The user is king. It's a phrase that's repeated over and over again as a mantra: Companies must become user-centric. But there's a problem: It doesn't work. Here's the truth: Great brands lead users, not the other way around.
Kids make snowmen, type geeks make... snow type!
The fluffy, frigid letters you see here are the work of Veronica Falsen Hiis, an Oslo designer, who took to the streets with her friend Synne Toften one wintry Nordic day and started shaping a snow alphabet on top of A4 cardboard. Why? Because it was snowy! And they like type! And it's better than staying inside and going stir crazy! Though, Hiis tells us, "It sure was the coldest type experience I have ever had." To would-be copycats: Consider yourselves warned.
If Bucky Fuller had gotten into the chalet business, he would've built something a lot like the Whitepod ski resort. The resort -- on a slope outside Geneva overlooking the majestic Alps -- includes 15 private pod-like tents, whose aesthetic owes more to Fuller's futuristic geodesic domes than to the cozy Swiss chalets breathless travel writers are always going on about. It's the perfect ski getaway for design-obsessed cool kids too hip for all that Heidi stuff.
I wish I'd seen this video yesterday, so I could've told my valentine that I wanted to passionately juxtapose my orbicularis oris muscles against hers. (Well, maybe it was a blessing that I didn't see it in time.) Anyway, the factoids are still fun: 90 seconds of scientific and cultural tidbits about kissing, presented in animated infographic form. Watch and learn:
If you watched "Jeopardy!" last night, you saw an IBM supercomputer named Watson cream two human champions -- at least until it made a few dumb mistakes late in the round and allowed Brad Rutter to tie things up. But you also saw Watson's "face" -- the swirling electronic avatar that Alex Trebek dryly rebuked when it buzzed in with an incorrect answer that Ken Jennings had already made. (Guess we shouldn't fear a robot uprising quite yet.)
"Literally, in three minutes you can be ready to go and accept your first credit card payment," says Keith Rabois, COO of Square, the mobile card swiping tool for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. "We have a joke internally where we track the fastest record holder, and people are starting to get sub-three minute times."
Artist Matt Shlian is great at screwing up. A self-described papercraft engineer, Shlian designs stunning 3-D paper sculptures that fall somewhere between origami, pop-up books, and Minimal Art -- many of them happy accidents.
Sometimes "I begin with an idea for movement and try to achieve that shape or form somehow," he tells us. "Along the way something usually goes wrong and a mistake becomes more interesting than the original idea and I work with that instead."