betel

Yangon, Myanmar. “Never turn down a cigarette unless you know what you’re doing.” – a friend that has spent more than 20 years in China. Some years ago I joined a photography club at my office – at lunch time, we would review each other’s photographs and those with a bit more experience would give advice. In a particular assignment, we were to go shoot portraits of strangers by simply walking up to them and Read more…

The end of Design

Today I did something interesting – I eliminated Sketch – a UI screen design tool – from two more places in our design team’s workflow. I didn’t do it because Sketch is a crappy tool – it is wonderful. We did it because it significantly encumbers the flow of information within our organization (and, in turn, creates more work, not less, for us). Our fundamental goal within an organization that provides a product or service is to Read more…

Design + Neoliberalism: Part I

DRAFT This living essay is still in draft form. It is a continuation from my Design and Neoliberalism Introduction – I would suggest reading that one first. Please mind the typos, half-finished thoughts, and informal language. If you have comments, please email them to me. The purpose of this essay is for eventual submission to the Design & Neoliberalism Special Issue of Design and Culture. I don’t know if they’ll be interested, but I’ve enjoyed working on Read more…

Design and Neoliberalism

DRAFT This living essay is still in draft form. Please mind the typos, half-finished thoughts, and informal language. If you have comments, please email them to me. The purpose of this essay is for eventual submission to the Design & Neoliberalism Special Issue of Design and Culture. I don’t know if they’ll be interested, but I’ve enjoyed working on it either way 🙂 How will a post neoliberal world effect design practice? “The curious task of economics Read more…

Voting as a Symbol

Summary: Arguments often end up unresolved when one side values rational outcomes but the other is more interested in social signaling. This issue commonly arises when discussing whether individual Americans should vote in presidential elections. In a narrow, rational sense, most individual votes have no effect on the outcome, rendering voting a pointless activity, – but through the lens of social signaling, it might make sense.   At a dinner party some nights ago, I found myself in an Read more…

¿No estoy yo aquí que soy tu madre?

Guadalajara, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; I’ve become recently more and more impressed with Catholicism’s ability to localize itself as it has spread to different countries around the world over the past two millennia. In few places is this better on display than with Mexico’s obsession with the “Virgin Mary.” The Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the central figure of christian religions. Because Jesus is said to be the son of God, the story Read more…

Surviving the Hedonic Treadmill

Summary: In a rapidly changing world, it is easy to get disoriented or disillusioned about the state of progress. As humans, it is far easier to make judgements relative than objective ones, so a value judgement about the present state of the world is highly influenced by what you compare it to. Those that spend time thinking about how to improve the world feel distraught at the current reality.On the other hand, those who spend a Read more…

Market Segment: Pieces of Shit

  Hong Kong At the moment, I’m sitting on a curb in Hong Kong eating a McDonalds “signature” crispy chicken jalepeño burger. See, last night I stayed up late in my apartment all alone drinking cheap scotch and arguing with people on Facebook. This morning, I woke up hung over and passed up the nice Korean restaurant with open seats and went to the super crowded McDonald’s instead. See, when I’m feeling like a piece Read more…

Brand Run-off

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I think it could be argued that the US still leads the world in branding. Those that come from the world of marketing communications, advertising, and design obsess over the stories behind brands pushing them further and further into the philosophical realms to capture as much brain-space as possible. In this way, the market has transformed over the past century or so from simple logos and explanations of products to mythological archetypes Read more…

Magic Circles II: Deviations

At their best, magic circles help us ground ourselves, learn new skills, give us meaning and purpose in life, and experience moments of rapture and ecstasy. Times frequently occur, however, when the members of a group challenge the fundamental structure of a magic circle. Depending on the formality of the circle, this can take some interesting and dynamic forms. We should always remember that while a magic circle is created within the minds of its Read more…