Values are about taking chances — if it were an obvious choice, you wouldn’t need a value to guide you on how to make it. Value choices are rarely about right vs. wrong, they’re more often about one right vs. another.
To clarify our approach and our values, we (the Bloomberg Beta team) wrote up…
A thoughtful and radically-refreshing take on the importance of transparency in driving innovation forward.
A very insightful read on the UI paradigm of cards. The author, Paul Adams, was the original creator of the “Circles” concept for Google+ and later went on to do interesting work at Facebook as well, and this is another interesting analysis of a new usability trend in application design.
I find the concept of a flat organization really intriguing. I still am not sure how this would work in publishing-focused world like the one I currently live in, but I do think this is a great framework for a product-focused startup.
Additionally, I strongly agree with the focus on transparency, engaging with employees on a personal level, and democratizing problem-solving while removing committee-based consensus-building.
I’m always wary of an acquisition where the new parent insists that they’re going to let the acquired company remain separate and autonomous. It seems to indicate that the purchase was a defensive maneuver.
While certainly an understandable position to be in, I do wonder the long-term strategy for integrating Tumblr into Yahoo!. There are certainly opportunities around native advertising and providing reach for the network and a preferred means of content creation. However, I hope this ends better than the Flickr story.
Honestly, the last time Yahoo! bought a social platform for self expression it was Geocities, and we all know how that ended…
From a discovery standpoint, Pandora is built upon the concept of reinforcing existing taste and presenting a variation on a theme. In practice, this means that a listener is exposed to music they’ll like, but not necessarily new music. Pandora could add a means by which it scans a users music library to determine existing artists already in their collection. Then, truly “new” discovery could occur, and a listener could stumble across new bands and purchase new music.
Additionally, Pandora is inherently a passive music experience, and so there is little engagement with the product outside of the minimal amount of interaction necessary when listening to a station. While they’ve dabbled with social elements through the website, it would be interesting for them to focus on other threads of music discovery. For example, Bandsintown lets me link my taste profile to Pandora to help me explore local concerts. I think Pandora should more deeply explore ways to bridge offline and online music experiences.
Finally, Pandora should explore the ways in which they could act as an intermediary platform to connect labels and artists with listeners. For example, Pandora is sitting on a trove of valuable analytics that get generated as a byproduct of user interaction. This data could be immensely valuable if packaged correctly, and the music industry would be willing to pay for access to a service that would help them better understand their consumers. Similarly, there has been a great deal of activity in the direct-to-consumer music marketing space, and Pandora could also explore how they could offer better services in this area to allow a band to better engage with their fans.
I just backed the GameStick, a new Kickstarter project to create an Android-based console out of a device that can be housed in the controller (which works over Bluetooth) and is perfect for portable gaming.
While I’m a big fan and backer of OUYA, I think that it is important to…
Here a post I wrote on my other blog about why I’m supporting the new GameStick console on Kickstarter.
Short version: I’ve left the BBC and am now working for Buzzmedia where I’m leading up product development for SPIN Magazine. If you want the long version dotted with personal anecdotes and rambling thoughts and theories, read on.
Long version: Growing up, I had a wall in my bedroom where I mounted all of the ticket stubs from every show I ever went to. It was a sun-faded story of the development of my music taste, and when my parents moved out of that house, we had the wall removed to save that bit of personal history.
Music is something that is both deeply personal and highly exhibitionist. I remember the joy of making mixtapes each summer before I went away to camp, working to craft the perfect expressions of my individual taste to share with and show off to my friends. However, I also remember the first time I was angry to find out that someone I knew was into a hidden gem of a band that I liked, because I felt that they had violated my sense of identity. This is the complex duality of music: it is both the secret embrace we listen to when hidden in our rooms and the self-empowered declaration of identity we blare from our cars.
I was lucky enough to grow up during a time when music was irreversably transformed. My own museum of audio technology is littered with cassettes (including the Pocket Rocker), CD’s, vinyl, minidiscs, and a bevy of MP3 players. I remember finding music on Hotline, FTP’s, Napster, and the barrage of P2P services that bursted during my college years.
Now, as someone who has found myself working in technology, I’m always looking for ways to blend my passions with my occupations. Most recently it brought me to the BBC, where I was lucky enough to work with an amazing team of people building games for shows I love, properties like Doctor Who and Top Gear. However, an opportunity recently came up that I couldn’t pass over.
I’ve joined Buzzmedia to handle product development for the recently-acquired SPIN Magazine, and it is a real honor to work with a brand I’ve admired for a long time. While the music industry is certainly experiencing an unprecedented amount of volatility, the opportunity to work with such a storied publication and be a part of the process of reshaping the discussion, discovery, and consumption of music was something I couldn’t let pass me by.
