A theoretical thinker and design lover. Maker of brand, strategy and marketing in a digital product strategy and design consultancy.  A mix of my random thoughts, interests and opinions.
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    There’s a privileged notion that the next generation of technology should become an unavoidable path to self-improvement — and that efficiency and errorlessness are always inherently good. As one respondent notes, “The Internet of Things will help more things go right and help more dumb things do smarter things. Anywhere there’s currently a human in the loop, there’s an opportunity for failure, as well as an opportunity for a device to make sure things go right.”

    The problem with this is that those that don’t want to adhere to this world view may face new forms of economic discrimination. “Every part of our life will be quantifiable, and eternal, and we will answer to the community for our decisions. For example, skipping the gym will have your gym shoes auto tweet (equivalent) to the peer-to-peer health insurance network that will decide to degrade your premiums,” as another respondent cautions.

    Those not buying into the system would need to create new forms of retreat from an everyday life characterized by these activities. Respondents note the emergent need for “Google Glass-free zones,” “personal anti video firewalls around our bodies,” and “technology shabbats” — a day of the week where we figure out a place that’s off the grid.

  • Thoughts on Foursquare



    The press release for Foursquare’s 7.0 from TechCrunch today is interesting, if not terribly informative.  This article is a great example of tech reporting in 2013 - a quick stab at analysis but mainly a conduit for the company’s evolving pitch.

    I love love the new design - but at it’s core, I’m not sure I get Foursquare’s  value to me, now that I’m away from the NY bubble.

    Disclosure: My wife used to work for Foursquare, but we rarely discuss our product management work in detail. I’m writing as a fan of the service and as a fascinated observer of the current state of press reporting on tech product development. I love the idea of location-ness being in our lives.

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    Ah the value question and what exactly is foursquare’s value to the user and the world in general? 

    Well, pretty much nothing except for the build up of user-generated data on where people go, sentiment about those places and maybe, MAYBE, finding other places close by. 

    I think that using it as a tool to find people near you or maybe in the same location as you is not decidedly creepy and has been ruled socially acceptable. 

    Foursquare appears to be inching its way to acquisition, by design. 

  • Grant McCracken takes a crack at defining ethnography

    I completely agree with what he is saying, but i always thought you created an ethnography, rather than did (i.e methods leading up to it) it. Perhaps I am mistaken. 

    The one bone of contention I have here is the word “consumer” — this automatically puts it into a business setting. So what McCracken is really defining is business ethnography. 

  • "The method is designed not to impose a set of questions and terms on the discussion, but to allow these to emerge over the course of the conversation. We are allowing the consumer to choose a path for the interview. We are endowing them with a sense that they are the expert. We are honoring the fact that they know and we don’t. (Because they do!)"
  • "Sociology for Storytellers"

    As a pseudo-sociologist, the skills I learned, namely the importance of the social context of, well, pretty much everything, changes everything. 

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    Above all else, sociology helps us learn to ask critical questions about both individuals and their broader context. What factors shape an individual’s life chances? How do changes in policies and laws impact people’s daily lives? Is this person’s experience typical, or anomalous?

    Learning about sociology not only enhances a writer’s ability to tell interesting stories, it also helps us tell stories that will have a powerful impact on those who read them.


    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. 

  • "Technology has fooled us into thinking that we invent first and train our minds later."
  • "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. 

  • "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."
  • "The Big Data Conundrum"

    The new definition of Big Data. 

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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.”

  • "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."