Getting underneath design

Some cool videos about design. First Gizmodo linked to TED Videos (those things rock, you should watch them all) recording of Philippe Starck, famous designer.

Me? I got some interesting stuff with a company named “EffectiveUI.” Don’t know who they are? They designed some of the coolest Web apps out there, including ones for eBay and a host of other famous names. I did three separate videos with EffectiveUI.

1. Demo of the eBay app they built and a discussion of rich Internet applications.
2. An interview with senior developer, RJ Owen, about the design process.
3. An interview with the president of EffectiveUI, where I learn more about what EffectiveUI does and its approach to design. We also talk about Microsoft Silverlight vs. Adobe Flash/Flex/AIR.

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Why I said "mugnormous" the other day

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TechCrunch has the skinny behind the new SmugMug. I’ll have a video up soon (hopefully today, although since I’m in London might be next week sometime) that shows off this new UI. It’s stunning and puts SmugMug squarely at the front of the photo sharing sites.

Actually, I got it wrong. SmugMug calls it “SmugMungous.” Wait until you see the demo going across two 30-inch monitors. The UI here BLOWS AWAY all the other photo sharing sites. Hopefully more Web 2.0 companies will follow their lead and build scalable UI’s.

Oh, and they have a new iPhone version out too.

UPDATE: Here’s the video, which is a tour of SmugMug where we see a bunch of stuff. The demo of the new SmugMug starts at about 11:42.

Will new Blog Council help big companies get small conversations?

I was just reading the blogs this morning (I have a Fast Company column due and am avoiding working on it) but the news about a new blog council caught my eye. In particular, I see Dave Taylor’s response and tend to agree with him. I’m pretty skeptical. Why? Cause I’ve done enough speaking to enough corporations now that if they don’t get why they should be talking with their customers already I don’t get how hanging out at yet another boring industry conference is going to help them to get it.

And, actually, if your company needs help “getting it” then you shouldn’t be hanging out with other companies, but should be hanging out with the teams who are helping the political campaigns. Oh, sorry, I just plugged my column I wrote a while back for this month’s Fast Company.

But, seriously, here’s where corporations go wrong: they don’t get the value of seemingly unimportant conversations.

Here’s a test. Visit a Best Buy store. Now imagine that store without ANY human beings inside. What do you have? A bankrupt store.

So why when I visit don’t I see any people? Hear any conversations? Is there any wonder why Amazon has a P/E ratio much higher than Best Buy? (Amazon puts real people on its Web site — it’s ironic that an Internet focused company “gets” the value of people and their conversations better than a “brick and mortar” store does since without people a brick and mortar store would simply not exist).

Demonstrates that the industry has a LONG way to go before it understands the real value that seemingly unimportant conversations have.

Every company I’ve spoken to, from Loreal to Target to Boeing gets that you need to pay attention to the New York Times. I don’t know of a single corporation who won’t return a journalist’s phone calls from the New York Times.

But, how many companies respond to a kid in Australia who only has three readers? How many companies respond to comments made on people’s Facebook walls? How many companies meet regularly with bloggers (the BBC and Microsoft are tonight at our blogger dinner in London — no “blog council” was needed to demonstrate to them why having conversations with bloggers are important).

If this council changes THAT in any noticeable way, I’ll cheer them on. But, like Dave Taylor (who also has been around the block dealing with companies) I’m pretty skeptical.

Google Shared item blogs get more useful

This is a cool “little” feature in the latest version of Google Reader. if you subscribe to multiple people’s Shared Items’ blogs (I call that a link blog) it won’t send you duplicate items anymore, but will show you how many people actually linked to it. That’s a KILLER feature. But, what’s next?

I think Google is working on a Digg/TechMeme competitor and this is the first in a series of features that’ll bring Google Reader there. All of a sudden my decision to do a link blog using Google’s Reader is looking better and better.

I learned about this over on David Carrington’s blog who demonstrates how it works.

Oh, and we’re in London and having a great time. Milan is as good a traveler as his older brother is. Hardly a peep the entire way. Wifi here in the hotel rocks. It’s always fun to travel thousands of miles just to learn that the Internet works here too! Heheh. Seriously, today we’re probably going to get a tour of the BBC. That should be fun. Last week we got a tour of a Wall Street Journal printing plant (all of the Wall Street Journals that you buy in Northern California are printed about 50 yards from Podtech’s offices. They can print 60,000 copies an hour at that plant alone. It’s amazing the amount of paper and ink they go through there. Makes me appreciate how cool it is that we can distribute ideas via the Internet now and not convince someone to spend so many resources getting our words out there.