From 41 Shades of Blue to Material Design: The Evolution of Google’s Design Sensibilities

Way back in 2009, the exit of Google’s then design chief, Douglas Bowman, resulted in an unexpectedly entertaining look at the inner workings of one of the fastest growing companies the world has ever seen. In his eloquently worded goodbye letter to Google, Bowman described his frustrations.

As Google was a company of engineers, founded by engineers, and managed by engineers, even simple decisions become futile exercises demanding empirical knowledge before proceeding. The epitome of this “paralysis by analysis” was highlighted in a New York Times article at the time focusing on Marissa Mayer, who was leading Google’s search team before later leaving for Yahoo. Mayer infamously required empirical evaluation of 41 different shades of blue for a toolbar. Continue reading “From 41 Shades of Blue to Material Design: The Evolution of Google’s Design Sensibilities”

“Existential” Risk Management for Artificial Intelligence (or just a little too much navel gazing?)

One of the great themes in science fiction is the fear that the machines we humans have created will someday lead to our own enslavement or even extinction. As research into artificial intelligence (AI) exploded following Turing’s breakthroughs, the concept of self-awareness in non-organic manmade objects elicited a sort of existential dread.

Update: See below for yet another take on the existentialist implications of future AI developments…

If advanced reasoning, self-awareness and abstract thought are considered to be primary distinctions between the cognitive abilities of humans and animals, what would it mean if our machines attained similar function? In my mind, this mental exploration is similar to what the existential impact of receiving clear and unambiguous evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Continue reading ““Existential” Risk Management for Artificial Intelligence (or just a little too much navel gazing?)”

How to create the Ultimate Mission Statement for your business (or jazz up your existing one)

Mission statements are like press releases—there are established writing conventions that apply. If you don’t nail the format just right, it will stick out like a sore thumb, and all your hard work will be for naught.*

Whether you are CEO or president, in marketing, or were drafted to your company’s official Mission Statement Committee, your best bet is to play it safe. That means using plenty of jargon to impress upon others that your company “gets it.” Continue reading “How to create the Ultimate Mission Statement for your business (or jazz up your existing one)”

Growth in demand for Consulting demonstrated in stock price of publicly traded ICFI

There are a lot of small businesses that self-identify as consultants. Like quality and beauty, the definition of what a consultant is depends entirely on the perspective of the observer. Most so-called consultants are actually just independent contractors or subcontractors providing outsourced labor. In my opinion, a true consultant is one who improves their client’s situation.

In the same way that few parents actively encourage their children to skip college to pursue joining the building trades, not too many folks pressure their offspring to become management consultants. Continue reading “Growth in demand for Consulting demonstrated in stock price of publicly traded ICFI”

On Quality: Apple has already tested 30,000 iPhone 6 devices

My wife recently upgraded to an iPhone 6 after nearly three years of using an iPhone 4S. The device is stunningly beautiful.

For the most part, Apple is renowned for its quality. I had some issues when I first got my iPhone 5, but those seem to be resolved. Makes me wonder, though, what exactly does Apple’s quality management program looks like? Continue reading “On Quality: Apple has already tested 30,000 iPhone 6 devices”

A new medium for communicating: Nancy Duarte’s “Slidedocs”

Mitch Joel, podcaster, blogger, and digital marketing agency thought leader, recently featured the incomparable Nancy Duarte on the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. She leads the world’s greatest presentation design firm, Duarte, which has been responsible for producing such noteworthy presentations for folks like David Allen (of Getting Things Done fame), ESPN, Twitter, Citrix, Michael … Continue reading A new medium for communicating: Nancy Duarte’s “Slidedocs”