robertogreco + russelldavies   88

Russell Davies: Unbooked: How to live mindfully in a literate world
"I've spent 40 years or more reading books and I wonder if they're starting to actually alter my brain.

It's great that they're so addictive but when you're reading them it's like you're completely isolated and cut off from the real world, there's no connection to anything real or human at all. Your brain is tricked into imagining that there's real stuff going on but there's not, it's just a linear arrangement of black lines. You make no choices, take no active part, you just follow the plot that's dicated to you by the 'author', you're locked into a kind of dream world, a dream world sold to you for the most part, by one of a tiny number of global publishing keiretsu.

There's increasing evidence that books actually change the shape of the brain and they're literally addictive. Not addictive in the sense of the actual meaning of the word, but addictive in the sense of what people mean when they say 'addictive' - which is worse.

So, I've decided I'm going to take some time off grid and try and detox books from my system. It's going to be hard, obviously, books have been pushed into every facet of our lives almost without us noticing. Look beside your bed, for instance, I bet you'll find a bunch of books just sitting there waiting to be read.

I'm going to spend my time, instead, trying to reconnect with the real people in my life via games and social media."
books  reading  russelldavies  thinking  2015  learning  howwethink  howwelearn 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: Doing the hard work to make it clear
"As well as asking people to write big words on their slides we encourage them to write in 'whole thoughts' - sentences or headlines rather than chapter headings.

Let's imagine you're discussing the issue of 'X' in your organisation. You will quite often see a slide with a heading like this:

[Slide: “X: a number of challenges”]


[Slide: “Address X going forward”]


[Slide: “Whither X”]

or simply:

[Slide: “X”]

They use the slide to introduce the subject and then discuss it in front of you.

This fits the criteria of being big and might qualify as being simple but it's not clear. And news people would describe it as burying the lede.

It's quite easy to get to the end of that discussion without knowing exactly where they stand on the subject of X. People immersed in their specialism often forget to state their assumptions.

We would encourage, instead, writing a slide like this:

[Slide: “We should stop doing X”]


[Slide: “We should do more X”]

And then discussing the reasons, or enumerating them on subsequent slides.

This approach has a few advantages:

1. It forces you to say what you actually think

And means you can't get away with the common presentation trait of just listing all the things you know, without actually stating what you think should be done.

And, especially usefully in large organisations, it means you'll probably need to agree this with your colleagues before you say it to anyone else. Writing and agreeing presentations like this takes longer than the vaguer stuff but it's a way of making sure the organisation knows what it thinks and what it's saying - it's a tool for organisational thought.

2. It encourages everyone else to concentrate on the main thing

It's hard to leave a slide like this without either agreeing, disagreeing or fairly explicitly dodging the question. You certainly can't say you haven't been told. It discourages discursive rambling around the topic, though that still turns out to be possible. At the least, it tends to funnel the rambling towards agreement or otherwise.

3. It works on social media

Increasingly, when doing a public presentation, the most interesting and coherent slides end up on instagram or twitter. If nothing else it's a good discipline to think of your slides in these terms. Do they communicate on instagram, without you droning on in front of them?"

[See also:
“Doing the hard work to make it big”

“Doing the hard work to make it bearable” ]
clarity  presentation  russelldavies  2015  thinking  socialmedia  conviction 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: foylibra
"This is a bookmark they give you at Foyles. Modern businesses could learn from the specificity, variety and ambition of this. [image] "

[via: ]
books  booksellers  foylesbooks  business  booklovers  russelldavies 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: The day the rabbits died
"Somewhere around the end of February my Nabaztag rabbit stopped doing the only thing it did any more - announcing the time in odd, amusing ways, in a strange English accent.

It was an act any of you could have built with a couple of line of javascript and a voice over artist but it felt different because it was embedded in a plastic rabbit.

And, although I didn't notice straight away the sound of the Nabaztag not doing anything because one a routine failure faded into the sound of the Nabaztag not doing anything because they'd switched the servers off and I noticed it had died and I was sad.

I've owned three iterations of the Nabaztag/Karotz thing - each bought and connected in the fond hope that it would finally make the network talk to me rather than just appear on a screen. And each didn't quite work, and each attempt at hacking around it didn't quite work either and then they just became Minimum Viable Talking Things muttering to themselves in the corner of the room.

But there was still something to love about them.

Not least because they suggested there were alternatives to the Silicon Valley object design axis where everything sits somewhere on a line between Useful and Delightful. They found another interesting place to be, a line between Useless and French, and they explored what it meant to make the network into something funny, social and decorative. They didn't fail because no one wants that. They failed because the technology wasn't good enough and because hardware is hard.

This still feels to me, like fresh and unexplored territory - the network talking to you, not you talking to it. It doesn't need speech recognition, it just needs to connect to your feeds and friends and occasionally tell you what's happening. The Nabaztag took that further by embedding that capability in something charming and odd, something that didn't look and feel like 'technology'.

Now, though, the servers are off and it looks like my only option is to learn how to run it off a Raspberry Pi.

The rabbits have fallen apart."
2015  russelldavies  nabaztag  magic  uselessness  useful  delight  delightfulness  technology  ambient  karotz  hardware 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: The power of stickers
"There's a brilliant Swiss idea called Pumipumpe. It's just a set of stickers depicting the kind of stuff people have in their home. The idea is that you stick stickers on your mailbox in the communal hallway of your block of flats, declaring what things in your flat you're willing to share. It's brilliantly simple, solving splendidly with stickers the kind of thing people are always trying to solve with apps.

Stickers are like Minimum Viable Entities. They're just enough to demonstrate that something exists and is real, but they're lightweight and disposable and attachable in all kinds of places.

Tampon Club describes it as making it look proper. Stickers help with that."
stickers  russelldavies  2015  minimumviableentities  pumpipumpesharing  existence  tangibility  disposability  labeling  labels  tamponclub 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: blog all kindle highlights: The Rhesus Chart
"Read The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross a while ago. Only one highlight. Again, not because it's a bad book, just not that sort of book. This was a resonant expression though.

"A bureaucracy is all about standardization, so that necessary tasks can be accomplished regardless of the abilities of the human resources assigned to it.""
charliestross  russelldavies  2015  standardization  bureaucracy  humanresources  design  organizations 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: clarity as a business model
"I've had the phrase 'clarity as a business model' in my head for a while - probably since I heard a splendid NPR podcast about fine print.

Being clear about things that are normally muddy seems like a potential competitive advantage.

It might mean making the most of something you do anyway. Apple, for instance, don't get revenue from ads and personal information in the same way Google and Facebook do - so they can be much clearer about privacy.

And you'll probably have seen this Lidl ad:


The point is not that it's a clever ad, it's that it's a clever business model, a cleverly clear one. The ad is enabled by a better, simpler product/service.

And sometimes there's probably opportunity in being clear about the previously opaque. This post, for instance, about predictive analytics talks about how hotel chains routinely overbook their rooms to ensure they're full. This was probably seen to be OK in the days when you could disappoint someone and only that person would know. These days, with all that social media around, you may want to be clear about the assumptions built into your booking algorithms. Cheaper but risky! More expensive, but more certain!


Of course, very often, the challenge is for organisations to get out of their own way - the lack of clarity stems from their relentless instinct to brand things and invent new names for them.

Thus, tfl can't just say 'keep your oyster card and your contactless card separate', they have to invent 'card clash' - which really doesn't help, it just gives them an extra thing they have to explain.

(An example borrowed from Rachel)

(Our rule of thumb for public service things is:

1. Tell people the name you're thinking of for your new thing

2. If they say 'oh, what does that do?' get a clearer name)

The big opportunity though seems to be to find things that are murky and confusing and to redesign them so that they're clear. There are some obvious candidates - phone tarrifs, loan payments, energy bills, EULAs - but the interesting ones will be where we don't even notice things are murky any more."
clarity  communication  business  russelldavies  2014  eulas  simplicity  comparison  publicservice 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: if you're not a bottleneck
"I came across this advice from Eric Schmidt about handling email, which, sort of, makes sense.

“Respond quickly: There are people who can be relied upon to respond promptly to emails, and those who can’t. Strive to be one of the former. Most of the best — and busiest — people we know act quickly on their emails, not just to us or to a select few senders, but to everyone.”

Well, it absolutely makes sense if you're at the very tippy top of a large organisation and what that organisation mostly wants you to do is make decisions. If, in fact, you're a bottleneck.

But it reminded me that most of the business advice you get is from people who are at the top of organisations, and they're by definition not typical. I presume, for instance, that Google and Eric Schmidt have jointly adapted such that he only has to send short, quick emails.

