// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Coworking. Community. Connections.

Thinking back on all the places you've worked and the relationships you had with people in those companies, chances are some of your closest friends are a by-product of those environments. Yet if you're a full time freelancer or solo act of any type, community can be a missing link. Enter Coworking—the connections without the company.

If the concept of Coworking seems intriguing and you'd like to learn more, start by Googling the word "Coworking"— as this is a rather hot topic, especially in the tech sector. There's also a website called The Coworking Community Blog if you want another jumping off point. Or check out this Philly spin off.
Philly has started their own Wiki. You might try TheHatFactory— a coworking environment started by a bunch of people including Ryan Hodson from RYANISHUNGRY. Coworking is an intriguing concept. Is Coworking for you?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The No. 1 Song on Your Favorite day

What song was the top hit on your favorite day?

( via That'sRight )

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Child's Explanation of God

Everyone has atleast one if not a few people who you can count on to send you an email that atleast 450 other people have also received via a Forward. The subject matter of these types of emails general include a "cute" story, often accompanied by images of kittens, puppies and/or promises to increase your wealth, luck or general good looks if you forward it to 10 of your friends.

Having said that, there is a person who I worked with who I would NEVER have expected receiving such an email from. In fact, she was one of the most savvy people I have ever met. So one day I get an email message from her, looking surprisingly similar to a cute email. However after reading it it became apparent why she sent it. It is a letter claimed to be written by a rather self-confident 8-year-old boy named Danny Dutton from Chula Vista , CA. The claim is that he wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to "explain God."

I have since "Snoped" the article and it appears that although suspect, it is indeed difficult to determine who in fact was the original pen of this story. Snopes says it might be written by someone who meant to have been read as if "from the mouth of babes" solely for added poignancy, but in any case I still find it worth posting about. And that's why this is called BarryBlog. I decide. Again, the article's been around since 1993, but you might not have seen it — and as I've stated, is worth a post, so in my estimation worth a look.


"One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

"God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.

"God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

"Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church. Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

"His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

"You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time." "You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God!

"Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway. "If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared, in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

"But...you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

And...that's why I believe in God."

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Apple's Highly Anticipated iRack

On the heels of the highly anticipated Apple iPhone launch, Apple does it once again...BarryBlog readers...I bring you the remarkable...iRack.

( via James H )

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Prototyping The Carbohydrate Car

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The Most-Praised Generation Goes to Work

From a rather telling article in the April 20th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Zaslow makes tangible a reality that's now being felt in workplaces all over the country. He states that childhood in recent decades has been defined by parents who see their job as building self-esteem, by soccer coaches who give every player a trophy, and by schools that promote “student of the month” rather liberally. With a wife as a K12 teacher, I hear this over and over how student's are never wrong, and so the teacher must be at fault. In the workplace, a boss must be unreasonable to ask someone to show up to work on time, or to stay an occasional late night.

Zaslow states “Now, as this greatest generation grows up, the culture of praise is reaching deeply into the adult world. Bosses, professors and mates are feeling the need to lavish praise on young adults, particularly twenty-somethings, or else see them wither under an unfamiliar compliment deficit.”
This is an interesting article for those over twenty-somethings and twenty-somethings alike, as it just might provide perspective regarding differences colleagues have at times. Especially if the two parties really consider what not growing up as they did might really look like. Suffice it to say if I didn’t believe in myself growing up, nobody would. A bit of a twist on today.

Read the whole story here.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Helvetica: The Documentary

This evening I saw a screening of Helvetica, the documentary film by Gary Hustwit. Since everyone in the blogasphere has already weighed in on the subject from about every conceivable angle, I really don't have much to contribute to the discussion, other than to say I think it was a great movie. It will amuse and inform both designers and lay-people. I found the movie provided an excellent mix in terms of exposure to both the old guard graphic design set and current designers, though I would have personally enjoyed more exposure to the "next set." All in all Gary Hustwit did a superb job of crafting a great movie. It gives me the bug to make a movie myself.

There's a great interview of Hustwit by Core77, on the campus of USC here. And if you're interested in seeing the movie yourself, here are the screening dates. That's all I got. If you want to get more perspectives, google Helvetica the movie.

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Magical Moments: Boxer Emmanuel Augustus

I realize this is a bit off topic for what BarryBlog typically contributes, but as some of you know one of my true passions is boxing. I'm an avid boxing fan, club fighter and one time fight co-promotor. Having said that, you might assume I've been to and watched quite a few boxing matches in my day. But Emmanuel Augustus was a fighter I came across on ESPN Friday Night Fights who was bobbing and weaving like I've never seen. His two handed punch made me laugh so loud it scared my cats. His description of what it feels like to win a fight is equally as refreshing (literally).

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Gina+Matt: A Creative Match Made in Heaven

Gina+Matt are seriously talented illustrators who've shared a Philadelphia art studio for some 10+ years— and have since shared marriage vows. I've posted on Gina Triplett before, but now she shares the glory with Matt Curtius. You'll enjoy their fresh, colorful, dreamy work. I sure do.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Julia Rothman: Book By Its Cover Blog

Book By Its Cover blog features the personal book collection of pattern designer and illustrator Julia Rothman. The site also has some great links, and Julia does a great job of linking to places and things she talks about in her posts. I think you'll like it, unless, say, you're an accountant or something. You may also enjoy looking at her super cool personal website and her company's site – Also-Online.

( via Josh at pedestrianmedia )

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Richard Farson: Dynamics of Design

Amazing thinking about the Dynamics of Design, taken from context of a comprehensive commentary called Managament by Design by Richard Farson. I challenge you to read this whole excerpt if you're a designer, and especially if you're in design management, because this will hit the sweet spot and is important critical writing on the subject. If you find value here, read Farson's entire commentary here.

