2023 is drawing to an end, which is a good time to take a pause, reflect a bit on the year, and chart a path for the coming year.

This year, I sent 31 episodes of my 9am26 newsletter on various design leadership topics — compared to my original goal of 26. Which is to say that I had a lot of fun writing each, and that there is so much more I wish I’d have had time to explore deeper.

I’ve started the 9am26 newsletter to learn more, to create starting points for select design leadership topics and to start a conversation, and based on my assessment I’ve done well on each of these this year.

Probably the strongest progress I made was in learning. As it happens, exploring a topic you’ve worked with before, helps you to see your experiences in a different light, with richer texture, and more colors. For example, when I wrote about design principles, I could not only build on how I created design principles on multiple occasions but realize some higher level patterns, I’ve never seen while shoulder-deep in the work. Just highlights something I often talk about — the importance and value of reflection.

In 2024, I plan to continue writing biweekly, so 26 episodes overall with more or less the same type of topics. While I’d like to get even less into hot topics (even if writing about the terrible state of the UX industry, or the death of design thinking, or how AI will destroy UX research makes all for great viral posts), I have two high-level goals.

First, I’d like to write more episodes about the business of product design, and how our work as individuals and teams is connected to the broader organizations we work in. A lot of teams seem to be confused about what they are supposed to do beyond pushing pixels, so exploring this should be helpful.

Second, design is a job. But it seems a lot of us are stuck in negative loops that are not helpful to us, nor to the users we are supposed to be working for. Stuck in our jobs. So I intend to focus more on topics about personal practices, and how leaders can help their teams to have a more fulfilled and happier career.

You can always contact me at hello@polgarp.com, I’d be happy to chat about any topic around design leadership. I have this in each of my newsletters, and I mean it. I’ve written some of the best episodes based on conversations I had with some awesome people and would love to hear more about your experiences and dilemmas. Worst case — we have a good chat and a coffee pause in our busy days. So if you have a topic you’d like to explore or discuss, just drop me an email.

May your 2024 be great, and bring you luck and happiness!


This is a post from my newsletter, 9am26, subscribe here:

🍪 Cookie-jar 2023

My biased selection of the best 9am26 episodes from this year — for snacking during the winter break.




Personal practices