Sunspots: The migration edition Matt 10 Oct 2006

9 comments Latest by Dean

How do monarch butterflies know where to fly?
"To test their ability to reorient themselves, Dr. Taylor has moved butterflies from Kansas to Washington, D.C. If he releases them right away, he said, they take off due south, as they would have where they were. But if he keeps them for a few days in mesh cages so they can see the sun rise and set, 'they reset their compass heading,' he said. 'The question is: How?'" Alert: The migration patterns are doomed if illegal logging in Mexico doesn't stop.
CEO of Puma: Research is bad if you want to innovate
"If you want to change the industry and do something completely new and innovate, research is a bad tool because all you will get fed back is perception today and not tomorrow."
Google's biggest risk? The loss of simplicity
"Google's executives said the biggest risk to the company was the loss of the simplicity that was crucial to building the company's brand. 'One of the things that is going to have to happen is simplicity,' Mr. Brin said. 'It's one of the reasons that people gravitated to Google initially.'"
Advertising creatives are culturally impaired when it comes to working online
"For 50 years, creatives went into advertising so they could tell 30-second stories. As far as they were concerned, that was the next best thing to working in Hollywood. As a result, they're culturally impaired when it comes to creating experiences online, because a narrative like that won't work. It might work as a component of a larger whole, but it can't be the whole experience. So they have to adapt from owning the brand voice to being a little slice of it, and that's very difficult for them."
10 Tips for Moving From Programmer to Entrepreneur
"I see way too many entrepreneurs in the forums and blogs talking about code issues when they should be discussing and learning about the business aspects."
Cereal boxes: Is there a link between design and sugar content?
A nutrition expert says, "I advise people to buy cereal in really dull packages on the top shelf. If you want a healthy cereal, you pick one that is very subdued."
David Pogue's TED Talk
The software upgrade paradox: "If you improve a piece of software enough times, you eventually ruin it." The sport utility principle: "People like to surround themselves with unnecessary power."
BusinessWeek bubble blower gets book deal
"Sarah Lacy, co-writer of the BusinessWeek cover story that pumped up boys of the bubble and gave Digg founder Kevin Rose a made-up valuation of $60 million, scored a lucrative book deal on the same subject."
Explaining the phrase "signal vs. noise"
"The phrase comes from how engineers might broadly characterize a transmitted signal upon its reception as having inherent noise sprinkled on top of the original signal. For instance, say you are sending the message 'HELLO' onto a digital communication line to some far away place. Because of all the interfering stuff that exists along the way from where the message originated to where it receives, the message might end up as 'HEFAILLLQIMO' instead. That's not good. So engineers design ways such that starting out with 'HELLO,' you end up with 'HELLO' as well."

9 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Mark Gallagher 10 Oct 06

David Pogue makes a great comment in the TED speech.

“Consistency” is frequently not the best approach to user interface design. The best answer is intelligence or “what makes sense”.

He gives the example - if you create a drop-down of countries consistently in alpha order, the United States is near the bottom of the long list. If 99% of your customers are in the US, it should be listed first.

One more example: if you look in the upper right hand corner of this web page, the list of names and locations of “Who are 37Signals?”, the presentation of “location” is very inconsistent. The list has full city name only, abbreviated city name only, and full city name and state. Why so inconsistent? Because this makes sense.

Good post, thanks.


Mo 10 Oct 06

It’s also very inconsistent in addressing, only Jamis has Mr. attached to him. :)

warren 10 Oct 06

“If you want to change the industry and do something completely new and innovate, research is a bad tool because all you will get fed back is perception today and not tomorrow.”

Yes, research is lousy. PageRank, SmallTalk, Lisp, Python, TCP/IP, BSD Unix, Ethernet, RAID, SCSI, the World Wide Web and HTML, and the thousands of other things that have come out of research and universities are not “innovative.” But cool-looking new shoes certainly are groundbreaking, world changing creations - certainly far more important than relational databases (created by an IBM researcher, Codd) or interoperable computer networking. Gosh.

brad 10 Oct 06

It�s also very inconsistent in addressing, only Jamis has Mr. attached to him. :)

Probably because Jamis is tired of being addressed as “Ms.”

Pogue’s talk on TED was a bit too over-the-top for me. I know a lot of people find his NY Times videos annoying, but I find them hilarious. This talk, however, was annoying and I couldn’t focus on the content of what he was saying; the delivery kept getting in the way.

Dave 10 Oct 06


I think what he meant was “market research” was bad. Basically going out and asking what others think will only get you feedback on what’s already out there. He’s advocating just going with your gut and doing something different to be innovative. A la your examples.

Anita 10 Oct 06

You’re definitely right about google losing a bit of their flare. They’ve gone from search only, to everything + the kitchen sink. It’s almost as bad as Microsoft … luckily they don’t have a massive desktop user base to hold them back, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they branched out into desktop apps to extend the reach of their nascent office products.

Dean 11 Oct 06

“lucrative” - I’ve always hated that word - somehow it just sounds so … nasty.