My daily readings 12/16/2011

    • Today, business success depends on the presence of a well-designed, engaging experience, and the new MFA in Interaction Design program explores the strategic role of interaction design in shaping everyday life.


      As one of the only graduate-level degrees dedicated to interaction design in the United States, this program trains students to research, analyze, prototype, and design concepts in their business, social, and cultural contexts. 


      <!– /end .content –>  


      • In the span of a click: Prachi Pundeer

        December 13, 2011


        Each week, Interaction Design’s Social Media Officer Cooper Smith will curate a story from the incoming first-year class. This week’s post comes from Prachi Pundeer.




      • however, I really should be an entrepreneur; given time, I will be successful; I just don’t know the best way to go about it;
      • importantly, I am not based in Silicon Valley, or, for that matter, connected to the startup scene anywhere, since I’m still a lonely corporate drone;
    • It’s a wild guess, but I imagine it covers 90% of the western world’s potential entrepreneurs. After all, the default for smart people is to do a degree and then end up working in a bank, law firm, consulting company, etc. So most smart people end up working in large corporations. And yet most smart people would be able to run their own business if they knew how.


      What’s the default case for a transition from this set of assumptions to “entrepreneur”?

    • So, with that being said, what would I advise someone fitting those starting conditions, in order to smooth the transition and maximise chances of not breaking one’s teeth on the first attempt?


      This is the “startup escape path”.

    • The key at this step is to make up for all those great big blind spots that will kill your fledgling company and send you back to the corporate world with your tail between your legs. This is what these tasks are geared towards. All of this stuff can be done on the side, while holding a full time job. The only parts that are time-consuming are the learning parts.
      • Read Hacker News regularly: and subscribe to a few great startup blogs. There’s a lot to learn in the startup world, and HN and other key blogs will help you to get up to speed.
    • ranging from making sure a web address is responding to http requests to ensuring a port is sending the
    • powerful feature-set, allowing extreme flexibility in configuration and execution.  Starting with the private
    • How does it work? If you are familiar with traditional monitoring tools this system is similar in a number of ways. This product checks the health of a variety of internet-based services.  Very simply, we help answer the question, “Is my service up and running?”  To do that, we have two simple objectives:


    • 2. Failing to Find a Project for the Talent that Ignites Their Passion. Big companies have many moving parts — by definition. Therefore, they usually don’t have people going around to their best and brightest asking them if they’re enjoying their current projects or if they want to work on something new that they’re really interested in which would help the company.
    • 3. Poor Annual Performance Reviews. You would be amazed at how many companies do not do a very effective job at annual performance reviews. Or, if they have them, they are rushed through, with a form quickly filled out and sent off to HR, and back to real work. The impression this leaves with the employee is that my boss — and, therefore, the company — isn’t really interested in my long-term future here. If you’re talented enough, why stay? This one leads into #4….


    • I want to create a Google Chrome Extension who can change the URL default Search Engine ? I can do it by using the option of Google Chrome but i would like to do it with code.


      Hope someone can provide me some help..

    • But if there is no way to do that, what do you think to take the url each time i change web page and if they are’nt www. http. or .com,… Then i make my search on yahoo for example ?


      You think it’s possible ?

    • The point is not to get caught up in buzzword titles nor to challenge the role of design consultants or founders with engineering backgrounds, but to highlight the emerging opportunity for founders with design expertise from trained to self-taught backgrounds. It makes sense that a prerequisite for a tech company is to have a founder with technical skills. The same heuristic should hold true if you want to consistently ship well designed products like Pinterest, AirBnB and Path. Why not have a co-founder with design skills who champions the user experience?


    • Clearly every designer isn’t meant to be a founder and probably shouldn’t be, (especially as some believe we’re spreading talent thin across too many little “me too” startups but that’s a whole other discussion). To be clear, we don’t mean “designer as the prima donna pixel-pusher” that you might be picturing. We also don’t mean “designer as the I Took One Class Called UX Fundamentals In Business School.” We mean an honest-to-goodness, experienced, craft-driven, product-focused, reflective practitioner who has learned to design by designing, who views design as a way of thinking about solving hard problems and is capable of building usable products with more than just beautiful aesthetics.[3] The word ‘design’ is so loaded nowadays and hope that our Designer Founders info cards will begin to clarify the impact of designers with various backgrounds in the context of early stage tech startups. Modern design entrepreneurship has been around since at least the late nineteenth century spurred by William Morris’ Arts and Crafts workshops, Elbert Hubbard and his Roycrofters along with the Weiner Werkstatte, Deustche Werbund, and Bauhaus movements to name a few. [4] Today, we’re studying a movement by designer founders behind venture backed startups who have the potential for meaningful impact via tech products, not just beautiful chairs.
    • To support these claims, we’re practicing what we preach, and getting out of the building to interview every designer founder we can find that’s made a venture backed tech startup. The collection of interviews will be published as a non-profit book that will be free for students with the goal to synthesize reoccurring patterns and lessons to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurial designers. The first byproduct of this research, our Designer Founders info cards, represent a snapshot of data we’ve collected and some patterns we’re starting to explore. In our data set we consider designer founders to either be the official founder/co-founder or one of the founding members who helps lead the development of a new product. It’s important to note that nearly every designer founder has a technical co-founder and some have technical backgrounds which furthers the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration.
    • Sign-up or sign-in!  This new fee structure has been automatically applied to all Dwolla accounts starting today. It affects everyone in the system and it’s active now.