Advice derived from looking at successful people is very often to behave in a way that only the powerful can get away with. There should be more advise for the less powerful."
privilege  power  ericschmidt  russelldavies  2014  organizations  success  behavior 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Russell Davies: death to innovation
"Agencies and marketing departments are still banging on about innovation. Sony are probably demanding innovative and compelling digital communications solutions from their staff, partners and agencies.

They should stop all that and fix their broken website.

I know it's hard, I know they have many products and regional overlaps and national feifdoms and complicated CMSs and whatnot. They'll need to reorganise and reskill and reprioritise. They could call that innovation if they want, but it's not, it's competence. It's the basics."
thebasics  innovation  via:frances  gds  sparkfile  hcgov  2013  russelldavies  communications  via:sha 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Episode Forty One: When You're Part Of A Team; The Dabbler
"The thing is, a lot of this behaviour is very easy to mistake for cult-like behaviour from the outside. Apple frequently gets described as a cult - not only are its employees members of the cult, but its customers are described in terms of being followers, too. And you see this cult behaviour in terms of the reverence expressed toward dear leaders (Messrs Wieden and Kennedy, for example, or the brain trust at Pixar, or Steve at Apple) but also in terms of the transmission of the values of those leaders. Wieden prides itself on a number of maxims ranging from a thousands-of-thumbtacks installation done by members of its advertising school of the slogan FAIL HARDER (with requisite misplaced thumbtack) to pretty much every employee being able to understand what's meant by "the work comes first" even if they do need a bit of re-education as to how, exactly, the work comes first (ie: it is not a get out of jail free card when you disagree with the client about what counts as good work). Then there are the Other Rules, the ones practically handed down from the mount (or, more accurately, discovered in an office scribbled in pen) that state:

1. Don't act big
2. No sharp stuff
3. Follow directions
4. Shut up when someone is talking to you

and turned out to be a parent's note to their child but actually not that bad advice when you think about it.

[See also: ]

And now, another nascent organisation, another one that I constantly harp on about: the UK's Government Digital Service. I don't think it's a coincidence that from the outside two of the people (but certainly by no means the only people) influential in the success of GDS and its culture are Russell Davies and Ben Terrett, both of whom have been through the Wieden+Kennedy, er, experience.

Russell is an exceedingly smart, unassuming and humble person who has a singularly incredibly ability to be almost devastatingly insightful and plain-speaking at the same time. It feels rare to see both at the same time. But what he's articulating at the moment in terms of GDS strategy and implementation is the thought that "the unit of delivery is the team" and when you're building a new organisation from the ground up, and one whose success is tied directly to its ability to embed within and absorb the culture of an existing massive entity, the UK civil service, it feels like watching a (so far successful) experiment in sociology and anthropology being deployed in realtime. A note (and thanks to Matthew Solle for the clarification because it's an important one): while the GDS works with the civil service, it's not actually a part of it, instead being a part of the cabinet office and being more tied to the government of the day.

So there are macro-level observations about Pixar that you glean from books and other secondary sources, but it's not until you visit the place and start to talk to the people who work there that understand starts to feel that it unlocks a little more. I'm lucky enough to know one person at Pixar who's been gracious enough to host me a few times and while we were talking about the culture of the place and how, exactly, they get done what they get done, one thing that struck me was the role of the individual and the individual's place in the team.

You see, one of the things it felt like they concentrated on was empowerment and responsibility but also those two things set against context. My friend would talk about how every person on his team would know what their superpower was - the thing they were good at, the thing that they were expert at - and everyone else would know what that superpower was, too. And the culture thus fostered was one where everyone was entitled to have a reckon or an opinion about something and were listened to, but when it came down to it, the decision and authority rested with the expert.

Now, this might not sound like a stunningly insightful revelation. Allowing people to have opinions about the work of the greater team and then restricting decision-making to those best qualified to make it sounds on the surface like a fairly reasonable if not obvious tenet, and maybe even one that because of its obviousness would seem reasonably easy if not trivial to implement. Well, if you think that, then I'm sorry, it sounds like you've never been a good manager before: it turns out to be exceedingly difficult.

At this point the narrative begins to sound rather trite: Pixar, and the companies like it that consistently achieve "good" results and are able to marshall the resources of large teams to accomplish something greater, are simply trying harder than all the other ones. And in the end, it may well be as simple as that. It's easy to have a mission statement. It's easy to have values. It's significantly harder to try as hard you can, every single day, for thirty years, to actually live them.

In the same way that one does not simply walk into Mordor, one does not simply say that one has a set of values or culture and it magically happen.

This is perhaps best illustrated in the blindness of the new wave of stereotypical valley startups that rail against bureaucracy and instead insist that their trademarked culture of holocracy inures them to the requirement of bureaucracy. That the way they instinctively do things is sufficient in and of itself. Well: bullshit to that. That simply doesn't scale, and the companies that think they're doing that - and I'm looking at you, Github, winner so far of the Best Example Of The Need To Grow Up award of 2014 and we've not even finished the first quarter of the year - are living in some sort of hundred-million-dollar VC-fueled fantasy land. Which, I suppose, goes without saying.

I began this part by implying something about teams, and I sort of alluded to it when mentioning the GDS maxim that the unit of delivery is the team.

I think it's becoming clear that the type of delivery that is expected in this age by its nature requires a multi-disciplinary team that works together. It's not enough, anymore, to have specialisms siloed away, and one thing that jumped out at me recently was the assertion in conversation on Twitter with a number of GDS members that there isn't anybody with the role of "user experience" at GDS. Everyone, each and every single member of the team, is responsible and accountable to the user experience of delivery, from operations to design to copy and research.

The sharpest end of this is where digital expertise had traditionally been siloed away in a sort of other. In a sort of check-boxing exercise, organisations would recruit in those with digital experience and either for reasons of expediency or for their own good, would shepherd them into a separate organisational unit. Davies' point - and one that is rapidly becoming clear - is that this just doesn't make sense anymore. I would qualify that and say that it doesn't make sense for certain organisations, but I'm not even sure if I can do that, and instead should just agree that it's a rule across the board.

Of course, the devil is always in the detail of the implementation."

"The thing about hobbies in the networked age is that it's incredibly easy for them to become performative instead of insular. That's not to say that insular hobbies are great, but the networked performance of a hobby comes with seductive interactions built not necessarily for the hobbyist's benefit but for the benefit of the network substrate or medium. As a general reckon, hobbies in their purest form are nothing but intrinsic motivation: whether they're an idiosyncratic desire to catalogue every single model of rolling stock in the UK or increasingly intricate nail art, before the hobby becomes performative it is for the self's benefit only, a sort of meditation in repetitive action and a practice.

The hobby as the networked performance, though (and I realise that at this point I may well sound like a reactionary luddite who doesn't 'get' the point of social media) perhaps too easily tips the balance in favour of extrinsic motivation. Whether that extrinsic motivation is in terms of metrics like followers, likes, retweets, subscribers or other measurable interaction with the hobbyist the point remains that it's there, and it's never necessarily for a clear benefit for the hobbyist. You could perhaps absolve blame and say that such metrics are intrinsic properties of the enactment of a social graph and that they're making explicit what would be rendered as implicit feedback cues in any event, but I don't buy that. They were put there for a reason. Friend counts and subscriber counts were put there because those of us who are product designers and of the more geeky persuasion realised that we could count something (and here, we get to point the finger at the recording pencil of the train spotter), and the step from counting something to making visible that count was a small one and then our evolutionary psychology and comparison of sexual fitness took over and before you knew it people were doing at the very least SXSW panels or if you were really lucky TED talks about gamification and leaderboards and whether you had more Fuelpoints than your friends.

So that's what happened to the hobby: it moved from the private to the public and at the same time the dominant public medium of the day, the one that all of us had access to, marched inexorably to measurement, quantification and feedback loops of attention."
danhon  leadership  administration  management  pixar  wk  russelldavies  benterrett  authority  empowerment  collaboration  teams  2014  hobbies  expertise  trust  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  motivation  performance 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Episode Nine: Everything In Silos, Forever and Ever, Amen
"Just Good Enough is bullshit. Just Good Enough means that a company doesn't have to produce a useable site that provides easily findable manuals or reference for its product, because Google will index that content eventually. Just Good Enough means I can just about use your site on my phone. Just Good Enough means that the timekeeping software that everyone in the building uses (and has to use - otherwise the entire business screeches to a halt) is only Just Not Irritating Enough to have to deal with. Just Good Enough means that you can whip up a Word document that you can save and then email to me for comment and I can open it up where it's saved in my Temporary Outlook Files and then save it as Your Document - Dan Comments.doc in my Temporary Outlook Files and then email it back to you, where you'll revise it and then send it to a project manager who will then rename it Your Document - Dan Comments - Final Feb 4 2014.doc and then email it back to me for more comments. Or where Google Docs is Just Good Enough to use single sign on so that in theory we can all use it together, but that its text formatting doesn't quite work and not everyone uses it.

