This week, start here: it’s not often that Dark Matter features stories from Complex, but their interview with Grailed founder Arun Gupta (14 min) is absolutely essential reading. For the uninitiated, Grailed aggregates second-hand fashion from posts across the reaches of the web into a single, sparse, shopping platform that allows people to browse it visually (think Rent-a-Swag meets Reddit). It’s a fashion site, built fully independent of the fashion world, but borne of secondary markets. This, in particular, caught our eye:

​I think that the magic of Grailed when you compare it to eBay or Etsy is the curation aspect of it. We have a couple community moderators so if the stuff isn’t good or it doesn’t fit with the aesthetic of the site they just delete it, and we have the Grailed Basic section where we can move all the low-end stuff, like H&M, Gap, and Uniqlo into. It really keeps the homepage pretty tight, and if you think about it, all the stuff that people are selling on Grailed is stuff they purchased at retail—so it’s kind of a curated selection of every collection from every different designer.


Buried in an otherwise-tepid Luxury Daily piece on (sigh) ‘the gamification of mobile shopping’, some smart points on persona development for mobile experiences (3 min), namely that:

Because gaming personas rely on an actual test of engagement, guessing is taken out of the equation. Marketers are then free to concentrate on more powerful and more personal engagement mechanisms.

The experience design types among you will take something useful from Collectors Weekly’s inventory of Do Not Disturb signage (8 min).

Danielle Ezzo has written a fascinating essay for The New Inquiry on photo retouching and manipulation as an art form (5 min) unto itself.

Jonas Downey of Basecamp shared a bit of their work in progress — a thoughtful peek into the way that they ship product (3 min). More of us should be doing things like this, don’t you think?

You should absolutely read Elizabeth Spiers’ piece on how to be a good media owner (7 min) — even though you’re likely not a publisher (nor a journalist, for that matter). Instead, view it thoughtfully through the lens of the commitment we as makers of things have to the product, even as external pressures attempt to manipulate its form.

Neil Perkin’s piece this week on digital natives (3 min) echoes a point made by Ian Fitzpatrick at December’s Google Firestarters event (6 min), namely that:

In the same way as people’s early experience helps shape them for the rest of their lives, so companies that are digital immigrants have to unravel a lot of outmoded assumptions, ways of doing things, and organisational habits in order to rebuild to become not only native speakers in the digital world, but native do-ers.

There’s something to be learned from the ways in which product and publishing firms are bundling their offerings around constellations of user need (2 min). This idea could get really interesting at scale.Robots are breaking the law and we’ve got no one to blame but robots (3 min). To wit:

The Random Darknet Shopper, an automated online shopping bot with a budget of $100 a week in Bitcoin, is programmed to do a very specific task: go to one particular marketplace on the Deep Web and make one random purchase a week with the provided allowance.

Opportunity resides in the mundane: what might you do with large data sets culled from the farming of soybeans and corn (2 min)?

Looking to up your artificial intelligence game? Irving Wladawsky-Berger has you covered with a detailed explanation of ‘soft AI’ (6 min). If you don’t subscribe to Irving’s blog, by the way, strongly consider it.

File under ‘the tools you give people tell them how they’re valued’ : the number-one driver of physician job satisfaction: the quality of the care they’re able to provide. Number two? The negative influence of the unusable, complex system of Electronic Health Records (2 min).

William Davies essay, The Data Sublime (12 min), is a sparkling piece on our submission to our devices and the evolution of our rational selves.

Literary editor Daniel Menaker has published a piece for Slate on the increasingly-smaller arbiters of our literary world — the idea that consolidation in publishing has led to a collection of gatekeepers of the literary word (6 min).

Apparently, Twitter chatter has predictive value for television premiere audience sizes (2 min). Your authors are skeptical of small samples. And hype.


Apropos of nothing, we tend to stray away from the political arena, but we were taken with a study that predicts a roughly six percent return on a community college degree (2 min) — pretty poor numbers, it turns out. We also loved this piece on the geometric design of America’s 18th-century forts (4 min).

Until next week.