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Portigal year in review, 2013 December 20th, 2013

It’s time to sum up some of the noteworthy writings/happenings of the year. Let’s get to it!

All those years ago: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

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Portigal year in review, 2012 December 20th, 2012

Lots of emotions as the year winds down, with another one waiting just around the corner. Here’s some of what went down this past year.

Journey through the past: 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008.

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Portigal Consulting year in review, 2011 December 12th, 2011

Another year is speeding towards its conclusion and we wanted to share our highlights for 2011.

Really nostalgic? Check out summaries from 2010, 2009 and 2008.

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Welcome to the product marketing battleground February 23rd, 2011

Yes, it turns out that All This Chittah Chattah is the place to wrestle for the hearts and minds of today’s consumers. With our frequent discussions of the consumer’s perspective as well as innovative technologies that respond to cultural shifts, we’ve developed a reputation as the place to be seen and read by the alpha-influencers who make any product a success.

Three years ago I blogged about a dual-flush toilet (and it’s explanatory memo).

What followed were a number of “comments” from people championing this product or its competitor, sometimes with a less-than-transparent reveal of their identity as someone who works for the company itself.




And in a similar vein, just the other day, I blogged about a device that would let you open a bathroom door with your toe. Immediately a competitor jumped in to defend his product as the “original” (and while you can’t tell from here, he posted from the domain name he’s championing).

A few days later, a devastating riposte from someone who is clearly not a fan.

Now, we don’t know if Elise (who goes by fuzzygirl89) is authentic or not, but I’m definitely suspicious (extraneous specific detail rings false to me). The gloves are definitely off here in the Chittah Chattah Product Death Match. Seriously, is this what it means to be an entrepreneur (or worse, a sales guy)? Sitting at home with your alerts, fingers in the ready position, inches above the keyboard, ready to pounce on any mention of your product in any corner of the web?

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Portigal Consulting year in review, 2010 December 20th, 2010

2010 has been an amazing year for us. While we can’t talk about many of the incredible experiences we had doing fieldwork and working with clients, below are some of the highlights that we can share:

You can also see previous summaries from 2009 and 2008.

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ChittahChattah Quickies September 29th, 2010
  • [from steve_portigal] Homeless World Cup – [An interesting reframe of sporting championships and an interesting reframe of 'charity'] The Homeless World Cup is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people who are homeless and excluded to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever. It has triggered and supports grass roots football projects in over 70 nations working with over 30,000 homeless and excluded people throughout the year. The impact is consistently significant year on year with 73% of players changing their lives for the better by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and even going on to become players and coaches for pro or semi-pro football teams.
  • [from steve_portigal] In Scholastic Study, Children Like Digital Reading [NYTimes.com] – “I didn’t realize how quickly kids had embraced this technology,” Ms. Alexander said, referring to computers and e-readers or other portable devices that can download books. “Clearly they see them as tools for reading — not just gaming, not just texting. They see them as an opportunity to read.”… “The very same device that is used for socializing and texting and staying in touch with their friends can also be turned for another purpose,” Mr. Chen said. “That’s the hope.” But many parents surveyed also expressed deep concerns about the distractions of video games, cellphones and television in their children’s lives. They also wondered if the modern multi-tasking adolescent had the patience to become engrossed in a long novel. “My daughter can’t stop texting long enough to concentrate on a book,” said one parent surveyed, the mother of a 15-year-old in Texas.
  • [from steve_portigal] Get a Geek in Five Easy Lessons [AMD at Home] – [AMD tries for humor on their corporate blog but ends up with an awkward, dated, false, sexist and generally alienating tone. Was this wise?] It’s hard to find a good man, but not impossible if you’re willing to make a little effort. Working in high tech, I’m mostly around guys all day. And I can tell you that – in general – technical guys are pretty cool. If nothing else, they will always be able to fix the TV, your PC, and the sprinkler system in a pinch. Yes, they have way too many gadgets, but come on, how many shoes do you have? How about just the black ones? So, if you’re single and find yourself at a TweetUp chatting with the cute geek in a backpack, here’s how to speak his language, appreciate his hobbies, and potentially snag a date at Fry’s. (Leslie Sobon is corporate vice president, product marketing at AMD. Her postings are her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.)
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Portigal Consulting year in review, 2009 December 22nd, 2009

It’s been a busy year and as we head into the home stretch, looking forward to 2010 (supposedly the year we make contact), we wanted to take a look back at the past 12 months and call out some of the highlights.

Previously: Our 2008 review

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ChittahChattah Quickies March 3rd, 2009
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ChittahChattah Quickies January 3rd, 2009
  • Toilet seat covers, upgraded – Dora Cardenas, Toletta's cofounder and VP of communications, explains: “The product concept came to me and my husband while we were trying to find small travel packs of disposable paper toilet seat covers to use ourselves. Not only was I shocked to learn that travel packs are hard to find, but the products we did find didn’t have any ounce of style or quality tissues. All the products we found looked and felt like something you would find in a camping supply store—not exactly something retail stores and supermarkets would be proud to carry on their shelves.”
  • TOLETTA – Because you never know – TOLETTA is the world's first premium brand of paper toilet seat covers. From the funky music to the edgy and stylish packaging, it's easy to see that we're not your ordinary toilet seat covers. Not only do our products look great, the premium tissue helps women feel better about using public washrooms. So for all you señoras, señoritas, and diva fashionistas, you'll never have to settle for those cheap and flimsy paper toilet seat covers again.
  • John Maeda's mini-manifesto in Esquire – I don't convulse with joy every time Maeda utters something, but I did enjoy this brief piece (despite his use of "the consumer"):

    "Technology is outpacing our ability to use it. And it's the job of designers to restore balance to this equation. Technological advances have always been driven more by a mind-set of "I can" than "I should," and never more so than today. Technologists love to cram maximum functionality into their products. That's "I can" thinking, which is driven by peer competition and market forces. (It's easier to sell a device with ten features than one.) But this approach ignores the far more important question of how the consumer will actually use the device."

