Ali Almossawi — My big head
  

ALI ALMOSSAWI

Leadership begins from the heart, and from a place of sincerity. I care about building beautiful, intuitive products. And I care about lightening the burden of every person or team who depends on me.

I led engineering and design teams and projects at Apple for 7.5 years, with a focus on the developer experience and on data visualization. That included building developer tools for Apple Intelligence and serving as a Siri pillar lead for visionOS. Prior to that, I was on Firefox's original metrics and visualization team for 5 years. My academic training was at MIT and Carnegie Mellon, with stints at the MIT Media Lab and Harvard.

I designed and wrote (and twice, custom printed) Bad Arguments, Loaded Language, Bad Choices, and The Point of Pointless Work. My books have reached 3.5 million readers, have been translated into 23 languages, and have sold over 370,000 copies in print.

Over the years, I've had the great pleasure of helping dozens of MIT students and alumni with career advice and mentorship. If you're feeling stuck in your career, I'm currently open for 1-on-1 sessions in July 2024.

I'm reachable at ali@almossawi.com. For inquiries about Bad Choices, please contact Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company. For inquiries about the print editions of Bad Arguments or Loaded Language, please contact Karen Giangreco at Experiment Books.

Work that's mostly writing based

The Critical Thinker Newsletter

Practical ideas every other Thursday to help you become a better critical thinker. Covers logical fallacies, cognitive biases, language, and images. Launched in June 2023. Subscribe now.

The Critical Thinker Newsletter

An Illustrated Book of Loaded Language

Learn to hear what's left unsaid in the subtle ways news headlines and various other forms of language influence our thinking. Out in print in November 2021. Order the print edition.

An Illustrated Book of Loaded Language

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments

A book on critical thinking that explains a set of common errors in reasoning, described by Hope Jahren as “a book every scientist should have.” Read it online or in print!

Bad Choices

An illustrated introduction to computational thinking, described by Vint Cerf as “one of the more clever ways of introducing computational thinking to the general public.”  Take a look.

A book on computational thinking

Hans in the Land of Bards

The opening part of a novella about an absentminded tailor and his quick-witted accomplice struggle to escape a land where things aren't always what they seem. Take a look.

The Point of Pointless Work

A reflection on five years in publishing, and the transformative power of hobbies. A book I wrote for my mailing list, published by Cormorant Press. Take a look.

The Point of Pointless Work

Amaranta

A picture book for grown-ups that explores separation anxiety and empathy. Still a work in progress. Take a look.

Amaranta

How Maintainable is Firefox?

By appealing to the explanatory powers of five practical measures of architectural complexity, this work explores the quality of the Firefox codebase. Take a look.

Design and data visualization work

Developer experience tools

Buttery smooth visualizations, functional interactives, and beautiful, sticky developer products, built over a span of 7 years. My Apple work is proprietary. For a demo of shareable parts, please reach out.

The Web We Want: Firefox 29

A real-time visualization of the global community that powers Mozilla, visited by 10 million visitors. My contributions were designing and coding the map and stats page. Take a look.

The Big Five US Trade Book Publishers and Their Imprints

A darling of the publishing industry. Editors and VPs from all major publishers have contributed edits to it. Referenced in Publishers Weekly. Take a look.

Flying Over Data in VR

What would visualizing geographic data in virtual reality look like? Would it be compelling? Would it be insightful? A little experiment using the open-source tools A‑Frame and D3. Take a look.

Firefox Hardware Report

The first ever public report of the hardware used by Firefox users. The report's data can be used by developers to improve the experience of Web users. Take a look.

MetricsGraphics.js

A D3-based library that's optimized for visualizing and laying out time-series data in a principled way—600,000 hits, 7,100 GitHub stars, top 1% of most-starred projects. Take a look.

Pantheon

A project by the Macro Connections group at the Media Lab that I had the good fortune of co-developing and designing. Pantheon visualizes global culture using cultural icons of note. Take a look.

Technical Debt in Firefox and Chromium

A quantitative comparison of two complex software systems, using prose and a visual inspired by a story from Greek mythology. Take a look.

How Educated are World Leaders?

A descriptive visualization of the education levels of world leaders, from 1950 or thereabouts to the present day. Visited by 100,000 visitors. Take a look.

Evolution of the Firefox Codebase

A visualization that presents a set of metrics for all releases of Firefox that are indicative of quality and allows one to inspect them through one of several views. Take a look.

The Observatory of Economic Complexity

A tool by Alex Simoes and the Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab that I had the good fortune of designing the first version of. Take a look.

Other stuff

Smaller works and experiments

Publications

Interviews and talks

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments in the press

Bad Choices in the press

An Illustrated Book of Loaded Language in the press

Mentions and various other things

Personal writings

Brief biographical statement  Ali Almossawi is the bestselling author of An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, as well as the books An Illustrated Book of Loaded Language, Bad Choices, and The Point of Pointless Work. His books have reached 3.5 million readers, translated into 23 languages, and have sold over 370,000 copies in print. He is an alumnus of MIT and Carnegie Mellon. He led engineering and product design teams at Apple for 7.5 years, including work on developer tools for Apple Intelligence and visionOS.

Download headshot 1, or headshot 2 (no copyright, public domain).

The portrait at the top is courtesy of Alejandro Giraldo.