TAG: Apple

The Golden Age of Design in Startups

Three bits of evidence: designer-led companies are being invested in, designers are increasingly wanted as founders, and design firms are being bought for their talent.

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How Steve changed things

An homage to the best innovator of our time: Steve Jobs.

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Dieter Rams: “Apple has achieved something I never did”

The design legend admits that Apple is in a class by itself.

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Steve Jobs on why Apple doesn’t do market research

Straight from the horse’s mouth…Apple doesn’t do market research.

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North Shore Web Geek Meetup: Jan 3 in Newburyport, MA

A quick notice for any web-minded folks in the Newburyport, MA, USA vicinity in early 2008.

My buddy Jeff Watkins (Jeff is an ajax developer at Apple) and I are planning a web geek meetup Jan. 3 in Newburyport, MA. We know quite a few web geeks in and around town, and the North Shore is teeming with them (you). Every week or so I get wind of someone else who I know of online who happens to live in the area. Unfortunately, North Shorers can be up to an hour+ outside of Boston, so it’s not always easy to get to meetups there. In addition, those folks in Portsmouth are even further…we’ll have done well if we get some Portsmouth folks involved.

So come and meet some other like-minded souls to predict what Apple/Facebook/Google is up to next (isn’t that what web geeks do?) over a pint of beer. And, by the way, Jeff is an loyal employee of Apple…I can’t get even the slightest hint of details out of him.

Details:

Date: Thursday, January 3, 2008
Place: Rosie O’Sheas Irish Pub (see map)
Start: ~6-7pm
Ends: ~10-11pm

Travel tips:

  • By Car: Downtown Newburyport is ~3 miles off of Interstate 95, so it’s very easy to find and fast to get into/out of by car. (this ain’t the city)
  • Commuter Rail: Newburyport is at the end of the commuter rail…if we have any folks coming on the 5:36 or the 6:15 we’ll do a pick up (the train station is about a mile away from the pub) (commuter rail schedule)

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The Business of Design: Are our expectations changing?

Businessweek’s Bruce Nussbaum, in a recent talk he gave at Innovation Night at the Royal College of Art in London. Definitely worth the read. (although I don’t buy his notion that CEOs need to be designers)

“The second great trend that will soon have an impact on design is social networking. Social media is upending relationships between customers and corporations, brand owners and brand creators, consumers and producers, centralized authority and anarchistic periphery and—pay attention here—designers and their audiences. People want to design their own experiences, or at least have a big voice in it. With Web 2.0 technology and blogs, they get that voice. People are increasingly designing their own shoes and clothes, their own screen pages, their own interfaces, their own homes. And when they’re not, they want designers and managers to really understand what they have to say. Nike is changing the way it designs and manufactures because of social networking. So are dozens of other companies. Yes, we will always have our brilliant geniuses who intuit their audiences and create wonderful experiences for them. Ive and Jobs at Apple. Bang & Olufsen and its incredible designers and designs. But even Apple is getting hit very hard on the sustainability issue because it isn’t listening to its social networks. Brands have ideologies. They stand for things. People believe in those things. When the culture of Apples’ customers changes, as it is happening today, it has to move with it. You, as designers, can’t just do ethnology anymore. You have to join with those you’re observing to be in their culture and create with them.”

Nussbaum sees the audience changing and demanding more because of the software they use and the culture of interaction they’re in. Their expectations are changing because of their experiences with social networking and the closer conversation between companies and customers. In short, Nussbaum sees the realization of the Cluetrain in social networking software.

In addition, and perhaps more interestingly, Nussbaum suggests that companies mine their own social networks for signs of where their businesses should be trending. He doesn’t give any details of how that might happen, though…

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Why the Microsoft Zune is Set up to Fail

The Microsoft Zune and the web site that promotes it are an excellent example of not following The Del.icio.us Lesson as they put social value above personal value. We just don’t get an answer to the question “What’s in it for me?”, and as a result the Zune will most likely continue to fail.

Here is a snippet from the Zune site:

Mama always said to share. Now you have an opportunity to do it with music and photos. With wireless Zune to Zune sharing you can send your favorite tracks and photos to friends.

Picture this: You’re walking down the street. Or you’re in a room with a bunch of friends. Or at a concert. Or at the airport. Or on the bus (you get the picture) and then you whip out your Zune and see all these other Zune devices around that you can choose from. Zap! You’re connected to your best friend and send the new song your band recorded in the garage last weekend. Another friend gets the hilarious podcast your kid brother made at school, plus that song you just downloaded from the Zune Marketplace and can’t get out of your head. And hey, lookee here, your friend wants to send you something that you might like and buy, too.

Best of all, the song you sent isn’t just a 30-second preview­—it’s the whole song! Your friend can sample the song up to three times in three days, flag it on their device and then, if they like it, they can buy it later from Zune Marketplace. It’s all connected.

It’s all connected! Wahoo! Doesn’t it sound like my friends are having more fun than me? Their happiness sounds much more important than mine here.

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What Do People Talk About?

Guy Kawasaki wrote a nice post The Nine Best Story Lines for Marketing, about an interesting book called Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing. The book outlines 9 major themes of the topics that people talk about, write about, and care about.

  1. Aspirations and beliefs (what we are and what we could be)
  2. David vs. Goliath (fighting the powerful, common enemy)
  3. Avalanche about to roll (excitement about being up with the latest trends)
  4. Contrarian/counterintuitive/challenging assumptions (truth to power)
  5. Anxieties (our rational…and irrational…fears)
  6. Personalities and personal stories (interesting or inspirational people to emulate)
  7. How-to stories and advice (practical advice)
  8. Glitz and glam (promising to be like those who seem to have it all)
  9. Seasonal/event-related (contextually based on what’s happening now)

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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 Apple.com. 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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Blinded by the Apple iPod

How you, me and everyone else has been blinded by Apple’s iPod.

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