Four Design Links is a review of the design- and ethics-related stories we've been reading online this week.
1. The Revelation
We've been thinking recently about our business practices here at Design Less Better, so this recent speech by John Thackara really hit home for me.
It meanders a bit, but excluding the environmental stuff early on, I can appreciate at least three points he made about the business of being a thinker:
- There is a need for deep thinking Folks will pay for strategy, futurism, ethical frameworks, etc. because most of them don't have time to come up with it themselves. It's a simple assertion, but creative types might take it for granted. We tend to think other people are like us.
- A lot of well-known designers and thinkers don't have it as great as it might look. Like you, most of them have boring work they have to do to keep the lights on, but it's not the kind of thing that makes for a good lecture.
- The monetary rewards of those "good" jobs you see in the lecture are also less than one might expect. Thackara claims that he only gets paid for about 25% of the hours he works. The other 75% of his time is writing, thinking, and hustling so he can land those paid hours.
This is not at all the point of Thackara's speech, but it's something I appreciate nonetheless as an insight into the process of how such a person works and an indicator of how important passion is in being successful at it.
2. Meet Mr. W
Love this wonderful German (yet English-speaking?) ad. Clever!
3. Dropbox – The Power of a “Value Based” Startup
Essentially, it boils down to design less better.
Rather than follow the mantra of "release early, release often", the Dropbox team focused on a set of limited, but useful features that worked beautifully out of the gate. This high level of polish for a free product helped retain and gratify users who then went on to market the software to their friends.
Speaking as a user, that's exactly what happened to me. Dropbox is limited compared to the many other file-sharing sites out there, but this also makes it simple to use. And Dropbox does it so well that I can't help but recommend it.
4. This is not content
A recent post from 37 signals had this nugget, which is not an original observation, but bears repeating nonetheless:
[People don't want "content"] What people want is opinions, analysis, techniques, experiences, and insights. The best of all these come as a by-product from actually doing stuff.
One might rephrase this as: make things, not content.
Time to follow that advice...