Sacha Greif

Sacha is a designer from Paris, France, now living in Osaka, Japan. He specializes in user interfaces for web and mobile apps, and has worked for clients such as Le Monde, Hipmunk, and MileWise. His latest projects are Discover Meteor and Sidebar.

Sacha can be found on Twitter @SachaGreif

Published Thoughts

I wake up at 5.

I go to the kitchen and brew a fresh pot of Blue Bottle coffee while listening to some tapes. I'm learning Swahili right now, it's a fascinating language.

Everybody's still asleep, so I can power through some emails quietly. I get to inbox zero at 5:30 sharp, and it's now time for my morning jog along the beach with Massimo, my Akita-Rottweiler cross.

I get home and get out the shower just as my wife and the kids start waking up. I fix breakfast for them (whole wheat gluten-free toast and quinoa-spinach pudding) and then spend half an hour playing with Hibiscus, our youngest.

She's just 3, but she already loves programming her Arduino. Pretty soon she'll catch up with the twins, Riley and Pomodoro.

Now that the kids are off to school and my wife is off to her job as a horse surgeon, it's time to start the workday.

I open up our team Slack's chatroom and then do a quick Skype with Joshua, our lead designer who's currently nomading through South-East Asia. He tells me he just met Jony Ive at an underground rave in Phnom Penh! I make plans to join him for a quick kite-surfing week-end in Thailand next month.

I then start working on our latest client project. I can't say much at this point except that it's an app for socially conscious personal interfacing, and it's going to change the world!

After that it's lunch. I go to one of my favorite local joints, an awesome Korean-Polish fusion restaurant that just opened recently. I order the kimchi bigos.

In the afternoon I like to work out of a coffeeshop. I pick a different one every day, so it's a good thing there's over 437 coffeeshops in my neighborhood!

I finish at 3pm and head to the gym. Lately I've been making some huge gains on my deadlift by focusing on tensing my glutes and using circular breathing. And of course, I'm also preparing for next week's heptathlon.

I head home after the gym. The boys come back at about 5pm, and I help them with their math homework. They love math so much we often do extra exercises. They still struggle a bit with differential equations, but research has shown that 5-year old's brains are amazingly adaptable so I trust that they'll figure it out.

After dinner it's time for our daily family game of chess. The kids love it, and Pomodoro is getting pretty good with the Hungarian opening.

Once the kids are put to bed, I go to the meditation room for my transcendental meditation session. I clear my mind, and focus on my state of being: I'm one with the world, and the world is one with me.

I then answer a few more emails and tweets, and then it's time for bed at around 11pm. It's crazy how much I've improved my sleeping technique ever since I started tracking my sleeping patterns. Turns out it's all about deliberate practice!

Well anyway, that was my day. What about yours?

Here's something you probably don't like to think about: your home is filthy.

It's little more than a heap of rotten wood and chipped paint covered in dust and grime, filled to the brim with unnecessary crap that you just never had the heart to throw away.

Now I'm not talking about your actual home, although for all I know it might very well fit that description, too. No, I'm talking about your digital home.

We're usually forced to clean up our living spaces sooner or later usually – at least for me – when dust bunnies start reaching the size of actual bunnies.

But when's the last time you did a bit of online spring cleaning?

I know that my digital home at least is in a sorry state. There are currently 22 unsorted items on my Mac's desktop.

Not too bad, except that one of these items is a folder named "stuff", and *that* one contains 363 items.

And one of these 363 items is another folder named "Stuff" (note the capital "S" this time) which itself contains 61 more items.

This is the point where I close the window, afraid I'll never find my way back to the light if I dig any deeper.

And I'm not even talking about my inbox. Why sure, I'd love to receive a daily newsletter informing me of exciting opportunities to use the 12 miles I have on Air Madagascar!

At least I don't have to worry about inbox zero, because I'm carefully keeping track of which emails need to be acted upon. I'll take care of all 127 of them any time soon now.

But all things considered, stray files and unwanted emails are a minor nuisance, easy enough to ignore. What about more important matters?

I still have about a half-dozen assorted WordPress sites hosted on DreamHost. I had a lot of fun last month when they all got hacked, and I had to manually go through their files to remove malware code. Did you know WordPress has a lot of files?

At least DreamHost is relatively cheap. On the other hand, I pay $20 a month to host The Toolbox, a site I haven't updated (or looked at) in years.

And the list goes on.

But this is the year it stops. This is the year I look each of my sites, files, and emails in the eye, and decide if they stay or if they go!

My actual home will probably have to wait until 2016, though.

The Ultimate Design Article

Well here we are.

I’ve got one shot at this. After all, only the smartest, most influent designers and assorted web people get to write on this site. This ain’t Medium anymore, so I better bring my A-game!

Let’s start things off with an anecdote, those are always crowd-pleasers. When I was 17 years old, I used to work as a dishwasher in a grubby diner. Or maybe it was a small neighborhood grocer, or a shop that made hand-crafted birdfeeders. Who cares. 

Anyway, the point is that while I was working there, something mildly interesting happened that taught me a valuable life lesson. And this lesson is still useful to this day whenever I need to fill up space in a blog post.

OK, anecdote out of the way, now let’s hit’em with a few controversial-yet-safe opinions. 

For example, did you know Dribbble is hurting our industry? It’s true. Because of Dribbble, designers are now obsessing over weather apps and custom lettering instead of curing cancer and saving children from burning buildings like they used to. 

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s a link to a vaguely related psychology study on some university site that you won’t bother to read. It turns out that 83% of the study’s 12 test subjects displayed a certain behavior, proving without a doubt that my conclusions can safely be extended to every human being on this planet. 

Talking about the planet, did I already mention that we need to save it? Because we do. It’s our responsibility as designers to save the world, no matter how many Kickstarters we need to fund to do it. 

I just want to leave the world a little better and wiser than I found it. For example, yesterday I spent a couple hours writing a post to explain the differences between Interaction Design and User Experience Design. This is the kind of serious question that is too often left unaddressed by the media. 

Hey, this writing thing is easier than I thought. I feel like I could go on and on. But I probably shouldn’t, after all we all got places to be and check in at. 

So in closing, let me leave you with this little-known Steve Jobs quote:

Good design is not just how it looks. Good design is as little design as possible.