ARCHIVE: July, 2007

Netflix is Designing with Community Input

The Netflix team has a blog: Netflix Community Blog (via Sarah)

NetflixThe blog is interesting for several reasons, most notably the candidness of the posts. In this post on Movie Privacy, for example, the team talks about a new feature whereby you can mark movies private, so as to not show them to your friends. Michael writes:

“So, in a rather unNetflix-like way, we’re just going to release it to Friends users in the next week or so. Let’s see if this finally allows you to connect to folks you know slightly less well (or maybe too well), and for whom you absolutely needed the ability to hide some titles. We’ve all read your comments and suggestions for how best to implement this. Trust me: this isn’t that. It’s not that we’re not hearing your suggestions, it’s just i was interested in getting this in front of you quickly.”

This is really cool! Michael is obviously taking on a community manager type role here, announcing new features and asking for feedback. Saying that their new feature isn’t even the one that users were asking for is pretty interesting, too…how many design teams would do that?

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GrandCentral is People-Centric

Google’s most recent acquisition, GrandCentral, approaches phone numbers in the same way that Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook approaches social networking: with the person at the center of the service.

Instead of having a phone number tied to a cell plan such as Verizon or AT&T, or a specific technology like a land-line, GrandCentral ties the number to a person. You can have your number for life. Dial one number, all of your phones ring. Makes perfect sense, right?

What we need now is a URL for every person. Then we can reach them by simply specifying a communication type and a domain name…without worrying about numbers, protocols, email addresses, chat handles, or anything else. We should be able to say: “I want to talk on the phone with Joshua Porter(”. Done…all of my phones ring.

Dialing specific-phone numbers will be like typing in IP addresses. Possible, but painful.

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Apple’s iPhone and Social Proof

Unless you didn’t get near any media outlet last week, you probably saw or heard about the thousands of people who stood in line for Apple’s new iPhone. Many major media outlets had reporters on scene, including the NYTimes, BBC, and LA Times.

Apple fan enters store

Apple has recorded all of this in the iPhone gallery pages on The gallery shows long lines of both happy and exhausted Apple fans, some staying over night to get a chance to purchase the long-awaited iPhone. They also show banks of reporters with huge camera lenses trying to get a perfect shot of the action. And then they show the relief and happiness of the moment of purchase. These people are true fans, and the gallery depicts them as conquering heroes. One almost gets the feeling of religious fervor when looking at all these images.

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