  • Nussbaum says "Innovation" is dead but "Transformation" is the new black – The conflation between talking about ideas and discussing their labels is kinda frightening. Glad to see someone cited my latest interactions articles about the power of words to clarify our interactions.
  • Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable, on KQED Forum – What I heard was very exciting; Pallotta considers the unquestioned framework (and its history) around how charities operate and challenges these principles. He's extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful, and passionate. This was one of the best discussions of innovation – and its barriers – that I've heard in a long time.
  • Katherine Bennett explores design research methods and find the journey is at least part of the reward – "I'm two-thirds through with my MSID in design research at Art Center, and I feel the need to take stock of where I am. I've been teaching design research to product design students at Art Center since 1991, but since my journey down the path of getting this additional degree I have been traveling over some interesting ground."
  • I only started a blog because steve portigal told me to – "My name is Bria and I am a designer." Nice to see my writing having impact
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All This ChittahChattah 2008, a look back December 23rd, 2008

In 2008 All This ChittahChattah hit our seventh anniversary. Here are some highlights from the past year.

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Now We Are Six November 28th, 2007


Big Six
Originally uploaded by Telstar Logistics.


Mister Six
Originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.


Today is six years of All This ChittahChattah! Woo hoo!

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5 year of Portigal @ Core October 23rd, 2007

Last week’s IDSA conference was personally significant as it marked five years since a random chat in the IDSA02 gallery turned into a productive relationship with the fine folks at Core77.

I wrote up my thoughts on that conference, and then a piece about Meary, a quintessentially Japanese product that is stickers to turn ordinary objects into faces. Kawaii, anyone?
meary.gif.

Since then, I’ve blogged extensively over there, continued to write articles, done some fun podcasts, and even presented at Core77′s top-shelf Design 2.0 event.

This wide-ranging and rewarding collaboration reached a new plateau last week, after the Core77 ICSID/IDSA party, where I assumed the role of official designated driver.
steve_2.jpg

Here’s to the next five years!

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Brands, blogging, snack culture, and a dilemma March 12th, 2007

Snacklash is the only thing worth reading in the recent Wired feature on snack culture (summary: lots of shorty-short-short stuff proliferates).

Snack culture is an illusion. We have more of everything now, both shorter and longer: one-minute movies and 12-hour epics; instant-gratification Web games and Sid Meiers Civilization IV. Freed from the time restrictions of traditional media, we’re developing a more nuanced awareness of the right length for different kinds of cultural experiences…Yes, it sometimes seems as if we’re living off a cultural diet of blog posts and instant messages – until we find ourselves losing an entire weekend watching season three of The Wire. The truth is, we have more snacks now only because the menu itself has gotten longer.

This sums up the challenge I’ve been in semi-denial of for a while now. My own output of content. For as content creators, we face the same challenges as well.

The posts here on this blog vary in length and thought and time. I’ve started the Quickies as a channel for passing on a link of interest with one or two key thoughts. And there are the longer pieces every so often that summarize an experience or an issue. If you go back and look at the earlier days of this blog, you’ll see a lack of polish and focus, and a lot less content by me.

Now take a look at FreshMeat. The earliest entries are on par with some of stuff I blog now (longer, more focused), but the later entries are like small theses. They are really in-depth, long, and demanding-as-hell to write, especially when a simpler blog entry is easily produced and delivered.

FreshMeat got longer and more intense, as did the blog. A blog entry now is more substantial than a FreshMeat started out to be. It’s an escalation.

And then there’s an infrastructure issue. FreshMeat originally was an email list, with a web thing as secondary distribution. But running a mailing list is increasingly demanding as customers of an ISP. Most don’t want you doing anything like that; moving an existing set of names to a new host sometimes means that everyone has to opt-in again. I’ve got over 1000 names, granted the list is a bit stale, but I can’t imagine I’d get more than 50% re-registering after 2 years of silence.

I still get asked “when’s FreshMeat coming out?” because people enjoyed it. They may be not the same people who make the commitment to read a blog on a regular basis.

The dilemma, then, to readers here, who have a good perspective on my brand and on content and all that, what makes sense? Should FreshMeat be retired? Integrated into the blog? What should the brand be? If I could send one last email to the 1000 names, what should I tell them?

I’m stuck on this one, and I would love your thoughts! Please!

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Guest Blogging at Sessions February 23rd, 2007

logos_small.gif
Over the next week I’ll be a guest blogger at Notes on Design, the blog for Sessions School of Design.

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Design Research class – student blogs and flickr accounts September 26th, 2006

Like before, we’ve asked students in our Design Research class to regularly blog or post pictures to flickr as a way to exercise their noticing skills, as well as having a chance to tell stories to each other. You can check out their efforts here
here
here
here
here
here
here
here and
here

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