Archive for the ‘general’ Category


March 10th, 2010

A thought I had a rough idea of some time ago, but the usual suspect pinpointed it better than I could have done it. That’s why he’s a master and I’m a novice. Thanks Seth!


March 9th, 2010

Hugh drew a lovely one.

The box

February 13th, 2010

We’re reading about it in every other job ad, the box. The very one they want you to think outside of. Which is quite a strange thing, because it turns out that if your superior’s box contains the expectation that your idea has to be inside their box, there’s hardly any point to start thinking at all. Which leads to the conclusion that if this kind of job is what you want to do, and you really want to come up with something you’re not having to make a compromise with, you better start doing it on your own.

Doing what we do, today

February 5th, 2010

Hugh came up with some good thoughts on blogging.

Slow down

February 2nd, 2010

Gavin points us to this great post.

Get more options

January 27th, 2010

Derek has some great advice when you feel stuck with your choice.

Power, who to?

January 26th, 2010

New people moving in at the neighbors’ house, which has about 10 flats. As far as I know, there are no pets allowed, which didn’t stop some people from smuggling in one or another. Now come the new neighbors, politely asking for permission to have two cats in their flat, because the cooperative owning the house told them they were ok with it as long as the residents are.

To me this is pretty cool, because this is one of the rare cases when the people who will be affected by a decision are also the ones to decide. You don’t get that very often. But what happened was that they told the new neighbors that they did not feel like they were the ones to decide, but the house owners — the very same people they blame for making stupid decisions without ever asking and so forth.

It’s the same old story: With power comes responsibility. When you’re in charge, you’re in charge 100 per cent. This is the part most people fear, because they’re still clinging to the notion that a decision made is to last forever. But it only lasts until someone raises a hand to say “I disagree”, and their idea catches on. Also worth noting: If the power that has been given to you is taken away, you haven’t lost anything. (Tell your Congress Member.)

No Spiel

January 21st, 2010

A new series of billboard ads has been placed throughout the city, on buses, pillars, anywhere, same old story. Here’s the first point: How much sense does it make to print advertise for a radio station? Besides, they don’t even mention a frequency, so even if there were unsuspecting, yet easily to be influenced car drivers…

But even worse is that the transition from catching attention to arousing interest fails poorly because of a language mashup that’s just plain stupid. What’s more, you have to read the full ad to understand it. Makes you wonder that anyone believes someone passing by would stop and read. The purpose of a billboard is to say “Wanted” or “Buy this!”, and if you want it to tell a story, use one compelling image — there’s no room and no time to give a long spiel about it.

Shift it!

January 18th, 2010

Maybe our perspective needs a little shift. Well, a little reverse flip.

Think about it this way:
All solutions are right. We just have the wrong problems.

Tool Fashion

December 23rd, 2009

Figuring that I need some kitchen tools because I had dumped my old ones when moving out of the last place some months ago, I went to the supermarket and had a look, because they had some on offer.

It turns out that you have two options when selling, even with simple items like kitchen knives:
a. Sell it so that everybody understands, like “stainless steel, manufactured locally”. No questions asked. Easy as pie.
b. Emphasize the non-obvious benefits (which they did): “extra-sharp conically polished blade”. Now I’m confused, starting to wonder what the exact advantage of this feature might be. No explanation. Instead, I’m not willing to buy it anymore.

Using fuzzy facts does not give you an advantage. Nobody is impressed by things they don’t understand (unless everybody else is, and you profit from a mass hysteria). Here’s the point: if the fact doesn’t have a story, don’t mention it. I don’t care if the handle is ergonomically shaped, I expect it to be. I don’t care if it’s been designed by someone who I’m not sure of to have an expertise on kitchen knives (this can be an upside, once you have the right story). I don’t care what shape the blade has unless there is a reason, preferably one of (no pun intended!) leading edge scientific research for this.

Tools are rarely subject to fashion, but utility, durability, and warranty (hint: “lifetime” is a good start).
The risk of overselling is always higher the lower the perceived value of your item is.