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Archive for July, 2014

On a Shelf

shelf

Five months ago Tony (@adeperio) and I started working on a product to solve a problem we both had. We weren’t happy with the LinkedIn experience and knew a lot of people who agreed. We formed a point of view that professional story telling was broken and needed to be improved.

Since February we, wrote 44 blog posts, did countless customer interviews, flew to America and met with people from IDEO, Betaworks, Expa, Designer Fund & Emergence Capital & launched a mobile app prototype.

Almost everyone agreed that the problem was a real one, someone put it this way: “There are 1 billion people on Facebook and 250 million on LinkedIn. The difference we call ‘The Ungraphables'”.

Tony and I worked on this in our spare time by the end of June, we both needed some time off for the project to reset.

For now, we’re putting it on hold. We uncovered lots of good insights and came up with some interesting solutions, but nothing that really stuck.

Below are some of the more significant or interesting blog posts. We’re still both really interested in the problem and are more than happy to talk more about. Lots of people are playing in this space and we will be keeping a keen eye on them.

For what it’s worth, I think this idea which didn’t get published was really interesting. Hiding your profile behind a button that you could ad to you existing site (mock up here).

 

(Post 44) – .GIF mock-up focused on projects

(Post 43) – Video of a stripped back UI

(Post 41) – .GIF Simple one screen story

(Post 39) – .PNG Simplifying the interface

(Post 38) – Video example of a professional story in a .GIF

(Post 33) – Customer interview insights

(Post 32) – .PNG New interface concept

(Post 27) – Video of a user test 2

(Post 26) – Video of a user test 1

(Post 24) – Video of a prototype

(Post 23) – Defining ‘Professional Value)

(Post 20) – Comparing people

(Post 18) – Telling your story in 5 cards

(Post 17) – The marketplace / competitors

(Post 5) – Graphic designer resume survey

(Post 4) – Verified information

(Post 1) – Connecting the dots

UPDATE: The day I published this, LinkedIn announced a new profile re-design on their blog. http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/07/28/new-mobile-profile/

On Yo!

I’m trying to understand why I’m using Yo so much.

Everyone loves to hate Yo. My non-tech friends say, “this is the stupidest app ever!” yet they use it, a lot.

And when I tell them they app raised $1.5 million their jaw drops.

Like most tech/design folk, I install a bunch of apps each week, most of which aren’t there the next week. But Yo is. Why?

This morning I read this article on behavioural design by product designer Kursat Ozenc.

In it he mentions something called a ‘Motivation-Ability Matrix’, a tool that can be use to change customers behaviour.

 

yo1

In the article, Ozenc states that, “Behaviour change happens when the individual with the right motivation and ability threshold is nudged by external triggers over a designated time. Someone might have the motivation but not the ability, or vice versa.”

 

Yo with my friends

There are two or three people in my life that I’m in better contact with now because of Yo. It’s not an email or a what’s app or FB message, it’s just a simple notification that by itself says not much, but the between you a the other person, you add your own context.

For example, a friend and I have been trying to catch up for coffee for several months. We’re both super busy and we’ve been using Yo as a way of saying “I’m free now, are you?” If either one of us gets a Yo back, then we send a message or email. If not, then there is no more time wasted.

What I think has happened here is that we haven’t realised we have the motivation to let friends know that we’re thinking about them. Yo give us the ability to do this really quickly and it let’s you add your own context. We’re all busy and Yo understand that.

 

Yo as a service

On Twitter this morning @seanh listed a bunch of Yo accounts that you can follow that completely change the app from a simple message app, to a diverse notification service. e.g. follow RAINY to get a yo if it will be raining in your city that day

I’ve currently got the app set up to ‘Yo’ me when certain people I follow on Instagram post something. (Just add ‘IG’ then their Instagram handle on Yo. e.g. ‘IGDANBILZERIAN’)

 

Summry

It fees like the Yo API is providing the ability for Yo to become the trigger for people to achieve a bunch of different things (Yo as a service). And the product off the shelf, provides the ability and the trigger for me to engage in a meaningful way with my friends.

Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Download Yo here

 

The Positive Posters Problem

In March 2009 I pitched an idea to a small room of people. The idea was to build a website where designers could upload posters about the things that were meaningful to them. The ideas they wanted people to talk about.

We launched a crappy site built on WP that September and something like 350 from 50+ countries sent in posters. It was a competition model, so we closed the submission part of the site in November that year.

The competition continued to run annually for the last 4 years.

Over that time we made improvements to the site and our community grew. At one point positive-posters.com was doing 10,000 unique visits a day.

Naively I never spent much time thinking about a business model for PP and as hosting charges increased and revenue (mainly from corporate event sponsors) decreased it became harder and harder to work on it.

Most of our team moved on to other positions in new companies. Unsurprisingly I started accepting paying offers to work on other people products and projects (The Loop, IDEO etc.) to help pay for my time on PP.

fast forward to today

On Sunday night I was thinking about the events of the last few days. What’s happening in Gaza and the tragedy of flight MH17. Since the brief of 2011, we’ve always let the PP community choose the topics that they create posters about. Sometimes they have been linked to events like the Japanese earth quake, or the riots in London in 2012. Other times they address issues that for the most part aren’t linked to a specific date like equality & equal rights, and global warming.

PP

The design our community creates are simple, beautiful and often confronting. Visual styles differ from country to country, but the one thing they have in common is they all tell a story. They capture emotions, a feeling or a moment in time. They let us all stop and reflect on an idea we otherwise might have missed. And in a week like we’ve just had, I wonder what kinds of stories our community would be telling if we accepting submissions today?

Today I’m wondering why, 5 years after PP began, we don’t look at PP as more than an annual competition? I wonder why we don’t look at it as a product, a service that we put real development and design resources behind and keep it running 365 allowing people to create and submit designs when they want about the issues and ideas care about?

The value of PP isn’t the code thats behind it. The value is in the community. A passionate, talented, global community of designers.

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The content is good.
If there was every any doubt about how ‘shareable’ the content is that our community creates, well you just have to look at this post by popular media site 9Gag from a few weeks back. They shared a poster that Joey Klarenbeek designed for the 2013 competition. It received close to 500,000 like on Facebook.

 

What happens next?
I don’t know. I know the right people to build PP into something great, the developers, designers, community managers etc. I also own a media company that could in theory help with monetisation (through advertising).

There certainly is a part of me that want’s to open the site for submissions and just see what our community comes up with, but we know where that road leads (ho$ting & re$ources).

Some people spend years trying to find product market fit and then build something great. For what ever reason, PP resonated with a lot of people and its weeks like this that I miss working on it and engaging with our community.

The path forward isn’t clear for PP right now, but its getting harder to make a compelling argument to shut it down.