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Here are some items that are Merge-worthy but I haven’t had a chance to develop into full posts (and I want to get them out there while they’re still relevant).
But first, a big shout out to the Twin Cities Creatives’ Group for the great lunch session on Thursday to discuss design and entrepreneurship. Thanks for the invitation and the rich discussion!
Alissa Walker speaks with Daniel Pink
A smart, inquisitive journalist with a fresh voice, the ubiquitous Alissa Walker is one of my favorite writers on design. She seems to pop up all over the design landscape: her Designerati blog on FastCompany.com is a reliable source of industry buzz, and her recent interview on Dwell.com with Daniel Pink probes the best-selling author’s breakthrough thinking on creativity in business. Pink, best known for A Whole New Mind, has new book on career management called The Adventures of Johnny Bunko—The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. Bunko, while a bit thin on content, is an absolute triumph of form, especially in the usually flat business publishing category. He worked with illustrator Rob Ten Pas to create a riveting graphic novel. Very cool!
Chris Anderson on the new economy
I’ve described Wired’s Editor in Chief in a previous post as a consistently clear voice on the new online economy, and I found this recent essay in Wired to be particularly prescient. Anderson joins the growing chorus of those who see our current economic challenges as a time of opportunity for entrepreneurs. “To all the usual reasons why small companies have an advantage,” he writes, “from nimbleness to risk-taking, add these new ones: The rise of cloud computing means that young firms no longer have to buy their own IT equipment, which helps them avoid having to raise money or take on debt.” Anderson goes on to discuss “involuntary entrepreneurship,” or the result of the tens of thousands of laid off workers pouring into the market.
Starbucks campaign taps online media
This NYTimes article analyzes the new Starbucks ad campaign that takes a novel approach to viral marketing. The campaign challenges people to take pictures of the new posters—being launched in six U.S. cities—and be the first to post a photo on Twitter. Frankly this doesn’t seem to me like a breakthrough creative concept, but it is an indication of how major consumer brands are beginning to think about how to utilize social media to enhance their more conventional promotions.
Just an observation…
If you’re writing (or designing) a book in the business publishing category and you want it to stand out on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, choose a color other than orange for the cover.
Designers interested in entrepreneurship would be wise to get familiar with Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. In 2004 Anderson coined the phrase “The Long Tail” which describes the niche strategy of businesses that sell a large number of unique items, each in relatively small quantities. The Long Tail phenomenon is being played out a million times over by ambitious entrepreneurs on the web. Related to this, Anderson is a proponent of online advertising as a way for web-based start-up businesses to generate revenue, become viable, and find their place in the “tail.”
The Long Tail actually stems from some pretty complex economic and statistical theories from the mid-twentieth century. Wikipedia has a good overview.
But the best way I’ve found to get a quick primer on Long Tail economics as it pertains to entrepreneurs today is this short video:
This short clip of Chris Anderson at a MediaBistro conference gives a preview of his thinking and energy.
Anderson writes a popular and informative blog called (of course) The Long Tail, which I’ll place in the Merge Blogroll. Also here’s a link to his book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.
In fairness, there is much debate about how and whether Anderson’s vision will materialize given the light-speed evolution of social networking and the potential ramifications this will bring, but if you are a designer looking for ways to launch a new venture, don’t ignore this guy.