It's bullshit. Just Good Enough should be offensive. Just Good Enough is the digital/software equivalent of a bridge that doesn't quite kill anyone most of the time, instead of one that actually does the fucking job. "


"This is what the threat of the consumerisation of IT is, then, to entrenched divisions and groups. It means that five years ago, the apocryphal story of someone at the BBC being quoted however many tens of thousands of pounds for a Rails server from outsourced IT deciding to, bluntly, fuck it and just stick an AWS instance on their card and expense it was the inevitable sharp end of the wedge: digital, devolved from some sort of priesthood that existed to serve itself, and instead unlocking its potential to the people who have problems that need solving now, and don't particularly care whether something is a solution or not, or has properly gone through procurement (and yes, I realize that this opens you to the possibility of a raft of 'Just Good Enoughs').

But you can't have one without the other. Leadership that reacts to teams reaching for their cards and organically using AWS or Basecamp or whatever because it's Just Good Enough and flies under the procurement radar, or reaching out to Get Stuff Done with small external groups rather than using internal resource by asking: "what's the problem here, and why are our employees choosing to react in this way rather than internally?" and fixing that internal provision of resource are the ones that are going to win. Which is, again, why GDS is building internal capability rather than external.

In a conversation with GDS's Russell Davies about this, the one comment of his that stood out was that none of this was new to those of us who've been working in digital or interactive. There was no stunning insight, no secret sauce, no magic recipe. Just that, from a leadership and organizational point of view, digital was an important concept to align around as a way of achieving their goals: and then, GDS conceived on (again, my external reckoning) with teams constructed around delivery. It was just that the will was there.

So here's the thing. (And this type of wrapping up inevitably feels like a Church of England sermon or Thought for the Day).

Siloed organisations, where digital is "over there", aren't going to succeed. At the very least, they're only going to unlock a fraction of the opportunity that's available to them. At the very worst, they'll find themselves both slowly ("oh, they've only got a few tens of thousands of users") and quickly (Blackberry, Nokia) disrupted. Runkeeper will come and eat their lunch. Netflix will become the next video network. Uber, much as I hate them for being Uber, will come along and work out that hey, digital actually can make your business of cars that move things from one place to another better for the end user. 

They're just not. 

It's just a question of how fast we get there.

My brother, when asked when video games will finally be treated as mainstream culture, used to say: "When enough people die." 

GDS is showing that we don't need people to die for digital to work. We just need leadership that wants it."

[Reference post: ]
danhon  2014  russelldavies  services  digital  organizations  technology  edtech  bbc  basecamp  problemsolving  leadership  management  siloing  culture  it  justgoodenough 
february 2014 by robertogreco
russell davies: activities not audiences
"An 'audience' is an organisational convenience from a broadcast age. It's a reasonable way of segmenting the world so you can buy media but as a way of actually talking to people it doesn't work. Most good advertising gets round it the same way good art does - by using the specific to illuminate the general, but most advertising isn't good. So you end up with crude panderings like appealing to women by making all men seem like feckless idiots. Or by saying everyone born in a particular decade has a particular way of looking at the world.

People, markets, customer bases, aren't this simple. Mothers are also small business owners, students and firefighters. Segmenting your users into audiences is always reductionist and rarely helpful. Resisting the obvious segmentations gets you briliant thinking like this.

The whole point of 'digital', the very opportunity of it, is that you don't have to segment people like this. They segement themselves by looking for the thing they want to do. 

If your primary focus is on user needs then your task is simple - work out the specific thing people are trying to do and then make it as simple and quick for them as possible. Your design, your engineering, your research, your testing are all then focused on making that one thing work.

It becomes very easy to define success and failure, it's easy to iterate and improve and your research and testing goals are clear. You talk to and work with users in order to help them do something. You only need to understand 'who they are' in as much as it provides a context and background to help them do things."
audiences  audience  2013  russelldavies  organizations  marketing  focus  purpose 
october 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: the web, the web, the web
"I'm Not Saying: the website is broken therefore the company must have stupid web people.

I Am Saying: the website is broken therefore the company must have stupid leadership.

I Am Further Saying: I bet the web people are brilliant and are struggling to cope with an organisation that thinks the web is for marketing and aftersales rather then realising that the web is the platform on which they should build their whole business.

I Am Further Acknowledging Again That This Is Hard: It's hard because you have thousands of skus and legacy systems tied into horrible service contracts in competing regions, divisions and cultures. Fair enough. That's what you have to solve. That's why it's not a technology problem.

If you have so many products that you can't build a website that can easily surface them - then you have too many products.

If you have a corporate structure that means customers can't find the stuff they want - then you have the wrong corporate structure."
russelldavies  sony  web  management  digital  tcsnmy  organization  administration  leadership  2013 
october 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: now and in the past
"The other day James and Kio start discussing what an "internet tense" would be and I get reminded of 'footballers' tense' - the way footballers and commentators often talk on TV.

This forum gives the cliche example as "...then Buckham's taken the ball up the left wing, he's crossed it over to Shoals who's headed it in" (lots of sic)

This is normally dismissed as typical footballer ignorance but it's better understood when you think of a footballer standing infront of a monitor talking you through the goal they've just scored. They're describing something in the past, which also seems to be happening now, which they've never seen before. The past and the present are all mushed up - it's bound to create an odd tense.

What's the internet equivalent of that?

There's something in who the you is. The web can't decide whether to your you or my you. I always want to write you. (You always want to write you). That's all I've got."
russelldavies  language  tense  soccer  football  time  perspective  video  web  internet  howwetalk  howwetalkaboutthings  secondperson  tv  television  history  present  past  internettense  2013  sports  futbol 
august 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: a unit of delivery
"When I start telling advertising/marketing people about this stuff the same themes seem to come up. So let's address those:

This is not about a bunch of private sector digital experts parachuting in to save the day. (Although we might sometimes behave like that, which is bad.) I'm not sure of the metaphor but we're somewhere between a catalyst, the tip of the iceberg and in the right place at the right time. We've certainly been very lucky. We are civil servants, most of us long-time civil servants. We are building on years of work from fellow civil servants who haven't had the benefit of our mandate. And we're working with huge numbers of colleagues across government who are as talented, driven and imaginative as we are, they've just been stuck in systems that don't let that flourish. Part of our job is to help shift those systems.

This is not about comms. We're not the new COI. We don't spend money on marketing, even digital marketing. Personally I think GOV.UK will soon be a great example of a new way of thinking about that stuff ('the product is the service is the marketing') but that's a post for another day. When we do use traditional 'agency-type' comms and design skills (which we do ourselves) it's to help the service/product communicate about itself. (That probably doesn't make sense yet, I've still not found a way to explain that properly.)

There is no 'client'. This really messes with agency people's heads. Obviously we're accountable if we screw up, the website falls over, the facts are wrong or the site's unusable. But it's not an agency-type relationship where someone distant and important has to 'approve' everything. This is mostly because our chief responsibility is to our users - they approve our decisions by using or not using the services we offer them. Or by complaining about them, which they sometimes do. Also, because you just can't do Agile with a traditional client-approval methodology. That's going to be a thing agencies are going to have to deal with."

"But, what does this mean for BRANDS!!?

Nothing. Obviously.

Well, maybe a bit. Iain was kind enough, the other day, to point back at a post I wrote about working at W+K [ ]. I think there's a similar post brewing after a year and a bit of GDS. I have learnt an incredible amount here and I think there are some obvious lessons for agencies and their clients in what we've been up to.

As a tantalising teaser I'd say they are:

1. The Unit of Delivery is The Team

2. The Product Is The Service Is The Marketing

3. Digital is Not Comms, And It's Not IT, It's Your Business

And a bunch of others to be named later.

Anyway. I'll try and come up with something useful."

[See also: ]

[Update 5 Feb 2014: see Dan Hon's remarks on the same: ]  wieden+kennedy  russelldavies  2013  marketing  branding  government  agile  digital  business  services  teams  teamwork 
july 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: 7 things I learned at wieden and kennedy (portland edition)
"As I venture further out into the world, away from the 10-year comfort zone (discomfort zone?) of w+k and Nike I realise that so many of my assumptions about the way that brands and communications and people work were formed there. And that many of these assumptions are horrifying and original to many of the people I bump into. So I thought I'd list some here. These are not anything that anyone tried to persuade me of, they're not 'the wieden way', they're conclusions I've drawn, assumptions I've made. So don't blame them if I'm an idiot. (If you want to explore some of what Dan actually thinks you could try this little speech w+k london found on a hard drive.)

