What Do You Value?

What about the t-shirt itself? Surely we can at least agree on that, you plead. Absolutely. A t-shirt is a t-shirt is a t-shirt… except when it’s not. A t-shirt is not just a t-shirt when you care about, say, how long it will last or whether it boasts your favorite sports team’s logo or your rival’s, or, in fact, whether it has a genuine copy of your team’s logo as opposed to a shoddy ripoff. You might care where and how the shirt was made. In America? By people being fairly compensated and well-treated? It might matter a lot to you if the t-shirt profits are going to a mega-corporation or a mom-and-pop shop. All of these attributes—and many more—are integral parts of what it is exactly that you are purchasing.

—Nathan Peretic, Better Than Cheap

Great points throughout Nathan’s post. I especially like, “there is no cheaper version of the same thing.” Amen.

What Do You Value?

Shake Your Money Maker

Interesting new approach to harnessing the wind:

Farms dotted with the gigantic spinning blades of wind turbines have become a standard sight on long-distance road trips, but what if there was another way to capture energy from the wind? A startup out of Spain is working on that very idea. The company’s called Vortex Bladeless, and its turbines look like stalks of asparagus poking out of the ground.

Instead of using the wind to rotate a blade, the company’s pillars shake back and forth from the vortices created by the movement of air around the structure. Engineers look to avoid these forces when designing buildings and other structures, but the Vortex turbine takes advantage of this phenomenon to oscillate in the wind. Typically, a structure can only be optimized to oscillate at the specific frequencies caused by a certain wind speed, but Vortex says it is using magnets to adjust the turbine on the fly to get the most from whatever the wind speeds happen to be. Once the structure starts vibrating, an alternator in the base of the device then converts the mechanical movement into electricity.

The solution to the problem lies within the problem itself.

Shake Your Money Maker

Maine

Centered type. Likely set in Futura Bold. A logo with two long forms crossing each other like an “X”, usually with four distinct icons in each of the four quadrants. An emphasis on authencity and materials in the rich, photographic backdrop of the website.

We’ve all seen this vernacular in graphic design over the last 5 years. It’s become very popular, even when the characteristics described above don’t match the product or service being pimped on the website.

This doesn’t mean this approach is wrong or contradicts the product or service, it’s just a popular trend.

Take the website for Maine Quarterly.

It’s a gorgeous and well-built website describing and showing different facets of Maine. If there’s any website (or US state) that has a good reason to adopt an identity comprised of old type, wood, iron, forests and hand tools it’s Maine.

Nice work.

Maine

“I just need a few million more, man…”

Despite a $20 million Kickstarter campaign, Pebble is in trouble?

The company, which recently raised $20 million in a wildly successful Kickstarter, currently has 150 employees and is still hiring. Even with the crowdfunding infusion – which amounts to about $18 million after fees – the company is shopping for VC money in order to maintain growth and turned to a bank loan “in order to stay afloat.”

These start-ups that need continual injections of money sound more like junkies than legitimate companies.

“I promise man, this is the last time I’m going to ask you for money… I’m cool, I’m cool. Vegas cleaned me out, but I’m a new man now.”

“I just need a few million more, man…”

“Buy” buttons on mobile ads

Now, Google is set to launch perhaps its most critical commerce-related experiment ever: “Buy” buttons on mobile ads, according to multiple sources, which will turn Google into a cross between a search engine and Amazon. (The Wall Street Journal first reported the move.) It’s the latest attempt by Google to remake its search business for a world increasingly spent on mobile devices and dominated by apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Amazon — none of which Google owns.

—Jason Del Rey, Re/code

The always-hungry Google tries to consume more of the Internet.

“Buy” buttons on mobile ads

Oh Es Ex

Jason Snell thinks it’s time to retire OS X:

They’re going to collide eventually. iOS is on track for version 9 this year, and if Apple continues incrementing OS X versions, we’ll be heading for 10.11. And, again barring any change in philosophy, in the summer of 2016 we’ll be talking about iOS 10 and OS X and things will get weird.

But this is an era where Apple appears to be amenable to change on many fronts. Tacking the lowercase letter i on the front of product names appears to be a thing of the past—hello, Apple Watch. (And while it would be bold for Apple to change the name of iOS to Apple OS, I can’t see it—it’s powering the iPhone and iPad, and those names aren’t changing anytime soon.)

So let me make a proposal. As long as Apple is showing a willingness to change, let’s get off 10 and take this one to eleven.

Makes sense to me.

via 512 Pixels

Oh Es Ex

Must Be Nice

At Re/Code, Arik Hesseldahl explains how venture capitalists cover their asses and cash:

It turns out that for companies of a certain size, it’s not that hard to get to unicorn status, provided they’re willing to give their investors a lot of assurances that essentially cover their potential losses. The one thing common to every one of these funding deals, the firm says, is that in every case — all 37 of them — investors demanded a “liquidation preference.”

The phrase refers to language often found in an investment contract — and typical to most VC investments — that gives certain investors the right to get paid first ahead of other parties — such as founders or management — in the event the company is sold. If the company sells for a price that is lower than the valuation the investor paid, that investor is the first one in line to receive the proceeds of the sale until they’re made whole. And if the company sells for a higher price, they’re first in line to reap a share of the profit.

What that ultimately means is the investors are taking on very little risk when investing in unicorns, because they stand almost no risk of losing their money if the company goes south.

It’s a win-win world for VC firms.

Must Be Nice