Amit Kooner

I'm more than just a recovering podcaster; I've also pictured myself a doctor and banker as well. Instead, I've spent the past 11+ years working to make sense of complex data sets for business, product, and marketing strategy. I love thinking about the implications of the intersection of technology, user experience, and design.

Getting Real Phoney

by in News Roundup on
Basecamp Management Somehow Less Self-Aware Than Andrew Yang

In the lead-up to the Chappelle Show sketch ‘When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong’, Dave Chappelle gives the following pretty great advice:

“It’s good to be real sometimes. It’s good to be phony sometimes. Yes, I said it. Phony! You think I’m this nice in real life? F$ck that son!”

Single Point of Fun

by in News Roundup on

Let’s quickly recap the past three news roundups:

  1. Flash’s effect on web user experience
  2. Adding every requirement as a feature in a computer*
  3. A terrible UI that cost $900 million

At first glance it appears that poorly thought-through user experience is my sole fascination. But when the Suez Canal blockage story from March kept my full attention for nearly 10 days, I realized that my real fascination is the unintended consequences of poorly thought-through user experiences. Sometimes the poor user experience is relatively minor enough that a new protocol can be developed (in the case of Flash) or an anxiety-inducing technology gets made (in the case of the Expanscape).

UI That Looks Like $900 Million Bucks

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User experience, and its related topic of user interface design, are important. How important? Well the US government’s General Service Administration (GSA) took the time to build a website to explain what it is. What other proof do we need? Well not only did the GSA build a website, but they invested in the SEO necessary to make it top of Google organic search, right below the featured snippet from

Screenshot of Google search results, showing the US Usability site as the first hit

Which is why the saga and ongoing story of Citibank’s debt repayment blunder all the more amazing. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Revlon, which owed nearly $900 million to creditors from a 2016 debt facility, was working with Citibank to refinance their current obligations into a new loan
  • Citibank, who managed loan payments, intended to send out $7.8 million of interest payments to creditors using a system called Flexcube
  • Citibank intended to roll over the remaining loan principal into an internal “wash account” to avoid sending the entire amount owed to creditors
  • Instead, the offshore Citibank contractor responsible for this massive responsibility, misread the Flexcube UI and sent $900 million to all of Revlon’s creditors
  • Citibank begged for the cash back, and received $400 million back
  • A judge ruled that the remaining creditors can keep the cash. Citibank is miffed.
  • If you want more details written in only the way that Matt Levine at Bloomberg can, check out his piece from February.

We're Going to Need a Bigger Boat

by in News Roundup on

You’ll have to stay patient with me on this post, since the point I will eventually get to really is the confluence of a number of different threads that have been going through my head the past few weeks.

Let’s start with my time in business school from 2007 to 2009. Charles Dickens couldn’t have penned a better dichotomy between the beginning and end of my time in school. In short: 2007 = the economy couldn’t be better, 2009 = the economy couldn’t be worse.

Flash Point

by in News Roundup on

With nearly one month of 2021 in the books and the spectre of Covid-19 exhausting all of us, let’s do a quick inventory of the memorable moments of the past three months, shall we?

  1. 11/3/2020:  US Presidential Election occurs (election called by media for Joe Biden on 11/9)
  2. 11/11/2020:  Rudy Giuliani, acting as personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, holds press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping to dispute election results
  3. 12/31/2020:  Adobe Flash support discontinued and officially sunset
  4. 1/5/2021:  Runoff for both Georgia US Senate seats
  5. 1/6/2021:  Twitter suspends and later kicks Donald Trump off of its platform for inciting the US Capital riot, resulting in a surge in downloads of Twitter-alternatives like Gab and Parler
  6. 1/22/2021:  r/WallStreetBets leads an army of day traders to dramatically drive up the price of Gamestop and AMC theaters (among others), which will eventually cause two hedge funds to close their short positions and fall into near bankruptcy, or put more succinctly by @ParikPatelCFA on Twitter: