“That is just one of the many differences with gamification vs. using game design to help people become motivated… In a real game or activity, you actually want to become more bad ass. Gamification does not care, usually. It simply tries to make you *seem* or *feel* more bad ass for doing something that requires little or no improvement in skills. Again it is like the difference between winning at chess vs. getting a small hit on a slot machine. You might raise your arms up and do a “happy dance” for both, but only one leaves you feeling better about YOURSELF and your own capabilities.
If a brand uses gamification with no THERE there… Meaning nothing that customers can get better at, no higher resolution richer deeper experiences (nothing meaningful to master), then by all means… Gamify it. It might be the only chance to compete, at least until the competition out-badgifys them.
But if there IS a *there*… something potentially purposeful that users can get better at and potentially master. Something they could potentially even *kick ass* at, that becomes valued for its own sake, then continuing to gamify it is potentially ruining it (refer to punished by rewards and yes, the research Pink mentions. You cannot disagree with ALL of it, right?)”—
If you’re looking for ‘how’, if you’re looking for a map, for a way to industrialize the new era, you’ve totally missed the point and you will end up disappointed. The nature of the last era was that repetition and management of results increased profits. The nature of this one is the opposite: if someone can tell you precisely what to do, it’s too late. Art and novelty and innovation cannot be reliably and successfully industrialized.
Let’s be clear, New York City is a big, tough place. It’s crowded and there are a lot of distractions. People are busy here and it takes a lot for them to stop and notice something. Hell, some poor shlub jumped in front of a subway train the other day and people on Twitter blew up about how it made them late for work. When the ground explodes and 500 pound manhole covers get tossed into the air, we barely break stride to snap a photo and be on our way.
So if you’re going to come to NYC and you want to make an impact, you better bring your A-game, and that’s exactly what Techstars did yesterday at Demo Day. I’ve never seen a better production in the Big Apple, ever. Hats off to the Davids, but, most of all, to the companies that presented. If you are lucky enough to be friends with any of these folks, you would have seen them checking in and tweeting from the office at all sorts of crazy hours this week (actually, every week) doing last minute prep—and it all paid off. These companies have all the momentum they could ever hope to achieve and the investor community is abuzz over how impressive they all were. That’s not easy to do here, because there are a ton of other great entrepreneurs and opportunities here.
What Techstars proved yesterday was that they could come to New York City, be native, participate and support the ecosystem, and be a serious consideration for the best of entrepreneurs. When you have Andy Weissman of Betaworks going up on stage and eating crow over telling a company that already had a round done not to participate, you know you’ve accomplished something. They have definitively set the bar for all other incubation/acceloration programs in the city—which I’m glad about. Competition is a good thing for everyone and it raises quality. Given the number of programs we have going on this summer, if they even approach anything near what Techstars did, we’re going to have an amazing summer here.
What a lot of people don’t know is that, last spring, I had talked to David Cohen about running Techstars here in NYC. My original gig at First Round was more of an EIR for a year sort of thing, so I was thinking about my options. This was before I had really gotten into the swing of things here, before most of the investments that I had worked on started closing—and actually, now that I think of it, even before we opened up the NYC office. After that all came through, it was pretty obvious I wasn’t going anywhere and didn’t want to.
But when we didn’t wind up figuring out how to come to a deal, I was disappointed at the time. I stand here now being really glad the way things turned out—because I have to admit I’m not sure it is even possible to have done any better of a job as the Davids did together. So, I’m happy they’re there and I’m here… and I like to think that the NYC community is better for things having wound up the way they did. So congrats, guys… Looking forward to the summer! If you’re a NYC entrepreneur, you can apply for the summer right now—and you definitely should.
So proud to have been part of the inaugural TechStars NYC class!
Thank you, Frank! I’ve met many folks who labelled themselves as designers who shrug off #2, 4-10. And other designers who have re-cast themselves as “UX”, have done so because of #1-5. I’d love to help fix this.
