"AirBnb baked design in from day one — taking the time to design the entire user experience from the maps to the review forms. Warby Parker? Same thing. CEO and co-founder Dave Gilboa thoughtfully discussed that they spent a year and a half designing a beautiful site, thick card stock printed elements in their packaging, and a really polished product. And Medium? They’re competing for designers because, as Williams stated, “they’re no longer a nice-to-have."
—On-the-nose article about the increasing role of design in start ups.
Here’s a lis of the long reads I’m enjoying this week:
- The Money Shot - Very interesting and in-depth profile of Instagram’s meteoric rise.
- “Second Screen” Industry In Prime-Time - I’ve been fascinated by the ways in which the so-called “second screen” is both replacing and augmenting the entertainment experience. This article has numbers to back it up.
- The grand ambitions of Google Ventures - The interactions between VCs and startups are always interesting - and even more so when a big company like Google gets in the mix.
- From Beethoven To Woody Allen—The Daily Rituals Of The World’s Most Creative People And What You Can Learn From Them - Inspiring (and humbling).
- Haruki Murakami and the Art of Japanese Translations - A discussion of one of my favorite authors and translations both lingual and cultural. Great read.
"Startups ask almost everything of you. They are entirely consuming. If you don’t deeply care about and deeply believe in the thing that you’re trying to do, the things, the problem that you’re trying to solve, I don’t know how you can sustain the pain and the energy requirements."
—Gentry Underwood and Scott Cannon, founders of Mailbox. Via Fast Company.
Sonder (via Reddit)
Every year I become increasingly reliant on digital tools for my normal day-to-day productivity. My overall organization system evolves rapidly as new tools are launched. At the moment, this is my killer toolkit for ultimate efficacy. I’m looking forward to continue to refine this in 2013!
- Todo - I can’t live without this todo list. It tells me what to do and when to do it, and helps me remember periodic tasks (watering the terrarium every 2 weeks, getting a haircut every 6 weeks, etc.). It’s telling me to write this blog post right now.
- Pomodoro - This was a new discovery for me. I’ve started following the pomodoro method, which is 25 minutes of focused work followed by a 5 minute break. For Christmas my parents gave me an actual hourglass, which I like to use instead of the digital version. Frequently, I find myself so focused that I can work beyond the 25 minute interval.
- Pocket - Another new discovery. During the week I don’t have time for long reads, so I add them to Pocket. Every Sunday I have a recurring Todo to read all my Pocket items. This ensures that I read all the long reads on a weekly basis, and I find it incredibly relaxing to sit on the couch on Sunday night and reading interesting content on my iPad.
- Evernote - I’ve been using Evernote for years, but the way I use it has evolved. I now have scrapbooks for myself and business, as well as notebooks for all the projects I work on. I’m not a huge fan of the redesign, but overall it’s a fantastic app.
- HealthMonth - I’ve done a lot of research on the best life tracking software/app. Most of them are severely limited - Lift, which has gotten tons of press due to its relationship to Twitter, only allows binary tracking - yes or no. HealthMonth is completely flexible, and incorporates really fun gameplay elements to make it easy to stick to. Hands down it’s the best app for building habits.
- DayOne - One of my resolutions in HealthMonth is to keep a journal. DayOne has great security and is incredibly easy and flexible to use. It has a clean design and is easy to use.
It’s getting to the point where I have trouble imagining a world without these tools. They help me keep my head on straight in the face of incredible amounts of information. They are my external, searchable, organized, memorized brain - so much more useful than just my head and a pen and paper.
"Apparently Zaha Hadid is working on a new building in China and it’s being pirated … AS SHE’S BUILDING THE ORIGINAL. This sounds like a weird William Gibson future world:
“But the appeal of the Prtizker Prize winner’s experimental architecture, especially since the unveiling of her glowing, crystalline Guangzhou Opera House two years ago, has expanded so explosively that a contingent of pirate architects and construction teams in southern China is now building a carbon copy of one of Hadid’s Beijing projects.
What’s worse, Hadid said in an interview, she is now being forced to race these pirates to complete her original project first."
"The spread of computers and the Internet will put jobs in two categories,” Andreessen says. “People who tell computers what to do, and people who are told by computers what to do."