Some designs are endlessly effective. Meetings held at round tables, for example, will never lose their power to distribute participation more evenly. But other design interventions may depend for their power only upon the fact that they stand in sharp contrast to the conventional procedures.

We often forget that almost everything derives its power from its context. A teacher may seem excellent, because so many are mediocre. Honesty is so powerful because it exists against a backdrop of almost constant deception. Similarly, a design may work well only as long as it is different from the conventionality of what existed before. But if it becomes the standard way of functioning, it may lose its power. That is why most new management techniques, seemingly no matter what they are, as long as they are well-intended, work for awhile, and then don’t work. And why constant innovation is the continuing requirement of leadership.

Like leadership, design is dynamic, not static. One cannot design a situation and expect it to work indefinitely. Any design requires constant attention and revision, even a seemingly permanent design, such as a house. Seventy percent of new houses are remodeled within three years. Designs involving human relationships are even more in need of continuing modification and improvement. Organization theorist Charles Hampden-Turner reminds us of the relevance for management of the scene in Alice in Wonderland in which the frustrated characters try to play croquet using live flamingos as mallets, and hedgehogs as balls. The flamingos and hedgehogs keep moving. Such is the case with social design. The designs involve living beings, and they keep moving.

Better designers always involve the eventual participants in the design process. There are strong practical and ethical reasons for that. On the practical side, not only do these participants know much that would improve the design, but their involvement makes them more likely to help make the plan work. They become invested in its success.

The ethical reasons are subtler. For example, when managers know how some act or technique or design they are using is likely to affect an employee, but the employee doesn’t, the managers’ respect for those employees will predictably erode. Knowing that the people are being fooled, the manager is blinded to their genuinely intelligent behavior or creativity. Such deception, therefore, fails in two ways. It harms the deceived, but even more pernicious, it harms the deceiver, through the gradual erosion of respect for others, even for people in general.

One solid rule for managers, therefore, is to operate always so that one’s liking and respect for employees can grow.
That may be the best case for openness in management.

One further caveat. Designs can have unintended consequences, even when they work well. Consider the design decision to establish Casual Fridays at work, where dress codes were relaxed. Although the change was quickly embraced, the executives who made such changes were surprised to find that instead of gratitude from the employees, they were deluged with new complaints and demands. Why not casual every day? If we can make this change, why not some others long overdue? The change produced rising expectations, as almost every positive management action does. Managers, like athletes or soldiers, cannot relax after success, but must be always ready for a quick turn of events, for the unintended consequences and inevitable paradoxes of leadership.
If embracing a design mentality seems a tall order, a major departure from what managers are now doing, perhaps it helps to remember that, in any field, those who are still doing what they were trained to do are obsolete.

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BDDW: heirloom quality solid wood furniture

BDDW—A small company in Williamsburg Brooklyn, creating highly crafted and timeless furniture designs, one at a time, each by hand. Constantly producing new and innovative work, Tyler Hays (painter and sculptor) and Joshua Vogel (architect and craftsman) are known for their heirloom quality solid wood furniture, traditionally joined, in select domestic hardwoods. Beautiful stuff at prices I'm sure to not be able to afford. Worth a look.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Readymech Flatpacks: Fast. Flat. Free.

Readymech— from the talented gang at FWIS (and famed COVERS blog) is a site full of ready-to-print flatpack toys. Why do they do it? How can it be free? Only they know for sure. But if you count yourself as one of the lucky few with brief windows of time to burn during the workday, give this site a spin. Just don't be jammin' any heavy card stock through the $60,000.00 laser printer, or you'll be the talk of the office. And boy DO they talk.

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RSS: A No-Nonsense Explanation

Creativetech blog's Lee LeFever has put together a no-nonsense video to explain what RSS is. Now for many of you this is a yawner. But I must admit about a year ago I struggled with this concept for what amounted to about a week of nights trying to understand it. Lee does a great job, so check out the video.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

BLUE VERTIGO: Designer Resources

Macromedia User Group is the origin of this fantastic 1000+ links site, began over 6 years ago. BLUE VERTIGO exists as a service, and asks nothing in return.

It's a valuable list of free, cheap, full commercial and specialty stock photo sites, as well as sounds, clip art, Photoshop brushes, Icons, 3d Poser models, Color Tools, Text Generators, patterns, contest and more.
Some of my favorites are included: stock.xchng, Morguefile, the cool guys at Image*After, and others. A real gem.

( via the go-to JA at R29 )

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Teresa Amabile: 6 Creativity Myths.

Competition Beats Collaboration: True or False?

FALSE. There's a widespread belief, particularly in the finance and high-tech industries, that internal competition fosters innovation. In her surveys,
Teresa Amabile, head of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and one of the country's foremost explorers of business innovation found that creativity takes a hit when people in a work group compete instead of collaborate.

The most creative teams are those that have the confidence to share and debate ideas. But when people compete for recognition, they stop sharing information. And that's destructive because nobody in an organization has all of the information required to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.
Eight years ago Amabile began working with a team of PhDs, graduate students, and managers from various companies, and she collected nearly 12,000 daily journal entries from 238 people working on creative projects in seven companies in the consumer products, high-tech, and chemical industries. She didn't tell the study participants that she was focusing on creativity. She simply asked them, in a daily email, about their work and their work environment as they experienced it that day. She then coded the emails for creativity by looking for moments when people struggled with a problem or came up with a new idea.

You'll be surprised by her findings in this Fast Company article.

( via the uber-linked Swissmiss )

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