June 10, 2013 / 12 notes
June 7, 2013 / 62 notes
Complexity is the coward’s way out. But there is nothing simple about simplicity, and achieving it requires following three major principles: empathizing (by perceiving others’ needs and expectations), distilling (by reducing to its essence the substance of one’s offer) and clarifying (by making the offering easier to understand or use).
Worth a read.
June 5, 2013 / 8 notes
Last year Tom and I wrote a book, entitled It Will Be Exhilarating, about our experiences making products and forming a company. We wrote it to offer guidance and inspiration for those charting a similar path to us, and it covers topics such as running a small business, creating hardware products independently, launching a Kickstarter project, and tips for promoting your products. We’ve received some great feedback–it truly seems to be helping and motivating people with their own projects.
We have decided now to make this book free to read online. You can check it out at http://exhilarating.studioneat.com/. The page is responsive and retina ready so it should look nice on any size screen. Bookmark the page to the home screen of your iOS device for a chrome-free reading experience. And, if you’d like to read on your ereader of choice, the ebook is still available for $5.
Please let us know what you think!
May 2, 2013 / 7 notes
This year, Apple’s developer conference, WWDC, sold out in less than two minutes. Many developers were unable to acquire a ticket, and thus a discussion has erupted about how to “fix” WWDC. The knee-jerk response is to significantly expand the conference, but Jeff Lamarche gives some good reasons why this would fundamentally change the tone and vibe in a negative way. A SXSW-ification, if you will. Daniel Jalkut suggests a more extreme route, getting rid of WWDC all together. My general impression is that people are happy with WWDC in terms of its size; it’s clear the main problem is the demand for tickets far exceeds the supply.
To me, this becomes a fascinating design problem. Let’s say, in this exercise, that Apple wants to keep WWDC as is, in terms of the number of attendees, location, and number of Apple engineers on site. We can then focus on a single problem: how to best distribute the 5,500 (or so) tickets.
John Siracusa suggests a lottery. I think he’s half right.
The non-guaranteed applicant is entered into a lottery. The coveted guaranteed entry, however, is achieved in a few ways:
I think a model like this could work for WWDC. For example:
Any tickets not given to guaranteed entrants would be put in the lottery. I think something like this is a bit more equitable than a straight up lottery, and certainly more so than this year’s rolling of the browser refresh dice.
One last note. I’m surprised the aspect of badge sharing hasn’t been mentioned more. Two or three people can get a ton out of WWDC, even if only one body is allowed in Moscone West at a time. I’m sure badge sharing already happens unofficially, but if Apple were to officially endorse the idea, it would effectively double the number of people who get to participate in the conference, while still keeping the numbers where Apple wants them within the facility.
April 30, 2013 / 15 notes
Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine. (via The Verge)
April 25, 2013 / 11 notes
Recently I’ve been sketching some UI concepts for an iPhone app in my Field Notes notebook. I typically start by drawing a rectangle that crudely approximates the real life size of an iPhone screen, but I figured there might be a better solution that keeps the spirit of the quick and dirty UI sketch, while making sure the screen is the correct size and proportion. I decided to have a custom rubber stamp made.
It works pretty well! I added little tick marks around the border of the screen so I know where the status bar, nav bar, and tab bar in both portrait and landscape should be placed. If you’d like to make a stamp of your own, you can download the file here. Most cities should have a custom rubber stamp shop, I got mine made at Capitol Rubber Stamp in Austin. The stamp ended up being about $35, and the large ink pad was $15.
April 18, 2013 / 34 notes
March 19, 2013 / 11 notes
February 21, 2013 / 21 notes
Tom and I are super psyched to launch our new Kickstarter project today. It’s called Simple Bracket, and it’s an iPhone app for filling in March Madness college basketball brackets and competing with friends and family. The project page fills in all the details about the app (and contains our best project video to date) so be sure to check it out. Even if you are not typically into college basketball or filling in brackets as part of an office pool, now would be a good year to give it a try!
Tom and I put a lot of thought into whether this should be a Kickstarter project or if we should just release the app straight up. It’s an unusual project for us, in that it is based around a specific event (March Madness) that takes place in such a short window of time. We ultimately decided that using Kickstarter was the best way forward, not only to fund the backend and continued development of the app, but perhaps more importantly, to get everyone together, excited, and on-board. When the teams in the tournament are announced on March 17th, there is only a 4 day window to fill in your bracket before the first games start. We hope Kickstarter provides, aside from the funding element, a way to get everyone excited and prepared in the days leading up to the tournament.
Anyhow, we’re excited to see where this goes. Please have a look!
February 5, 2013 / 5 notes
Federico Viticci interviewing John Siracusa over at MacStories:
FV: Aside from bugs, do you think some of Apple’s software problems are related to rarely saying “Yes” to feature requests/suggestions from its users?
Do you think Cook is more open to listening and reversing course quickly? (I’m thinking Maps, Ping)
JS: No, I think it’s a result of Apple’s admirable drive towards simplicity going a bit awry. Simplicity is great, as iOS has shown. But there’s a difference between conceptual simplicity and visual simplicity. Just hiding controls does make things appear simpler, but it doesn’t actually make them any simpler. The complexity is now just hidden. Similarly, removing features that few people use is a good idea, but like any good idea, it can be taken too far. At a certain point, you’re just making your application worse for everyone, even new users.
You can’t always tweak or refactor an existing application into the beautiful thing you’re envisioning. Sometimes the only way to achieve true simplicity is to start over with a new concept for the whole app.
January 25, 2013 / 4 notes
One year ago, I was out running an errand with my wife and noticed that the runners in the New York Marathon were passing through our neighborhood in Long Island City. We stood and watched for a while. It was quite inspiring, and I decided at that moment that I would run in the marathon the next year, a goal as arbitrary as it was ludicrous. I had run cross country in high school but never competed in a race over 12 miles (a marathon is 26.2) and I had basically stopped running since I graduated nine years prior.
The New York Marathon typically has about 45,000 runners, and yet it is difficult to gain a guaranteed entry spot if you are not an elite runner. One such way, however, is to run with a charity organization. After some research, I decided to join Fred’s Team, a charity that raises money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Cancer is something that has affected my family in recent years, which is sadly not an uncommon story. I’m glad running this race and raising money for this charity has allowed me help towards the goal of eliminating cancer, even if only in a small way.
And this is where you come into the story. I need your help. If you would like to donate, I would be more than grateful. But I’ve got something cool to announce today. I am selling a beautiful, limited edition, letter pressed poster designed by none other than the amazing Jessica Hische. She was incredibly kind of come up with a design based around one of my favorite quotes by Steve Prefontaine. This thing is going to look amazing, and will look great in your study, office, nursery, workroom, etc. I am selling it for $35 (shipping included) and of course, all of the profits will be donated to Memorial Sloan-Kettering. This is a great chance to own an awesome poster by a kick-ass designer, and to do a little good while you’re at it. What’s not to like?
Additionally, $5 of every purchase will be donated to Red Cross disaster relief. Fortunately it looks like the marathon will continue as planned, but the surrounding area has been hit very hard by the hurricane. Every little bit helps.
You can order the poster here. It’s only going to be on sale for a limited window, so get it while you can!
November 1, 2012 / 2 notes