- Cities in Fact and Fiction: An Interview with William Gibson (Scientific American) — Paris, as much as I love Paris, feels to me as though it’s long since been “cooked.” Its brand consists of what it is, and that can be embellished but not changed. A lack of availability of inexpensive shop-rentals is one very easily read warning sign of overcooking. I wish Manhattan condo towers could be required to have street frontage consisting of capsule micro-shops. The affordable retail slots would guarantee the rich folks upstairs interesting things to buy, interesting services, interesting food and drink, and constant market-driven turnover of same, while keeping the streetscape vital and allowing the city to do so many of the things cities do best. London, after the Olympic redo, will have fewer affordable retail slots, I imagine. (via Keith Bolland)
- Bootstrap — HTML toolkit from Twitter, includes base CSS and HTML for typography, forms, buttons, tables, grids, navigation, and more. Open sourced (Apache v2 license).
- Extra Headers for Browser Security — I hadn’t realized there were all these new headers to avoid XSS and other attacks. Can you recommend a good introduction to these new headers? (via Nelson Minar)
- Swarmanoid — award-winning robotics demo of heterogeneous, dynamically connected, small autonomous robots that provide services to each other to accomplish a larger goal. (via Mike Yalden)
Brand storytelling is your unique chance to be persuasive and make the case for your product.
Editor’s note: this is an excerpt from our recent book Lean Branding ; it is part of a free curated collection of chapters from the O’Reilly Design library. Download a free copy of the Experience Design ebook here.Throughout this chapter, we will look at the six essential parts of a lean brand story: positioning, promise, personas, personality, product, and pricing.
I’ve never met someone who did not aspire to be something more. Even Homer Simpson, with his absolute lack of will and ultimate disregard for the future, at times aspired to be a better husband, a fitter couch potato, a less miserable son to his old man. I’ve heard 5-year-olds state with absolute certainty that they will be president. Someone is sweating his head off right now at some ridiculously expensive gym because he aspires to be fitter. As you read this, someone is pulling an all-nighter studying to earn class valedictorian status — or maybe even reading this book to up her brand game (in which case, I highly appreciate it!). I’m pretty sure someone is daydreaming to the sound of Bruno Mars’s “Billionaire.” Someone (perhaps you) aspires to build a successful product that customers open their wallets and hearts for. If that is indeed you, please hold on to this thought: aspirations.
Behind every great brand is a promise that fulfills its customers’ aspirations. We are in the business of taking customers from A to B, where A is who they are today and B is who they want to be tomorrow. Consider the products you love — sports attire, note-taking apps, electronic devices, chocolate ice cream, this book — and how they’ve made you feel closer to whom you want to be.
Cooked Brands, HTML Bootstrap, Browser Security Headers, and Swarming Robots
Systematic Voice, gTLD Branding, Haikuleaks, and PS3 Code Signing
- Groupon Editorial Manual (Scribd) — When introducing something nonsensical (fake history, mixed metaphors), don’t wink at the reader to let them in on the joke. Don’t call it out with quotes, parenthesis, or any other narrative device. Speak your ignorance with total authority. Assert it as fact. This is how you can surprise the reader. If you call out your joke, even in a subtle way, it spoils the surprise. Think of yourself as an objective, confident, albeit totally unqualified and frequently blatantly ignorant voice speaking at a panel you shouldn’t have been invited to. It’s interesting to see a quirky voice encoded in rules. Corporates obviously need this, to scale and to ensure consistency between staff, whereas in startups it emerges through the unique gifts and circumstance of employees (think Flickr’s Friendly Hipster voice). (via Brady Forrest on Twitter)
- Deloitte Corporate gTLD (Slideshare) — Deloitte one of the early bidders to buy their own top-level domain as a branding move. The application fee alone is $185,000.
- Haikuleaks — automated finder of haiku from within the wikileaked cables. (via Andy Baio on Twitter)
- PS3 Code-signing Key Broken — the private keys giving Sony a monopoly on distributing games for the PS3 have been broken. Claimed to be to let Linux run on the boxes, rather than pirated games. Remains to be seen whether the experience of the PS3 user will become richer for the lack of Sony gatekeeping. There’s even a key generator now. (via Hacker News)
Brand in China, Radio Apps, Valued Free Text, and Brain TV
- E-Commerce Booming in China (Economist) — bad time for Google to be leaving, just as online sales take off. Chinese consumers in stores check quality by hand but buying online requires trust, aka brands. This is a turn towards Western-style commerce built on trademarks and brand promise of quality, and away from the prevalent wild East style of commerce built on cut corners, deception, and mistrust.
- Comprehensive GNU Radio Archive Network — collection of GNU Radio applications. (via Hacker News)
- The Glass Box and the Commonplace Book (Steven Johnson) — essay on connected useful text vs frozen glass-walled text. As with paywalls, I am not dogmatic about these things. I don’t think it’s incumbent upon the New York Times or The Wall Street Journal to allow all their content to flow freely through the infosphere with no restrictions. I do not pull out my crucifix when people use the phrase “Digital Rights Management.” If publishers want to put reasonable limits on what their audience can do with their words, I’m totally fine with that. As I said, I think the Kindle has a workable compromise, though I would like to see it improved in a few key areas. But I also don’t want to mince words. When your digital news feed doesn’t contain links, when it cannot be linked to, when it can’t be indexed, when you can’t copy a paragraph and paste it into another application: when this happens your news feed is not flawed or backwards looking or frustrating. It is broken.
- Charlie Rose Brain Series — streaming video of the TV shows about the brain. (via Mind Hacks)
Snow Patrol and its label Fiction/Polydor will release an interactive iPhone/iPod Touch application to coincide with the band's next album. From Music Week: The application, which will be downloadable online, will enable fans to access a raft of extra content including artwork, behind-the-scenes images and lyrics via the touch screen of their handsets, marking the first time a music…
Intricate Web games and the new "Lost" book club are excellent examples of the community-building moves content creators can use to engage their fanbases.
The importance of clear communication around the murky topic of piracy is highlighted after my first impression of an executive's comment proves incorrect.