inessential.com: Build 2014

Great piece from Brent Simmons on the enthusiasm at Mircosoft at the Build conference and in particular around Azure.

But where the new CEO makes a difference is that leadership has caught up to where Microsoft employees already were. They can be honest, with themselves and others, about the company’s role in the world. They can stop wasting time trying to recapture those days of monopolistic dominance and instead concentrate on building great things for the future, for the many-platforms future.

Making lemonade from lemons is a far better plan than trying to return to the glory days which have moved on.

Consider the opportunity: many billions of smartphones and tablets and many apps on each device. Those apps need syncing and web services.

(via Inessentials)

Source: http://inessential.com/2014/04/08/build_20...

Macfilos interviewed by Microsoft

If you don't follow Macfilos web site you should.  Michael and I became friends a couple of years ago when I was looking for advice on purchasing an 11" MBA.  Michael was also one of the people I interviewed for the Running on Air series.  

Michael writes on a wide range of topics including technology, watches and photography.  In 2011 Michael wrote a piece called Pre-Tech Office: Office work in the historic 1960's that was really great.  Microsoft recently create a page called A Brief History of your Office and interviewed him about the technology in the offices and what was common place.  Michael has two short video interviews of what the office technology was in like in the 50's and the 70's. Both are really great to watch (very short), please check then out.

Everyday items made better

So many things today we take for granted, as a result I don't think we look at ways to make them better.  Take the example below of the see through highlighter.  One of the problems I always had in school with highlighting was I did not always get the correct area.  Highlighting multiple lines when I wanted one was a common occurrence especially if I was tired.

Check out Mitsubishi subsidiary Uni’s Promark View highlighter, which pushes the tip out to the end of a clear piece of plastic, so you can see precisely where you’re highlighting.
— Core77 article: Japanese Over-Design

While the pen looks exceptionally large.  I love the idea and I love how something as common as a highlighter still has the ability to be re-imagined.

Source: http://www.core77.com/blog/object_culture/...

Font Men

I saw this on Apartment Therapy last week and have been meaning to post it for others to see..  It is a brief 6 minute file about  Hoefler & Frere-Jones type foundry.  This company has created some of the best known and successful fonts.  

This is a little behind the scenes about why they create fonts and some of the process on how it starts.  Unfortunately there is a legal battle between the two now so what will happen with the foundry remains to be seen.

If you are a type nerd though it is worth your time.

Font Men

Lucky Me | Thomas Borowski

Thomas Borowski creator of the Groovboard and host of Think Make Sell podcast (and my co-host on The Makers Journal) was in a terrible accident last week as a result of a collision with a deer. Fortunately he is ok.  One of the things that I found fascinating was Tom's initial thoughts while waiting for help to arrive.

As we were waiting for the police to arrive, some random thoughts started going through my mind:

* Thank goodness my dog wasn’t in the car (I had just dropped him off at the dog sitter).
* The car’s probably totaled.
* I hope my glasses are OK.
* I hope my MacBook is OK (yeah, I know).
— http://thomasborowski.de/2014/02/lucky-me/

I was reviewing the list, noticing that Tom's well being was not initially mentioned, I realized that as long as my pet or loved ones were not in the car this would have been my exact thought process as well.  I wonder if other people would also share a similar list or does this has to do with who we are as people and our particular personality?

What business are you preparing for?

My parents live in Florida half a year.  After having spent most of their lives in New England there were large changes in expectations of service that came from the move.

One Monday they returned home from lunch out only to learn their cable was out ( all services phone, TV and internet) .  A cell phone call to the local provider resulted having to set an appointment with a technician.  The soonest appointment was Saturday between 9:00am and 12:00 pm (You know that service window that generally is a joke).  While not thrilled with the duration of the outage they took the appointment. 

  • Fail #1: 6 days for an outage that requires a technician at the house is a LONG time.  This was not an new installation. You would imagine that there is some inherent expectation of quicker repair for an existing service. 

Arrangements were made to hang around the house.  The service window came and went.  A call back into the cable company to check the status of the appointment only to learn that they were busy and would not make it out until early next week.

  • Fail #2: No call, no notification that the technician would be late or not able to make it at all. No call to reschedule (all the effort was on the customer).

The following week continued with the same style of service.  Appointments set and then blown off. Each time my folks were getting more and more aggravated.  

  • Fail #3: Letting a customer down once is one thing but 3-4 times really makes it look like you just don’t care at all. 

When the technician was able to make it to the house - some 10 days later, he learned that when installing the neighbors cable a technician had cut my parents.  He was there to swap connectors or cable boxes and was not equipped to handle this type of problem. He would have to call into the office to try and get someone out there as “soon as he could”.  Personally I think I would have had fire coming from my nose as I slowly began to self combust from anger right in front of him.

The technical was sympathetic to the duration of situation and was able to get someone out there immediately. 

  • Fail #4: It should have not taken a person onsite to have to call in a favor to get the process resolved.  I am convinced had that had he left and passed the ball to someone else on the team my parents would still be without service today.

A few weeks after the great cable cut was over the bill arrived.  It was the normal amount.  No credit for the hassle, no prorating the monthly service fee (since they only got 1/2 a month of service) no bonus stations for a month.  My father called to inquire about the bill only to get a response from the customer service representative “ Not much you can do about this - we are the only service provider in the area”.

  • Fail #5:  Failing to except responsibility for the initial problem. No apology, no offer of credit for the time without the service.  Customer service representatives that are willing to brag about the monopoly of their service. 

Things happen with businesses all the time. Generally people will be understanding of that of you keep them in mind.  But after a series of failures like this, when a new provider comes to the area what do you think will happen?

What business are you preparing for? Todays business or for the future of your business?

Interesting this week

This is all kinds or crazy!

I can't tell you why but I love Airstream trailers. I have never been in one but I think about getting one and converting it to an office all the time.

Being inspired by punk music growing up some of these photo are so very fitting.

I love this.

  • Kickstarter project. There have been time when I wanted to take an existing cool piece of wood and turn it into a table or desk. These would be perfect. Clearly they have blown away their funding goal.

The Floyd Leg — Coffee Tables -- Better Living Through Design (via Better Living through Design)

Seasme seeds, black pepper, almonds, Cashews Saffron, capers were all kind of a surprise to me.

This looks like it is a cool minimal wallet. But still love my Bellroy.

Interesting this week

Some things that caught my interest this week.  Enjoy.

The E-M10 is the next version of the OM-D series camera.  I have been seriously considering the two year old OM-D5 then I saw this review new announcement.  This might change things for me.

A two minute movie from Ira Glass through type that is inspiring

I have often thought about this.  You can tip for a meal on your credit card, why isn't there a way to do it for other purchases.

As a huge design fan and going through many teacher and student critiques in college, having Dieter Ram show up might have given me a heart attack.

I have always had a bizarre interest in neon lights.  This is a cool way to create your own.

I have on occasion found a cool photo that I would have liked to have had as a background. This looks like it will work. In the App store for $1.99

A nice piece by my friend at MacFilos

From one the the greatest Marketers out there. How to dance with fear.