Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Digtial is the new color

I listened to an NPR podcast today about Hollywood's reluctance to embrace color filming back when black and white was the standard. A lot has changed and the film industry is experiencing an evolution backed by digital video and equipment and software. The power of the Red One camera enabled this beautiful film that was shot at 120 fps. It demonstrates the power and quality that is more readily accessible to the average filmmaker.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So Many Solutions

I've become fascinated with design and engineering over the past few months. As a trend design aesthetics have become an important part of a product experience. With the advent of the iPod there has been a shift towards creating something that looks great and provides a superior experience. I think this change has been a long time coming and is a better, more comprehensive way to create a product experience.

I recently started using Fantastic Contraption, a website that allows you to create devices to solve problems. It's a game for engineers, but it was also a fascinating lesson in the psychology of design. The objective is to move an object into a goal area. The premise is to construct a device using gears and materials to overcome gravity and obstacles. Any physics fanatic or mechanical engineer would enjoy the challenge.

The best part about the game is that you can share contraptions that you've built with your friends and fellow builders. What is most interesting is how people come up with such a diverse array of solutions to the same problem using the same materials. It amazed me to see how people think so differently in achieving a common goals. Give it a try and after you solve a puzzle be sure to see how others designed their contraptions.

Check it out for yourself:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Designing a Merman

Designing products based on something that exists in nature is nothing new. It's funny though because whenever I see a new invention that was derived from an animal part or something I've seen while hiking, I always wonder 'why I hadn't thought of that?'

Here's a great example; a new flipper engineered from studying a dolphin. It is attached to your feet and can propel a human up to 8 mph under water. It seems to me like there are a lot of good ideas right under our noses yearning to inspire design. I think this is a great example of how we can increase our creative efficiency. The Lunocet reminded me how evolving or developing something that already exists is great design strategy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Being interesting means something is worth thinking about. It seems obvious enough. Creating an experience that engages your viewer is too often over looked. I always wondered how those ridiculous car commercials make it to air, you know, the ones where some guy is yelling at me to buy now with 0 down and a low apr. Then we started to see commercials that told a story; they would engage their audience.

Interesting is often described as not being fully understood; it's good to be mysterious, unexplained or random. Interesting isn't the same thing as entertaining. Interesting, however, means something is worth thinking about after it's happened. It means being memorable and engaging. David Costillo not only explains this point; he demonstrates it. He sets the tone for the Interesting Conference, where you can check out the thoughts of a few other interesting people.

Interesting from David Castillo on Vimeo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Spreading Great Ideas

There are a few things in Seth's TED talk (posted below) that resonate with me.

1. Innovators and the early adopters are the people who spread great ideas; they are the influencers and the viral contingent who help disseminate great ideas to the masses.

2. We are creatures of variety; create things that are remarkable, literally, they should make people remark and create discussion.

3. Brands must find ways speak to the people who care about their products or services; this is the way to break through all the noise and reach people inundated with too many options and too little time to listen.

4. Create, innovate; and most importantly, take risks.

A great product or idea will sell itself, right? Maybe, but people who spread their ideas win. We can try to spread our ideas to the masses using TV, but these people aren't paying attention. So what if our strategy is to target the people who care, the enthusiasts and people who are passionate about a product; they are the ones will do it great justice, the ones who will spread the idea. I mute commercials, but I will rave about how great the photo quality and customer service is at Canon. Be risky, create something remarkable & target people who care.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You're Not Past Your Prime

Creativity is a passion of mine. I try to get my hands dirty as often as I can. I have my hands in a variety of different mediums like film, design, sculpture, textile, painting, photography & writing and I think it's safe to say that I'm not a prodigy in any of those fields. This is fine by me because I see myself more as a determined, hard worker than a natural genius; which is why this article by Gladwell that I recently stumbled upon makes good sense.

Gladwell gives a speech at Columbia and discusses a theory by Galenson stating that the creative person is one of two types; either a genius who peaks in his mid twenties or a late bloomer who earns his master piece after perfecting his work over a lifespan. It's actually kind of funny because he compares Fleetwood Mac to the Eagles and then goes on to compare Picasso & Cizanne, Melville &
Twain, Welles & Hitchcock, even Apple & Dell; each is an example of an early success and a late success. The difference between these two trains of thought is that the first knows their great idea and the second keeps working until they have something great. Galeson's book Old Masters & Young Geniuses highlights the life of innovators and artists to demonstrate how their creative thinking develops and becomes tangible.

For me it was reaffirming that I can still release my inner-genius even though I'm older than 26.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bright Minds Align

This past July 17th PSFK threw a conference out in San Francisco that brought together some great thinkers to talk about evolving trends. Discussions hovered around how to inspire people, thinking intelligently and how to develop great ideas. I caught up with a few of the speakers and put together the following film to summarize a few of the key learnings.