Monthly Archives: July 2009

A Matter of Trust

Reading Design Mind and came across this:

According to the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index from April 8, trust in business has reached unprecedented lows, with only 10% of Americans now saying they trust large corporations.

My question is: Are we supposed to?

Ultimately the article goes on to explain that consumers’ trust of business is just an identifier of how in-tune an organization is with the processes it must implement to ensure its own survival. And that the future of capitalism lies in businesses forming alliances with other (potentially competitive) businesses to cater to the individual’s needs.

I agree that a shortsighted bottom-line approach is bad for a sustainable business strategy. And killing off your consumers or the planet’s resources or both is a recipe for disaster but I’m still not sure that capitalism is conducive to social, ethical behavior… Limited pie, unknown amount of competitors or future business conditions – take as much pie as possible. That’s capitalism right? I don’t condone it. I’m just sayin’…

Old Growth Thinking at ESPN

Via the NYT Today:

Once ESPN establishes itself in local markets, it plans to move deeper into local sports — down to the high school level and perhaps beyond — by using social networking and other technology to inform its journalism.

Sounds familiar (Steven Johnson, Old Growth Media And The Future Of News):

Measured by pure audience interest, newspapers have never been more relevant. If they embrace this role as an authoritative guide to the entire ecosystem of news, if they stop paying for content that the web is already generating on its own, I suspect in the long run they will be as sustainable and as vital as they have ever been. The implied motto of every paper in the country should be: all the news that’s fit to link.

Well Articulated and On-Point

I’m reading a fine line, how design strategies are shaping the future of business, by Hartmut Esslinger. The following quote struck me:

Although few corporations mirror the smooth operations spelled out in their press releases, the internal discord that results from a lack of shared vision at the leadership level can destroy a company’s coordinated pursuit of a design-driven strategy of innovation.

As we begin recognize the increasingly important role design plays in differentiating products, the above statement will (hopefully) drive “the board room” to recognize that a well articulated vision of what an organization’s design philosophy is couldn’t be ore critical to the long-term success of that organization. This extends both outward toward the market and consumers through an organization’s products and offerings, as well as inward to an organization’s employees and internal talent. Take the following blog by Douglas Bowman:

Without a person at (or near) the helm who thoroughly understands the principles and elements of Design, a company eventually runs out of reasons for design decisions. With every new design decision, critics cry foul. Without conviction, doubt creeps in. Instincts fail. “Is this the right move?” When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your favor? Ok, launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the drawing board. And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.

Visionary design leaders don’t grow on trees. And it seems lately that everyone is looking for that one talent that can ignite and focus an organization’s entropy into a laser-beam of innovative creative thought. It would be nice if there were more of a framework for less experienced creatives (bats his eyelashes) to learn how to be the next generation of executive design leaders, but in the end I suppose the best way is to continue to try and fail. Failure, ultimately, is the path to success.

On Objectivity & Self Awareness

No this isn’t some treatise by Jean-Paul Sartre. I was reading my morning dose of thought-leadership-tagged blog feeds and came across an article in Fast Company: Beyond Design, 10 Skills Designers Need to Succeed Now. I usually gloss over these because they’re inevitably formulaic and a little trite, but I stopped this morning because we have a new intern and I thought there may be a few good gold nuggets of wisdom there for her. In fact there were but that’s not why I’m writing. I was taken aback by this bullet:

Objectivity & Self Awareness: Assess yourself and your work, and view yourself through the eyes of others with a realistic understanding of your capabilities.

Seems simple enough but so many people I come across not only can’t do this for their own aesthetic visual design work, they can’t be objective with themselves in regard to their other non-design skills.

People have always remarked that I’m extremely critical about myself and my work – almost to the point that I’m unrealistic on the other end of the spectrum. But I think I have to be. There’s so much great design out there and so many challenges that would benefit form sound design thinking that by reminding myself there’s so much more ground to cover I keep hungry. I provide order to the gamut of bad-to-great design by placing myself in the spectrum and trying to understand what separates my work from better design. And it’s that honesty with myself I try to maintain since, for me, its undeniably linked to being objective and self-aware.

We Choose the Moon

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Check out this awesome new site about the Apollo 11 mission. It’s the reason why microsites should exist. There’s tons of little interactive elements to explore and learn about the Apollo 11 mission. The coolest part is that to commemorate the anniversary, the entire mission including the timing of events will be recreated online. I can’t wait till it “launches” so that I can follow along as well.

A Sunday Panorama

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Inspired by a recent post on Mulvey’s Blog, I plunked down $2.99 for the iPhone Pano App. My biggest complaint with the app isn’t the “cancel” button verbiage (as Michael points out) – though that is hella-confusing – it’s with how Apple handles images in your phone’s library that are bigger than the resoluiton offered by the built-in camera. Evidently after taking a large panorama shot, the phone will down-sample that image to match the resolution of the camera. The only way to see the original shot in it’s original fidelity is to copy/paste the image out of your library into an email (big ups to Mulv for pointing that out). Simply hitting “Email this Image” will continue to pass along the downsampled image. What’s up with that Apple?

Don’t Buy A Phosphor

Update: After shipping the broken watch back to Phosphor and a few weeks of back-and-forth with customer support, I now have a functioning replacement. 3 months later…

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My awesome phosphor watch. Just over one month old. Dead. RIP.
I got so many compliments on the watch. From the highly readable display, to the funky time-telling design, to the electric-orange detail on the side of the band, the compliments kept coming. I was beginning to think that phosphor had a winner on its hands. Take a look at what it should look like:

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But they clearly don’t. No matter how gorgeous a design, your product must function for a reasonable amount of time. And if it fails, you need some sense of customer service beyond an FAQ online.

Such are the perils (and expenses – this wasn’t cheap) of being an early adopter…

It’s Getting Interesting

It’s getting interesting:

The new operating system, announced late Tuesday night on Google’s Web site, will be based on the company’s nine-month-old Web browser, Chrome. Google intends to rely on help from the community of open-source programmers to develop the Chrome operating system, which is expected to begin running computers in the second half of 2010.

Like I’ve said for a while, all you need is “browser” and a low-level way to control physical compute resources local and remote.

Someone explain to me why I need Windows/OSX and all of it’s power if I’m hitting the same 10 “websites” (read: RIAs) over and over to write documents, email spreadsheets, edit and share photos, etc.?