Matthew Lettini

Digital product designer in NYC. Lately I enjoy doing this at Harvest. Here I talk about life, music, and more.

Introducing: Harvest Forecast
For the past 16 months, I’ve been heads down working on something big at Harvest. This past Tuesday, we finally shipped!
Forecast is a brand new web application that allows businesses to plan their team’s time in a visual and fluid way. With real-time collaboration, the ability to plan against key milestones, and a better view into their team’s availability, managers will now have a much clearer insight into the health of their projects and their businesses. Not only that, but we have even bigger plans on the roadmap to bring a tight integration between Forecast and Harvest time tracking that will make jaws drop. It’s really exciting!
But there’s more to say than how good the product is. Building this app has been a huge undertaking. For me, it’s really been the best experience of my professional career.
This is actually the first real application that I’ve been a part of from idea, to concept, to prototype, to beta, to 1.0. I had the good fortune of working with a phenomenal team, all talented and brilliant, and help build a a brand new product built with some of the latest technologies (Forecast is built on Ember).
I was not only the designer on Forecast, but wore a number of hats, including product manager, UX designer, and HTML and CSS developer. A lot of trust was granted to me by my bosses and my team, and I put my heart and soul into it. Working on Forecast these past 16 months I’ve learned more than I can blog about. We built an all new product while learning about an entirely new customer problem.
I’m extremely proud of the work my team and I did, and I want to give props to Joschka, Arun, Ken, TJ, Jason, Doug, and Danny. What a ride. Interestingly, what I’m most excited about is actually the next 16 months. Forecast, as it is now, is only a fraction of the complete vision we have for it, and I’m looking forward to continuing to improve a rich product that helps people work better.
What else have I been up to?
I realize I’ve been pretty quiet here the past few months. Aside from the launch (and stress) at work, I’ve been pretty busy lately as well. For starters, I moved to Greenpoint.
I meant to blog about that earlier, but oh well. I’m pretty excited about it. I lived in my last apartment for over 4 years, and have been working at Harvest almost that entire time. Things were beginning to feel stale; I needed a change. So I moved to a new neighborhood, in a 2 bedroom with a friend of mine. I’m looking forward to trying new restaurants and bars, and relaxing in my new living room on a new couch.
Other than that I’ve been out of town, up in Boston for my girlfriend’s relatives, leaving for Cancun tomorrow, and then another potentially crazy work Summit. I haven’t even seen a free summer concert yet. I’m hoping for things to slow down in a few weeks, but I know I’ll just start diving into thoughts about visiting friends in Austin and LA. Things could be worse.
But yah, Cancun… hopefully by the time you read this I’m sitting poolside with a piña colada. Adios!
– ML

Introducing: Harvest Forecast

For the past 16 months, I’ve been heads down working on something big at Harvest. This past Tuesday, we finally shipped!

Forecast is a brand new web application that allows businesses to plan their team’s time in a visual and fluid way. With real-time collaboration, the ability to plan against key milestones, and a better view into their team’s availability, managers will now have a much clearer insight into the health of their projects and their businesses. Not only that, but we have even bigger plans on the roadmap to bring a tight integration between Forecast and Harvest time tracking that will make jaws drop. It’s really exciting!

But there’s more to say than how good the product is. Building this app has been a huge undertaking. For me, it’s really been the best experience of my professional career.

This is actually the first real application that I’ve been a part of from idea, to concept, to prototype, to beta, to 1.0. I had the good fortune of working with a phenomenal team, all talented and brilliant, and help build a a brand new product built with some of the latest technologies (Forecast is built on Ember).

I was not only the designer on Forecast, but wore a number of hats, including product manager, UX designer, and HTML and CSS developer. A lot of trust was granted to me by my bosses and my team, and I put my heart and soul into it. Working on Forecast these past 16 months I’ve learned more than I can blog about. We built an all new product while learning about an entirely new customer problem.

I’m extremely proud of the work my team and I did, and I want to give props to Joschka, Arun, Ken, TJ, Jason, Doug, and Danny. What a ride. Interestingly, what I’m most excited about is actually the next 16 months. Forecast, as it is now, is only a fraction of the complete vision we have for it, and I’m looking forward to continuing to improve a rich product that helps people work better.

What else have I been up to?

I realize I’ve been pretty quiet here the past few months. Aside from the launch (and stress) at work, I’ve been pretty busy lately as well. For starters, I moved to Greenpoint.

