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Recent Links – 3.10.09

March 10, 2009
  • I’m fascinated by Mumbai’s dabbawalla system, in which an intricate — and very low-tech — delivery system gets home cooking from home to work each day. With competition from international chains and local businesses competing for a share of the food business, the dabbawallas’ business is actually increasing.
  • “I’m not so sure it isn’t … a fatal blunder for the entire business model Kindle is predicated on. For the moment a Kindle-formatted work becomes decoupled from Kindle, the object, it becomes fungible, just another kind of digital document – less like a book & more like an mp3, in other words. I can use it on this device, I can use it on that device. Where have I seen that pattern before? And how much in the way of constraint am I willing to put up with in my music files? Perhaps more to the point, how much am I willing to pay for them? All of a sudden, the DRM & pricing models which had seemed marginally acceptable – & I do mean marginally – in return for the convenience of a bespoke device/service experience are revealed as the absurdly overbearing impediments they are. … And the genius Kindle/Whispernet integration, which points so clearly toward the only sustainable future of product/service value propositions … only works to Amazon’s advantage if I get to experience it.”
  • “‘I was sitting at a big dinner in Pacific Heights recently, and I told my hostess I was a designer. “Oh,” she said. “So what do you think of my curtains?”‘ That, Kelley says, is not where we’re going. ‘You’re sitting here today because we moved from thinking of ourselves as designers to thinking of ourselves as design thinkers,’ he continues. ‘What we, as design thinkers, have, is this creative confidence that, when given a difficult problem, we have a methodology that enables us to come up with a solution that nobody has before.'”
  • “The issue is wrapped in a prim plastic sleeve, but the lurid electric blue display copy still leaps from the page: Shocking! Controversial! Quilts! Quilts? As in, ‘Shocking Quilts: We Show You the Controversial Patchwork.’ Advertised right on the cover of Quilter’s Home. (The magazine’s other cover lines: ‘5 Popular Appliqué Glues Put to the Test,’ ‘Read This Before Buying That Longarm.’)”
  • “My friends and I often have this discussion: when did it become so cool to be dumb? Perhaps it’s just because I’m a big nerd who ran with a crowd of big nerds, but my school experience was much like Knight’s: ‘Everyone I knew felt the same way: the acquisition of knowledge wasn’t regarded as naff or nerdy; being clever was seen as cool, and being thick as embarrassing.’ It wasn’t considered a badge of honor to be a complete idiot; being smart, or at least working hard in school, meant that you had a better shot of getting the hell out of my shitkick town, and people respected that.”
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    3 Comments leave one →
    1. Jake permalink
      March 20, 2009 3:11 pm

      Kindle for iPhone:

      Amazon’s real objective is to own e-Books. This adds value to the “Kindle platform” by introducing it to iPhone users. This may encourage people to buy a Kindle for readability. You have the convenience in multiple devices. And if the expected Apple Netbook is a readable alternative to Kindle, gee, poor Amazon just gets paid for each book you buy. If they control electronic distribution at the cost of the hardware platform, Bezos will be able to live with that.

      The Kindle business model is the classic “Razorblades” model, the opposite of the iPod model. If your blades work on the other guy’s razor, well, that’s just fine.

    2. March 20, 2009 4:44 pm

      I’m a semi-serious blogger and still think that losing most of our print journalism is a disaster. What blogger is going to knock on doors and risk his/her ass following a story? Consequently without the traditional media and in particular the online half of print media companies, blogs have very little original content.

      • March 20, 2009 5:23 pm

        Yeah, this is my point. People whine about the death of print journalism, and while the “print” part of the equation is screwed, the “journalism” part shouldn’t be! Why can’t more online orgs provide the support for those people who ARE willing to take that risk? That part of the business model doesn’t change. Someone still has to find the facts; someone still has to write about ’em, and someone still has to keep an org’s credibility intact. (Try not to laugh too hard on that one; it’s still true.)

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