The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace – BusinessWeek:

While Facebook focused on creating a robust platform that allowed outside developers to build new applications, Myspace did everything itself. “We tried to create every feature in the world and said, ‘O.K., we can do it, why should we let a third party do it?’ ” says DeWolfe. “We should have picked 5 to 10 key features that we totally focused on and let other people innovate on everything else.”

And then, of course, incorporate the most successful innovations in your product. See Twitter, Apple.


Dave Winer on Google+:

The thing that makes Facebook great is that it incubated in the market with real users. It was made by real users. It was formed by actual use. One day at a time, one feature at a time, in public, every home run visible, and every mis-step.

Products like the one Google just announced are hatched at off-sites at resorts near Monterey or in the Sierra, and were designed to meet the needs of the corporation that created it. A huge scared angry corporation. What little is left of the spark that created it in the first place is now used to being Number One, and wants to feel that again.

I (mostly) agree, but i’m still cautiously optimistic about Google+. I don’t have an invite yet, but it looks good from the outside and tackles a problem, the undifferentiated collapse of your different social circles, that no other social network has properly addressed so far.

Maybe you’ve heard that Andy Baio had to settle over a pixel artwork based on a photograph by Jay Maisel. A lot of people reacted, many very strongly, but as far as i’m concerned James Duncan Davidson perfectly nails the real problem with this incident:

Should Jay have the right to claim the derived image isn’t fair use and ask for a cease and desist? Yes. He’s not, as many are saying, a dick for his opinion. Should Andy have the ability to defend his stance that it is fair use. Of course. Should it take the kind of money that only either corporations or the very rich can easily afford to spend in order to get a judge’s ruling and find out? Definitely not. That’s the real problem here.

Twitter Digest for Week Ending 2011-06-26

  • Giles Turnbull answers odd job interview questions: #
  • Tinyhack is a minimalist adventure game in 9×9 pixels: #
  • RT @mrgan: Pixel art is not a filter: #
  • RT @waxpancake: I was threatened with a lawsuit over Kind of Bloop's pixel-art cover and settled for $32,500. So I wrote about it: http: … #
  • I don't know what the Nizo app does but its website sure is neat: #
  • So given Meego's dead-end fate i assume these are UX guidelines for exactly one device with no successor? #
  • I don't think it's a good idea, but am genuinely surprised nobody tried this earlier: #

The June Reading List

It’s time for another reading list, so here’s some stuff i particularly enjoyed reading in June:

Good analysis and criticism of Al Gore’s “Our Choice” iPad book app:

Has anybody who got excited about this book app finished reading it? Or did you get distracted and switched to Twitter to praise the app and opened it twice since then only to read a couple of pages and browse the nice pictures? The app format may be more entertaining, its navigation model more rewarding for interface designers, but did we get the message better? Not sure about this.


The Anatomy of a Notification

Rands defines five essential characteristics of a notification:

  • Human Consumable: built for a human to assess, not for a machine.
  • Brief & Relevant: the content inside of a notification takes only a smidge of your attention in order to assess a next step.
  • Portable: a notification stands on its own; you need no additional external application to assess it. They stand outside of the data or application they might represent.
  • Disposable: if for some reason the notification doesn’t get to you, you have an obvious means of recourse to find the data.
  • Timely: the usefulness of a notification decays as a function of time. Late notification arrival incites nerd rage.

Apps Matter

David Heinemeier Hansson argues that app selection isn’t that important for the success of a mobile platform because most people probably don’t use much more than ten apps anyway. He might be right that most people don’t need or even want more than ten apps – but it’s a pretty big fallacy to think that everyone would want the same ten apps, as David Barnard beautifully argues in this post:

If we took a poll of all iOS users and asked for a list of the eleven absolutely essential, can’t live without apps I bet we’d end up with at least a thousand different types of apps. A doctor might include a medical imaging app, a musician would likely include a multi-track recorder or some other musical sketch pad, an artist would include an actual sketch pad app, a builder might list an estimating app, a freelancer a time-tracking and invoicing app, and so on.

And that’s why devices like the N9 need thriving developer ecosystems to succeed. Besides, even if a large selection of high-quality third-party apps weren’t a competitive advantage, a lack thereof certainly isn’t either.