Higher than I thought: a quarter of Americans own a smartphone, tablet, and laptop.
Living With Less. A Lot Less
We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.
There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.
Full Story: NYT
I’ll try to remember this when we unpack our moving boxes
Space - the final eating frontier! [BTW, happy to be jealous of @Cmdr_Hafield, the coolest man not on earth]
Funny - I just went through an app re-org Saturday (when I was on a wifi-less flight) and did all of these things.
Usage-based icon arrangement: This group organizes app icons based on the frequency of the app’s use.
Relatedness-based icon arrangement: This group (which I find myself in, incidentally) organizes apps into cluster based on functionality. If you have a screen of photo apps, for example, this would be you.
Usability-based icon arrangement: Some people organize their apps so they can reach the ones they need most often with their thumb, without having to swipe too much or accidentally click on other icons.
Aesthetic-based icon arrangement: These people organize icons in ways that are pleasing to them. For example, they might keep their first screen sparse in order to see the background image of their girlfriend, or they organize icons by color or patterns.
External concepts for icon arrangement: Others report using systems imposed on them by external forces. For instance, their icons are arranged by order of download, or they keep the icons in the default arrangement pattern suggested by the hardware maker. One user organized his icons alphabetically. (via The Five Ways Users Organize Their Apps And What App Designers Can Learn From This | TechCrunch)
Community & Control
I started at Flipboard last week and one of the traditions I’ve already grown to appreciate are the brown bag lunches. Friends from other start-ups come to talk about topics they’re passionate about.
Something I’ve missed about living in the Bay Area is trading start-up war stories - that’s how you learn how as an entrepreneur, outside of making those mistakes yourself! Lucky me, I caught the week with Caterina Fake, the queen of these stories (and random fact: she is also the progenitor of ‘FOMO’). Our conversation centered around how Flickr’s community got started and grew to be one of the first successful ones online.
I boil it down to control - how much you dictate, suggest, and leave up to your community.
Your community is defined by what you encourage…
Caterina said the two big features for Flickr that opened the flood gates were (1) making photos public as default and (2) allowing sites to embed photos. Such a simple concept but so powerful - encourage the activity you want by making it super easy, default and shareable. You also encourage by leading by example. At the beginning, everyone at Flickr wrote comments back to the community and the rule was they had to say something meaningful - something they would say as participants, not as Flickr staff. This set the tone. I know most Flickr folks of yore and they are all super passionate about photography. They were a huge part of the community and kick-ass photographers too! (the anti-Charles Barkley, I’m not a role model rule)
…and what you tolerate
The tough side of community is how you deal with the ugly. Caterina was adamant about pulling the weeds and doing it from the get-go. Communities devolve quickly so you have to be vigilant and encourage users to be involved in maintaining the community. (the broken windows rule)
… and users will always surprise you
You will never know what your users will do until they use it, for worse and for better. Flickr is the classic example of this. It was a failed game that had photo sharing as a feature. When that feature became overwhelmingly popular, they thought, ‘maybe this is something’. (I call this the kid with a box rule. Give a kid a present wrapped in a box and you’ll get a fort or a spaceship or a house for Optimus Prime back <— real example, courtesy of my nephews).
My major takeaway is that we are at the very beginning of this. Flickr, The Well, etc sound like ages ago, but in reality, we are still solving, resolving, refining a lot of the same problems with social software today. The idea of community is much more nuanced, complex, and rich then what we see on the interwebs.
It’s a great reminder as I kick off at Flipboard. The synapses are throwing off sparks.
I’m moving back to SF next month. (!)
Two years ago, I got a call from Foursquare to build products for all things discovery. It wasn’t just a job - it was a dream opportunity for me to encourage people to explore places around them. As a travel geek, I loved the idea of taking some of that curiosity about the world and turning into the everyday experience of checking out your own city.
I’m incredibly proud to have worked alongside talented colleagues to build Explore on mobile and web, contextual place pages, a big honking rethink of the entire app, the best location database in the world, and more. We’ve transformed from a little start-up to a big-but-not-so-big company. I’ve learned so much from dens and the rest of the team about how to build and launch well-loved products full of personality.
It’s bittersweet to leave such a great team and product. Whenever you build something new and shiny that do things other companies can’t do, you leave a piece of yourself behind. I’m leaving it in good hands though and can’t wait to see the next things to come!
Lots have happened outside of work in the last two years, too. I got married (yay!), dove into the NY food world (yum!), and have met some great folks (yo!). New York has been awesome - I’m thrilled to have witnessed the burgeoning tech community, and I’m going to miss its energy and culture.
But San Francisco calls, and at heart, I’m a west coast gal.
As for what’s next, I want to continue my focus on mobile first experiences. I’ve been lucky to find a product that I love and folks passionate about gorgeous design. I’m super excited to join the Flipboard team and focus on how users discover news, media and content that matters to them.
To the next adventure!