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I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop at the recent AIGA Gain Conference in NYC along with the amazing Mateo Neri. As promised, here are some references related to the remarkably rich and dynamic discussion we had that day—special thanks to all in attendance for your great contributions!
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
- The Design Entrepreneur by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico
- Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
- AVC: Musings of a VC in NYC by Fred Wilson
- 30 Second MBA on FastCompany.com
- The New Entrepreneur on BusinessWeek.com
3 Twitter “Follows:”
3 Random Resources
I’ve sited INC. Magazine in the past as a reliable resource for entrepreneurial info, and I was pleased to see that they seem to have refreshed their web presence recently with a variety of content and media upgrades. I particularly enjoy the Slideshows section, which is a collection of top 10 (or 20 or 30) lists with a refreshingly cool visual presentation using, of all things, illustration (remember when we used to hire illustrators to make cool art???). One Slideshow that intrigued me was this list of 18 Best Industries for Starting a Business Right Now. While some of the industries are predictable, and others are simply not a great opportunity for the creative set (medical technology, accounting services), others are surprising, intriguing, and very much in need of design thinking: education technology (we know how void of design the average classroom is), candy (who knew the confectionery industry grew 3.7 percent in the last year?), and yoga products and services (as a yoga beginner myself, I can attest to the dire need for innovation here).
Energy and Green Construction also appear on the INC. Slideshow and I’ve always considered communication designers to be ahead of the curve in incorporating green strategies into our work through a sensitivity to the materials we use. While breezing through the Alltop directory recently, I came across this dizzying (but really amazing) list of 200 Green Business Ideas compiled by blogger Meredith Gossland from the Green Business website. A few minutes of editing could probably have trimmed Meredith’s list in half, or so, nonetheless, it’s a thought-provoking overview and worth checking out.
As discussed previously in this space, iPhone app development is whipping through the creative industry like a wildfire. Apple just announced that the 1 billionth app had been downloaded, and with the upcoming release of the new iPhone 3Gs, this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. The relative simplicity of the programming process and the “plug & play” merchant functionality of the Apple store, makes this a tantalizing opportunity for entrepreneurs in the creative world. Even in the last few weeks I’m coming across more and more designers who are taking the plunge into this market with their own app concepts.
But how are designers actually accomplishing the development work on these apps? Even as simple as Apple has made it, this process is still way beyond my ability—and I’m guessing most communication designers are in a similar boat. What I’m seeing is the emergence of a sub-specialty of web development focused on iPhone app work, and I’m seeing more developers promoting themselves in this way. One firm that is building a strong presence in this area is The Nerdery (formerly known as Sierra Bravo) based in Minneapolis, who are producing a series of educational events and resources to help designers, developers, and…really anyone with a cool app concept, get their ideas off the ground. I recently sat in on The Nerdery’s Agency iPhone Primer webinar and found it to be an excellent intro to the process. Here’s the presentation deck for that session:
Follow Up to my Government Policy Post
Bruce Nussbaum of BusinessWeek had an intriguing response to the announcement that A.G. Lafley will be stepping down as CEO of Proctor & Gamble: “President Obama, make Lafley Chief Innovation Officer.” Lafley is regarded as one of the pioneers of corporate innovation in the consumer goods category.
Since launching Merge a few months back, I have felt compelled to investigate the business publishing genre, which I had mostly avoided until then except for the occasional Malcolm Gladwell offering. With the rare exception, I find these books to be mind-numbingly boring, often having only a few salient points to make, but dragging the reader through hundreds of pages of redundancy. Can’t they just distribute a one-page summary via PDF and save us all a lot of time?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Dan Pink’s new book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, which breaks out of this category with vigor by using the format of a graphic novel to convey the otherwise stale message of how to how to revive your career (I just found the video below for a Hollywood-style “trailer” for the book, kinda cool). By blending the fresh and sassy attitude of the graphic novel with the practical nuts and bolts of the business book, Pink has hit on a winning formula.
Another resource that applies a creative storytelling approach is the website Lateral Action which discusses the creative economy and veers into some interesting entrepreneurial topics geared toward creative professionals. Developed by a collaborative team of Mark McGuinness, Tony Clark, and Brian Clark, three veteran creative pros, they haven’t quite pulled the whole online experience together from the visual perspective, but the site is rich with content and the writing is very engaging, often using fictional characters and narrative storytelling to convey their message. One of my favorite posts, entitled The Kurt Cobain Guide to Startup Success, analyzes the late indie rock icon as an entrepreneurial visionary. An animated video series follows the fictional character of Lou through a career makeover.
Thanks to Dan Wallace of Ideafood for the tip on Lateral Action.