1. Hire advertising people, you get advertising

As Dan will admit (claim?), when they started they found it very hard to hire conventional advertising talent. No-one would move to Portland. So they got people who'd failed elsewhere or kids straight out of school. These people didn't know how to make advertising. Or not in the way it was supposed to be made. They worked out for themselves how to communicate, seduce, persuade, engage, how to make a stunning piece of film or a compelling couple of pages but if often didn't look much like advertising. Even now, thousands of years later, when some of the habits have ossified and they really, clearly, do know how to make advertising there's an inclination to push it further, to not make advertising. I think this a lesson for everyone who wants to be the w+k of the future; hire just advertising people, you'll get just advertising.

2. The key to creative genius; work harder

I know it's boring but this became so incredibly clear to me. The most exciting, inspirational, talented thinkers and doers just work harder than everyone else. Often they also work more effectively, so it doesn't necessarily look like hard work, but basically they put in more hours, pay more attention and care more than the regular folk.

3. You can't divorce the medium from the message

W+K never gave up on its own media people. Media thinkers and media doers were always integral. And often the smartest people in the place. This led to innovative and informed thinking about not just what we'd say and how we'd say it, but also where we'd say it. So w+k didn't get stuck in that trap of shoveling creativity into a pre-bought schedule. We didn't fill 30 second boxes with stuff. You've got to have media people in the building, it makes life better.

4. Do good work, the money will follow

When I moved from Portland to London I was one of only two people in the London office who'd also worked in Portland. And I think the rest of London management couldn't quite believe Dan when he'd say this to them. They wanted to believe it, but they'd grown up in big London agencies where the bottom line is all. There's not a lot to say about this, it's just true.

5. Hold everyone to the same standard

I moved to Portland to work on Microsoft. It was clear in about 5 minutes that we were the pariah half of the agency. Everyone was either Nike or Microsoft. It was like high school. Jocks and geeks. They did fantastic work every 5 minutes, won all kinds of awards, got to meet celebrity athletes. We struggled to get any decent work through, won nothing, attended three day product briefings on Exchange Server.

And we all knew it would have been so easy to just roll over, give Microsoft exactly what they wanted (which was obvious and do-able) and rake in gobbets of cash. We could have funded a dozen pro-bono accounts which would have made us feel better and won us some awards and life would have been almost sweet. Except we weren't allowed. Peer and management pressure made it clear that everyone was held to the same standard, however hard our client and our task we were expected to do extraordinary and thrilling work. This seemed divisive and wrong at the time but looking back I realise it was genius. Because if you have multiple standards you have multiple agencies. If you treat some clients as creative opportunities and some as cash cows that's just what you'll get. And sooner or later the cash cows will leave the field. Everyone's seem what it's like to be the Account Director on the regional retail account that'll never do good work. It sucks. And it sucks even more when you have to sit and present your work to all the guys who work on the cool accounts. Kudos to Dan, he always expected us to make the work better. And, sometimes, before we got fired, we did some pretty decent work.

6. You can tell from the work if people enjoyed making it

This seems more true to me every time I walk in another agency. The places that are miserable make lack-lustre work (is it chicken or is it egg?). The places with energy make energetic, fulsome, toothsome work, bursting with ideas. If the process is depressing, the work will be flat, if the process has life, the work will connect.

7. Brands that influence culture sell more

This feeling was always in the air. People were trying to build popular culture not piggy-back on it, trying to create new culture, not just repeat old ones. About the worst thing you could say about an idea was that it had 'borrowed interest'. And it was palpably clear that this instinct led to more effective, more profitable brands. So I remember writing 'brands that influence culture sell more' in a creds deck and getting the highly prized Wieden nod of approval. That was a good moment. (Or at least I think I remember writing that, it seems to have turned up in other places too, so maybe I heard it somewhere first, perhaps through some sort of strange wormhole into the future.)"
advertising  business  culture  design  planning  russelldavies  2006  work  making  standards  creativity  brands  branding  influence 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The tyranny of digital advertising — I.M.H.O. — Medium
"Let's be clear: big businesses have grown up around the availability and theory of mass media and buying attention. Any big client older than15 years old will have grown up with the reassuring ability of tv and print advertising to reach mass audiences. Those were methods of advertising predicated on guaranteed access to peoples’ attention through interruptions in mass media.

And thus the marketing and business plans and briefs for those companies assume that you market your product or service by delivering a message to a stupendously large number of people in a short amount of time.

The Product is the Service is the Marketing

At roughly the same time as my two year anniversary in advertising land, Russell Davies recently wrote up a storm explaining what the UK’s Government Digital Service does and what GOV.UK is for.

Simply, their job is to save money by making the digital provision of government services so good that the public prefers to use them.

One of the points that Russell makes in his post is that, in their case, the product is the service is the marketing: the product (a government service) is the service (the delivery and usage of that service) is the marketing (the clear communication to the target audience of the benefits of that service). The tying together of those three different items - product, service, marketing, and how GDS have achieved that aim, has implications as to why good integrated (and so digital) advertising is so difficult to achieve."

"Anything but display advertising
But then there's the whole other, other side to interactive advertising that isn't confined to formats defined by media agencies and associations. And I might be biased, but they seem way more interesting than display advertising.

Here's some examples:"

"There is a shift at the heart of this. There are new brands out there - Kickstarter, Etsy and Amazon come to mind - that got big and profitable without conventional advertising. They’re also brands built in a world reliant upon the network. They do not need advertising, at least, they don’t need advertising the way your mother’s fast moving consumer goods company needed it. Their products are services, and the way their services behave are their own marketing. Google’s own Dear Sophie and Parisian Love adverts are critically acclaimed examples of advertising letting products and services speak for themselves.

So what does an advertising agency do for them?"
danhon  advertising  digital  2013  experience  russelldavies  marketing  service  product  kickstarter  etsy  amazon  nike  nikefuelband  fuelband  ilovebees  jay-zdecoded  arg  oldspice  attention  chrysler  television  tv  wieden+kennedy 
july 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: young avengers - adventures in the present
"I'm enjoying Young Avengers [ ] from Keiron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie a lot. (I'm especially pleased because I could see lots that was brilliant in Phonogram but felt just exactly the wrong age to really get into it.)

I've been enjoying them even more because they're surrounded by all this networked stuff that I was going to say felt futurey, but doesn't, it feels resolutely present.

So, you can get the comic, and you can read a sort of director's commentary on each issue. [ ] (SPOILERS! - as I believe the young people say.) You can listen along to a spotify playlist [ ] of things that inspire the mood of Young Avengers. And you can read reflections from the splendid Tom Ewing on each issue. ]

It's good. It's got that Invisible Book Club feel, networked reading, something. And it's not some clever publishing initiative with an app and a sponsorship deal. It's because the creators live in the present and know how to use the tools."
books  comics  srg  edg  socialmedia  spotify  commentary  russelldavies  keirongillen  jamiemckelvie  invisiblebookclub  reading  digitalreading  tools  onlinetoolkit  networkedreading 
march 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: smallifying
"Kindle Book 53 was Little Bets by Peter Sims.

And we're up to date! That's everything I've read on my Kindle so far.

Affordable loss, that makes sense:

"Sarasvathy points to the value of what she calls the affordable loss principle. Seasoned entrepreneurs, she emphasizes, will tend to determine in advance what they are willing to lose, rather than calculating expected gains."

People are more honest when it's rough:

"Prototyping allows P&G staff to make things in order to think. “How do you let consumers experience it, even if it falls totally apart within five minutes?” Thoen asks: The level of feedback you get is so much more valuable and impactful…. The problem with showing something to consumers when it’s almost totally done, people don’t necessarily want to give negative feedback at that point because it looks like, “This company has spent a lot of money already getting it to this stage and now I’m going to tell them, ‘It sucks.’” On the other hand, if something hangs together with tape, and it’s clear that it’s an early prototype, the mindset of consumers often is, “These people still need some help, so let me tell you what I really think about it.” Thoen beautifully describes the value of prototyping: Potential users of ideas are more comfortable sharing their honest reactions when it’s rough, just as people at P&G are less emotionally invested in their ideas."

Accept the starting point:

"Throughout the Pixar creative process, they rely heavily on what they call plussing; it is likely the most-used concept around the company. The point of plussing is to build upon and improve ideas without using judgmental language. Creating an atmosphere where ideas are constantly being plussed, while maintaining a sense of humor and playfulness, is a central element of Pixar’s magic. The practice of plussing draws upon those core principles from improvisation: accepting every offer and making your partner look good. Rather than criticize an idea in its entirety (even if they don’t think it’s good), people accept the starting point before suggesting improvements"

Thank God for moderate importance.

"what organizational psychologist Karl Weick refers to as small wins. Weick defines a small win as “a concrete, complete, implemented outcome of moderate importance""
russelldavies  2013  small  smallifying  prototyping  pixar  p&g  petersims  relationships  trust  plussing  judgement  criticism  risk  incremental  increments  emotions  emotionalinvestment  making  collaboration  sharing  rapiditeration  workinginpublic  feedback  constructivecriticism  r&d 
february 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: big-town folksy
"Scamp has started blogging again. Which is nice.

