Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Talking ‘Bout Media and Design

I don’t really have it in me this week to write for any length on any one subject. That, however, doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading lots of great stuff (which, by the way, you can keep up with via the RSS feed). So, since I don’t have much of interest to add at the moment, how about others’ interestingness (and who knows, a little might rub off on me).

1. First up is a little writing from Matt Haughey. Matt’s hit the nail on the head with a recent article titled “Rambling and blogging and TV. In it, Matt compares the current TV downloading thing to blogging, suggesting that in the same way bloggers filter massive amounts of news, sites like YouTube filter massive amounts of television. The point he makes (and one that has some media 2.0 ramifications) is that sharing of clips helps TV, it doesn’t hurt it. He explains:

Like Napster, there are positive sides to this kind of loose fair use/infringement. It’s only because things are so lax that everyone and their brother saw the Chronicles of Narnia SNL spoof video, and SNL ratings definitely saw a spike in the shows that followed (and I noticed SNL tried to capitalize on this by putting Andy Samberg in more skits and letting cast members do funny little videos for the two following episodes).

[For those of you looking for a link to the SNL Chronicles of Narnia rap, aka Lazy Sunday, here it is on Google Video.]

Maybe unlike the music industry, television networks will think a little bit before they fight a battle they can’t win. Don’t just cry foul and whine about people stealing your content: do something about it! Think about how you can change with people, not fight against them. One incredibly simple idea that just came to mind is to help people share content. If SNL had posted a high-quality video of the Chronicles of Narnia rap and attached a short ad to the front or backend, it still would have been shared. Now I don’t know that that’s necessarily a great idea, but it took three seconds. Consider what media companies could come up with if you gave them a little more time (and some help from professionals).

2. I really like Jan Chipchase’s site. Jan explores areas that may seem miniscule and inconsequential at first (like a morning commute) and by digging deep enough finds some valuable insights and thought fodder. It’s a look at the user experience of everyday life. There’s some great thinking going on over at the site and I highly recommend it. (Another interesting recent entry is this one about a cell phone targeted at the elderly, it’s got a slider that people can write numbers on by hand if they’re not comfortable with the phone’s built in electronic phonebook.)

3. In other design-related news I’ve been loving the Japanese design magazine/blog PingMag lately. I have two favorite recent entries: The first is an interview with Oded Ezer an Israeli typographer who has done some absolutely amazing work. The second is a look at cigarette packaging in Japan. As a sidenote, typography’s been a serious interest lately and I can’t quite figure out why. I think it’s just fascinating. Maybe because I see it as one of the most overlooked details of design. Every literate person deals with typography thousands of times a day and probably doesn’t think twice about it. We read signs, books, license plates and websites, but how often do we stop to look at how the type is arranged. Bad typography’s easy to spot because it’s hard to read, but the great stuff often goes unnoticed. (Alright, enough of that tangent.)

4. Over at Whitespace the other day, a question was posed: “What’s the one quality in a persona labeled as a leader you look for?” My answer is passion. Yeah, you can have a passionate leader without vision or integrity, but could you work for a visionary leader without any passion? Can you be a visionary without passion? Anyway, I’d like to leave everyone here with the same question. Whattdya think? What’s the one quality in a person labeled as a leader you look for?

Update (2/19/06): Added a link to Lazy Sunday on Google Video.

February 17, 2006