Anne Aretz
A theoretical thinker, design lover, brand etc. in a digital product strategy and design studio.

A mix of my random thoughts, interests and opinions.
  • "Technology has fooled us into thinking that we invent first and train our minds later."


    Do first, think later. Maybe it is an advantage, but I see it more as a problem. By doing first, you end up with a lot of bad products, services, anything out there. 

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  • "The permeation of design conversation in the traditional business world has made our profession highly topical, resulting in greater awareness of who we are, what we do and how we can impact commerce. This gradual assimilation of design into business parlance has been steadily gaining steam over the past decade-plus (somewhat conspicuously aligned with the rise of Apple and its influential brand aesthetic, which provided a highly visible case study for the possibility of design-centric thinking in business). The results have been somewhat varied. Primarily, I believe there is an unprecedented opportunity—and, I would argue, obligation—for design studios to elevate the standing of our profession within the broader professional community."

    "Forecasting: The Design Studio of the Near Future"

    While I agree with the core point being made, this creates a potential problem. By positioning the designer as the other against everyone else. With the permeation of design, does that mean the democratization of it? Is this something that can be shared and understood by many? 

    The idea of ‘elevating the practice’ is potentially alienating. While designers would certainly be positioned as the expert, they would be farther removed from the communities they are trying to serve. 

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    “Big data is a term describing the storage and analysis of large and or complex data sets using a series of techniques including, but not limited to: NoSQL, MapReduce and machine learning.

    The Method for an Integrated Knowledge Environment open source project. The MIKE project argues that big data is not a function of the size of a dataset but its complexity. Consequently, it is the high degree of permutations and interactions within a dataset that defines big data.

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST argues that big data is data which: “exceed(s) the capacity or capability of current or conventional methods and systems”. In other words, the notion of “big” is relative to the current standard of computation.”


    "The Big Data Conundrum"

    The new definition of Big Data. 

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  • "In this way, a focus on episodes of performance turns our concerns from cognition, in which artifacts assist design thinking, to one of enactment, in which documents, spaces, tools, and bodies actively participating in producing the identities, responsibilities, and capacities of project constituents. It turns our attention to questions of political representation, materiality and politics. From this perspective, it is not necessarily how designers think but how they stage and orchestrate performances of the project that makes accountable, authoritative decision-making on behalf of clients and prospective users possible."
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  • "

    What has your research taught you about wearable computers?

    The idea of wearing technology is hardly new. There’s armor and swords and many other things that we’ve worn on our bodies that were the technologies of the day. That can help us think about the current obsession and where these things are going.

    The technologies that we have put on our bodies over the last multiple thousand years tend to have two functions. One of them is literal. They’re doing some kind of work to extend our physicality, or reach. The other is always symbolic, what they say to others. The armor and the coat of arms on it say “I’m on his team, keep away.” Watches from 200 years ago said, “Not only do I have the money to have a timepiece, but I believe in punctuality.” I’m interested in how you start to weave those two things together, the functional and the symbolic.

    Does that hold true today for wearable computers?

    Absolutely. The challenge at the moment is that we’re just dealing with the literal piece, not the symbolic piece. The choices about what you have on your body are entirely personal, but how they’re read by others is slightly out of your control and it’s a symbolic transaction. At the moment we’re still very much in the “task” piece of wearable computing, not in the symbolic “how do we make sense of it” piece.


    Genevieve Bell on Wearable Computers 

    Again we come back to the “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” problem that ‘innovative’ technology is encountering. We have the capability to make all these new devices like Google Glass, but we have not taken the time to think about why someone would want that beyond the literal capabilities, beyond its novel function. And the fact that it is on your body. 

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  • "Twitter is not a startup any more. It doesn’t need to hide behind the skirts of its investors, or plead that it’s too new to understand how being a prominent company works. It has been in the trenches of every major world event for the past seven years. It could even be argued that Twitter is not really a tech company – because Twitter’s future is tied with the future of news itself, it’s a media company now. And as a media company, it should know that words matter. And the lack of words – a strange, uncustomary silence – says more than Twitter’s executives may think."

    "Twitter’s Secret IPO Undermines Its Mission of Transparency"

    While a very valid point, there are several pieces of this that bother me. First off, Twitter has not been a startup for sometime. Twitter is indeed a media, communication and entertainment company now. That mission of transparency lingers from the days when it was a social network, of sorts. A way to communication 140-characters of random thoughts or events with anyone who would listen. That was then. 

