This Guy Has Mapped Music, and Now He Wants to Map Your Mind 

An article from 2014, but new to me. At one point in my life, this would have been a dream job: Cataloging and organizing all the genres of music. I bet it would be great to have a beer with Glen.

 

Most of these are just functional; like “traditional rockabilly”, or “atmospheric black metal”. There are a handful of more creative ones I just made up; my favourites include “fallen angel” and “laboratorio”. I try to only do this when there are no good existing options. But hey, somebody has to name these things.

Now, you can see all the genres mapped out, visually, at Every Noise at Once. So cool! (via Kottke.org)

The Many Shades Of In-Housing 

If you’re spending over a million dollars a year on digital media, you should probably bring at least some of your team in-house. This article gives a nice overview of a couple different levels of in-sourcing.

There are differing reasons why brands think in-housing may be for them. These include a lack of transparency, an interest in understanding more about digital and programmatic, desired cost savings and protection of sensitive or competitive information, among others.

Source: The Many Shades Of In-Housing | AdExchanger

What We Talk About When We Talk About Nagging

I’ve seen this article posted by 3 different people i really respect (all women) today. It’s clearly striking a chord and it’s clearly meaningful and important to those who posted it.

I’ve read it through a couple times and while i am not saying i fully get all the nuances, here’s what i’d offer up as a response.

A) Try reading this again as though you were her partner. Would you not feel completely humiliated if this article were about you? Who would do that to their partner? Perhaps it’s because i’m a guy, but i can’t help feeling sorry for the partner here because there are clearly unspoken expectations that he’s being held to and measured against, expectations that he may not even care about or feel are important but become important because his partner cares about them. The gist is: Why can’t my partner care as *much* about the same things that i care about with the same intensity that i care about them

B) i think she picked a familiar, but gender-loaded example to make her point (housework) and i don’t think that example helps her make her case very well because there’s so much personal preference built into that one. (sidenote: when someone asks for a gift, but then puts some specific boundaries and expectations around it, is it still a gift?  Or,  does it become a task or a job at that point. )

C) As a former academic, i understand the desire to give something more meaning by giving it a new name (by calling it “emotional labor”), but i think the term “emotional labor” is a red herring. Worse, it’s an abstraction where the family should be talking about something real and critical: emotions, desires, hopes, expectations. Being an adult human in a relationship is hard (labor) and it’s emotional because of all the emotions, but i find the term confusing and not useful. Talking about “emotional labor” is good when you’re writing a paper, it’s annoying when you’re trying to get your loved one to understand what you really want

D) The point about the kids seeing a balanced relationship is really important.

E) I wonder if she’s unknowingly sustaining the engendered expectations she’s upset about: “When I brush my daughter’s hair and elaborately braid it round the side of her scalp, I am doing the thing that is expected of me. ” By whom? Who’s setting that expectation? Is it real? Or, is it what the author imagines is expected to be a good parent?

I’m going to read it again. But i think this boils down to something really simple: Please have empathy for what i care about and why i care about. Please respect my feelings. Please be appreciative of what i’m doing for you, for us. In other words, please be a good, loving grateful partner.

This is why we can’t have nice things: Showtime caught mining crypto-coins in viewers’ web browsers 

The JavaScript, which appeared on the sites at the start of the weekend and vanished by Monday, sits between between HTML comment tags that appear to be an insert from web analytics biz New Relic. Again, it is unlikely that an analytics company would deliberately stash coin-mining scripts onto its customers’ pages, so the code must have come from another source – or was injected by miscreants who had compromised Showtime’s systems.

Source: CBS’s Showtime caught mining crypto-coins in viewers’ web browsers • The Register

Token Sales Have Gotten Real Faster than I Thought

Token sales are happening every week now, it seems. I knew they were going to be important, just not this fast. I think we’re still in the first wave where there’s a mix of true believers, legitimate programs and a bit of scamminess.

When TechCrunch runs an article explaining how to do your ICO, you know there’s edging closer to the middle of the early adopters.

 

Further, token sales are not a funding vehicle. While many companies treat them as such — and crow over multi-million-dollar raises that explode in minutes — what they are really doing is floating a cryptocurrency on the open market. With a lot of planning and a lot of luck, these cryptocurrencies can rise in value and, if the token sale is structured correctly, this gives companies a little bit more funding than they had before they started. Without planning, you get a mess.

