The Death of Upcoming.org

“In hindsight, selling Upcoming to Yahoo was a horrible mistake. Selling your company always means sacrificing control and risking its fate, and as we now know, online communities almost always fail after acquisition. (YouTube is the rare exception, albeit one with billion-dollar momentum.) But Yahoo was a particularly horrible steward for the community.”
- Andy Baio

Read Andy’s full post, The Death of Upcoming.org

The Art Of The Email Introduction

Chris Fralic wrote a much needed article on the Art Of The Email Introduction. The first rule, The Ask, is the most important in my book:

“Sometimes it makes sense to just make the introduction when asked, but in most cases I think it’s a best practice to ask for and receive permission before an introduction is made. This makes it a choice for the recipient and doesn’t create an obligation.”

Introduction: 10 Rules For Emailing Busy People, by Chris Fralic

An acquisition is always a failure

“An entrepreneur is someone who, almost artistically, designs a living entity which embodies the values, beliefs, and ambitions of the creator. It’s impossible for a larger entity to swallow a smaller one without completely reshaping it. When this process begins, a wild visionary – the entrepreneur type – is the most toxic, indigestible actor imaginable. And this is why I roll my eyes when a new acquisition is announced: Because I don’t see it as a triumphant graduation but a sacrifice to an industry that is afraid to dream big.”
- Jake Lodwick

An acquisition is always a failure, by Jake Lodwick

(via Michael)

Graceful Exits

“We’re not trying to save the world. We’re just trying to save some recipes.”

The FictiveKin crew just posted this blog post, explaining the frustrating experience of wanting to help forner Punchfork users save their data. In their post they tell the story of Punchfork’s less than graceful exit and how it inspired ‘Open Recipes’.

What their blog post shows is that there needs to be a web builder ethics manifesto. We need to take content ownership and our users seriously.

Children Should Be Allowed to Get Bored

“When children have nothing to do now, they immediately switch on the TV, the computer, the phone or some kind of screen. The time they spend on these things has increased.

But children need to have stand-and-stare time, time imagining and pursuing their own thinking processes or assimilating their experiences through play or just observing the world around them.”

- Dr. Teresa Belton

(via Kottke)

Free works

“When a free option is available in a market of paid alternatives, far more people will choose the free product, often by an order of magnitude or more. Asking people to pay unnecessarily is asking them to behave irrationally and against their own immediate best interests, even if it’s probably worse long-term.”
- Marco Arment

Free Works, by Marco Arment

(thank you Nate)

Yes:

“If you spend your life doing what you love, the speed at which the world goes on and changes around you is irrelevant.”
- Milton Glaser

From conversation between Cool Hunting and the iconic Milton Glaser

Learning to See

“Learning to design is, first of all, learning to see. Designers see more, and more precisely. This is a blessing and a curse — once we have learned to see design, both good and bad, we cannot un-see. The downside is that the more you learn to see, the more you lose your ‘common’ eye, the eye you design for. This can be frustrating for us designers when we work for a customer with a bad eye and strong opinions. But this is no justification for designer arrogance or eye-rolling. Part of our job is to make the invisible visible, to clearly express what we see, feel and do. You can‘t expect to sell what you can’t explain.”

Learning to See, by Oliver Reichenstein

Complete and Hard Focus

“The solution suggested by this research, as well as my own, is as simple as it is startling: Do less. But do what you do with complete and hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of the day.”

If You’re Busy, You’re Doing Something Wrong: The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers

(via Michael Galpert)

You are boring.

“The Big Bore lurks inside us all. It’s dying to be set loose to lecture on Quentin Tarantino or what makes good ice cream. Fight it! Fight the urge to speak without listening, to tell a bad story, to stay inside your comfortable nest of back-patting pals. As you move away from boring, you will never be bored.”
- Scott Simpson

You are Boring, by Scott Simpson

(via Kevin)

Women + Career

“Every woman I know who feels like she “has it all”—and there are many—has done it in a unique way.”
- Sarah Lacy

Fantastic (and passionate) article by Sarah Lacy over on Pandodaily: In this corner there’s Sheryl Sandberg. In this corner there’s Anne-Marie Slaughter. And then there’s reality

(Thanks Jen)

On Competition

“If my idea isn’t worth copying then it’s not a very good idea. If my product or business can’t handle a new competitor, then it’s not a very good product.”
- Nathan Kontny

From this interesting post on competition: Group email address. Did 37Signals Copy my idea?

