November 7, 2014

Best Kids Books for a Two Year Old

My son is well into his second year of life. During his first year of life, I wrote about the best books for a one-year-old. He’s now moved on to an entirely new set of books. As he crossed the two-year mark, I saw how the standard elements that defined a good book for him began to change. While thick pages used to be essential, the dexterity of his hands has significantly improved making it easier for him to handle books with thinner pages. And while he previously preferred simple illustrations and short bits of text, he’s now graduated to books with more complex visuals and narratives.

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August 28, 2014

In Swahili, Tangawizi Is the Word for Ginger

Stories of an intriguing East African ginger beer had been making their way to me for a couple of years. As told by a handful of travelers, the tale was always strikingly similar: hot and sweaty under the mid-day sun, a local guide, or an ex-pat friend, introduced a brown glass bottle with an elaborate logo and a funny name over lunch in a market or neighborhood restaurant. The taste–an intense ginger burn and an explosion of carbonation–cut through the midday heat and the dusty streets leaving a lasting memory. So goes the tale of Stoney Tangawizi.

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August 26, 2014

Kiva’s Design Space

In a recent post I talked abouthow to create an environment for successful design. One way we’ve gone about this at Kiva is by transforming an under utilized conference room into a dedicated design space. The room is filled with white boards, prototyping bins and my favorite—Play-Doh. There are 24 different colors to choose from and it’ll instantly make you feel like a kid again—that’s the point. When you’re in Kiva’s design space (where plenty of Play-Doh is on hand) we want you to return to your childhood. You’ll never hear a child say they’re not the “creative type” or they can’t draw. Kiva’s design space is built to bring out the creative side of everyone from engineers and product managers to legal and accounting. We accomplish this by making it easy—putting the materials at your fingertips—and providing helpful, simple guidelines to activities like brainstorming or conducting research.

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