“polishing them until they work”

Seth Godin on software (and everything else in life):

The reason it’s so difficult to test and improve is that it requires you to acknowledge that your original plan wasn’t perfect. And to have the humility and care to go ahead and fix it.

Making shit work is the easy part.

Making sure it doesn’t break is the hard part.

Leafs by Snoop

Pentagram’s Emily Oberman brands Snoop Dogg’s new line of weed products:

Pentagram partner Emily Oberman has crafted the identity for Snoop Dogg’s new line of cannabis-based products called Leafs by Snoop. Adopting a “laid-back California cool” aesthetic for the rapper and ganja lover’s range, a leaf motif features throughout. A mix of pastel gold colours and imagery like palm trees, fish, birds and cloudy skies completes the sunny identity.

You know you’re mainstream when Pentagram does your product branding for you.

I love the deliberately incorrect spelling of the product.


Branding, Product


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Some Fresh Microsoft Schadenfreude to Start 2016

Paul Thurrott on the problems with Microsoft’s Surface tablets:

Microsoft is having its iPhone 4 “Antennagate” moment, thanks to rampant reliability issues with its Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices. But rather than publicly face the problems head-on, the software giant has retreated behind a veil of silence. This is a huge mistake, and it is undermining the credibility and viability of its hardware offerings.

I’ve offered this advice privately, to no avail. Allow me to now make it publicly.

Microsoft, you’re f@#$ing up. Big time.

If Microsoft wants to play with the big boys and big girls in the hardware game, it’s gotta man up and address these problems head-on.



intolerance is prejudice, don’t let fear win

I just saw Ty Segall and the Muggers Monday night at The Filmore here in San Francisco. Great show.

And Ty’s new album, Emotional Mugger is also great.

Here’s a piece from Pitchfork’s review:

When Segall rolled out the album by mailing VHS copies to writers, he shared a clinical definition of “emotional mugging,” explaining, “The over-communication relayed in cell based technology and content driven media further detaches passengers of our modern society from deep emotional understanding.” Put more simply: The Internet makes everything and anything immediately available, and that’s probably fucking up how people interact and have their desires addressed. It’s a relevant subject without question—one he addresses on the album with varying degrees of success. Maybe its diciest moments can be chalked up to the album’s inherent feeling of uneasiness, but Emotional Mugger still feels transitional—either the moment before he tucks in and gets way weirder or another stepping stone before he switches gears all over again.

Ty is weird and awesome and gritty.



Link Drop – 21 Jan



Windows 10

Back in December, Peter Bright reviewed Windows 10:

App availability, more so than any functional limitation, has been the biggest sticking point for Windows Phone. Too many apps that too many people find too important to live without haven’t been available; even when they are available, many apps remain limited in functionality and maintenance when compared to their iOS and Android siblings.

UWAs are Microsoft’s best shot at turning this situation around by greatly expanding the audience for any app built for the UWP. Still, the company has a tremendous amount of work to do if it truly wants to fill the app gap, and it’s not immediately obvious that developers will help it do so.

First, app developers have to care about desktop users. Plenty of app-based services lack not only a desktop app but even a fully fledged website because the app developers simply don’t care. Consider Uber; although it has an online presence for various aspects of account management, the car booking capability is entirely app-based. Without an app, you simply can’t do it.

If you threatened to either take away someone’s phone or their desktop computer, most people would pick the desktop. 

Mobile devices are where the majority of our computing experiences happen and this is the very place Microsoft has yet to establish itself as a legitimate contender. 

As Bright points out, I’m just not convinced anyone—including businesses and developers—gives a shit about The universality of Windows Apps except Microsoft. 


The future of Sketch

Geoff Teehan interviews Sketch founder Pieter Omvlee and asks him if he’s ever been tempted to take on outside investment:

No. I’ve never been tempted. We are self-sufficient and profitable. If I were to take on an investment it would mean handing over a sizable portion of the company to an outside investor who would understandably expect a large return on their investment, maybe via avenues I might not agree an in the broader best interest of Sketch. I want to keep growing the company in a way that I see fit, and I don’t want to have the added pressure from someone who might expect more from it than I may even myself. Plus, with that money, I’d probably be expected to grow at a rate that I might not agree is best in the longer term. Similarly, I don’t want to be forced to hire so many people that we’re not profitable, and then only to be forced to take on more funding. We would probably quickly be expected to go from 6 developers to 20 or 30 — and that’s something that I don’t think is wise at this point in time. So in short I don’t currently see the benefits of taking outside funding.