(thanks Nate)

Qualities of Successful People:

In this blog post, Greg Hoy lists qualities you are most likely to find in people who achieve the most success. Listed in no particular order:

    - They are humble. Their success doesn’t consume them.

    - They are on time. On time for work, on time for meetings, on time for the train. They hate wasting their own time, and as a byproduct, anyone else’s.

    - They always appreciate what they have. And as a result, they usually get more.

    - They are universally respectful—to their friends, their boss, or to the person that makes their sandwich for lunch.

    - They don’t let work consume them.

    - They make sacrifices for the benefit of others.

    - They are patient.

    - They put in the extra effort when it’s needed, without any strings attached.

    -They resolve issues or conflicts directly.

    - They respectfully push back. It’s easy to push back. To do so with respect takes skill.

    - They trust their colleagues.

Read Greg’s full post: Good work isn’t enough.

How To Master Your Time

“The secret to mastering your time is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency.”

How to master your time, by Oliver Emberton

Double-Loop Learning

“What we learned from conversation with high achievers is that challenging our assumptions, objectives, at times even our goals, may sometimes push us further than we thought possible.”

Secret Ingredient for Success, by Camille Sweeney

Wee Nudge

Wee Nudge collects articles related to the web design process and aims to help you better explain and talk to your clients. Read articles on whitespace, wireframes or spec work. Excited to see this grow!

(via layervault)

Yes.

“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward!”
- Tina Fey

Read the full post.

(via bombtune)

The Cost of Neutral

“Not adding value is the same as taking it away.”
- Seth Godin

This blog post by Seth Godin made me say AMEN out loud just now. I fully agree with him when he says: “If you go to work and do what you’re told, you’re not being negative, certainly, but the lack of initiative you demonstrate (which, alas, you were trained not to demonstrate) costs us all, because you’re using a slot that could have been filled by someone who would have added more value.”

Read his full post, The Cost of Neutral.

Lessons by Lucy

In this moving blog post, titled On Dog Hair, Liz Danzico shares what her dog Lucy taught her over the dozen years they were a team:

1. Learn at least one impressive trick.
2. Shake when wet.
3. Wag.
4. When off the leash, it is best to run to a loved one.
5. Accept treats from strangers energetically yet cautiously.
6. Roll in grass whenever possible.
7. Wonderful things can sometimes be found in the trash.
8. Barking is a last resort.
9. Know when the right time is to let go of what you love.
10. True life partners do exist.

Read Liz’s full post.

Josef Muller-Brockmann

“Reduction of content can make all the difference in the outcome of a design.”

A beautiful Article over on I Love Typography celebrating the life and work of Josef Müller-Brockmann.

Graphic Design

“The basic starting point of Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport is “I could have done better.” And of course you could! But simply having the idea is not enough. Crafting a beautiful solution is not enough. Doing a dramatic presentation is not enough. Convincing all your peers is not enough. Even if you’ve done all that, you still have to go through the hard work of selling it to the client.”
- Michael Bierut

Design Observer Article: Graphic Design Criticism as a Spectator Sport

How to design a better world

“As organizations shift from neatly ordered hierarchies to chaotic, flattened “heterarchies,” where anyone can “friend the CEO,” a new generation of tools will be invented that will allow design and technology to enable leaders to make true connections among people and inspire change.

Just as design enabled us to have an emotional connection with a piece of glass and aluminum that lives in our pocket, design and technology together will restore some of the humanity in what it means to lead in the 21st century.”

- John Maeda

Article: How to design a better world by John Maeda.

Askers vs. Guessers

Andrea Donderi says there are two types of people in the world: Askers and Guessers:

“In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it’s OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.

In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won’t even have to make the request directly; you’ll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.”

Thank you Erika for pointing me to this article after I expressed on Twitter how I have a hard time asking for favors. Definitely giving this some more thought.

Better Than Human

“This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots. Ninety percent of your coworkers will be unseen machines. Most of what you do will not be possible without them. And there will be a blurry line between what you do and what they do. You might no longer think of it as a job, at least at first, because anything that seems like drudgery will be done by robots.”
- Kevin Kelly

From this Wired article titled Better Than Human, with a thoroughly disturbing photo.