David Armano talks about the delicate relationship between, design, social media, and business…great stuff here.

The nugget is this, there is a huge difference between social media as a communications channel v. a well designed product (iPhone) and system (iTunes) architecture. Right now all marketers are guilty of reactive and fragmented approaches to these ‘new channels of communication’ and not thinking about planning, designing and relating all these parts to a larger system that will yield long term results.

“It may be time to approach social business by design. This means moving beyond our current definition of “social media” as a PR (and marketing) tool and thinking of it as something that can evolve the way we work, communicate, interact and collaborate at a core business level.” D. Armano.

When someone can figure out how to design a system and product that uses social media without looking like a DB, call me…because it will be a beautiful thing.

[ source: HarvardBusiness ]


Designers jack around with everything, for the most part. However, when Thomas Meyerhoffer started to explore what a new surfboard could perform like, not look like, his exploration of of function v. form was a genius one that has resulted in what sounds to be an amazing board that could change the sport.

Its designing based on passion and performance that yields a form that might look odd, however, brings more emotion into a sport than ever before. Reshaping tradition using cred from the past. Think of the K2 Pontoon for one of many examples…

Every board is first created by machine, then shaped by Meyerhoffer’s hands to make them just right. A skill he taught himself due to computers not getting the job done correctly.

“It’s about creating a different feeling,” Meyerhoffer said recently. “Like the difference between playing tennis with a wooden racket and a metal racket. Or playing golf with wooden drivers.”


[ source: NYT ]

Locative Awareness.


Locative awareness has been around. Coding pics, data, video annotation etc. But finally here is a very promising mash up of cell phone video with an intelligent layer of relevant data, refreshness. Now…tagging all of this stuff is the hard work (which IBM did), but after that work was all done the Seer Android app gets to work by triangulating GPS, compass, and camera data to give you the goods.

Using the Android G1’s compass, camera, and GPS, IBM’s app shows pop-up windows whenever it recognizes whatever you are pointing at: tennis courts (along with who is playing), bathrooms, buses, and so on. It can tell the user how far away a court or food concession stand is, and can stream in live data such as scores.

So it will be a long before our surroundings are tagged, however, the idea of having rich environments is going to turn consumer engagement on its head. From sporting event to retail this seamless integration can’t get here fast enough.

[ source: techcrunch ]


After 4 months of wondering WTF this blog should really be about…a decision has been made. This blog is going to focus on all matters design related. Like how design can facilitate relevance, communication, comfort, connection, etc.

I hope to explore, and interpret how design can be used to create consumer conversation, brand relevance and product coolness, among many, many other things.


dudes shoppingNewsweek has an interesting post on how booze (free booze) can maybe cure a guys  shopping phobia. The theory is simple, booze makes a guy do shit he normally would not, in this case even shop.

Today you can find booze in retail from J Crew to the small boutique. And not just hipster shit for the extra cool kids, good scotch for discerning pallets…some have limits on your intake and some do not, either way most of the time its free.

So the idea is solid, but sometimes I think it can be taken out of context. If I were developing a next gen retail space for guys, this would be my strategy (in no particular order):

1.  beautiful women [sounds lame, but its true, read on]  (no dude wants another dude telling him, ‘your ass looks great in those jeans’), guys helping other guys is just uncomfortable, period

2. depending on the brand, maybe a gaming area, separate from the shopping / drinking area, focus on micro environments for dudes who want to hang

3. get a liquor license and create a Transformative Retail Space, its not drinking and shopping or shopping and drinking, its hanging out and oh that jacket is kind of cool, put it on my tab, nobody wants to try shit on when they are buzzed, think a restaurant bar AND boutique

4. keep the flatscreens at bay, nothing ruins aesthetic more than an overload of ESPNHD

* This is a working list, please feel free to comment or add to this at anytime.

Net is, guys do not, and will never like shop.

e bikesA while back I wrote about the Brammo Enertia Bike, this is a continuation of that thinking. Best Buy is moving forward with the idea of becoming a place where you grab electronic gear and EVs (electric vehicles). They are most defiantly exploring a new way to research, experience, and purchase mobile solutions, which is refreshing.

They have two concepts in the works that I rant about a lot (related to the auto purchase, however, it can be used as a frame for any purchase process really).

1. On site and robust product comparison tools.

“Some stores have a computer consultation desk for consumers to comparison-shop electric vehicles with pedal-powered or internal combustion products.”

2. Geek Squad as service reps…they have created a personal concierge for the mobile solutions they represent, its genius.

I cannot wait to buy my plug in Prius at Best Buy. I hope all car dealerships die.

[ Source: LATimes ]


So the big nut is this…whoever can figure out how to interpret consumer opinion (and relate that information to product development and messaging) is going to make a shitload of money. Today, social media data looks more like a dump than an idea. Combine that mess with some real product reviews / consumer sentiment and at least you have a lens on where you could begin making better things.

“We use tools to track buzz, track mentions of products and brands and there’s a method to the madness but I can’t say anyone’s discovered it,” he said. But “reviews are more structured, we quite often know specifically what products they own and that provides so much more transparency for us in terms of consumer opinion vs. tracking the tremendous volume of buzz.” Kris Narayanan, director-marketing at Samsung Electronics


[ Source: AdAge ]