“Quality — as in “fitness for purpose” — lives in the structure of a product. A lack of quality is a lack of structure, and a lack of structure is, ultimately, a lack of thought. One does not find a solid structure by following some simple method. We deepen the structure by deepening our thought on the product. Our role as designers is to put thought into things. And that’s why most websites, clients, and jobs suck, and will always suck. Everybody hates to think, because everybody hates to listen, everybody hates to reflect, and we all hate to use our imagination.”—Putting Thought Into Things | Information Architects
“Civilian Twitter experiments and professional Twitter strategies imagine an intoxicating and tangible upside. Jokes might gain an audience; a regular person or established media property might become an indispensable new information node; a snack food, or an airline, might foster goodwill from prospective customers and absorb the public outrage of detractors. This upside, in the long term, has either eluded its seekers or revealed itself to be vanishingly small.”—Should You Tweet? - The Awl
You know a simple two-step way to solve all project issues?
1) Tell the person directly concerned. Yes, to their face.
2) Having done Step #1 (and you must do Step 1) — if that doesn’t resolve or clarify the situation — inform your boss, so he/she can tell that person’s boss. Really. It’s that simple. You’ll be surprised at how many things those two steps can actually solve.
A well-educated time traveller from 1914 enters a room divided in half by a curtain. A scientist tells him that his task is to ascertain the intelligence of whoever is on the other side of the curtain by asking whatever questions he pleases.
The traveller’s queries are answered by a voice with an accent that he does not recognize (twenty-first-century American English). The woman on the other side of the curtain has an extraordinary memory. She can, without much delay, recite any passage from the Bible or Shakespeare. Her arithmetic skills are astonishing—difficult problems are solved in seconds. She is also able to speak many foreign languages, though her pronunciation is odd. Most impressive, perhaps, is her ability to describe almost any part of the Earth in great detail, as though she is viewing it from the sky. She is also proficient at connecting seemingly random concepts, and when the traveller asks her a question like “How can God be both good and omnipotent?” she can provide complex theoretical answers.
Based on this modified Turing test, our time traveller would conclude that, in the past century, the human race achieved a new level of superintelligence. Using lingo unavailable in 1914, (it was coined later by John von Neumann) he might conclude that the human race had reached a “singularity”—a point where it had gained an intelligence beyond the understanding of the 1914 mind.
The woman behind the curtain, is, of course, just one of us. That is to say, she is a regular human who has augmented her brain using two tools: her mobile phone and a connection to the Internet and, thus, to Web sites like Wikipedia, Google Maps, and Quora. To us, she is unremarkable, but to the man she is astonishing. With our machines, we are augmented humans and prosthetic gods, though we’re remarkably blasé about that fact, like anything we’re used to. Take away our tools, the argument goes, and we’re likely stupider than our friend from the early twentieth century, who has a longer attention span, may read and write Latin, and does arithmetic faster.
The time-traveller scenario demonstrates that how you answer the question of whether we are getting smarter depends on how you classify “we.” This is why Thompson and Carr reach different results: Thompson is judging the cyborg, while Carr is judging the man underneath.
“Beyond Oculus Rift, it’s worth thinking about what Kickstarter project creators owe their early backers—the very people that help put them on the map in the first place. Do these creators merely owe their early backers pre-order products and other goodies, or something more substantial? With Oculus Rift, specifically, are prototypes and developer kits a fair trade for a less risk-averse form of capital investment? Or maybe it’s further evidence that early Kickstarter backers should be given the option to own stock, which is currently illegal under crowd-funding rules provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission.”—Facebook’s $2 Billion Oculus Deal Is Proof Crowdfunders Should Get Stock | Motherboard
When we first launched Vimeo On Demand (our self-distribution platform), we made a lot of assumptions. The design resembled many other movie rental sites at the time, with tons of posters for the viewer to scan and paginate through. It relied very heavily on poster artwork to do all of the selling. Shortly after launch, we realized that this might not be the best approach for VOD.
While most other rental sites can rely on poster artwork, the nature of our direct-from-creator catalog means we need to share additional information about both the title and its creator. In the case of Vimeo On Demand, a poster isn’t quite enough to entice potential viewers. The magic, we discovered, is in the trailer.
