Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

You’ve seen this before, or at least a knockoff of it. It’s one of my favorite films by a filmmaker who I’ve called my “patron saint.” As a piece of science communication, it’s timeless and beautiful and informative and basically perfect. But I didn’t really get it until I had a passing conversation with Robert […]

Money Stories


Readability can’t do anything right, apparently. First they were tarred as “scumbags” for their subscriber payment model (which, originally, paywalled certain premium features and set aside 70% of the fees for content creators to claim at will). Now they’ve discontinued that model, and they’re taking punches again (for putting a deadline on claims for the […]

There’s an essay getting some Twitter traction today from NPR’s 13.7 science blog entitled “Science: It’s really, really hard, and that’s something to celebrate.” I just read another essay by a mathematician seemingly making the same point about his area of expertise. They both annoyed the bejeezus out of me, because they both seemed to be […]

I openly idolize Charles and Ray Eames’s filmmaking, especially the elegant, playfully “high concept” explainers they made like Powers of Ten. I also idolize the technically innovative, brimming-with-process-value “brand journalism” that Google produces in its promotional videos. When I saw this spot, I didn’t just love it. I lusted it: It’s the kind of filmmaking […]

I just published a post on Fast Company’s Co.Design about usability in programming language design, based on some interesting research from Southern Illinois University. The comments on that post will no doubt get heated, but there is some additional material I wanted to put out there which I couldn’t fit into that post. I interviewed […]

Dead End


How do you kill a concept? Common wisdom is that you can’t. Just ask Bruce Wayne. Except we just did. Just ask Osama bin Laden. Or rather, ask the Obama administration, who skillfully and quite brilliantly designed a way to not just capture an enemy of the state, but effectively neutralize the symbol he embodied. […]

I was recently invited by the folks at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple Restoration Foundation to give a talk as part of their Break the Box series, which celebrates “creative nonconformity.” It was a real honor. I’ve written before about a design pattern in media/culture that I informally call “process value”, and this talk was […]

I cross-posted this on Freelancer Hacks, but I don’t think anyone’s reading that anymore, and I want to get this down, even if it’s only for myself. The most important lesson I learned about successful, productive freelancing in 2010 was this: everything is generative. In plain English, that means this: Doing trumps planning. There’s no […]

I’ve come to believe that thinking too much about where your own creative impulses come from, whose shoulders they stand on — ie, who your “influences” are — is detrimental to actually acting on those creative impulses. Who the hell cares where your ideas come from, as long as you do stuff with them. Let […]

I finally saw The Social Network this past weekend. Believe the hype: it is a truly thrilling piece of popular art, and an amber-encased chunk of Aughts zeitgeist to boot. But not because of what it says about Facebook, or us — because of what it says about us when we talk about Facebook. Which […]