all over our industry (and beyond) to deliver important and useful content on the regular.

Read it. Believe in it.

Bonus recommendation: The M3 Design Journal

Well, at least we were humble enough to put it at the bottom of the list. (Although admittedly, we probably saved the best for last.)

All boasting aside, we work very hard to deliver thorough, insightful, actionable content to your inbox every month. So if you’re not already reading our blog on a regular basis, check out some recent posts and get subscribed.

Happy reading!

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About M3 Design
Founded in 1996, M3 Design is a product development company located in Austin, Texas. We craft and execute product development strategies for leading technology-based companies.

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