“ Marc set me straight. Here’s his advice: “No one gets it right the first time.” No one gets it right the first time. When I heard those words, the resonance was like a deep bell had sounded in me; it was so freeing. Great products don’t spring from great designers like Athena from the skull of Zeus; instead, they were usually the result of a lot of trial and error, missteps and blind alleys, and hard work and deep thinking. There’s no secret sauce. Great designers aren’t those with the most natural talent, or the smartest, or can draw the best. Great designers are those who’ve designed great products, period. And the only way to design those is the hard way. And while you might have a vision of how the product should be right from the start, it takes a lot of work to get it right. You have to explore. You have to prototype. You have to test. You have to see it live. You have to see someone using it. Only then do you get a refined design. No one gets it right the first time.”
“ The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It’s not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it’s a little fractal of the entire story, something real.”
“ In the coming months, we will introduce our first pay-to-view service, giving video creators of all types flexible tools to charge for access to your videos, with no coding required. We can’t say too much at the moment, but we can promise you’re going to like it. Look out for some cool demos of the service as we get it ready for launch to the whole community. Get psyched.”
“ The problem that we are seemingly unable to countenance is the end of growth. Today’s system is predicated on the progressive conversion of nature into products, people into consumers, cultures into markets and time into money. We could perhaps extend that growth for a few more years by fracking, deep-sea oil drilling, deforestation, land grabs from indigenous people and so on, but only at a higher and higher cost to future generations. Sooner or later – hopefully sooner – we will have to transition towards a steady-state or degrowth economy.”
I’ve always wondered about this. I distinctly remember the feeling of intense anxiety I felt during the early 2000s recession when I first realized that the world’s current economic system basically requires endless growth to function.(via buzz)
“ Folders tend to grow deeper and deeper. As soon as we have more than a handful of notions, or (beware!) more than one hierarchical level of notions, it gets hard for most brains to build a mental model of that information architecture. While it is common to have several hierarchy levels in applications and file systems, they actually don’t work very well. We are just not smart enough to deal with notional pyramids. Trying to picture notional systems with several levels is like thinking three moves ahead in chess. Everybody believes that they can, but only a few skilled people really can do it. If you doubt this, prove me wrong by telling me what is in each file menu in your browser…”
A well articulated case for flattening hierarchy as much as possible.
Take the example of the Hot Wheels Custom Motors Cup, a project I directed for Mattel in 2010. 30 months after launch, the videos in that campaign have amassed more than 20 million combined views.
The stat of note is not 20 million views, but rather 30 months. Rather than build an experience that was tied to any one campaign, Mattel chose to create an evergreen bit of interactivity that continues to perform strongly in aggregate almost three years after its release.
I hope he billed retroactively! We have similar situations at SmallScreen where for example, an Old Fashioned recipe video was sold for cheap 5 years ago and has now create a ridiculous amount of value for the sponsoring brand over time. Evergreen content seems like one of the best deals going for brands if the content strategy is solid.
This is why we can’t have nice things. While Svbtl and Medium are experimenting with beautiful ad-less publishing experiences, real publishers sites are being violated by the kind of advertising pictured above. The actual innovation to be had is in changing the way people like Miller think about talking to Selecticism’s audience, and in turn changing the way Selectism makes money. New publishing platforms are great, and I am excited about both Medium and Svbtl, but they will not solve the problems of existing publishers. We need new ways for businesses to make money from their content that do not involve new platforms and channels.
“ My partner Ben’s office was the first place I would go when I thought I had new “insights.” And we’d run them to the ground for days before we’d even let anyone else know. Most of the time after a few days of thought, these insights were really not much better than the current course the company was on. Or by then other customers would tell us something quite different. And the rule was we weren’t changing anything about the product architecture until Ben and I agreed. Which required Ben hearing from the same customers I did.”
Steve Blank’s 72 hour rule for insights.
What an awesome looking (industrial design) product. Hope it lives up to its promise.
“ We’ve designed our company in a way that allows us to focus exclusively on customers, rather than an executive’s vision or shareholders’ expectations. Design leadership at Valve takes the form of direct collaboration among a cross-disciplinary team of people who are all focused on the customer experience. It’s very decentralized. We optimize product design by hiring experts and enabling them to direct their own collaboration, exploration, trials, and failures; then learn and try again. And we engage customers in the conversation through playtesting, early betas, and frequent product updates, looking to customer feedback and data to inform our next steps.”
The Valve employee manual is a great read.
“ The map of the known universe shows that most galaxies are organized into clusters, but some galaxies are situated along filaments that connect the clusters. Cosmologists have theorized that dark matter undergirds those filaments, which serve as highways of sorts, guiding galaxies toward the gravitational pull of the massive clusters. Dark matter’s contribution had been predicted with computer simulations, and its shape had been roughed out based on the distribution of the galaxies. But no one had directly detected it until now.”
Unlike tacocopter, this is real.
"That means absent cocaine, the cartels could make more money on marijuana flights in one year — just using ultralight aircraft — than the government will spend on its efforts to stop them. And the cartels can always buy more planes" -Wired
"Blow a hundred million pretending you can control covert activities pioneered by other wings of your own government." -Bruce Sterling