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Talking about what matters to you.

7 May

Its been a little while since my last post. I have been up to quite a lot. Here are some of these:

  1. Comedy Improv
  2. Product Management
  3. Contact Improv
  4. Capoeira
  5. Usability of things
  6. Walks around the High Park
  7. Influence Strategies
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The fountains of money

14 Sep

What would you say if I tell you that the water fountains in this picture below are running on money?

Data Fountain

You might think that I am being philosophical about life and things like that. You might even accuse of me being a fan of Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey. But it isn’t the case.

These fountains are working from a live data feed of currency rates. Its refreshed every five seconds, so you can see the fluctuation in the market. (At the moment dollar is not doing well against Yen and Euro.)

What a great way to visually present information. I have talked about Visual Thinking in my last post, but this is taking things a little real-life. Its almost like information becoming alive. Now that’s a wonderful way to present information.

Behind the scene, these fountains are getting data from Internet, that data is fed into processors in embedded devices controlling these fountains. So a machine is talking to another machine and it then interfaces with our world through expressions of water.

Ah! poetry of M2M, mashups, interface design, user experience, embedded devices and beauty.

Now that’s what I call visual Thinking.

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Visual Thinkers ! this is for you.

9 Sep

Are you like me?

Do you describe ideas more visually using back of napkins and small sticky figures, boxes and arrows. There is no idea big enough or complex enough that can not get some help from few lines, words, and pictures. I love to draw concepts.

As part of Product Management responsibilities sometimes this communication skill becomes handy. Development teams, marketing, sales, quality control, and executives they all need to be involved in various elements of my work. I have saved hundreds of hours of useless frustrations by walking up to a whiteboard and drawing few lines and sketches.  Goodness, people love when you just get their idea and rest of the energy is focused on more productive aspects of discussions.

I came across this wonderful technique – sketchcasting by Richard Ziade of Basement.org. Its just amazing and extremely simple. I have already started using it as part of my work and personal life.

Here is the technique in action, where he talks about Product Management trap (double treat for you product management fans out there.”

 

I am currently doing my sketching using mouse and pocket PC, I know its not a convenient way, but till I get my tablet PC its serving my needs.

I will post few of my sketchcasts soon.

 

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Evolutionary Design, or design using evolution – a work in progress

10 Aug

Lets say we met in 1995, and you just got your first email address. What would have been your response if I asked you, “so what do you think this Internet thing will be like in next ten years?” I am sure you could have predicted the whole www web and its changes, and web 2.0, and Google, and YouTube, and Facebook,……. Right!

Evolutionary Design

May be you would have, but I could not? Future is pretty unpredictable.

Now, lets imagine we had a product called Evoneng, the worlds first evolution engine. To use Evoneng, you just put a product, an idea, or a phenomenon in front of it ask it to tell you, what it sees in say 5 years, 10 years or longer. Instead of just crystal balling, it uses the well tested process of nature’s evolution.

EvonEng might have come up with various combinations and we could have predicted trends like global village, social networks, return of craftsmanship etc.

Good idea for some science fantasy, right!

Not really. Its already happening.

Something on these lines is already being developed. I was researching more information on this idea to see what is out there. Here are my references (finds) so far:

Evolution and product design:

http://www.icosystem.com/articles/business/Bonabeau…

Evolution used in game design: Spores

Its a very good example of how evolution is used in game design. Its a bit techy and full of game design jargon but you can appreciate the basic theory and how its implemented in actual design.

Evolution in game design at gamedev.net

http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article1…

Hunch: Eric Bonabeau’s Hunch: is using evolution as part of discovering things.

http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/17397/

and here is Eric’s company that uses evolution, exploration to find drugs for the pharmaceutical industry

http://www.icosystem.com/apps_marketplace.htm

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Next steps

Seeing the interest of so many of you in this subject I have decided to put a detailed post or an article very soon. Check back soon or bookmark this page. For those a bit more technical souls you may click here to subscribe to my RSS Feed.

Keep creating.

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Laughter the best medicine

30 Jan

Here is a video that will make you laugh.

It’s real, no reality TV type real.

Warning:  you might bend with pain so sit tight, turn the volume on, and enjoy.

Pandora of harmony

6 Dec

Ever wonder how a band creates its unique “sound” or what makes a particular song so distinctive?

My favorite online radio, Pandora.com, has created a free series of short recordings (also available as podcasts) to give an inside look at the techniques musicians use to put their signature on the music they write and perform.

Griddle at Pandora

I am in awe for this wonderful, new feature they have added. 

What a smart add-on!

What a great add-on to their already great product – a glue for a true community building.

Take a note you all – web 2.0 enthusiasts, marketing managers, brand managers, music buffs, and owners of (stupid) miles programs at various companies. This is a a way to build a community.

Listen to Pandora.com, listen to musicians tricks and techniques podcast.

 

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Tribes, come join mine

30 Nov

What is your tribe?

You are missing a lot if you only think of a tribe as a genetic group. Nope, its much more than that.

Here are few tribes.

Harvard Business School’s tribe.

Oxford is a tribe.

MIT’s tribe.

North of border, we have Ivey’s tribe.

Schulich’s tribe.

What about advertising industry as a tribe.

What about technology companies as a tribe.

A tribe of European bikers

StarBucks customers – Are they a tribe?

Harley Davidson owner’s are a tribe, we know that but what about Jeep Wrangler owners. Oh yeah, they are a tribe. Drive in a wrangler and you will see how many jeep owners wave at you.

Baseball team fans – Are they a tribe?

Mac owners are a tribe. Sure they will go at length to even sip coffee at Mac-mindset-alike place. (translate: anti-establishment, creative-type, geeky-with-soul)

Is there any difference between these tribes and old tribes? Are we proud of our associations with these tribes? Are we protective of our associations?

Close, preserving, and conservative cultures seem more of tribal nature than aggressive ones. Canada is more tribal than US, but less tribal than UK, and Australia.

You don’t even know some of these tribes until you are up against one.

So, now here is the question? Would you like to join my tribe?