Products | Dominik Mayer – Products, Asia, Productivity

Drunken Walk  

First Round Review follows Credit Karma’s former Chief Product Officer Nikhyl Singhal. I love his term for the pre product/market phase:

Phase 1: “Drunken walk." The company’s goal is to experiment as much as possible to find product/market fit.

Five Steps to Your Ideas  

Chuck Frey on The Sweet Setup:

Like many things in business, creativity responds well to a process — one that guides you along the path of birthing, nurturing and implementing game-changing ideas. This simple system includes 5 steps:

Investigate → Generate → Incubate → Evaluate → Activate

It never ceases to amaze me how all these techniques can be expressed as ways through the Munich Procedural Model of product development.

Arai

Each Arai helmet is hand-crafted. And the professional racers get to wear the same products as the consumers.

The Design Squiggle  

Damien Newman created a squiggle to symbolizes the design process from research on the left via concept and prototyping in the middle to the final design on the right.

The Design Squiggle

The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle.com

Oak Felder

Apple:

Follow hitmaking, Grammy-nominated songwriter and music producer Oak Felder as he creates a new song. Along the way, he speaks about music production, creating his own unique sound, working with the world’s top artists, and what it means for young artists to have access to powerful technology.

Fast Software  

Craig Mod:

I love fast software. That is, software speedy both in function and interface. Software with minimal to no lag between wanting to activate or manipulate something and the thing happening. Lightness.

Software that’s speedy usually means it’s focused. Like a good tool, it often means that it’s simple, but that’s not necessarily true. Speed in software is probably the most valuable, least valued asset. To me, speedy software is the difference between an application smoothly integrating into your life, and one called upon with great reluctance. Fastness in software is like great margins in a book — makes you smile without necessarily knowing why.

John Gruber comments:

One of the confounding aspects of software today is that our computers are literally hundreds — maybe even a thousand — times faster than the ones we used 20 years ago, but some simple tasks take longer now than they did then.

Too few product managers treat speed as a feature. There should be tests that make sure software stays fast (or becomes faster) when new features are addede.

Hugo, which is powering this site, is a positive example, advertising itself as “the world’s fastest framework for building websites”.

Lead developer Bjørn Erik Pedersen said in an interview with the New Dynamic:

I try to play the zero-sum game when adding new features: The processing time added by the new feature will have to be compensated by improvements in others […].

Performance bottlenecks show up in the most surprising places, so you have to benchmark. Performance gains and losses come from smaller accumulated changes over time. And speed matters. Try Hugo’s server with livereload and you will see.

How to Mix Every Cocktail

New York bartender Jeff Solomon shows how to mix every cocktail.

And by every cocktail we mean not every cocktail, because that would be insane. Today we’re gonna focus on classic cocktails. These are the drinks from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that are still popular today.

Mud Maker: The Man Behind MLB’s Essential Secret Sauce  

For Sports Illustrated Emma Baccellieri portraits Jim Bintliff, the sole mud supplier for major league baseball. When someone asks him what he does on the banks of a Delaware River he tells a lie:

I’ve been sent by the Environmental Protection Agency, and I’m surveying the soil. Or: I’m helping the Port Authority, looking into pollution. Or, if it’s a group of young folks who look like they’ve only come out on the water for a good time: I take this mud, and I put it on my pot plants. They grow like trees.

It prevents anyone from exploring what he’s actually doing, which is what he’s done for decades, what his father did before him, and his grandfather before him: Bintliff is collecting the mud that is used to treat every single regulation major league baseball, roughly 240,000 per season.

On the Huawei Campus

“We wanted to invite U.S. media to come ask any questions on behalf of American customers,” said Catherine Chen, Huawei’s corporate senior vice president and director of the board.

VICE News took Huawei up on its offer and found out we were the only news organization that showed up.

The gigantic complex contains twelve European style towns.

A Billboard That Tracks Airplanes  

Ogilvy 12th Floor created two digital billboards for British Airways:

These specific signs were located between the view of people on the street and the flight paths of planes coming and going from Heathrow Airport. Advanced technology was integrated into the display that could track planes as they flew overhead, and that’s when the magic would start.

A video would start to play that showed a child point at the airplane and run off after it. The sign would also give the flight number and location that the plane took off from, and then it would go back to a very simple display about British Airways.

What a smart way of combining traditional with digital marketing.

The Story of Nearest Green  

Emmy-Award winning actor Jeffrey Wright narrates the story of Nearest Green.

This beautifully shot short film tells the extraordinary legacy of the first known African-American master distiller. It’s a story of honor, respect, and an unlikely friendship, that would forever change the whiskey industry. Perhaps the greatest American story you never heard.

Prototyping at Apple  

Apple prototype collector Giulio Zompetti describes what he thinks might be the company’s development and prototyping process.

Heads Up: The Oral History of Iron Man’s Original HUD  

Visual effects and animation journalist Ian Failes (isn’t that an amazing title?) interviewed the creators of the original Ironman heads-up display.

Kent Seki: I have to say that ‘First Flight’, in which Tony dons his silver Mark II suit, is one of my favourite parts. In the beginning of the sequence, you see components of the armour being applied, followed by a POV of the mask coming up to his face, then the very first HUD shot of Tony as the graphics turn on. This is the moment where the HUDs could succeed or fail. Luckily for us, we got things more right than wrong. The audience was with us.

That’s what it looks like in the movie:

Uber’s Path of Destruction  

Transportation consultant Huber Horan wrote my favorite article about Uber:

An examination of Uber’s economics suggests that it has no hope of ever earning sustainable urban car service profits in competitive markets. Its costs are simply much higher than the market is willing to pay, as its nine years of massive losses indicate. Uber not only lacks powerful competitive advantages, but it is actually less efficient than the competitors it has been driving out of business.

Horan then compares Uber’s business model to that of the taxi industry and concludes that “Uber has not increased taxi productivity or solved long-standing industry problems” but instead subsidizes fares so that it can offer prices consumers are willing to pay.

Go read the whole article. It’s fascinating.

Horan has a PDF version (and more articles about Uber) on his website.

A Room People Love  

On his great 3-2-1 newsletter James Clear quotes architect Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language) about designing a room people love:

Light on two sides of every room. When they have a choice, people will always gravitate to those rooms which have light on two sides, and leave the rooms which are lit only from one side unused and empty.

This pattern, perhaps more than any other single pattern, determines the success or failure of a room. The arrangement of daylight in a room, and the presence of windows on two sides, is fundamental. If you build a room with light on one side only, you can be almost certain that you are wasting your money. People will stay out of that room if they can possibly avoid it…

The importance of this pattern lies partly in the social atmosphere it creates in the room. Rooms lit on two sides, with natural light, create less glare around people and objects; this lets us see things more intricately; and most important, it allows us to read in detail the minute expressions that flash across people’s faces, the motion of their hands … and thereby understand, more clearly, the meaning they are after. The light on two sides allows people to understand each other.