Observations.

by Aubrey Johnson

Designer in Residence at Science. Led design @color & @twilio

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The Cost of Design

This has been an intense week for Apple. The most interesting thing, in my opinion, is the reaction to iOS7. I’ve heard negative reactions from ages 12 to 65, male and female alike. The positive responses are mostly surrounded in the features and interactions. The visual, and very impressionable side of the OS, is truly ‘polarizing’ as Apple mentioned.

What I thought would happen to the death-spin the stock has been in (since last September) is that it would turn for the better. I found the leathery and papered interfaces to be, at times, silly. Rumors of a more digital-like interface were exciting.

Instead this week has cost Apple shareholders. At the time of this writing, this week alone has sunk Apple by $18,000,000,000 (that’s billions by the way). That’s the cost of a (perceived) bad design. $18B.

Shareholders read the responses and are concerned that with a poor iteration of...

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Carriers.

Probably the most interesting thing about the Facebook announcement today is that they got AT&T to do a deal with them. Carriers were robbed of $13.9 billion in SMS revenue in 2011 alone. Facebook plays no small part.

A friend who previously led a major division at Nokia said that carriers were, at one point, even refusing to preinstall apps like Facebook because they cannibalize SMS revenue too aggressively.

They’ve obviously garnered the deal because of both the relevancy play (AT&T looks ‘hip’ as they adopt this new technology) and the data usage revenue is likely to be non-trivial. I’m sure all of the high resolution cover images and ads will drain your data allowance. Carriers love selling apps pre installed that increase data usage especially when it allows them to sell their speed as a feature.

If Facebook’s ability to do a deal with a company they are destroying...

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Chances.

I often wonder why an app is launched, to great fanfare, and then almost suddenly dies off. It’s an amazing and fascinating phenomenon and until I moved to Los Angeles, I hadn’t clearly understood why.

There is an industry where there are, much like in technology, investors. They invest in ideas that are not yet proven to result in a hopeful return. They invest large sums of capital into the idea. Better teams get more capital, as they often have a track record of proven results. The capital often helps get even more great, and proven, team members to work on the idea. Sometimes the ideas work, sometimes they’re a flop. The gains from the winners usually fund the next round of budding ideas.

It’s the movie industry. The investors are producers, the teams are actors, actresses and directors. The ideas are scripts and the winners are called Blockbusters. Sounds a lot like the tech...

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