So yet again, here I am writing another entry explaining my next career move. I certainly have made a lot of job switches over the past six years, and I think I’ve found an industry that is moving as fast as I like to.
Good post comparing implicit versus explicit sharing. I’d argue that this in combination with the shift from sharing personally-created content to discovered content has led to my increasing disinterest in Facebook.
I just got back from a trip to NYC, and while I was there I caught up with some friends in the startup scene. It certainly seems to be the most exciting city to do what I do, more than both LA and SF. I have always been turned off by the myopia of SF and have real concerns that LA has a dearth of engineering talent.
It seems that Apple snuck a nice feature for audiophiles into the latest version of iTunes. Previous versions allowed listeners with lossless libraries (like myself) to transcode their libraries to 128kbps AAC files so they would consume less space and battery life when syncing with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
Now, with iTunes 10.6, users now have a variety of bitrates to choose from when transcoding for their mobile listening. iTunes lets you select between 128, 192, and 256. I imagine this has to do with the growing storage capacities of their mobile devices, but hopefully also signals that maybe Apple will release more features for audiophiles, like lossless downloads from the iTunes store.
With the recent release of the beta of the “Messages” app that will be shipping with OS X Mountain Lion, we’re one step closer to unified messaging bliss. However, there is a simple trick to getting everything working across devices. The key is to make your “Caller ID” the same everywhere you use iMessage. With the Mac app, change your setting in the specified place from the “Preferences” menu. For iOS, you can find it in: Settings -> Messages -> Receive At -> Caller ID. I’d recommend setting it to your primary email address (it doesn’t need to be your Apple ID).
Once this is done, no matter which compatible device you’re messaging from, it will show up to people as the same Caller ID. So as long as you register the Caller ID email address on each device, your iMessages will seemless go to every device in your aresenal.
The MMO I have been working on for over the past year at the BBC finally launches into open preview today. The game is called, "Doctor Who: Worlds in Time" and is a flash-based MMO developed by Three Rings. The game is free-to-play, so you can dive in to start saving the universe without spending a penny.
It is amazing to finally have this out in the open so please give it a try, let me know what you think, and have some time-traveling fun!
For the second 99 Coins we’ve been on the road at MineCon, the Minecraft convention in Vegas. Catch up with the creators of Retro City Rampage, Octodad and Frozen Synapse who discuss their own games, the benefits of an active, supporting community and why Minecraft marks an important milestone for indies everywhere.
You can subscribe and download at the link above, or stream it through the player below.
New Version of the Yahoo! WebPlayer WordPress Plugin
The Yahoo! team recently released a new version with a slew of new features, so I dusted off my code and upgraded my plugin. You can download the plugin and get more info here.
The big news today is that ALAC is now open source. “Apple Lossless Audio Codec sources are available under the Apache license,” according to Mac OS Forge, and the project “contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder.”
“We wanted to focus our effort on making people feel more amazing, like they’re super-powered. You put on your suit of techno-magical armor and now you can fly and shoot the bad guys. We want our products to make them more empowered.”—This was said by Matias Duarte, the head of user experience for Google’s Android about the upcoming “Ice Cream Sandwich” build. I was lucky enough to work with Matias back at Helio. This article is a must-read, and this is my kind of product design metaphor. His involvement with Android is enough to make me consider ditching my iPhone. I am really curious to see where each OS is a year from now. I think it may be a very different mobile landscape.
Exciting news today. My Lego design blog, brickd.com, is now a featured site on the excellent Pulse app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The site can be found in the “Fun” category, and many thanks to the folks at Alphonso Labs for helping make this happen. Please check out the app, add Brickd, and tell your friends!
I’m happy to announce that I’m now a Senior Product Manager on the Digital Entertainment and Games team for the BBC Worldwide. While the title may be a mouthful, in essence my job is to help develop engaging games and social experiences for the stable of BBC brands and content. Leaving Gravity was not an easy decision, but as the company took the necessary steps to position itself for success I found myself being pulled in a different direction. They are building a fantastic platform and have a talented team in place, and I am confident that they can succeed as they execute on the vision the leadership has in place.
For me, nothing makes me happier than creating innovative products that people love to use. With shows like Top Gear and Doctor Who, properties like Lonely Planet, and the top-notch news and information that the company is known for, it was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. While I can’t yet say much about what exactly I’m working on, I’m beyond exited about the role. As a fan of their beloved brands and their technological leadership in the digital space, I promise that I’ll be up to some really interesting things.
So stay tuned for some exciting announcements. Now I’ve got to bunker down, learn to drive on the other side of the road, and get back to work.