He's written something thoughtful about capturing 'tone of voice' which reminded me that pithy statements of tone are things I collect.

Here's the latest I've found, from Nicholson Baker's The Way The World Works:

John Updike described the tone of the New Yorker as "big-town folksy".

Isn't that perfect? Big-town folksy."
big-townfolksy  johnupdike  nicholsonbaker  newyorker  writing  tome  russelldavies 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The 'Interesting' Conferences
"The Interesting Conferences started with this post in March 2007. I'd been inspired by TED but wanted to do something cheaper, closer to home and less, well, zealous. So, I booked the Conway Hall, asked some people to speak and hoped people would want to come. It seemed to go well.

We did it again in 2008 and 2009 but had a break in 2010. (We had PaperCamp 2 instead). Fortunately in that year the Boring folk started up, giving the world's journalists the chance to say that Interesting had been cancelled due to lack of interest. We did another one in 2011 - with a slightly different format.

We also managed to inspire other, similar, events around the world. I can't take much credit for those, they did them all themselves.

I'm not quite sure what to do next. Last summer we organised Laptops and Looms which was smaller, longer and in Derbyshire but had a similar feel. Maybe Interesting will morph into something like that.

Or maybe it's over. That'd be fine too."
london  nyc  vancouver  oregon  portland  papercamp  laptopsandlooms  2011  2010  2009  2008  conferences  events  russelldavies  interesting  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Chris Heathcote: anti-mega: to be real
"…a bit more theoretical than many of my talks, but I wanted to make the point that things like trust and authenticity aren’t binary – these are built slowly, and gained in the minds of people by doing the right thing. Also that the best trust is from just doing your job, and letting your employees & customers tell their stories."
hownotto  howto  socialmedia  personalization  depersonalization  twitter  firstdirect  people  vimeo  37signals  iceland  nokia  ebay  newspaperclub  kickstarter  upcoming  flickr  personality  providence  history  business  branding  storytelling  heritage  moleskine  sweden  curatorsofsweden  bookdepositorylive  tumblr  generalelectric  net-a-porterlive  enoughproject  theyesmen  facebook  spambots  brompton  bromptonbicycles  hiutdenim  historytag  @sweden  douglasrushkoff  google  dopplr  copywriting  webdesign  craft  social  spam  russelldavies  online  web  internet  administration  management  howwework  chrisheathcote  2012  authenticity  trust  nextberlin  nextberlin2012  webdev  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
An Essay on the New Aesthetic | Beyond The Beyond |
[New URL:
See also: ]

"The “New Aesthetic” is a native product of modern network culture. It’s from London, but it was born digital, on the Internet. The New Aesthetic is a “theory object” and a “shareable concept.”

The New Aesthetic is “collectively intelligent.” It’s diffuse, crowdsourcey, and made of many small pieces loosely joined. It is rhizomatic, as the people at Rhizome would likely tell you. It’s open-sourced, and triumph-of-amateurs. It’s like its logo, a bright cluster of balloons tied to some huge, dark and lethal weight.

There are some good aspects to this modern situation, and there are some not so good ones."

"That’s the big problem, as I see it: the New Aesthetic is trying to hack a modern aesthetic, instead of thinking hard enough and working hard enough to build one. That’s the case so far, anyhow. No reason that the New Aesthetic has to stop where it stands at this moment, after such a promising start. I rather imagine it’s bound to do otherwise. Somebody somewhere will, anyhow."
machinevision  glitches  digitalaccumulation  walterbenjamin  socialmedia  bots  uncannyvalley  surveillance  turingtest  renderghosts  imagerecognition  imagery  beauty  cern  postmodernity  hereandnow  temporality  pixels  culturalagnosticism  london  theory  networkculture  theoryobjects  smallpieceslooselyjoined  collectiveintelligence  digitalage  digital  modernism  aesthetics  vision  robots  cubism  impressionism  history  artmovements  machine-readableworld  russelldavies  benterrett  siliconrounsabout  art  marcelduchamp  joannemcneil  jamesbridle  sxsw  brucesterling  2012  newaesthetic  crowdsourcing  rhizome  aaronstraupcope  thenewaesthetic  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
PSFK and Russell Davies on making a magazine: - Fresser.
"PSFK: What could we do to keep the paper interactive? For example, do we add QR codes to allow people to ‘see more’ (such as an accompanying video)?

RD: Why make it interactive? The world’s not short of interactive things. Just make it good at what it is.

PSFK: And how can me make it a social experience? What could we do to add a meta-layer above the printed page which allows likeminded readers to connect around content?

RD: As above."
reading  social  socialexperience  cruftavoidance  qrcodes  paper  purpose  interactivity  2012  magazines  russelldavies  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
russell davies: subtle fail
"Thus far this sign has been my most productive inspiration. It seems to have a speculative, fantastic layer and a cautionary one.

The speculative layer is about objects with intention and behaviour. This restaurant is trying to stay close to you, it caused some un-named inconvenience in the past. Its owners (trainers? suppliers? workers? subjects?) are sorry about that. Sentient restaurants! Good.

The cautionary layer is about the weirdness that comes from software that tries to solve problems. In this instance what happens when spellcheck meets people who don't speak English as their first language? You get something that seems right but isn't, you get SUBTLE FAIL, which is more intriguing and dangerous than EPIC FAIL

SUBTLE FAIL is going to be interesting in a world of 3D printing and the internet of things."
epicfail  tense  sentientrestaurants  speculation  translation  language  fail  2012  internetofthings  subtlefail  russelldavies  spimes  iot 
february 2012 by robertogreco
russell davies: talking on the radio / the internet with things
"This makes me feel like we're on the edge of something interesting; something Andy Huntington has called 'the GeoCities of Things' - the moment when it's as easy to make personal technology objects as it was to make a GeoCities page.

So I wonder whether the 'Internet With Things' is a more useful term than the 'Internet Of Things'. As Matt Jones has said "The network is as important to think about as the things" and the network has people in it. We're in there with the things. And people are looking for more than just sleek efficiency, they're after something else, something unexpected."
geocities  geocitiesofthings  internetofthings  russelldavies  arduino  shapingthings  brucesterling  andyhuntington  making  makers  hacking  2011  spimes  post-digital  iot 
december 2011 by robertogreco
russell davies: again with the post digital
"And then, this morning, when struggling to think of a good ending to this, I heard a brilliant talk by George Dyson – describing the early history of computing unearthed from correspondence between Turing and Von Neumann. And I thought I heard him cite this quote from Turing. I wasn’t quite fast enough with my pen to be 100% sure and I can’t find it on Google, but I think this is what he said. And, if it is, it’s exactly what I mean and we can leave it at that. What I think he said is this: “being digital should be more interesting than just being electronic”. I’m sure that meant something slightly different in the middle of the last century but the words are useful and simple now, they’ll do for me as a tiny rallying cry; being digital should be more interesting than just being electronic."
russelldavies  2011  alanturing  georgedyson  andyhuntington  papernet  internetofthings  brucesterling  mattjones  screenfatigue  newspaperclub  boredom  materials  physical  digital  embodiment  embodieddata  spimes  post-digital  iot  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
russell davies: three months at R/GA
"I often look bored or unengaged in meetings - going as far as being actually rude to people. I'll cop to this. It's a fair point and it's bad of me. I apologise.

My only possible excuse is that personal circumstances have been a bit shit recently and it's been hard to think that any meeting has been worth being in - in comparison with where I should be. But that's not the fault of anyone in the meeting and I shouldn't be taking it out on them.

It can't be just that though, I've had this before. I got this as w+k and I imagine I would have at Ogilvy. I have to accept it's probably true. I like to think it's a symptom of shyness rather than arrogance but that might be entirely self-serving, the line between the two is probably very thin."
russelldavies  introversion  introverts  meetings  cv  2011  work  social  shyness  intorverts  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
My problem with the “Internet Of Things” « Magical Nihilism
"The network is as important to think about as the things.

The flows & the nodes. The systems & the surface. The means & the ends.

The phrase “Internet Of Things” will probably sound as silly to someone living in a spime-ridden future…

In that sense it is useful – as a provocation, and a stimulus to think new thoughts about the technology around us. It just doesn’t capture my imagination in the same way as the Spime did.

You don’t have to agree. I don’t have to be right. There’s a reason I’ve posted it here on my blog rather than that of my company. This is probably a rambling rant useless to all but myself. It’s a bit of summing-up and setting-aside and starting again for me. This is going to be really hard and it isn’t going to be done by blogging about it, it’s going to be done by doing.

This is just what I what I want to help do. Still.

