Peter Merholz

Peter Merholz

Experience design strategist, coiner of the word "blog".

  • @peterme/

Oakland, California

Areas of Expertise:

  • management
  • product strategy
  • product design
  • user experience
  • ethnography
  • agile processes
  • consulting
  • training
Peter Merholz is President and one of the founders of Adaptive Path. For more than six years, Peter has been instrumental in developing Adaptive Path's ability to provide world-class consulting, training, and public events.

At Adaptive Path, Peter began with a focus on information architecture, and over time expanded his knowledge to include product strategy, user research, and practice development. He's worked with a wide variety of clients, from large companies such as Intel, Vanguard, and United Airlines, to smaller, avant-garde firms like SocialText (an enterprise wiki startup) and Rojo (an RSS feedreader acquired by Six Apart).

Peter's personal blog,, and his essays for Adaptive Path demonstrate his foresight on issues of information architecture, organizational change, and product strategy. He has the perhaps dubious distinction of coining of the term "blog" in 1999 when it was still a nascent genre.

Org Design for Design Orgs Org Design for Design Orgs
by Kristin Skinner, Peter Merholz
August 2016
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $33.99

Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World
by Peter Merholz, Todd Wilkens, Brandon Schauer, David Verba
April 2008
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $29.99

Peter blogs at:

Webcast: Org design for design orgs
September 29, 2016
Peter Merholz shares hard-won insights on how to run an effective design organization, focusing on the managerial and operational aspects of design leadership.

Webcast: Adaptive Path's Subject to Change: Creating Great Products and Services for an Uncertain World
May 15, 2008

"If you need to convince yourself that experience design is where we should—and can—be, get this book. If you need to convince colleagues and managers, get the book, read it, and pass it on."
--Janice (Ginny) Redish, Technical Communication, Volume 56, Number 4, November 2009

"...a good, practical, hands-on manual for anyone who is responsible for product management or development."
--Sacramento Book Review, September 2008 Issue

"Subject to Change presents an excellent strategic overview of new product development practices for those media and physical interaction products based upon the consulting practice of Adaptive Path. "
--Ira Laefsky,

"Subject to Change is a good book to read if you're into product development or design. If you're staying abreast of the industry trends, most of it is probably not going to be big news to you, nevertheless, it's a good collection of case studies and a summary of rules relevant for modern-day product development."
--Alex Moskalyuk,

"Subject to Change is required reading for anyone looking to gain a competitive edge in a feature-saturated market...If you can design a better user experience than your competitor, you don’t always need vast resources to outsell them. Subject to Change can help you come up with ideas to make that happen. "
--David Thomas, CustomRetailer

"...consider the book as a ground floor investment on how to innovate in the new world of globalization - this book is about finding that customer niche that you can best fulfill. "
--Jacques Surveyor, The Open Sourcery

"Almost every page, it seems, has an example of a well-known product or company that has either been wildly successful, or should have been as it ticked all the right boxes on paper, yet somehow still failed in the marketplace. The authors’ explorations into why these products failed are illuminating, as in fact is the rest of the book."
--Matt Stephens, Software Reality

"Authors Peter Merholz, Todd Wilkens, Brandon Schauer and David Verba, have done an outstanding job of writing a book that guides organizations large, medium and small through the process of developing the organization's skills and strategies that are essential in successful environments that are constantly changing...By the time you've experimented with the business process techniques contained in this most excellent book, you'll have journeyed well beyond your peers. But, more importantly, you'll be able to assess how well you're set up to successfully deliver products in the future."
--John Vacca,

"The title Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World is an excellent guide to user centered design as not just a set of principles for making better software but as clear path to thinking of providing services to end users that they are actually wanting and needing...if you have any intentions of starting a business or are already a business owner you should read this book."
--Jeffrey Dalton, User Experience Designer

"Subject to Change is short, concise, and very well-written. It offers up insights on how companies can be more flexible to meet market changes by working in new ways for solid customer research, product design, and agile approaches, among other things. "
--Jim Holmes, FrazzledDad

"Subject To Change guides us through this new environment from a user experience perspective, making a compelling overall case for experience design. And it does so with a sense of urgency: experience design and experience strategy aren’t things you should slowly start getting into. They are crucial to your business. You need to fundamentally transform your relationship with your customers and how you create products. Now. "
--James Kalbach, Experiencing Information

"With its explanation of the importance of customer research (and customer focus), experience design and agile development as keys to success in today's shifting world, the book constitutes a must-read for leaders and all those directly or indirectly involved with product and service development today."
--Manny Hernandez, Blogcritics Magazine

"This book outlines how businesses need to change to truly provide products and services that delight, inspire, and serve the needs of their customers. Unlike many other business books, it's not filled with thinly-veiled platitudes...Subject to Change is an honest accounting of the mercurial world of product and services, and how companies can structure their businesses to develop and deliver truly great experiences for the long haul."
--E. Rutter,

"Subject To Change is one of those books that mark the end of an era of thinking, and challenges companies to rethink their role in the market place. Intelligently written, incredibly easy to understand, and making a lot of sense, it actually puts to word a lot of what I have been seeing in the business world over the last five years...The principles that are outlined in Subject To Change lay down a clear path for the future, and for companies willing to travel down this new highway the rewards will be great. I highly recommend Subject To Change as a road map to the future. "
--T. Michael Testi, Blogcritics Magazine

"Short, but powerful. Easy to read, yet profound. I’ve been searching for just this book: the one perfect book that summarizes the essence of modern product design. This is it. The lessons are as powerful as they are simple: The product is NOT the goal. Successful products are systems. Focus on the experience. This requires empathy, agile product management, real understanding of the target audience. This book practices what it preaches. I will use it in my courses for MBA students. You should use it for, well, for everyone. Short, simple, persuasive, and powerful."
--Don Norman, Author of “Emotional Design” and “Design of Future Things”, Co-Founder Nielsen Norman group

"Customers don’t care about how innovative you are. They just want to be happy and satisfied. Learn from Adaptive Path a passion for finding and solving the problems that will matter to customers no matter what the future brings"
--Scott Berkun, Author, The Myths of Innovation

"Subject to Change presents complex, challenging ideas in simple, compelling language, with illuminating examples and no shortage of memorable phrases. At once authoritative and nimble, the book itself is an example of the kind of experience the authors admire. No matter who you are, it will change the way you think about design."
--Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram and Author, 79 Short Essays on Design

"The principles set out in Subject to Change are essential for the design of any product, but especially relevant for the fast-moving world of web software. It used to be the case that a software product was designed once, and refreshed every couple of years. Software is no longer a product. It is a process, a dynamic service that evolves as it responds to constant interaction with its users. The essence of Web 2.0 design is to create a dynamic framework that harnesses the collective intelligence of customers in such a way that the software becomes almost alive. This terrific book teaches the mindset required for this new kind of design."
--Tim O'Reilly

"This book will make you think. Hard. And that’s a good thing. Because you may not be able to outspend or outwork the competition, but you can certainly outthink them. Today, that’s just about all that matters."
--Seth Godin, Author, Meatball Sundae