I meant to blog about that earlier, but oh well. I’m pretty excited about it. I lived in my last apartment for over 4 years, and have been working at Harvest almost that entire time. Things were beginning to feel stale; I needed a change. So I moved to a new neighborhood, in a 2 bedroom with a friend of mine. I’m looking forward to trying new restaurants and bars, and relaxing in my new living room on a new couch.

Other than that I’ve been out of town, up in Boston for my girlfriend’s relatives, leaving for Cancun tomorrow, and then another potentially crazy work Summit. I haven’t even seen a free summer concert yet. I’m hoping for things to slow down in a few weeks, but I know I’ll just start diving into thoughts about visiting friends in Austin and LA. Things could be worse.

But yah, Cancun… hopefully by the time you read this I’m sitting poolside with a piña colada. Adios!

– ML

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Update: Turns out that there’s actually 13 episodes! I thought 11 was the last one, so disregard the point below about being “finished”. This is actually quite exciting.

I just finished watching the Cosmos reboot, narrated by the Carl Sagan prodigy and all around fun-loving, brilliant mind of Neil deGrasse Tyson. The entire series is a masterpiece of non-fiction television and education.
The full season contains 13 episodes explaining some of the most important, interesting, and amazing scientific explorations of the human species. You not only learn about the big names like Sir Isaac Newton, but they also teach about plenty of the less-well-known people that contributed greatly to our future, including Clair Patterson, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Cecilia Payne, among others.
How did we get to where are now? How do we know what we know? I’ve always been a fan of science in school, but when you finish school there’s not much push to continue your education. What I love and find fascinating about science is that it’s just the study of life, everything we know, what’s around us, why and how do we know this or that. What could be cooler than that!
If you haven’t seen it yet, the entire series is available for free on Hulu. I highly suggest you make the time, especially if you have kids.
– ML

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Update: Turns out that there’s actually 13 episodes! I thought 11 was the last one, so disregard the point below about being “finished”. This is actually quite exciting.

I just finished watching the Cosmos reboot, narrated by the Carl Sagan prodigy and all around fun-loving, brilliant mind of Neil deGrasse Tyson. The entire series is a masterpiece of non-fiction television and education.

The full season contains 13 episodes explaining some of the most important, interesting, and amazing scientific explorations of the human species. You not only learn about the big names like Sir Isaac Newton, but they also teach about plenty of the less-well-known people that contributed greatly to our future, including Clair Patterson, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Cecilia Payne, among others.

How did we get to where are now? How do we know what we know? I’ve always been a fan of science in school, but when you finish school there’s not much push to continue your education. What I love and find fascinating about science is that it’s just the study of life, everything we know, what’s around us, why and how do we know this or that. What could be cooler than that!

If you haven’t seen it yet, the entire series is available for free on Hulu. I highly suggest you make the time, especially if you have kids.

– ML

Sequelitis: Megaman X

I’m a designer that spends much of my time focusing on the user experience and interactions of the flows I’m designing. The goal is always to simplify the experience while at the same time keeping it intrinsically understandable. Depending on the situation, this can sometimes be quite difficult.

Video games are the epitome of digital interaction design. If you can’t understand the game, you can’t really play it. In this episode of Sequelitis, Egoraptor shares how and why the design of Megaman X is pure genius. It’s a great watch if you spend any time in your day thinking about how things work.

I’ve shared this before with coworkers and other designer friends, but I’ve begun using my Tumblr as a place to bookmark videos and posts I find inspirational. Enjoy, and check back here for more in the future.

– ML

Rodney Mullen: Pop an ollie and innovate!

I love this video, it’s so dense and chock-full of great advice and inspiration. The godfather of street skating, Rodney Mullen, steps us through the creative process for a skateboarder, and what it takes to innovate. He relates that to how it shapes communities and individuality, and relates the skateboarding community to others (including hackers). It’s easy to fit in your own communities as well.

But while that’s a good chunk of the talk, the meat of it for me comes at the end. He expresses how he felt about fame and winning, and how that felt more like defending, and how he stopped innovating. It was only after he stopped competing that he felt the passion again.

There’s an intrinsic value in creating something for the sake of creating.

I’ve always been a fan of skateboarding, not really being able to do it myself. But I find what they do and how they do it fascinating. They’re driven and passionate, and it inspires me with all of my hobbies. This talk is a helpful reminder to me that anything you enjoy doing is out of your own internal passions, and to not to let outside forces hold that back. That reminder is worth sharing.

– ML

Own your words – Matt Gemmell

What advice would you give your high school self now?