Better shut-up and get on with it."
spimes  2011  mattjones  berg  berglondon  internetofthings  doing  making  cv  lcproject  glvo  mindchanges  brucesterling  future  iteration  systems  unproduct  russelldavies  physical  digital  seamlessness  beautifulseams  mujicomp  fabbing  seams  iot  mindchanging  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Practical Magic | Think Quarterly by Google
"The most original innovations spring from mucking about, not from thinking hard. Perhaps that’s really why all this is happening now – components are getting smaller and cheaper, computing is becoming disposable, networking is getting easier – but I don’t think this is driven just by technology. It’s driven by a generation of inventors who’ve learned the power of fast, cheap ‘making’ on the web and want to try it in the world.

This, to me, is as exciting as the day I downloaded a browser. We’re seeing the connectivity and power of the web seeping from our devices and into our objects. Everyday objects, yes, but also new generations of extraordinary objects – flying robot penguin balloons, quadrocopters that can play tennis, Wi-Fi rabbits that tell you the weather."
google  innovation  russelldavies  tinkering  berglondon  berg  wifi  arduino  mikekuniavsky  html  web  internet  making  hacking  internetofthings  spimes  2011  iot  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
russell davies: a this for a that
"There are three things I really want to see.

1. Stories written for the the kindle - that use 'kindleyness' the way novels use 'bookiness'.

2. Music made for the shuffle - pieces designed to appear randomly but still hang together. More than a bunch of songs. And long too, filling up a shuffle, hours worth of it.

3. Comics made for an iPad. Something that's not just a port of a comic, that combines words and pictures in a way that exploits the iPad's capabilities."
russelldavies  kindle  ipad  comics  stories  media  creativity  newcanvasesneednewcontent  music  shuffle  flow  books  novellas  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
russell davies: winky dink and you
"The price & delicacy of screens means we've learned to treat them w/ enormous reverence & care. We polish them. Keep them in cases. Don't draw on them.

I wonder if this reverence was what led to…horrified reactions when I painted my macbook w/ blackboard paint.

But that's going to have to change…We're going to be carrying them around, pawing & dabbing them w/ our fingers too much to keep treating them that delicately. I bet that means we'll get new aesthetics for screens & their boxes. More tolerant of damage & dirt. & if it doesn't happen w/ glowing rectangles it'll definitely happen when we get E Ink everywhere…Scuffed & patinaed screens.

I remember wondering the same about cars - whether the industry would develop a less shiny aesthetic…it's starting to happen. There are a couple of cars round us with an aftermarket matte black finish. They look brilliant, sinister & subtle. It's a high-end, expensive thing…but I bet it migrates through modding scene & into mainstream."
russelldavies  modification  post-digital  apple  screens  stickers  interaction  design  cars  mattepaint  eink  patina  beausage  aesthetics  delicate  glowingrectangles  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: weird
"[This] cheered me up no end. It's about WEIRDness, how Western Educated, Industrialised, Rich & Democratic societies produce people who are in no way typical of planet as whole, yet make up bulk of respondents in social science experiments…

"…article is called "The Weirdest People in the World"… & it was published last month in BBS…authors begin by noting that psychology as a discipline is an outlier in being most American of all scientific fields. 70% of all citations in major psych journals refer to articles published by Americans. In chemistry, by contrast, figure is just 37%. This is a serious problem, because psychology varies across cultures, & chemistry doesn't."

As I embark on learning how, professionally, to talk to & work w/ people from other places it's cheering to know I don't know anything. Because if the real social sciences are biased towards Western intuitions then the pseudo-sciences of marketing are, planetarily, even more bogus than I'd always suspected."

[Referring to: ]
russelldavies  west  westernworld  psychology  difference  weird  marketing  socialsciences  sciences  bias  occidentalism  culture  outliers  perspective  global  differences  design  anthropology  stevenjheine  aranorenzayan  josephhenrich  jonathanhaidt  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: what I meant to say at lift - part two - big red buttons and sliding into glass
"Touch & screens...if it's all we do...we're going to be missing most of our bodies & senses. Presentations/PowerPoint are an example. Conference organisers & software/hardware makers seem determined to promote fantasy that slides control off stage, hidden, controller as small as possible...seem to be working towards an ideal state where slides are advanced by an inflection in speaker's mind. ...reinforces & is reinforced by, a particular school of talks which imagines them as exchange of minds facilitated by language, occasionally supported by imagery...such a waste, like taking talking head off telly & going to see it live... We should be thinking of all the things we can to make ourselves more to engage physically w/ our materials - our presentation, our slides. We should be performing PowerPoint not just showing it. You ought to be able to buy a PowerPoint Hero controller that gets you engaged the way Guitar Hero controller does."
performance  powerpoint  slides  senses  acting  engagement  speaking  talks  keynote  lift  russelldavies  howto  physicality  guitarhero  controllers  spectacle  tcsnmy  classideas  natal  presentations 
july 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: cognitive surplus - blog all dog-eared pages
"[we] assume there's continuum of reward for tasks. Or that it's additive. If we'll do Task A for free because it interests us, we'll do more if offered money. Not necessarily true. & adding money to mix profoundly changes our feelings about task...I suspect 'creating something personal, even of moderate quality' & letting people share it is going to be one of business models of next century. & one of social movements...even more interesting if we can squeeze convenience & scale of internet into other places…what you need to do - satisfy desire for autonomy, competence, generosity & sharing. Flickr does that…The easiest way to misunderstand Twitter & Facebook...take them as single type of network. Because there are celebrities on Twitter, w/ 100s of 1000s of followers, people assume that's what it's for...broadcast, celebrity, mass audience tool...[but] it's also small, personal, intimate one...I wonder...Whether public & personal existing w/in same channel/tool is sustainable"
russelldavies  2010  books  clayshirky  culture  design  technology  socialmedia  creativity  creation  papernet  networks  diy  make  cognitivesurplus  twitter  facebook  public  personal  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  rewards  tcsnmy  stickybits 
june 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: what I meant to say at lift - part one - sharing, physicality, mixtapes and newspapers
"And that made me wonder if that's why people are liking Newspaper Club so much? Are we getting close to some sweet spot where you get the satisfactions of sharing a physical thing but with the convenience of sharing information. Is that what you can get when you add Digital Sharing Technologies to Physical Manifesting Technologies? We're not there yet. We're probably only at Sharing Goods like Sharing Services but even that seems like a step forward. Maybe that's why making your own book feels so right, maybe that's where we need to go next with DataDecs, maybe that's what Shapeways and Ponoko will enable, but I think there's something in this."
russelldavies  clayshirky  newspapers  sharing  music  socialmedia  tangible  technology  papernet  books  behavior  community  culture  post-digital  minimalism  information  mixtapes  ponoko  datadecs  shapeways  digital  satisfaction  services  goods  newspaperclub 
june 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: the comfort of the comfort of things
"We live today in a world of ever more stuff - what sometimes seems a deluge of goods and shopping. We tend to assume that this has two results: that we are more superficial and more materialistic, our relationship to things coming at the expense of our relationships to people. We make such assumptions, we speak in cliches, but we have rarely tried to put these assumptions to the test. By the time you finish this book you will discover that, in many ways, the opposite is true; that possessions often remain profound and usually the closer our relationships are with objects, the closer our relationships are with people."
materialism  russelldavies  thecomfortofthings  objects  relationships  books  physical  possessions 
may 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: day 23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding - enola gay
"I'm a middle-aged man, I don't have emotions or certainty. I've already had songs played at my wedding."
cv  certainty  emotions  russelldavies  music  middleage 
april 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: steal other things
"This, I'm afraid, is how I do things. I learn by stating the obvious in public... [love that line, I think it describes me too and I hope that we allow learners like that to thrive at tcsnmy]

I suspect many of these mechanics are so popular with brands and marketing organisations because they fit with traditional assumptions about how you motivate people - give them rewards...And this isn't stupid, people do like keeping score of things and getting little badges, it scratches an atavistic itch...[but] there are lots of other things you can steal from games, many other aspects of gaming that people find appealing and some of them might be more easily and usefully extracted...

the wholesale export of games mechanics to the world might get a bit infuriating, the export of the cues about pretend identity might be more fruitful.

