Systems designers know all too well: when you just don’t have the time, money, staff or technology to solve a given problem, there are ways to cheat. Steve Jobs would be the first to tell you: that’s OK. A well executed cheat can be indistinguishable from a fundamental architectural transition.FEB 26, 2013 READ »
HP clone
I want to shout down from the rooftops — especially from the rooftop of what was once the largest computer vendor in the world — making sure every soul hears it, even the Proles:SEP 11, 2012 READ »
NYT map
The currency of print-based newspapers has been the snapshot: what happened and when, in the past. To survive and thrive online, “newspapers” need to become trend spotters, trend explainers and thus storytellers of transformation which, when read or seen in small and disparate chunks as newspapers currently vend them, is often impossible to detect or interpret by ordinary readers. The currency of narration online is snapshots over time: animation.NOV 07, 2008 READ »
Virgin Connect
A decade ago PointCast became a canonical example of a product that was “too early” because we didn’t have pervasive broadband for a push service (though the company would have been a success if it didn’t refuse the $450M buyout offer from News Corp). Since then Apple and Google, among others, have taught us how to create the necessary conditions for their products to succeed by compressing time through strategic invention…If VCs want to become indispensable to the companies they advise, perhaps they ought to remember that it’s “too early” only if you fail.APR 06, 2009 READ »
Who manages business or designers is a minor issue compared to who manages design. Design starts with the framing of a problem. If a problem is framed by business first, then designers are reduced to being implementors of a process they had no control over…The biggest problem before designers, therefore, is to move from the tactical to the strategic plane at the table.OCT 10, 2007 READ »
Can’t we all get along? That’s not the nature of business. Not anytime soon. Everybody wants a seat at the table, but there are only a few seats available. Are designers ready to pay the price of admission?OCT 13, 2007 READ »
I call this compartmentalized design, where visual/emotional aspects of design are so emasculated by business constraints as to be practically irrelevant. I see the cure for this in strategic design, where today’s designers move up the food chain to handle business models and frameworks guided by a systems-oriented approach:OCT 15, 2007 READ »
What’s not publicly known is Ive’s role, if any, on Apple software. The current meme of Ive coming on a white horse to rescue geeks in distress from Scott Forstallian skeuomorphism is wishfully hilarious. Like industrial design of physical devices, software is part form and part function: aesthetics and experience. Apple’s software problems aren’t dark linen, Corinthian leather or torn paper. In fact, Apple’s software problems aren’t much about aesthetics at all…they are mostly about experience. To paraphrase Ive’s former boss, Apple’s software problems aren’t about how they look, but how they work. Sometimes — sadly more often than we expect — they don’t: NOV 5, 2012 READ »
Yahoo! Finance
For the past 15 years, Yahoo has been confusing “ordered information” first with “content aggregation” and then with “task completion.” While ordered information is presumably better than unordered information, simple aggregation (and that’s all Yahoo has, for the most part) is still quite low on the food chain, both for Yahoo’s bottom line as well as its utility to Yahoo users.
JAN 30, 2013 READ »
Ignore obstacles
In advertising, it’s often extraordinarily hard to get both the timing and the message right simultaneously. The Economist ad campaigns over the last few years have added to that an impeccable sense of placement as well.NOV 04, 2008 READ »

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