Source: How to run a token sale | TechCrunch

The Best Nerds are Curious

Love this interview with the guy who created Node.js. Key point: he really followed his curiousity, and worked his ass off. He didn’t graduate from a top CS program, but he got going with the most simple stuff. Combine a big brain, curiosity, the desire to leave it better than you found it, and a super work ethic. You end up with great tech.

I grew up in San Diego, my mom had got an Apple 2C when I was six years old, so I guess I’ve had kind of early access to computers. I’m 36, by the way. So, I kind of came of age just as the internet was coming out. I went to community college in San Diego and then went to UCSD afterward, where I studied math. Then, I went to grad school for Math, in the University of Rochester. Yeah. There, I studied algebraic topology, which was kind of a very abstract subject, that I found very beautiful for a couple of years, but later I got bored of it because it was not so applicable to real life, it seemed. After grad school, well… so, that was a PhD program, and once I realized that I was not wanting to be a mathematician for the rest of my life, I dropped out of that program, and bought a one-way ticket to South America and went there for a year, where I was kind of in starving student mode, and found a job doing some web sites with this guy, Eric. And that’s kind of how my programming career started. It was working on the Ruby on Rails website for a snowboard company.

Source: Episode 8: Interview with Ryan Dahl, Creator of Node.js | Mapping The Journey | Pramod Shashidhara | Podcast

Barclays, HSBC Join Settlement Coin as Bank Blockchain Test Enters New Phase – CoinDesk

This kind of stuff is both super exciting and also mind-melting at the same time. I can see the possibilities, but the complexity of the issues presented here – by the tech, by the industry, by the regulations, by the market acceptance – are astounding. But, what’s really clear to me is that this is another example of how blockchain – distributed authority, decentralized trust, transparent, unhackable – is going to be an incredible leveler.

In that transfer test, the group will explore using a collateralized token, which Jaffrey said could simplify the buying and selling of assets via a complicated network of middlemen down to a single, fiat-based transaction conducted on a blockchain.In short, the collateralized token will be given directly to the owner of the asset, instead of going through the traditional network of clearinghouses.

Source: Barclays, HSBC Join Settlement Coin as Bank Blockchain Test Enters New Phase – CoinDesk

Sticky Note Fatigue and the Fog of Knowledge 

Andy Budd has an interesting take on the over-use (or, perhaps the poor-use) of design exercises and what  he refers to as “sticky note fatigue”. He suggests that business leaders sometimes see the exercises as too far afield of the real work of design.

I’m a believer in the power of exercises and methods used as part of design and strategy workshops. I’ve seen over and over again how the right exercise  idea unlock deep insights and a shared understanding of strategic options. But, when the exercises aren’t led well or the participants aren’t clear about why they’re doing what they’re doing, those exercises feel a lot like all ideas and no action. So, i tend to agree with this point:

Another challenge is confusing the map for the territory, or in this case the activity for the insights. Not all sticky note exercises are created equal. It’s not the sticky notes themselves to blame, but the people who use them badly.

The goal isn’t merely to “do some ‘design thinking'”. The goal is to use these exercises to a) get to some real insights and ideas and b) get closer to alignment on the right problems to solve and the right kinds of solutions to prioritize. It’s the job of the facilitators to create the right focus and the right guidance for the participants.

I like Budd’s suggestion to, essentially, just get on with the design work and put some screens or sketches together. “You can often learn more from a bad first prototype than you can from any number of sticky note exercises.”

In my experience, we’ve generally put the collaborative design work (i.e. the sticky note work) up front. Perhaps we should be blending design work and collaborative design more frequently?

Artefact’s Tools to Drive Behavior Change Strategy 

All good design has a goal. We’re probably most familiar with communication goals (e.g. “Become aware of our brand”, understand a specific thing about our product, click now, etc.). But, when your design work is focused on getting people to change their own behavior in meaningful and challenging ways, it’s a little trickier because of the inherent complexity of getting anyone to get out of their normal lane. It’s a different type of communication that requires informing, challenging, and, well, manipulating. Your design or interface will work on multiple levels beyond perception, including emotional, psychological, rational, etc.

Artefact is one of the best design companies in the world and they’ve been sharing their thinking and methods. Their cards for behavioral change is a good addition to any product or design strategist’s toolbox.

This set of 23 cards was crafted to help designers, researchers, and anyone facing a behavior change challenge, think through strategies to nudge people toward positive behavioral outcomes.  They work particularly well when you have in mind a specific behavior that you want to change (e.g., “We want to get more people to ride the bus,” or, “We want people to stop smoking”).

Source: Behavior Change Strategy Cards – Artefact