A lack of definition for design. Isn’t it a bit ironic that a group of communicators can’t summon a definition for their practice? I won’t pretend that finding this definition is easy. We’ll never achieve absolute clarity in a definition, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to define the practice. This lack of definition creates so many of the issues faced by designers both internally and externally. I’ve a hunch that it’s not as easy as “problem-solving,” because “problem” is as sticky of a word as “design.” Generally, we’ve done such wonderful work branding our clients, and such a poor job branding ourselves.
The public’s general understanding of design as a noun. So much tension happens in client work because many clients believe the value of the designer is the things that they make, the noun. The designer, meanwhile, believes that the core of their value comes from the process, the strategy. The verb; hence the rise of “design thinking.” This fundamental disagreement of the placement of value of a designer’s services creates a lot of misunderstandings.
Not considering design a liberal art, and entrenching ourselves in the opinion that this is a craft for the few, rather than a skill for the many. If we believe design is such a valuable lens to view the world through and a fantastic mental mode for problem solving, we should open it up to everyone. Not doing so is double-speak.
The miseducation of a designer. If it’s wrong for a client to believe the value of design is in the nouns, it’s also incorrect to educate a designer around nouns. Curriculums shouldn’t be focused towards teaching software or creating specific artifacts. The education of a designer should not be focused towards working in specific mediums any longer, because those mediums change so frequently and often congeal into one another into new hybrids. Everything is a campaign now. Schools would be wise to focus activity around objectives rather than tasks, because so much of professional work is around objectives too: devising plans to fulfill those objectives, creating a symphony of efforts that work together towards that goal, and then executing those efforts in a way that adds value. By focusing on objectives, curriculum will age better because instructors can be agile about the tools that they teach as the world around the university changes.
Asking the wrong questions. We shouldn’t be asking “Do I need to learn how to program?” We should be asking “Would making websites help achieve the goals of our clients?” More often than not, it will, so we should work towards making ourselves skillful in that enterprise or surrounding ourselves with those that are. The issue is that the question about programming is task based, and the other is objective based. One focused on How, the other on Why.
Designers wanting a seat at the table, but frequently not inviting clients to our own table. To extend this point: How much more interesting would it have been if several people that frequently commission design were part of the One Day for Design conversation? I suppose there was nothing keeping them out of the conversation, but generally it seemed the event was painted as something for designers. What if AIGA’s salary survey was complementary to a client inquiry survey? By listening to our clients, we become better at servicing them. In addition to this, it becomes less easy to paint ourselves as victims, which is generally an unsavory disposition for a profession. As Jim Coudal says, if you’re making fun of your clients at the bar, something is wrong.
The self-serving nature of design. So much work by designers for designers. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else (perhaps, even more guilty), but to achieve a resonance and understanding to the value of design, I suggest that we must look to audiences beyond ourselves and prove that value by improving their lives with our work.
Villainizing criticism. The measure of a mature practice is reflection and analysis. Painting serious criticism of the field as unnecessary or labeling the critics as second-class because they don’t “make anything” cuts the development of field off at the knees. Criticism and creation have a symbiotic relationship. It is reflexive. Criticism provides a valuable rudder to the mode of making, and to eliminate it leaves us floating.
Undervaluing philosophy. This one seems odd, but I suggest that there is an unexplored gravitas to the work that we do, not necessarily because there is a profound quality to design itself, but rather because of the promises the work makes. The core question of Aristotelian philosophy and ethics is “What is the good life?” How is such a desirous question not brought up more frequently in a field that works so much in human wants and desires, a field that so frequently promises happiness not only for its practitioners, but for its audience as well?
Our cognitive bias towards the uniqueness of our challenges. It is tempting to think that the problems we face are the first time these problems have risen. Not necessarily so. As interaction designers explore the problem to document their work, are they not facing the same problem as an installation artist or a performance artist in their effort to document the work without turning an experience into an image? This challenge is not unique to design, though it feels profoundly stronger here than elsewhere (which is probably another cognitive bias of my own).
had an interesting talk with the ceo of an iphone/android app today that has had 30 million downloads.
iphone users download apps 5:1 over android users and willingness to buy even higher.
he thinks market share figures from comscore etc are wildly distorted because they track via things like ads and those are all higher on android since people don’t pay for apps there and instead apps are ad supported.