Joshua Platt

“If you aren’t solving a problem then you aren’t designing.”

— Kyle Steed

“When we try to get ideas out there, we have to understand it’s not just the idea that matters. The marketing, the business, and more have to be designed with just as much detail. It’s our job to figure all these parts of this ecosystem out.”

— Bill Buxton

Michael Schechter on Free Services

“If Facebook buying Instagram pissed you off, I have a suggestion. Don’t just stop using Instagram, stop using free social networks and services period. Stop using sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare or Pinterest, because it is a given that they will all inevitably let you down in favor of the bottom line1. More often than not, when you actually quit a service, it’s not because they were evil. It’s just because they either became useless or boring. The reality is that you’re not going to stop using services that are useful to you2. You’re just going to waste time switching from one company to the next until your latest service inevitably falls short or sells out.”

— Michael Schechter

From Stop Crying About Free Services.

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“When a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility.”

— C.S. Lewis

On Rdio

I was in high school when iTunes was first released. I stayed up until 2 am carefully crafting my first playlist from ripped CDs. Tracks were added based on how they fit the mood of the playlist. The last note of each track had to flow into the first note of the next. The finishing touch was a pseudo-poetic title like “as we lay dying”. The next school day I shared my freshly burned playlist with friends. I was overjoyed to find they too had been up all night creating playlists. Sharing with friends was how I found new music. Actually, sharing music was how I made friends. Many joy filled memories from high school are tied to sharing playlists.

“Rdio is bringing the joy back. They have captured that intrinsic characteristic of music which is community.”

While iTunes is a fantastic tool, and still the primary way I acquire music, it does not connect with that joy anymore. For want of a better word, it’s become closed. Music wants to be shared. It wants to be social and part of a community. Apple tried with Ping, but they got it backwards. It focused too much on the artist.

Rdio, in my humble opinion, has made a brilliant move. Their new interface puts greater focus on the human side. They’ve made it simpler to share and discover music with your friends. Rdio is bringing the joy back. They have captured that intrinsic characteristic of music which is community. For me that is the key to Rdio fitting into my life. It replaces Pandora and Pitchfork, not iTunes. I still intend to buy music to support the artist. $5 a month is a bargain for getting the joy of sharing and discovering music back as far as I’m concerned.

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Product Storytellers

“A product is more than an idea, it’s more than a website, and it’s more than a transaction or list of functionalities. A product should provide an experience or service that adds value to someone’s life through fulfilling a need or satisfying a desire. The ultimate question then becomes: who identifies that value? After the executive or stakeholder identifies the initial idea, who in the organization ensures that the product and experience deliver value to the user? Maybe it isn’t the product manager, marketer, technologist, or designer; perhaps what we need is a new role: the product storyteller.”

— Sarah Doody

Sarah does an excellent job explaining something I’ve been lobbying for the past year. Products can’t just be the manifestation of a feature list. They tell a story. They engage the user and carry them on a journey. That’s why we need more storytellers at the heart of each product development team. I agree 100% with Sarah that we need a new role to make the most of this idea: Product Storytellers.

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“Sometimes 1 pixel makes all the difference in the world.”

— Ryan Essmaker