Monday, April 17, 2017
I know we all want to do important things. We all want to work on important products, start important companies and accomplish tasks that could change the world and have an enormous impact. I see this in entrepreneurs and the tech community more than anywhere else.
The question we ask, whenever we hear about a new business or idea, whether it’s renewable energy or a messaging app or a fucking hamster sled, is this:
Will it scale?
Friday, April 14, 2017
Increasingly, more and more companies are looking for great design leadership these days. They are being told that their company needs a bigger focus on design thinking and are keen to adopt more design centric principles. But over and over, when these companies talk to designers, they hear about craftsmanship—about brand consistency, and polished design, designers who can code, and style guides, and prototyping, and testing — the designer’s craft.
All of those things are good — mandatory even. But for us to truly understand the best way to help a business we have to start focusing on what makes the business successful. We must first understand business in general. Then we will better understand where craft is important (and where it is excessive).
Instead, designers are often seen as someone that needs to have the important business goals explained to them in the most basic of ways. I think our suggestions about design would carry a lot more weight if we were able to have insightful conversations, and offer valuable suggestions about core business principles.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Video will not save your media business. Nor will bots, newsletters, a “morning briefing” app, a “lean back” iPad experience, Slack integration, a Snapchat channel, or a great partnership with Twitter. All of these things together might help, but even then, you will not be saved by the magical New Thing that everyone else in the media community is convinced will be the answer to The Problem.
I can tell you from personal experience over the last several months, having met with countless investors and leaders of media companies and editors and writers and technologists in the media world that there is a desperate belief that The Problem can be solved with the New Thing. And goddammit someone must have it in their pitch deck. A new kind of video app. The best news stories of the day, except all on video. Video, but with subtitles. Only 30 second videos, designed for vertical screens. A personalized Facebook bot that delivers only the video you want. Video on-demand, over-the-top, linear, succulent, meaningful, plentiful, attention-grabbing video!