Don’t rejoice at Facebook’s plummeting stock. It’s an ominous sign for us all. Companies are willing to pay boatloads for great designers and developers in part because they believe we will make the difference and help them become the next Apple or Google. When that bubble pops, many of our salaries may also pop.
Head nodding ensues. Julie Ng outlines the problem, but what can be done?
Especially if you are a designer or a developer, support Instapaper, Cheddar and any other service that you find useful and sustainable. These applications offer products and services at a reasonable prices and costs. You are not supporting outside investors or bloated marketing teams. You’re supporting real web workers, real designers and developers like yourself.
The more I’m in this business, the more I think on micro scales, not macro. Small products, small profits, small problems. Large amounts of satisfaction.
Having just finished the second edition of Offscreen, self-described as a “new, collectible print magazine about the human side of websites and apps”, a couple of thoughts come to mind.
First, this is a well executed publication. The quality of the paper and binding are excellent. As well, the photography is very well done and the amount of images makes flipping through the magazine as enjoyable as sitting down and reading through one of the interviews.
Second, some of the content of the magazine made me stop and think (once again) about the current trends in our culture. Specifically, the habits of the younger generations.
One section, the Logbook, is sub-titled “A Day in the Life Of” and includes excerpts of a typical day in the lives of five young individuals whose works is focused on the web. I looked forward to reading the piece, but came away feeling empty.
The days of each of these five were alarmingly similar, and each started and ended each day staring into a screen of one kind or another. The lack of variety and interests in other fields was a little disconcerting. This is not a statement about the lives of these specific five people, but our generation as a whole.
Overall, I really enjoyed the magazine and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the web/design community. I do hope that Kai Brach — the man behind the publication — would take care to include a better variety of folks for the Logbook feature.
If the intention of the magazine is to highlight people away from the screen — as the name indicates — then it should do just that. The designers and writers I admire most are those whose life and interests do in fact extend offscreen. Let’s see some more of that.
In a word, anarchy. Fun, productive anarchy.
He began with a shot of the Konga Yirgacheffe that tasted like roasted almonds, then made a second that was like flowers and cocoa, and a third that was like Mast Brothers Chocolate. Next coffee: Fisticuffs, which he described with admiration as “aggressive.” He made the Fisticuffs taste like lemon rind, then like lemon and honey, then he said he wanted it “softer,” and made it taste like caramel pushed to its darkest limit and doused with cream. It was a good show, a parade of flavors and textures that could convert some of those in the 95 percent.
Call me a convert.
“A healthy product company is, confusingly, one at odds with itself. There is a healthy part which is attempting to normalize and to create predictability, and there needs to be another part that is tasked with building something new that is going to disrupt and eventually destroy that normality.”
Dave DeRuchie makes some great points about time, respect, and intentional attention. Let’s change the culture around meetings, one meeting at a time.
This weekend I read a (re)tweet from a talented person that expressed this basic sentiment:
How come the guy reading a book at a park bench doesn’t come under the same scrutiny as the guy checking his email at the park bench?
My initial thought was, “Hm, good question.” But after thinking it through, it makes sense to me why these two activities are different and why people have had enough of the second scenario and are expressing annoyance when it occurs.
The guy reading the book, even if in a public space, is usually there for that very reason. He wants to read a book and has chosen an attractive, comfortable place to do so. He’s made the decision to give his attention to this activity and is following through on it.
The guy checking his email comes under scrutiny because most likely he’s come to the park for some other reason. But rather than devote his attention to that reason, he’s fragmenting his attention and checking his email (Twitter, RSS, Facebook etc.) while also giving his attention to the primary reason for being there. He is in fact doing performing both activities less well than he would if focused on one at a time.
Let’s be realistic here: I’m making the assumption that the tweet in question originated from a person who has had this scrutiny directed at them (present company knows the feeling). No one would really complain about the person who purposefully takes their connected device to the park to enjoy an attractive, comfortable session of email responses. Really — there’s no reason for complaint there.
The complaint comes from the fact that a lot of us are sick of the friend or acquaintance who gives us less than their full attention. The complaint also comes because we’re starting to get tired of being that person ourselves. Especially when we see the cost is has on our relationships with those we care for the most.
At the end of the day, when my kids are asleep and the house is quiet, is when I’m reminded of my greatest fear: nearing the end of my life and looking back with regrets. Especially regrets regarding my investment in my children. I’m thankful to be in a place where that fear has started to overcome the desire to stay up to date.