Vimeo On Demand has over 6,000 titles (!), many of which, potential viewers haven’t heard of (yet).
Discovery tools should be fun, simple to use, and engaging. Because duh.
The trailer is king — king of selling videos, that is.
After throwing a bunch of ideas around, we came up with a solution: Video Cards.
Each video card is simple by nature, containing only a poster, short description, and two actionable buttons. Now, in addition to seeing the eye-catching poster, people looking for something to watch can immerse themselves in a title by reading a description and watching the trailer — all without navigating elsewhere.
We eventually extended the concept for video cards into our hero area — the top section of the On Demand homepage. This allows us to highlight titles without requiring any one-off design assets. Much like the cards, the background is simply a blurred version of the poster overlayed on top of the custom button color, which visually ties everything together.
“Research across the Chartbeat network has shown that if you can hold a visitor’s attention for just three minutes they are twice as likely to return than if you only hold them for one minute. The most valuable audience is the one that comes back. Those linkbait writers are having to start from scratch every day trying to find new ways to trick clicks from hicks with the ‘Top Richest Fictional Public Companies’. Those writers living in the Attention Web are creating real stories and building an audience that comes back.”—What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong | TIME.com
Nearly three years ago, over drinks at the Brooklyn bar Hotel Delmano, I asked (now-Vimeo CTO) Andrew Pile, “Why don’t we start a dev blog?” He responded with, “Great idea.”
Then we went about our usual business of making Vimeo better. Turns out it’s much easier to conceptualize a blog over drinks than to actually make one.
The reason this blog was put off for three years is the reason the blog has to exist: we have a lot of talented people making amazing things. And not just developers, but everyone who has a hand in making Vimeo.
This blog is an outlet for us to show how we do things — how we think, communicate, collaborate, and mess around. Often it’ll be technical, sometimes it won’t. We’ll keep bad jokes to a minimum and make it entertaining for you and ourselves.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. I said to Project Manager Nikki Wiles, “What should our intro post be?” Our mercurial company culture? What it means to power the world’s most beautiful video player and support one of the greatest online communities? Our approach to problem-solving? How the company is growing like a wild beanstalk? Pixels? Aspect ratios? The answer, it turned out, was obvious. We would just be ourselves.
Dig in, this is going to be good. After all, it’s three years in the making.
“Besides being an incredible, hilarious sketch that is able to tell a complete story with both pathos and dense punch line concentration, it instantly became a phenomenon. Very early in the days of social media — Facebook was weeks old — people shared the sketch any way they could, whether it was through MySpace, AIM away messages, or just shouting “I’m Rick James, bitch” so often that people had to go home and see what they were talking about. For a sketch with plenty of great lines (“Fuck yo’ couch”), “I’m Rick James, bitch” possessed a level of quotability that wasn’t duplicated, on college campuses especially, until Borat had a wife.”—The 10th Anniversary of ‘I’m Rick James, Bitch’ — Vulture
“Once I started to feel comfortable getting involved with projects and letting more people get involved in my projects, the quality and efficiency of all our work skyrocketed. Working on projects together allows you to work simultaneously, which means faster production time. It also enables you to give and receive feedback much faster and more often, reducing the likelihood you’ll have to completely overhaul something you’ve been working on for months.”—Design Team of One http://stemmings.com/design-team-of-one/
“…the mainstream services leave a big gap: None combine the reliable, ad-free HD video of Netflix with the kind of marketplace democracy that birthed YouTube’s endless stream of cat videos. It’s a gap that Vimeo, the video-sharing site loved by artsy filmmakers and long ignored by the market, is starting to fill.”—
“…if you look at the average person and ask why they aren’t getting what they want, very rarely do you conclude their biggest problem is that they’re suffering from anchoring, framing effects, the planning fallacy, commitment bias, or any of the other stuff in these tests. Usually their biggest problems are far more quotidian and commonsensical, like procrastination and fear.”—What are the optimal biases to overcome? (Aaron Swartz’s Raw Thought)