    • How? We removed the threat of credit card fraud, built unique privacy controls, created new security standards, eliminated financial information from transactions, integrated new social technologies, and provided the nation with its lowest-cost sustainable payment network. More importantly, we created a company dedicated to finding and solving pain points.


    • No more waiting, no more hunting down your ATMs, no more confusing price structures, no more hidden fees, no more interest rates, no more tricks to lure you into debt, and no more headaches. Once you subscribe, you’ll have all of the benefits of Dwolla without the wait.


    • Once you deposit or send funds with Instant, you’ll be asked to select a funding source for the transaction. These transactions will be tied to a separate “Instant Balance.” Immediately after we give you access to the funds you requested, Dwolla will provide you the options to either initiate a payment from a linked bank account (this is preferred) or pay us back later, if need be. We ask that you pay down your remaining Instant balance to $0 by the end of your statement date, so you can avoid the $5 late fee.
  • tags: users

    • Pirated versions of XP are perfectly capable of running IE7/8.

      The problem is that a few years ago Microsoft pushed Windows Genuine Advantage updates automatically via Windows Update (they might even have done this twice), with the result that all those pirated versions of XP turned off Windows Update forever and never installing anything from


  • tags: users

    • Yes, Internet Explorer patches and new major versions are already available via Windows Update. But to move from one version to the next, it’s never been a fully automatic process. There’s a separate install window that appears for installing, say, Internet Explorer 9. For many users, the additional steps required were often enough to prevent them from installing a new version.
    • And so from now on, Internet Explorer will quietly update itself just as Windows does. Starting in January, users in Australia and Brazil will be the begin receiving automatic IE updates. Microsoft will then gradually extend coverage to other parts of the world as time goes on.


    • But Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about its enterprise customers — there won’t be an admin uproar like the one we saw when Mozilla shifted Firefox to a rapid release cycle. Just as they always have, Microsoft will continue to offer Internet Explorer blocker tools so that network administrators can deploy new browser versions once they’ve been fully tested and won’t cause any application compatibility issues.
    • There also won’t be any changes made to a user’s default search provider or home page. User preferences won’t be touched as part of this new Internet Explorer update process. You’ll simply be bumped to the most current version available for your version of Windows (IE9 on Vista and Windows 7, IE8 on Windows XP).
  • 2 hard things: Get started and get things done.  Ship it!

    tags: productivity

    • This will sound condescending, but I’ll say it anyway: Become the kind of guy who finishes things. Forget about the programming part for a minute. It’s the finishing things part that’s the hard part. If you focus on that, you’ll master whatever details you need to get you there.

      I like to think of finishing things as a demon I have to conquer. The last 20% sucks so hard, but if you do it, you’ll be rewarded well, because most people suck at the last 20% too, and thus, never finishing anything either. Learning to be someone who ships makes you a rare person indeed.

      I still struggle with finishing things, but I’ve gotten a lot better in the past year. The best advice I can give you is to “show up” every day and do the work, no matter what. Sit down x amount of time every day, butt in seat, and do the next things on your list of things that are necessary to ship. Not what’s fun, not what looks interesting, not surfing the web or HN. The next thing standing in the way of shipping. If you can make that a habit, and do it without fail, you can’t help but ship.

    • My problem is worse (I think). When I think of what might be a cool idea for a project, I always manage to convince myself that it’s not as cool or glamorous or useful as I thought before I begin actual work on it (or very shortly after).

  • tags: Startup idea

    • Unlike most people who wanted computers, he could design one, so he did. And since lots of other people wanted the same thing, Apple was able to sell enough of them to get the company rolling. They still rely on this principle today, incidentally. The iPhone is the phone Steve Jobs wants. [1]

      Our own startup, Viaweb, was of the second type. We made software for building online stores. We didn’t need this software ourselves. We weren’t direct marketers. We didn’t even know when we started that our users were called “direct marketers.” But we were comparatively old when we started the company (I was 30 and Robert Morris was 29), so we’d seen enough to know users would need this type of software. [2]

    • Organic ideas are generally preferable to the made up kind, but particularly so when the founders are young. It takes experience to predict what other people will want. The worst ideas we see at Y Combinator are from young founders making things they think other people will want.
    • There are ideas that obvious lying around now. The reason you’re overlooking them is the same reason you’d have overlooked the idea of building Facebook in 2004: organic startup ideas usually don’t seem like startup ideas at first. We know now that Facebook was very successful, but put yourself back in 2004. Putting undergraduates’ profiles online wouldn’t have seemed like much of a startup idea. And in fact, it wasn’t initially a startup idea. When Mark spoke at a YC dinner this winter he said he wasn’t trying to start a company when he wrote the first version of Facebook. It was just a project. So was the Apple I when Woz first started working on it. He didn’t think he was starting a company. If these guys had thought they were starting companies, they might have been tempted to do something more “serious,” and that would have been a mistake.
    • Don’t be discouraged if what you produce initially is something other people dismiss as a toy. In fact, that’s a good sign. That’s probably why everyone else has been overlooking the idea. The first microcomputers were dismissed as toys. And the first planes, and the first cars. At this point, when someone comes to us with something that users like but that we could envision forum trolls dismissing as a toy, it makes us especially likely to invest.
    • There’s nothing more valuable than an unmet need that is just becoming fixable. If you find something broken that you can fix for a lot of people, you’ve found a gold mine. As with an actual gold mine, you still have to work hard to get the gold out of it. But at least you know where the seam is, and that’s the hard part.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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