If you pay attention to nothing else:
Read this piece from the Google Ventures blog —ostensibly on the role of design of startups, but ultimately centered on the role of user research in discovery. It’s a topic not far removed from Erika Hall’s wonderful book Just Enough Research — which we’re currently working our way through as part of the Almighty Book Club.

If you enjoy that piece (and you will), also give some time to a similar post from Tomasz Tunguz on the challenges facing Customer Success teams in SaaS startups. To repeat: the point is not that mature enterprise organizations should emulate the behaviors of startup teams, but rather that they can pull structures and processes from them that nimbly complement the organizations’ guiding principles.

Before you write yet another deck that references ‘curation’, spend a few minutes with this excerpt from The Shelf by Phyllis Rose in which she outlines the processes by which libraries cull their stacks and determine what stays, through processes with great acronyms like CREW and MUSTIE. Frankly, most of the curation we’ve been seeing lately could use a little culling.

Also filed under ‘public institutions and the ways in which we can learn from them’, this: Seb Chan’s terrific commencement speech to graduates of the SUNY/Fashion Institute of Technology Exhibit Design Program. ‘Museum visitors”, he posits, “are changing”, in a talk that connects Anab Jain’s The New Normal with the role of service design and nanotech.

Friend of Dark Matter John Willshire interviewed friend of simplicity John Maeda who interviewed friend of makers everywhere, David Lynch this week — meaning that we’re now two degrees removed from Sherilyn Fenn.

There was quite a good piece this week on CMO.com on the role that personalized service — not just personalized tech — will play in the retail store of the future. It’s good, high-level thinking in search of details — but certainly a step in the right direction.

The Percolate blog has been aflame lately, most recently with a wonderful post by Jason Shen that attempts to attach a CPM to Citibank’s sponsorship of the Citibike program. It’s fascinating reading, and quite a good approach to beginning to apply metrics to the previously ephemeral.

How to win friends and influence people: do as Greg Satell does and declare that ‘content is crap’. This, though, is not at all wrong:

that’s why most marketers fail at content. They see it as a strategy rather than a meaningful way to exchange value, a ploy rather than a craft.


Kevin Slavin and his team at the Playful Systems group at the MIT Media Lab have developed a fascinating application called 20 Day Stranger, in which the phone metadata of two anonymous strangers are shared with one another for a twenty day period. The idea is that a look through a stranger’s eyes might reveal to users new perspectives that spur the imagination. If you’re interested in joining a few of us in the public beta, you can sign up here.