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2011

January ends today, which I believe means that the statute of limitations on posts reflecting on the past year ends as well. I felt it would be remiss for me to not at least highlight a few things that I spent my time on last year.

2011 was a big year. As the year started, I was currently working on an as-yet unannounced, top-secret project for Threadless, alongside Good Apples.

Full Circle

Different Garden, Same Wall

A TV from the 1990's says: Visit us online at AOL keyword douchecompany. A TV from the 2000's says: Visit us online at www.doucheco.com. A TV from the 2010's says: Visit us online at Facebook.com/doucheco

If the last couple decades of the internet have taught us anything about marketing and brand positioning online it’s this:

  1. It’s always easier to market to a walled garden.
  2. Most people are content to stay within those comfortable walls.

We’ve come full circle and I think we’re selling ourselves short.

Obama

…An Aside

Forget politics for a moment. That’s not what I’m curious about. Obama is one of our youngest and most forward-thinking presidents in recent history. After almost 4 years in office, I’d love to hear him debrief what he’s learned about government bureaucracy that he did not know going into his presidency, and what he would change if he could wave a magic wand. Now that would be an interesting conversation.

8-Track Tape on Kickstarter

A new project from The Autumn Film

If you were lucky enough to catch The Autumn Film a couple months ago at the Walnut Room, for one of their rare Denver shows, you would’ve heard a number of new songs that they’d been working on together. They’d shared demos of some of those songs with me on a few months prior to that show and I’d already fallen in love with a couple of them, but it was fun to see how much things had evolved.

Fast forward a little bit and this new collection of songs, their followup to The Ship and The Sea had a name: 8-Track Tape. (I even whipped up the little graphic you see on the Kickstarter widget to help them give it a visual presence.) A couple weeks ago, I happened to be over at Reid & Tifah’s house for dinner and got to listen through the most-recent rough mixes of each of the songs. It’s a solid and delightful collection and I couldn’t be more excited for them to finish it up and get it in people’s hands.

The band is self-funded—they’re truly independent—and turned to Kickstarter to help get the record out the door faster than they could have on their own.

Frank Chimero on The Changing Book

Last night I got the chance to hear Frank Chimero give a talk for AIGA Denver. I really enjoyed learning a little more about him, his thought process, and he had some good observations on what design is and what it isn’t. However, one of the things I appreciated the most from him came during the Q&A session after the talk.

Someone (inevitably) asked him about his book, the one he’s currently writing. I forget the actual question, but it prompted Frank to make some observations on how the value of a book is changing and also on the unique opportunities using Kickstarter to fund his book provides authors like himself. I’d had some similar thoughts bouncing around in my head, but I appreciated the way he connected the dots.

Why work doesn’t happen at work—part 2

Or: On Where I Work

“Where do you go when you really need to get something done?”

This post is related to Jason Fried’s short TEDx talk on Why work doesn’t happen at work, so start there.

Jason asks an important question: Where do you go when you really need to get something done?

This is a topic that has fascinated me for a long time. I’ve thankfully—and I’m very grateful for it—had the freedom to work how I please, for the most part, over the last few years, since I work for myself and I’ve learned some things. That said, the patterns that I’ve fallen into aren’t necessarily working for me just because I’m not an employee. Depending on your personality type and the work you do, I think some of these things might work for you too:

What’s missing?

Context & Mis-Direction

We got my mom an iPad for Christmas. The amazing thing is that she’s using it and loving it. That is amazing because she has previously not felt comfortable with computers. She has had a MacBook for years and I think it has left her desk twice, yet her iPad often goes along with her.

Introducing someone who doesn’t live in the tech world to a new technology paradigm can be a lot of fun. And it can also open your eyes to things you night never have noticed or thought about before. Take this screenshot:

What’s missing?

Introducing Threadless Causes

Life, work, everything has been busy on my end. So much so that I can’t remember the last time I talked about something I’m actively working on here on this blog. Part of the issue is my limited free time, and part of it is the wonderful fact that I’m getting to work on some really amazing things, but we can’t spill the beans on it until they’re ready.

In this case, Alex Bogusky of CP+B fame let the cat out of the bag for us. He hosts an internet TV show under his new venture, FearLess and Jake from Threadless went on the show and talked about their new thing, Threadless Causes.

I’ve been working on the Causes site with Jake, several other fine folks at Threadless and the good guys over at Good Apples for a couple months now and we’re excited to show it off and watch people use it.

To see a short demo with some great background info, check out Jake’s episode of FearLess TV. Alex also wrote an excellent post about it.

Also, visit the splash page we whipped up and drop in your email address to know when things go live.

Why so urgent?

I’m rarely one to want to tinker with an established user-interface. As a designer I think it’s actually part of my job to experience an OS or piece of software in the way that most users will experience it rather than immediately customizing or modifying it. However, this is a change I’d love to see. I’d almost be willing to jailbreak my iPhone to make it happen.

My Week Alone on the Internet

In many ways it’s hard to remember, the but internet didn’t used to be as social as it is now. There was a time, not too long ago, where Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. didn’t exist, or at least had very little traction in our daily lives.

Last week, as I found myself needing to make a final push on some work—in particular, a large update to the very blogging platform this post is published on (more on that later)—I noticed, and became increasingly annoyed with my proclivity toward CRS. What is “CRS”, you ask? It’s what I’ve dubbed Constant-Refresh-Syndrome—and I had it bad.