A Psychoanalysis Perspective on Life and Everything

A great discussion between Adam Phillips, a psychoanalyst and literary figure, and Matthew Taylor, the Chief Executive of the RSA.

Visiting the MUSE School

Cross posting an article I wrote for the TuvaLabs blog:

Connecting with Joe Harper at the Big Bang Conference in Rhode Island, we were invited and humbled to visit the MUSE School. Each and every school we visit is a special day for us. The teachers we meet and the students we speak to motivate us to keep going. To meet the community at the MUSE School, I flew cross country to Los Angeles. Their school sits at the bottom of two hills. After parking and checking in at their office, I was enthusiastically greeted by Tania Lopez-Hipple – a math instructor. We toured the campus, went through several rooms and I loved seeing the walls of each classroom filled from floor to ceiling with work produced by their kids. When I say from floor to ceiling, I mean their ceilings drape with student work cause there’s no space to tape anything more. These teachers make a point to showcase their students.
I learned the faculty at this school take an interest in every child in their classroom. Each teacher works to incorporate subjects like math and English into the child’s current project - they work to intrinsically motivate their students. One kid I met was designing and building his own miniature golf hole by incorporating concepts from geometry.
We continued on to the multipurpose room where a quarter of our organic lunch was grown on campus. Tania and I, sitting with another teacher, discussed the value of independent research projects. These types of projects last for three months and engage with kids around their own interests. We discussed how TuvaLabs can be a support tool for the students to incorporate data analysis and mathematical concepts into their independent research projects. This is the beginning of a collaboration that we’re eager to learn from and engage in. We’re excited to see the kids at the MUSE School get excited around data they’re interested in.
As we move forward be sure to come back to our blog to see updates and student work being showcased on our blog.

Source Code: How to Make a Movie in Processing

The following code will allow one to save frames with text in processing.

Press 'r' to begin and stop recording.
Press 'n' to go to the next text.
Press 'p' to go back.

The output will be frames in a folder called 'output.' Then, you'll have to compile these frames in third party software, like QuickTime.

Chad Dickerson of Etsy - Business is Personal: Putting people and planet before profit

Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, spoke at the RSA about placing people and planet at the center of the business. He speaks to the shift in mindset that's occurring due to the information revolution, he quotes E.F. Schumacher, "The way in which we experience and interpret the world obviously depends very much indeed on the kind of ideas that fill our minds.If they are mainly small, weak, superficial, and incoherent, life will appear insipid, uninteresting, petty, and chaotic." The internet allows us to read anyone's ideas from anywhere in the world. These ideas include the stories of people's living and working conditions. We empathize with these stories and we feel our interdependence. We've realized the harm human commercial activity has caused around the world.

Dickerson argues for building a better mindset in order to build a more human world, specifically from "the conscious utilisation of our enormous technological and scientific potential for the fight against misery and human degradation – a fight in intimate contact with actual people, with individuals, families, small groups, rather than states and other anonymous abstractions" (E.F. Schumacher). I think he means leveraging our new mindset, due to new technologies, to place human work-life activities at the center of business. The examples he provides are about leveraging technologies like the internet and new corporate structures like the B-corp to create an inclusive, socially aware, and sustainable society. This shift in mindset should improve the quality of life while also creating sustainable businesses.

Profiling the Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards

In a meeting a while ago, we were describing our company's early adopters. I realized this should have been an exercise performed earlier when we first began developing our product. From the design perspective, I'll create user profiles of the end user, but sometimes this does not capture the early adopter. The terminology 'early adopter' communicates a go to market strategy. And so far in my short experience in the startup world, the way I've noticed entrepreneurs describing target audience is usually too broad, and it doesn't convey how they're going to reach these first few users or customers - the innovators.

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore comes to mind, where it discusses early adopters. Moore places innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards in a sequence of groups over the course of the business's lifetime.

As a designer, I think doing user profiles is not enough. We should also be doing profiles of each of these user groups. The reason is because the scenarios describing how, when, and why they'll use a product changes based each group. The purpose of profiling each of these user groups is to generate business insights from a design perspective.

Care to play asteroids?

I've been playing around with the examples available on paper.js. The controls for the game, if you're interested in playing:

space bar = random teleport
z = shoot
up arrow = forward
left/right arrow = turn
f = show stats

You'll have to click read more to begin playing.

Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy while waiting in line at Starbucks

I was in New York City a week ago. Before I went into work, I was waiting in line to order a coffee at Starbucks. Finally arriving at the front of the line I walk up to the register, but a man with a Middle Eastern accent jumps in front of everyone and shoves a hundred dollar bill in the cashier's face. He demands three espressos. Without going into detail about the confused and frustrated look on my face, while I walked to work I compared Middle Eastern and American culture. I was curious about their cultural approaches when it comes to reserving a table at a restaurant and ordering what you want at a market (in this case, a coffee shop).

Edward Hall in his book the Hidden Dimension observes we don't notice our own cultural norms until we come up against another culture with a different set of tacit rules. Having come up against a Middle Eastern interaction, I asked myself, what does the line represent in American culture? I think the answer to this question goes back to 1776 - standing in line means that everyone is created equal. It's a utilitarian solution to ensure everyone's needs and wants are of equal value.

The Middle Eastern man trying to order his espressos must have felt just as frustrated as me, trying to figure out why he couldn't order his espresso. My Iranian father occasionally expressed these frustrations at restaurants when he wasn't served immediately. Growing up, I had a difficult time understanding why he wouldn't make a reservation ahead of time. Instead, he would make a scene after hearing there's a two hour wait time when he arrived at the restaurant. Now that I'm 3000 miles away from where I grew up, Los Angeles, I feel like I have a new understanding for this part of Middle Eastern and American culture.

What do other people think, what does the line represent?