Monthly Archives: March 2013

My rubber duck’s recorder.

On the way home after the first post on this blog, I was thinking that in a short while there is a huge chance that the things I write here will get embarrassingly obsolete. There is also a huge chance that the words I write here have not the same weight as they do in my head.

There is a code debugging method in programming called Rubber Ducking. Let’s say the programmer is trying to find what is wrong with his code. He has written the code based in a certain logic, which makes perfect sense in his head, and “there is absolutely no reason why it would not work”. After various line-by-line scanning attempts, him and a rubber duck, will have a serious sit down, where the programmer will tell the duck what is trying to do and how he is trying to do it. In details.

The process of speaking to an inanimate object will give the programmer the chance to listen to himself and perceive the dissonance between his actions and beliefs. And find the bug.

I wish this blog will be my rubber duck on the conceptual technology thoughts that rise while in reverie.

Paving the way for the short-film : branding


I get very excited every time I see an argument that supports the idea of this short-film I’m working on.

Without mentioning what it is about, I want to start making sense of it by throwing here some posts found elsewhere to equip forthcoming debates.

Here is  why branding is an artifact of the past, by Brian Millar. In this post, he compares branding to “flat-earth theory” 🙂

Some important quotes (the bolding was up to me):

In Mary Poppins, we learn about Mr. Banks, the children’s father, and what he does for a living.

“He sat on a large chair in front of a large desk and made money. All day long he worked, cutting out pennies and shillings and half-crowns and threepenny-bits. And he brought them home with him in his little black bag.”

It’s a charming way to describe something that only a small child, and possibly Robert Mugabe, could ever believe: That you can make money by literally making money.

Yet many people seem happy to apply this Mary Poppins logic to branding: Brands are valuable, so you need to go to work to make brands. There’s a category mistake at work here. Money isn’t valuable because the paper it’s made of is valuable. It’s valuable because we all agree it’s valuable. Society creates that value, not the printing presses or the mints or the chaps in storybooks who cut pound notes out with scissors.

So we go to work to make things and do stuff that people value, and are willing to pay money for. Similarly, to build a brand your organization needs to do and say things that people find valuable.

But it’s consumers who create the value intrinsic in brands: We all judge companies by the things they say, the things they do, and how those two things match up.

Another one:

But the more we understand about the way that consumers make choices, the less brand thinking and traditional brand-tracking research make sense. Brand tracking often makes artificial distinctions for consumers that really don’t model the way we make a buying decision. They ask things like: Does A wash whites better than B? Which performs best on coloured clothes? They rarely give consumers an option that says, Meh. I just don’t care.

And this:

So the classic simplified branding model, where you make a promise, deliver on the promise, and then repeat the process, actually worked pretty well. Now the situation is a lot more complicated. Consumers don’t just form opinions in their own minds any more. Instead, we have conversations. And one vociferous consumer who, say, writes a song about your airline can earn a louder voice than the biggest brand can buy. So brands are even less of a property than they used to be.

It seems branding is overrated these days. Keep it somewhere you won’t forget 🙂


I heart alternatives to touching a screen…

…simply because it bothers me having anything between my eye and what I’m looking at (even if it’s my own finger). Those milliseconds I can’t see what I have just decided to choose/click/touch in an interface remind me that fingertips are not 1×1 pixels wide – as discreet mouse pointers.

This is why I would like to mention the great HCI work the guys at BERG are doing with their Connbox. So cool.

(I am really looking forward to trying this “reverse-skeuomorphism” on my own prototypes 🙂

In their words: “This feels like a rich direction to explore in future projects, of a kind of ‘reverse-skeuomorphism‘ where digital and physical affordances work together to do what each does best rather than just one imitating the other.”





Here is a link to the whole thing: