We humans

Is the design industry blowing it? (and other must-read stories)

May 2, 2014 /

Undelivered (but perfectly wrapped) promise
The business case for great design has risen as Apple soared in usage and in the stock market. But as this thoughtful post on Quora illuminates, some worry that the next wave of design-y consumer products aren’t delivering on that promise. “From the failure of “design-oriented” Path to the recent news that Square is seeking a buyer [note: Square has denied this] to the fact that Medium is paying people to use it, there’s evidence that the luminaries of our community have been unable to use design to achieve market success,” writes product design analyst Mills Baker. “More troubling, much of the work for which we express the most enthusiasm seems superficial, narrow in its conception of design, shallow in its ambitions, or just ineffective.”

Irrational loveliness
Christo has made a habit of enraging and delighting the public with his artworks, which range in scope and size but always aim at the spectacular. Recently, he had critics in a twist over the Mastaba, a permanent installation to be built in the United Arab Emirates that will be made from 410,000 oil barrels. Sick! Twisted! Unconscionable! fire-breathed the haters. Yet, as revealed in  this charming Q&A, Christo remains unfazed, merrily admitting that his projects are “totally irrational and absolutely unnecessary. They cannot be bought, you can’t charge for tickets. The world can exist without them. And this carries a kind of absolute freedom.” We can’t all have such an attitude, of course, but maybe we can remember it the next time we find ourselves in a twist about something trivial.

Valley lows
This Wired story telling the tale of two entrepreneurs trying to swim through the shark tank that is angel investing, series A financing and tech entrepreneurism in Silicon Valley has been doing the rounds of late. But it’s well worth the read; in fact, it near enough made me break out in hives. I’m not sure what the future holds for Nick Edwards and Chris Monberg (a prediction from the piece: they’ll end up as project managers at Yahoo!) but I’m glad they shared their angst, fear and confusion. I think.