Archive for the ‘book review’ Category

10 Things: The Power of The Network

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

I was excited to find David Cushman’s self-published book . It’s available on Lulu as a downloadable PDF for only $.84, which is an excellent bargain given the density of insights and provocative ideas that Cushman packs into its 98 pages. Cushman also authors the blog , from which much of the content for the book emanated, it being a compendium of Cushman’s writings from over the last year or so, writings on the future of advertising, online networks, the death of broadcast media, and the power of . He succinctly ties together a wide range of ideas we’re all writing and thinking about in various ways, and he does so in a way that very directly points us to the future. As he says on his about page: “The further ahead you look, the faster you go.” That’s a lesson he picked up from motorcycling, and one I can appreciate given my own penchant for racing, motorcycles, and change.

Below are 10 Things from The Power of The Network by David Cushman:

  1. The Death of Death: At the heart of the networked world is conversation, and conversation is “at the intersection of ideas, the driver of value of the network… The digital world is not about death. It is about life… The evolution has begun.”
  2. Don’t Just Witness The Network: If we sit still we are in the midst of witnessing some of the biggest changes since the industrial revolution. But it’s different this time because we can participate, we can all “engage with self-forming communities of (global) niche shared interest (purpose).”
  3. How to Go Viral: 1. Speak in an authentic voice. 2. Lose the TV envy. 3. Give people the tools to make their own. 4. Don’t bother with urls, links or ‘brand messages.’
  4. Communities of Purpose: Leveraging , Cushman points us to two important caveats, that real value is only created by communities of purpose, and this value is best enabled by synchronous response. He then points out that the gap between Reed’s Law and reality is navigation and discovery.
  5. What Now for Advertising and Marketing?: We’re really left with limited options like widget marketing (take advantage of existing advertising model and add viral and widget messaging), engagement marking (creating conversations, participating, listening), and no marketing (no advertising, no marketing, but instead the bringing together of co-creating communities).
  6. We’re All Publishers Now: Indeed. We’re experiencing an orgy of self-published content via the internet and through the success of self-forming communities. “The silent majority have had their day. The participating majority are coming.”
  7. It’s Not How Famous You Are – It’s How Relevant: Enough said.
  8. Reed’s Law and How Multiple Identities Make The Tail Longer: Don’t network for networking’s sake as limiting yourself to one-to-one communication presents little potential for collaboration. Networking openly stands to unleash the power of crowds, and “none of us is as clever as all of us.”
  9. We Are The Eighth Mass Media: From this chapter, a favorite quote: “We all have cheap, rapid, easy ways of sharing our metadata. That’s what publishing has become. Publishing for all. Advertising for all. We can all share content. Content is the conversation starter, conversation is where ideas turn
    into action, action is where value is created. Now we can all share in sharing this. We can all share ourselves. That is what changes everything.”
  10. How Are We Made Great?: Start with the Stowe Boyd quote: “I am made greater by the sum of my connections, so are my connections.” We live with the opportunity to consume an enormous volume of ideas/opinion/perspective. There are so many ideas that would go unrealized were it not for the power of the network surrounding the person who originated it. The catch is that predicting how people will respond to an idea is impossible, the network has its own proprietary wisdom, and from this wisdom comes the elevation of great ideas beyond the individual and to the many.

Capsule’s Design Matters // Logos

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Design Matters//Logos by Capsule

This book is not fetishistic, as many logo and identity books tend to be. Design Matters // Logos, by the team at , is an excellent and methodical review of the thinking, process and decision making behind a series of very successful identities created by a diverse group of designers (from to ). The subtitle “An Essential Primer For Today’s Competitive Market” gives this away. I appreciate and find it fascinating to see what designers and design teams worked through to get to the end result, to be privy to the strategy behind something as mistakenly subjective as a logo. Each identity reviewed is broken down into these sections:

  • Introduction – a brief overview of the situation and the objectives
  • Planning – the foundational work leading up to design
  • Creating – details related to the development of the identity
  • Implementing – how the identity was introduced and executed

It is an incredibly informative book, as well as being very well designed. Beautiful, really. The organization and information contained within lend themselves to repeat reading, and it is the kind of book that becomes a frequent resource for a review on identity strategy and inspiration. I found the extensive section on planning to be of particular value, given my penchant for strategy and well-developed rationale, and is something that any team setting out to create identity would benefit from reading… especially pages 36-37 which offers some great insights into navigating the complexities of the research process.

Full disclosure, I received this book from Rockport Publishers. I love free books, when they are good, and I recommend this one without hesitation and will be keeping it in my “active” stack of books. It rocks.

Kenya Hara – Designing Design

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Kenya Hara

I have been reading a newish book from Japanese designer , which came to me as an incredibly thoughtful gift. , which is excellent, is not so much a portfolio or biography as much as a treatise on Hara’s philosophy of design, a philosophy that is both insightful and interesting, distinctive, and deeply immersive. His work is iconic in many ways, but not because of anything remotely approaching a signature flourish. He places significant focus on how all of our senses are affected by design, which encompasses everything from objects to environments.

Inside his book are beautiful images of his work, as well as that of others who have collaborated with him or contributed to projects he has curated. The images provide important references to his ideas and observations, and they are well integrated. The book functions almost as an illustrated guidebook to Hara’s design philosophy, visually representing the application of his thinking. Also, the design of this book is superbly elegant and engaging:

Designing Design by Kenya Hara

As a designer, Hara’s work reflects thought and consideration that seems contradictory in that it is both minimalist and comprehensive. It is evident that this is not a person who takes design lightly, and perhaps considers it more of an epistemological exercise:

“The human brain likes anything that entails a great deal of information.”

Kenya Hara

The book is divided into chapters that individually and collectively investigate:

  • - Re-Design – Daily Products of The 20th Century
  • - Haptic – Awakening the Senses
  • - Senseware – Medium That Intrigues Man
  • - White
  • - Muji – Nothing, Yet Everything
  • - Viewing The World From The Tip of Asia
  • - Exformation – A New Information Format
  • - What is Design?