    The IPO is the symptom of a larger shift that has been happening within Twitter for years now. They are no longer a social network. That is not a plausible business option for them. Yes, Twitter is inherently social, but it is not Facebook. It’s currency is information, news. That is Twitter’s business now. It is a smart business decision to keep the news about their IPO under wraps because of that shift. 

  • parislemon:

    Ben Thompson arguing that we’re getting a lower priced iPhone now because the internals of the iPhone 5 (which the iPhone 5C will reportedly use) are finally “good enough”:

    In fact, the primary mistake Apple has made, if they made one, was in determining exactly where the “good enough” line is at. The iPhone 4S is arguably “good enough” and could have been the basis for a mid-range model last year. Apple thought otherwise though; I would imagine a not insignificant factor is that the iPhone 5 is the first iPhone with a fully Apple-designed SoC, the A6.

    The big question mark for tomorrow remains what price this iPhone 5C will come in at? Thompson makes the case for $450 (unsubsidized) and $99 (subsidized) — with a $0 subsidized price point being possible as well (matching the current iPhone 4). That doesn’t seem cheap because it’s not. But it is still $200 cheaper than the current (unsubsidized) iPhone 5. 

    Remember also that the 32GB iPod touch currently costs $299 (unsubsidized, of course). If you think Apple is going to sell the iPhone 5C for a cheaper price than that, you’re crazy. It’s a higher-end machine. $350 may be possible (well, $349 in Apple parlance) if Apple really wanted to be aggressive. But I agree that $450 would be more likely. We’ll see tomorrow.

    We are paying for the high-end brand. It is all about the name, the symbol because, let’s be honest, other phones do more and offer more. 

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  • "While some older existing brands struggle to understand how to adapt and are late to adopt ecommerce and social media, many new brands that launch online think that they can build a brand and product after launching and just spend money to acquire customers. Many outsource branding and product development, because they don’t know how to do it….The net effect is that these startups are nothing more than VC-funded customer acquisition vehicles with no special brand or products."

    "The Startup Bias: How American Consumer Product Innovation and Exports Are Being Hindered"

    'Build it and they will come' as a business strategy does not work. Not just for the business, but it does not create a strong brand representation and voice that goes along with their offering. The value proposition is not just the product, but the cultural, meaningful value that goes along with the brand. 

    These startups that are ‘making’ and ‘hacking,’ many trying to solve a weak problem with flashy design and MVP design to get something out the door and an article in Fast Company. They don’t last. They are fad-based because the goal of them all along was not to solve a crucial problem or even designed that way. If the product and business are not designed to last on their own, then they will quickly fade from the collective consciousness.

    What is missing is the holistic perspective from innovation and how creation of a product or service depends on everything in the organization working together for a common goal, not their own independently. 

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  • Tricia Wang - How Visual Media Affect Culture and Identity Globally from The Conference this year in Malmo. 

    Fascinating idea of the elastic self. It is interesting to think of how we have divided the idea of self into the offline and online. The real life and the digital life. Its a silly division. We do not all have multiple personalities; we are one holistic person with multiple facets and attributes that are merely expressed differently depending on the medium. 

    As Tricia points out, the digital, especially with the increasing visual expression (photos, gifs, etc), it is easier than ever to express ourselves thanks to digital media and platforms. Expression is not just for the arts anymore; everyone has the ability to express and share facets of their identity, manipulate it and more. 

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  • vicemag:

    Phones Are Better Than People


    Granted, smartphone abuse is a real thing—according to one study, 72 percent of Americans said they’re within five feet of their mobile devices at all times, and 9 percent said they used their phone during sex. In another survey, 51 percent of UK residents said they experience “extreme tech anxiety” when they’re separated from their phones. And common activities like texting or using social media trigger our brains’ dopamine and opioid receptors in much the same way narcotics do, meaning you can really be “addicted” to Facebook. But while it’s certainly reasonable to argue that we should draw the line somewhere—tweeting while driving is clearly dangerous, for instance—it’s not clear where that line should be.

    This is a very good question; where is the line of acceptable or appropriate phone use? 

    We keep creating products and services for our phones, all in the service of making things easier and more seamless. Our phones are a one-stop-shop for everything. We wanted the ease, but we did not predict or anticipate the ‘side effects’

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