This is great if Sketch can maintain independence, but there’s also a lot to be gained by taking on outside investors. Money doesn’t solve all problems, but with the right leadership and processes in place, you have the potential to make a lot more progress, and make it more quickly.

As Goeff reminds us in his interview, Sketch is eating into Adobe’s lunch and now Adobe has released a Sketch competitor called Comet. Time will tell if Comet gets traction in the marketplace, but Adobe can put hundreds of developers on Comet to make Sketch go away.

To build world class design software with a current team of 6 developers (!) seems untenable, but I’d love to be proven wrong.




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Web Fonts of 2015

Typewolf gives us The Ten Most Popular Web Fonts of 2015:

I’m going to make the understatement of the century: geometric sans-serifs are popular at the moment. Out of the ten fonts on this list there was only one serif featured, with the rest being sans-serifs. Although some of the typefaces such as Aperçu and Avenir deviate slightly into humanist territories, pretty much all of these sans-serifs could be described as geometric.

That is quite a lot of geometric san serifs.




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Chris Ziegler at The Verge on the BMW M2:

There’s a lot to love. The M3, BMW’s legendary compact performance car, got bigger and bigger over the years, leaving room for a new model that captured the spirit of the original. The modern M3 and M4 — both more than 3,500 pounds — have strayed miles from the E30 M3 of the late ’80s, a revered model that tipped the scales at under 3,000.

But it’s not just that the M2 is the spiritual successor to one of the best cars BMW ever made. There are also the numbers: this car will sprint from 0-60 as quickly as a $100,000 M5, if BMW’s own specs are to be believed. (And BMW has a tendency to underrate, which suggests the M2 could have a 0-60 time under 4 seconds.) Power is provided courtesy of a turbocharged inline six good for 365 hp. And you can get it with an honest-to-goodness manual transmission, a rarity among modern performance cars.

Yes please.




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It’s important to remember valuations of companies are completely made-up numbers.

Foursquare Raises $45 Million, Cutting Its Valuation Nearly in Half:

When Dennis Crowley helped found Foursquare in 2009, he was ahead of the pack in creating a social app that used location technology. Now Foursquare may be at the front of another coming wave: tech start-ups that are raising money at lower valuations than before.

On Thursday, Foursquare said it had raised $45 million in a new round of venture funding, as it tries to bolster its location data-based advertising and developer businesses. The financing pegs Foursquare’s valuation at roughly half of the approximately $650 million that it was valued at in its last round in 2013, according to three people with knowledge of the deal’s terms, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

I’ve still never used Foursquare. I’m not saying I don’t see the value in the service, I’ve just never had any incentive to use it.

It’s good to see some of these companies (somewhat) come back down to earth with their valuations.

It’s important to remember valuations of companies are completely made-up numbers. Sure, they’re supposed to be grounded in user data and other metrics, but they’re still—at best—educated guesses. Guesses that can completely change when the competition changes.



Roger Wilco

Where the aviation term “Roger Wilco” came from:

In 1927 “Roger” was the word chosen to represent the letter “R,” which is, of course, the first letter in the word “received.” In other words, a pilot would receive instructions, and to indicate he had received them, he’d say “Roger.” Why didn’t he just say “received”? Well, during WWII, not everyone spoke English, but “R” — or “Roger” — became the internationally accepted way of acknowledging receipt of instructions. (Of course, in 1957 the word “Roger” was replaced with the word “Romeo” but by that time, “Roger” and “received” were synonymous.)

So what about “Wilco”? Its story is even simpler: it’s an abbreviation of “will comply.” So when pilots say “Roger Wilco,” what they mean is “I received your instructions, and I will follow them.”

The full NATO list: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.




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