Explaining nothing

Often people ask me about tweets or posts or other utterances they run across and don’t understand. I thought I’d mention a few recurring themes that may provide some context for some of these things.

I’ve spent a lifetime studying design and designing things. Many things I’ve designed are “soft” as in software design and features, web apps and the like. Many are not, like wooden trays, houses, cities, fixtures, furniture, lamps, etc.

Working with electrons is very different than working with atoms. Atoms are expensive in ways that electrons are not. There is a finality to their current state that informs their use, and within the act of creation there is an alteration that may only occur once for that object in its lifetime. For example, each piece of wood is different. There might be similar, but none alike. Ruin the piece and it is gone forever. Electrons lack permanence. They are etherial, coming and going at seemingly their own whim. They require “backup” and other schemes to preserve the designs intent and ensure orderly availability of some collection of electrical impulses when they are desired.

And so there is a balance to be found in working with both. They both require patience and tolerance from me. They both demand attention and care and thoughtfulness. But I can put my hands on and smell and touch the atoms and so the experience of building with them is very different. Bringing the design to life is a key part of the process for me. Design on paper or CAD or pencil sketch is just thinking. The execution is just as important to me.

Here’s Jon Ives talking about some of his (currently) recent work. And here I pass on some advice to my team about things that inform my approach to work… and my off the cuff response to how things are going.

And some of it is pure tech. Can’t help you there. Look up some terms of you care to… although if you’re interested I’m willing to help but mostly, people wave and say “it’s over my head.” So not true.

And then there’s cycling stuff. Most of you follow that, though there can be obtuse references like 3391.


(I love grain edit!) Allez!

Anyway, there are some of the circular themes that don’t seem obvious from the outside, but are obvious from the inside. I expect that explains almost nothing.

3 thoughts on “Explaining nothing

    • Back when I studied architecture, we had to design a city as a final project. Talk about making trade-offs. Anyway, first design was ok, second was passable, third was beginning to work…

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