By Michael Mulvey on April 18, 2014 10:06 AM
Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. This property is behind everything that has changed with time: evolution, culture, ideas, revolutions, political systems, technological innovation, cultural and economic success, corporate survival, good recipes (say, chicken soup or steak tartare with a drop of cognac), the rise of cities, cultures, legal systems, equatorial forests, bacterial resistance ... even our own existence as a species on this planet. And antifragility determines the boundary between what is living and organic (or complex), say, the human body, and what is inert, say, a physical object like the stapler on your desk.
As much as I have order in my life, with my various daily routines and habits, I think I'm fairly antifragile.
I studied print design in college, became a web designer and taught myself web development after college then moved into mobile/app design in 2008 (all the while returning to web & graphic design along the way).
I lived in New York City for 4 years, then Miami for 1 year, then back to NYC for 6 years, then Los Angeles for 1 year, and now San Francisco.
I takes a lot to throw me off-balance.
Actually no, they really do.
Behind their design platform is a design philosophy.
Do tell, Samsung. You've piqued my interest:
Samsung strives to create a better future with our users. Thogether, we can contribute to society by creating sustainable values and bring joy and meaning to our lives. This is the design to which Samsung aspires.
Where's the part of their design philosophy involving 132-page documents detailing how to copy the iPhone, pixel-by-pixel?
Or that new Gear smart watch with the horrendous software, how is that bringing joy to peoples' lives?
Don't take my word for it, just look for yourself.
I recently spoke to quite a few digital design shop owners, and the consensus is that the first quarter of 2014 sucked, and for some, criminally so. Shops depleted their cash reserves, struggled to meet payroll, extended their lines of credit, and yes, downsized.
Finally, there's this thought from another successful agency head: there is a massive amount of untapped work out there that is waiting for you. You don't have to change a thing with your business, you just have to find it. Again, this speaks to the fact that you need to spend money on marketing. The industry has many more talented players than it used to.
One correction to on this last quote: You DO have to change your business. You can't just throw money at marketing. You have to know how to market your company.
If you don't know about marketing, I suggest you start reading Seth Godin's books now.
As usual, the mutants will survive.
Thomas Frank drops a tremendous essay on the McMansion:
Inequality is the point of the McMansion, and the McMansion is also, to a certain degree, the point of inequality; it's the pot of pyrite at the end of the rainbow of shit that we have chosen as a nation to follow. As you enter its soaring narthex of an entrance, keep this in mind: Before you, in the skim-coated drywall greatroom and the monster granite kitchen with its multiplicity of faucets and its Viking stove--this is what it is all about. This is the reward of thirty-odd years of economic policy.
There's many great things about the United States.
McMansions are not one of them.
Horace Dediu shares my frustration in how most people have no idea what innovation means:
But there is another form of ignorance which seems to be universal: the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation. The way this is exhibited is in the misuse of the term and the inability to discern the difference between novelty, creation, invention and innovation. The result is a failure to understand the causes of success and failure in business and hence the conditions that lead to economic growth.
My contribution to solving this problem is to coin a word: I define innoveracy as the inability to understand creativity and the role it plays in society. Hopefully identifying individual innoveracy will draw attention to the problem enough to help solve it.
I addressed this issue back in 2009.
True examples of innovation are incredible but the amount and frequency this word is abused and misused has made me grow to hate it.
From the WSJ:
Twitter is having no trouble signing up users. But some new research provides an update on the size of an ongoing problem: getting people to tweet.
A report from Twopcharts, a website that monitors Twitter account activity, states that about 44% of the 974 million existing Twitter accounts have never sent a tweet.
I think Twitter is an extremely powerful platform, but I find there's a lot of noise on it—even when I follow smart, thoughtful people. Interesting links and thoughts are interspersed with trying-to-be-witty one-liners and jokes.
The other aspect I find annoying as fuck about Twitter is how mainstream media have taken it over (one of the more recent reasons I don't watch much television). The barrage of "follow us" and "use hashtag: #ilovecloroxbleach" really get on my nerves.
At Gizmodo, Brent Rose reviews the Samsung Gear Fit:
The software is unforgivably bad. Tragically bad. It feels as if the Gear Fit and the S Health teams barely spoke to each other at all. Which is especially bedeviling since Samsung made the conscious choice to sell a wearable product that only works with Samsung products. At least when Apple locks you into an ecosystem, things actually (mostly) work.
The Gear Fit's pedometer is inaccurate, the exercise app doesn't really integrate with S Health, and the sleep data doesn't go anywhere at all. If you're outside you need to turn the screen up to full brightness, but it will only stay in that mode for five minutes before reverting to medium brightness. Incredibly frustrating if you're going for a run that lasts more than five minutes. Touchscreen controls tend to be very unresponsive, too.
This is what happens when Samsung doesn't have Apple to copy from. They produce dog shit.
Nice work, Samsung.
A new experiment in startup funding could have widespread ramifications for the way venture capitalists place bets on young companies.
On Tuesday, crowdsourced fundraising site AngelList unveiled a new fund that has raised about $25 million from limited partners who traditionally invest in venture-capital funds. The fund, called Maiden Lane, will bet about $200,000 each on the site's top investors and on select startups picked by them.
...aaaaand Silicon Valley sticks its head up its own ass.