Weekend Update: Reading list, referral logs, and an interview

Lots happening! Updates to the reading list, loads of conversation in my referral logs, and an interview on WebWorkerDaily.

I’ve had some great comments on my Social Design Reading List. Thank you everyone for your suggestions, corrections, and pointers to interesting things! I’ve been updating the list as fast as I can. Just this morning I added about a dozen books….including two on my must read list.

Helen Walker has an interesting new way to collect design ideas: Web Design in Quotes. I’m flattered to be included alongside some of the real web design maestros out there. Cool!

An interesting discussion on the Rise and Fall of Friendster on the IXDA discussion list. A bit further down in the comments they discuss personal value vs. social value. Prof. Mauro Pinheiro correctly argues that there are sites that rely on the presence of more than one person to provide value. Yes, there are exceptions: social network software and groupware are two exceptions to asking the question “Is your application useful even if nobody else uses it?”. (I’ve since amended my talks to point out those exceptions)

Matthew Hodgdon writes that Information Architects should start adding social design to their toolset…for those of you familiar with my rather controversial stance on IA all I can say is…gulp…

Lots happening! Updates to the reading list, loads of conversation in my referral logs, and an interview on WebWorkerDaily.

I’ve had some great comments on my Social Design Reading List. Thank you everyone for your suggestions, corrections, and pointers to interesting things! I’ve been updating the list as fast as I can. Just this morning I added about a dozen books….including two on my must read list.

Helen Walker has an interesting new way to collect design ideas: Web Design in Quotes. I’m flattered to be included alongside some of the real web design maestros out there. Cool!

An interesting discussion on the Rise and Fall of Friendster on the IXDA discussion list. A bit further down in the comments they discuss personal value vs. social value. Prof. Mauro Pinheiro correctly argues that there are sites that rely on the presence of more than one person to provide value. Yes, there are exceptions: social network software and groupware are two exceptions to asking the question “Is your application useful even if nobody else uses it?”. (I’ve since amended my talks to point out those exceptions)

Matthew Hodgdon writes that Information Architects should start adding social design to their toolset…for those of you familiar with my rather controversial stance on IA all I can say is…gulp.

Udi picks up on my Did the Long Tail Beget Social Design? piece to explain why he’s building a feed reading service.

Bud Cadell is having a hard time convincing people of the value of Twitter. He references the Opaque Value Problem to help him out. (I have to admit that I named that problem poorly…it doesn’t really roll off the tongue).

Tina Su dropped by to say Hi. Turns out she’s a user interface geek at Amazon who writes a wonderfully optimistic blog called Think Simple Now with great posts like The 5 Myths of a Positive Mental Attitude.

Notes from the Field Interview – Web Worker Daily: I’ve been a fan of this Anne Zelenka-edited web site for a while, since it focuses on people like me: web workers and their (our) unique lifestyle. Now I get to be a part of it with this interview. Here’s an excerpt where I opine on some advice for going out on your own:

Q: What advice do you have for people wanting to succeed in the profession or business you’re in?

A: Four things:

1) Passion. You have to love what you’re doing. If you don’t love what you’re doing, stop immediately and find something that you do love. This makes all the difference in the world. I know too many people doing work that they don’t love. Sure, you can be successful at it, but success is no substitute for happiness.

2) Differentiation. The more I focus on a particular field or topic, the more success I have. When I decided to focus on social design, there were very few people talking about it. Now, with MySpace and Facebook in the news *every* day, there’s a tremendous amount of talk.

3) Build a foundation. Success doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t get discouraged by bumps in the road. Stick to what you love, and chances are there just aren’t that many others who will stick to it as long as you do. There are tons of other folks talking about my topic of interest, social design, but few of them will be there in a year. I will, and I’ll be known for it in part as a result of simply sticking around long enough and being part of the conversation.

4) Actions, not words. This one has been tough for me because I love a good debate as well as the next guy. But refrain from entering frivolous debates, unless part of your business depends on it. For example, I’m a blogger and a consultant, so it makes sense for me to join conversations and talk about design *some* of the time. But if I wasn’t actually *doing* design, my ability to talk about it coherently would soon dissolve. So make sure you’re practicing what you’re preaching, and not just being a critic.

Published: December 8th, 2007

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