And it brings me back to toys again, because they do that very well."
play  playful  pretending  russelldavies  toys  gaming  games  gamedesign  advertising  interactiondesign  design  2010  ux  feedback  rewards  discovery  identity  curiosity  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  learning  cv  tcsnmy 
april 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: not playful
"don't like...these new social, interacting-w/-real-people games...[they're not] bad, just not for me. & I'm not that special, so I bet they don't appeal to some other people...might be worth thinking about. Because...seems to be some consensus that more social = better & I'm not sure that's true...I don't like meeting people I don't [know]. That's why web has been such joy, I've been able to 'meet' people & get to know something of them before I really meet them...Which means I find many of efforts of social & pervasive gamers scary. Werewolf seems to be codification & enforcement of all horrible about dinner party...lots of my favorite games are only slightly social...why I'm drawn towards idea of 'pretending apps' - not about imposing rules, [but] suggesting can play them in your own head...[they're] Social because they're for playing w/, not because they're connected & you can play in a shared context. But it's your play, in your head."
russelldavies  play  pretending  immersion  gamedesign  cv  shyness  web  online  social  socialsoftware  games  toys  2010  allsorts  playful  gaming  interactive  contemplative  imagination  creativity 
april 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: lyddle end again
"Some slow projects won't leave you alone. You might not have done anything about them for ages but your attention keeps catching on something related in the world, nagging you, reminding you that there's something that needs completing."
slow  glvo  russelldavies  lyddleend2050  projects  do  make 
february 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: first world problem
"There's a twitter hash tag I quite like - #firstworldproblem or varients thereon. It does something to take the edge of a twitter complaint - acknowledging that these are the peculiar problems of an enormously lucky group of people living in a technologically enabled world.

And, though there's not really a complaint in this, I had something in that spirit happen yesterday. I was in the States and got an automated fraud prevention call from Visa. The robot lady talked me through authentication etc, with the occasional text-to-speech generated interjection for my name or date of birth. Then, as it ran through my transactions to make sure they were valid I found I had no clue what the first one was. Couldn't make it out at all. Then I finally decoded it - it was an English-trained robot trying to pronounce Le Pain Quotidien, and failing. That's a #firstworldproblem."
complaints  firstworldproblems  perspective  russelldavies  twitter 
january 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: compare and contrast
"Not many people would argue that creating something useful, distinctive and successful requires hard work. Though I might argue with this particular definition of working hard. I would definitely take issue with the idea that constantly hanging out with people from your industry is a good idea, but I don't have to because Anil Dash has already done that."
anildash  russelldavies  groupthink  web  crosspollination  crossdisciplinary  business  entrepreneurship  nyc  siliconvalley  sanfrancisco  vc  startups  work  workethic  innovation  bayarea 
november 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: true stories told live
"Gladwell suggests people w/ the best stories are those whose jobs involve lots of sitting around w/ their colleagues; cricketers, for instance, or pilots. I'd suggest it's not just the sitting around, it's sitting around while half paying attention to something else (the match, automatic pilot). This leaves enough room for proper story-telling, for holding court, not interrupted by sniping, conversation or one-up-person-ship...I'm still not sure that story is that important to stories. You know, all that beginning, middle, end stuff, narrative arc...Games people go on about it all the time, ad people are convinced they're masters of story miniatures. I think, very often, story is just something to hang all the important bits on. & not in a significant, meaningful way, like a backbone or scaffold...more of a coat-hanger. The actual stuff that connects isn't about plot or narrative; it's texture, observations, images, jokes, juxtapositions, felicitous phrases & little moments of aha."
communication  storytelling  stories  malcolmgladwell  russelldavies  narrative  listening  attention  entertainment  games  gamedesign  delivery 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Bunchberry & Fern: Simple but no simpler
"The simple recipe only allows you to copy the crumble. An adult would want to make it their own, to make it better. We want new super-powers . This means teachers and trainers of grown-ups channeling Kathy Sierra. Or Amy Hoy. Perhaps even making yourself obsolete (with a hint of Microwave Learning Objectives).
pretending  play  learning  russelldavies  via:russelldavies  recipes  cooking  teaching  training  engagement  glvo  unschooling  deschooling  science  food  simplicity  minimalism  fun  games  gaming  tcsnmy  designthinking  design 
november 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: playful
"These aren't games, like the industry thinks of games, these are something a little less, these are Barely Games. And these, are what I wanted to talk about.
pretending  play  games  gaming  russelldavies  creativity  barelygames  planning  thinking  futures  design  competition  noticing  playful09  collections  collecting  tcsnmy  negotiating  negotiation  inattention  iphone  gamechanging  glvo  attention  augmentedreality  augmentedrealityfiction  ar 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Pasta&Vinegar » Playful09 write-up
"Russell Davies was perhaps the highlight of the day as his talk revolved around the contrast between “world-building” versus “bubble-building”. Based on the model railways metaphor, he described these two approaches: “world-building” corresponds to mimicking reality while “bubble-building” consists in putting the railway in your garden where you cannot try to replicate anything (it allows building a “bubble of suspense”). To him, world building is more difficult and he is more interested in “barely games”: collecting, negotiating, pretending and inattention."
playful09  nicolasnova  russelldavies  collections  collecting  play  noticing  tcsnmy  negotiating  negotiation  pretending  inattention  iphone  gaming  games  gamechanging  glvo  barelygames  attention 
november 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: just sell it
"You can feel it can't you, after all these years of brands pursuing branded retail experiences and retail theatre and blah blah blah, people are starting to want the opposite. They just want to buy something and leave. No experience, no brand, no up-sell and ideally no eye-contact."
retail  marketing  ux  experience  russelldavies 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Anne Galloway | Towards Rural Computing and the Internet of Companion Species
"As I've said many times, who and what get excluded from design visions are just as interesting and important as what and who are included. Western philosophers have long held that a society can be judged by how it treats its weakest or least fortunate members (in other words, who we ignore or abandon) and contemporary notions of cultural citizenship rely precisely on how well we interact with people who are different from us."
annegalloway  russelldavies  ubicomp  ruricomp  design  technology  internet  internetofthings  planning  rural  rfid  spimes  iot 
september 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: ruricomp
"Half of us - an entire half - still don't live in cities. This may be a shrinking proportion of the world but it's still a lot of people, and (apart from some privilged bits of the West) it's the poorest, less mobile, less educated proportion. Most people are moving to cities to escape poverty, surely the people left behind merit some attention. ... maybe we could think about network technologies as a way to reintegrate rural and urban rather than accelerate the dominance of one over the other. Perhaps all this brilliant city thinking could lift its eyes a little and look beyond the city walls - I'd love to see what we'd come up with then.

If we can stop the countryside becoming a Cursed Earth, we might not need a Mega-City."
russelldavies  ubicomp  ruricomp  countryside  architecture  design  urbancomputing  cities  urbanism  planning  rural  future 
september 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: piper at the gates of martin's the newsagents
"So my first moment of musical transcendence was probably at 14, listening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond, leaning on a fence as the sun came up over a Derby housing estate, waiting for the van to arrive with the papers. This was the first moment I had a soundtrack beamed into my head, making the world seem more significant, the music made everything bigger, more meaningful."
music  portability  thesountrackoflife  russelldavies  mobility 
august 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: vague, telescoping reminiscences
"Memory, being a phenomenon of emotion and magic, accommodates only those facts that suit it. It thrives on vague, telescoping reminiscences, on hazy general impressions or specific symbolic details. It is vulnerable to transferences, screen memories, censorings, and projections of all kinds."
psychology  memory  experience  magic  emotion  russelldavies 
july 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: measuring pebbles
"To me, this illustrates the huge potential for partnering little devices to iPhones and Androids and the like. (Perhaps those little devices will be along the lines that Julian's been thinking of with the Flavonoid.)
russelldavies  flavinoid  iphone  pedometer  games  nintendods  personalinformatics  health  phones  mobile  technology  wireless 
july 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: outbreaks of futurosity
"What's particularly impressive is the client's willingness to deal with chaos, mess and risk. It's one thing to embrace the messiness of the web when that's the only place it lives - on a screen. It's another thing to commit yourself to printing thousands of copies of 'who knows what', sticking your logo on it and distributing it to your most important audience members. But that's exactly what we/they are going to have to get used to doing."
russelldavies  future  newmedia  schulzeandwebb  transmedia  planning  media  print  papernet  risk  risktaking  messiness  chaos  tcsnmy  gamechanging  berg  berglondon 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Pulse Laser: The New Negroponte Switch
"…is the title of a talk I gave at Frontiers of Interaction V in Rome yesterday, primarily about the territory of “the Internet of Things” moving from one of academic and technological investigation to one of commercial design practice, and what that might mean for designers working therein."
mattjones  papernet  schulzeandwebb  design  servces  spimes  brucesterling  nicholasnegroponte  services  physical  thingfrastructure  tangible  intangible  russelldavies  attentionanchors  data  berg  berglondon  post-digital 
june 2009 by robertogreco
More ideas , less stuff | Lets get creative | The Guardian
"We're in the midst of a period where people are questioning business models. It's in these downturned times that new innovative businesses and ideas spring up. Recessions are a good time to "prototype". Decisions get made quicker. New ideas don't get bogged down in process. People take risks. Recessions have happened before, of course, but this time we have a whole generation of people who are used to making new stuff happen fast on the web. Have an idea, go home, bash out the code and launch to the world. We are living in a world where people are used to prototyping quickly and cheaply."
benterrett  mattjones  russelldavies  unproduct  brucesterling  tcsnmy  reallyinterestinggroup  economics  future  innovation  consumerism  thinking  ideas  making  make  activism  creativity  design  business  newspapers  products  prototyping 
february 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: unnotebook
"As I mentioned before, I've been messing about with an 'un' version of a notebook. I've always wanted a notebook that did two things: 1. Helped you take notes in the most efficient manner. I'm not quite sure what that efficient manner might be though, so the first book allowed me with different styles: 2. The second thing I wanted a notebook that would provide entertainment for those moments when the meeting is clearly a dead loss. So above is a template for making a crossword:"
russelldavies  notebooks  unnotebook  paper  papernet  diy  productivity  srg 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Do-ism « Magical Nihilism [see also:]
"I’m a designer that mainly works with digital materials, and while the pleasure of tinkering with a machine is something that I get quite a lot in software, to tinker in hardware and software (especially Meccano) is a rarer thing. It seems to activate a way of thinking with the eye, the mind and the hand that is entirely natural, and the playful problem-solving instincts of childhood come rushing back. Kevin Kelly writes in an essay about Artificial Intelligence that problem-solving is not just an abstract process of the mind, but something that happens in the world, and brands those who don’t believe this as indulging in ‘thinkism’. The intelligence of the hand, and the eye, and the body, working with material things in the world, instead of abstract symbols in a computer you might call ‘Do-ism’."
make  do-ism  mattjones  tangible  childhood  making  tinkering  russelldavies  kevinkelly  ai  thinkism  tcsnmy 
february 2009 by robertogreco
howies - brainfood - Technology is not the enemy [Russell Davies]
"Technology is not the enemy. Inattention and waste are the enemy. If you don’t notice your footprints you won’t clean them up. So remember to take notes and use whatever tools can to keep you paying attention." via:
russelldavies  technology  observation  walkit  pachube  wattson  interestingness  attention  sustainability  waste  green  tcsnmy  classideas 
february 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: the invention of everybody / here comes air
"So much of the debate about new media, deaths of media, blah blah blah, is about what's the new model going to be? If it's not A, then what's B? when of course, there probably won't be a single dominant model, there'll be tons of different ones. Old ones, new ones, all mixed together, often within the same organisation. At the moment our organisational options are limited: there's Government, The Corporation, The Charity and The Cooperative. And that's about it. The internet means that (as Mr Shirky says) Group Action Just Got Easier but as anyone who tries to start a new sort of organisation will tell you, the legal niceties haven't caught up with that yet."