I’m a big fan of Humans of New York. I follow it regularly, and some days it’s the only reason I open Tumblr. The stories, the people, the thought-provoking questions, Brandon’s got it down.

Earlier this week as I was chatting with a friend it just popped into my head to ask them this question: If you could, what advice would you give your high school self? I blame HONY. My friend gave me a pretty interesting answer considering their personality, at least interesting to me who knows them.

I had fun with that, so I asked another friend. Then another friend. Then another… I started to see a trend, not in the answers (which were all different and wonderful in their own right) but in the way I compared some answers to another. While I knew the personality of my friends somewhat, I didn’t know them back in high school. But from the answers you could gather what bothered them then, or what they learned to value by now.

I find it a fascinating experiment. Below are all the answers I’ve gotten so far, with no attribution since it’s not needed. The question was asked out of the blue, so I didn’t give them a long time to think about it. I’m sure many of the answers would be changed if they could sit for a day, but I wanted to focus on what first came to mind. My answer is mixed in there somewhere as well.

Hmmm. I think it would be to have more confidence in myself and that it’s OK to be who you feel inside. That how shitty you feel won’t last. And college me? I dunno. I learned a lot in college, came more into my own. Probably that there are healthier ways to deal other than getting fucked up alllll the time.

Um, I don’t know. I think I had more fun not being an engineer, probably. I mean miracuously I turned out ok. Oh yeah, I’d be like “invest in apple!”, and move to the city sooner, and eat an apple a day.

Oh my god, I would tell young me to shut the fuck up and get out of your own way. And to relax, and to shut the fuck up, but also that I loved you and you were hilarious. And YOLO… obviously YOLO. But I more mean shut the fuck up because I was such a worrier and complainer. Basically, I wish younger me enjoyed more and had more fun.

Hmmmm. Chill out, paint more, be yourself and open up to others more.

Mostly YOLO. Don’t let things get to you, they really don’t matter. Don’t stop taking drum lessons. Cut your hair and care a bit about something. Try everything once, speak your mind, and that you’re really not doing a bad job, so keep it up.

Probably to explore my interests more, to invest in things I like, and to have asked my parents to support my interests more (they absolutely would have if I had expressed something). Make friends with my teachers, go to office hours. DEF go to office hours. It seems kinda silly and academic for that to be something I do regret, but I think school would have been different for me if I had went. Maybe even changed the way I think about things for the better. Join more clubs and after school activities.

Get a job at age 25 that lets you retire in 20 years with a pension. Other than that, I think everything turned out as good as can be expected…

To be honest. I’m glad I never aspired to be one of the cool kids which served me well. I would have allowed myself to probably take more risks in general. Going to random shows and stuff on whim doesn’t count. I think I would tell myself to fight for the things I wanted more, tell my crushes that they were the best thing since sliced bread, and to stop being such an introvert and fucking share what I was thinking. Also to stop letting people walk all over me which ties into fighting for what I want.

I’m leaving this one open if you’d like to answer as well!

ML

The Start

Our February theme for the Harvest Writing Club is “The Start.” The theme grew intentionally out of it being the first theme, and left open to interpretation. Naturally for me I gravitated to how I got started in something I love, music.

Playing Drums

Playing an instrument in my family leaves me as somewhat of an oddity. None of my cousins, aunts, uncles, or other family play music in a way that would have influenced me as a child (as far as I can remember or my parents have mentioned). But when I first had the opportunity to join a music program, I couldn’t help myself.

The year was 1994, I was just starting 3rd grade, and I was 8.

Continue Reading

The Harvest Writing Club

It’s been awhile since my last post, a month. It was a relaxing few weeks, but I need to get back on the horse, even though I probably won’t keep up the same quantity of updates as last year.

Many of my colleagues at Harvest currently do, or used to, write and keep a blog too. They, like myself, have also expressed a desire to post more than they actually do, and want to improve their writing. It can be difficult to sit down and reflect when life pulls you to get up and go (or sit and watch television).

So my manager came up with a terrific idea, The Harvest Writing Club. The idea is this: every month we’ll declare a theme, and each of us will write a personal story relating to the given theme.

It’s not about critiquing or responding to these pieces. It’s about the personal act of writing, editing and publishing. It’s about getting used to that flow. By doing it together, we’ll build momentum and keep each other accountable.

Ultimately, I hope this exercise will not only make us more ready writers, but we’ll all learn a little more about each other along the way.

I’m looking forward to it.

– ML

Older Posts 1 of 13