February 26, 2018

Negative Ease

In the U.S., the largest size of store bought socks is labeled as “fits sizes 9-12”.

That right... people who wear size 9 shoes and people who wear size 12 shoes supposedly can wear the same socks.

Um, no.

I wear size twelve Chuck Taylors, and I can tell you from experience that one sock size does not fit all feet.

Basically every pair of socks I own are a little too small.

This results in most of my socks falling down.

Well, not “falling down” so much as “getting sucked into my shoes.”

All my socks get pulled into my Chucks because they are too short for my feet.

This is obviously super uncomfortable. I hate it but I’ve come to accept it as a reality.


My wife is an avid knitter. She has a knitting meet-up at Starbucks on Wednesday nights and teaches classes at a yarn store on Saturday mornings.

Tonight we were talking about the fact that all my socks are a little too small when it suddenly dawned on both of us that she could make me perfectly sized custom socks!

She got excited and immediately, she went full “craftsperson” on me. The questions came fast and furious. Here are three that I think I remember accurately:

WTF?! This was 100% gibberish to me. I had no idea what she was taking about.

I stared at her for a long beat and answered:

“I just want my socks to not fall down anymore.”

It was a classic case of an expert exposing the minutia of their craft to a client who just wants a straightforward outcome.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re preparing to talk to a prospective client.

They don’t really care about docker or node or redux or continuous integration or white space or typography or technical debt or best practices or spaces or tabs or whatever else you endlessly debate with your colleagues.

They just want an outcome (and that’s what you price).