[Same can be said about schools.]
russelldavies  stevenjohnson  clayshirky  choice  innovation  options  schools  media  education  communities  networks  ideas  business  books  internet  web2.0  groups 
february 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: from product to project
"So I've been thinking about how I can continue to projectise this product. And how this bag can have a 10-year + story. So I'm trying to add spimeiness to it and to use internet stuff as a memory aid for this thing. So, I've created a unique URL for it at thinglink, in the spirit of the skuwiki idea. And I've built a tumblblog for it at That tumblr extracts things from flickr and delicious that I've tagged appropriately, so it's sort of self-generating. I imagine telling the story of the life of the bag that way, keeping it as a project not a product.

But what would be really nice would be if it could tell its own story more. Generate its own data. I could attach an RFID tag, but I'm not quite sure what would ever read it. I guess ideally it would have it's own GPS logging stick sewn in. Or something. The good thing though, about a 10-year + project is that you don't have to have it all sorted at the begining."
brucesterling  design  sustainability  russelldavies  manufacturing  howies  bags  rfid  spimes  brands  products  stories  gps  physical  things  unproduct  beausage  plannedobsolescence  plannedlongevity  glvo  wabi-sabi 
january 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: meet the new schtick (2)
"in many ways, that's [an unfinished book like Dave Gray's Marks and Meaning] a more interesting and involving thing to own than a finished book. You're getting an object, but you're also getting into a little community." ... "You see what I'm getting at here? Books/paper are proven technologies. Brilliant things. Really good at all sorts of stuff. We're not in an age where books are about to disappear. But many of the business models associated with them may do. Because we're getting direct access to book technologies ourselves." ... "So you add all these things together and you realise that there are all sorts of interesting possibilities around the corner. For community media projects, personal media projects, for the creativity that's running rampant online to emerge in physical forms in lots of places."

[part 1: ]
design  technology  culture  future  books  trends  diy  make  glvo  russelldavies  paper  newspapers  printing  advertising  marketing  planning  empowerment  communities  publishing  ebooks  media  digital  business  2009  unbook 
january 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: meet the new schtick
"1. Screens are getting boring. ... 2. There are a lot of people around now who have thoroughly integrated 'digitalness' into their lives. To the extent that it makes as much sense to define them as digital as it does to define them as air-breathing. ie it's true but not useful or interesting. ... 3. The stuff that digital technologies have catalysed online and on screens is starting to migrate into the real world of objects. Ideas and possibilities to do with community, conversation, collaboration and creativity are turning out real things, real events, real places, real objects. I'm not saying that this means that these things are therefore inately better, or that the internet has 'come of age' or any of that nonsense. I just mean that there are new, interesting things going on IRL and that they have some advantages (and penalties) that don't apply online."

[part 2: ]
russelldavies  RFID  things  futurism  planning  advertising  marketing  computing  digital  culture  future  technology  ubicomp  design  spimes  post-digital 
january 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: analogue natives
"So much joyful digital stuff is only a pleasure because it's hugely convenient; quick, free, indoors, no heavy lifting. That's enabled lovely little thoughts to get out there. But as 'digital natives' get more interested in the real world; embedding in it, augmenting it, connecting it, weaponising it, arduinoing it, printing it out, then those thoughts/things need to get better. And we might all need to acquire some analogue native skills."
russelldavies  analog  printing  making  arduino  spimes  technology  papernet  hardware  digital 
december 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: slow strategy
"whenever you hear mention of speed, it's worth remembering the eternal Project Triangle...if you're going to be quick then you're also going to either bad or expensive...going fast will tend to reduce the amount of collaboration you do...Fast strategy might yield a big idea, but a slow strategy, a socialised strategy is maybe more likely to yield a rich one....I guess the real answer, as always, is the shoddy compromise; make sure that you can think and do both quickly and slowly. And then work out which suits you and your circumstances more. Because doing strategy happily is probably more important than doing it quickly or slowly."
projectmanagement  slow  russelldavies  strategy  gtd  quality  thinking  planning  speed 
october 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: patina
"But you can pick materials that age well, show their patina gracefully. Formica being one. Leather. Wood. They show you that they've been used. And how. (And peeling paint seems to give you the aesthetic quite quickly.) And then the back half of Matt's presentation from Picnic made me realise that I get the feeling of patina from some web things too."
aging  patina  beausage  russelldavies  design  wabi-sabi 
september 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: social doing
"And it's all the verbs that make tweetclouds so interesting....I know we're all supposed to be thinking about social objects, but social doing seems to be potentially potent too."
russelldavies  twitter  socialobjects  socialdoing  experince  sharing  ambientintimacy  behavior  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  actions  verbs 
may 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: dying like coal, not like dinosaurs
"Extracting attention using advertising agencies isn't suddenly impossible, just gradually becoming uneconomic in West. This is predictable & it's possible to prepare for it - through retraining and re-skilling."

[goes well with: ]
advertising  attention  russelldavies  trends  future  retraining  reskilling  learning  adaptation  lifelonglearning 
may 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: pre-experience design
"I'm convinced that some sort of Experience Design will become the master discipline for businesses that want to be good at selling stuff. It would be a shame if that didn't happen, if they got stuck in the same corporate process silos as everyone else."

[goes well with: ]
experience  russelldavies  ads  advertising  unproduct  thinking  planning  iphone  business  marketing  vw  design  experiencedesign  gamechanging 
may 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: stealth fun
"There must have been many ways of doing this, but they went for the way that allows them to make a little joke/movie reference. It doesn't impair the efficacy at all but it hides a little bit of fun for those that notice."
dopplr  play  transparency  transportation  sustainability  emissions  carbon  russelldavies  pmog  arg 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Interesting 2007
"Interesting2007 was a conference that happened on the 15th June at the Conway Hall, London. This site isn't so much an archive of the event as a collation of the traces and remains it's left scattered over the internet."
conferences  2007  russelldavies  talks  video  ideas 
april 2008 by robertogreco
russell davies: sums it all up really
"The secret to happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and personas that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile" (Bertrand Russell)
happiness  human  generalists  bertrandrussell  russelldavies  life  quotes 
march 2008 by robertogreco
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