Elise: What are your best tips for handling low-energy / quiet interviewees? I wonder if my extroverted body language is making them shut down more! Also, I have R&D team members who love to be involved in customer-facing activities. What’s worked for you in training teammates in user interviewing?
- Inc. Magazine Staffers Works Remotely To Make April Issue – [NYTimes.com] – Away from the office, some staff members struggled to adjust, as minor technical hiccups arose and parents working at home had to find ways to separate their work from their children. But in the end, most employees discovered that they could and should work out of the office more often — though they did not want to eliminate the office entirely. Mr. Chafkin found himself working more hours than usual in February and pining for the company of his colleagues. “I was way more productive, but way less happy,” he said. “I think one of the reasons people get into magazines is that it’s collaborative.” The collaboration that did happen needed to be arranged in advance, like setting a time for a conference call, rather than relying on an encounter in a hallway or chatting at a desk. Only once during the month did the entire staff gather, at Ms. Berentson’s home on the Upper West Side. When everyone got together, she said, it was “exactly like seeing old friends.”
- OgilvyOne Uses Contest to Promote Salesmanship [NYTimes.com] – A contest from OgilvyOne asks participants to market a brick so their sales techniques can be judged. The prize is a job at the agency for three months. Participants submit their ads for the red brick via YouTube. The ad agency's contest is a nod to David Ogilvy, who offered straightforward opinions on the high importance of good salesmanship.
- The Medium – Trust Busting [NYTimes.com] – A company shows anxiety on its face — that is, on its Web site, which has become the face of the modern corporation. Visit sites for recently troubled or confused enterprises, including Maclaren, Toyota, Playtex, Tylenol and, yes, John Edwards, and you’ll find a range of digital ways of dealing with distress.
- The Day It All Changed: The BookServer project – BookServer is a framework of tools and activities. It is an open-architectured set of tools that allow for the discoverability, distribution, and delivery of electronic books by retailers, librarians, and aggregators, all in a way that makes for a very easy and satisfying experience for the reader, on whatever device they want.
The Internet Archive expanded the availability of books to millions of people who never had access before, bringing knowledge to places that had never had it. Who knows what new markets that will create, or more importantly what new minds will contribute to our collective wisdom as a result of that access. In the same motion, Brewster demonstrated a world where free can coexist with the library borrowing model, and with the commercial marketplace. Protecting the interests of both of those important constituencies in this ecosystem. He also portrayed every 'closed system' including our big retail friends and search engine giants, as small potatoes.
- Stack America: Freedom from Choice + Surprise + Curation – Stack America is the subscription service that brings the best in hard-to-find independent magazines directly to your home or office. Based in New England and created in response to the huge demand for Stack from American subscribers, it exists to offer a targeted selection of independent magazines for anyone subscribing in the USA and beyond. (via DesignObserver)
- ANONthology – The Anonthology is an experimental project to assess the importance placed on name and reputation over quality of writing. Amongst the writers contained within we have Orange and Genius Prize winners, Booker and Pulitzer Prize nominees. We have one author who’s sold over half a million copies, another who’s written over fifty books. But can you tell which is which? And how does it change the reading experience, not knowing if the author is young or old, male or female?
- Amazon adds over 18,000 free public domain titles to Kindle Store – "It would have been nice if Amazon had thought of this tactic before launching the Kindle. But the rapid growth of the public domain library in the Kindle store is more likely a response to the fact that Sony eBook readers can access Google's massive collection of scanned public domain works. So while Amazon's 18,000 public domain downloads are a good start, Google has over half a million titles, which means Amazon still has some catching up to do."
- Phil Patton asks about Google’s book scanning process – Nowhere in Google’s FAQs or anywhere else is there a clear answer to the question of how books are physically scanned. Whether the books are disassembled in the process of scanning. What measures are taken to avert damage to scanned books, especially to older, more fragile ones with dry bindings and acidic paper. What sort of action readers or authors can take if they encounter errors in the scanning, dating or classification.
- One Hour Design Challenge: The Future of Digital Reading — School of Visual Arts — MFA in Interaction Design – Interaction Design students teamed up to participate in the One Hour Design Challenge: The Future of Digital Reading for Jason Santa Maria’s Communicating Design Class.
- "Reading Ahead" Project Fuses Consumer Reading Habits With Opportunities to Enhance the E-Reader Experience – A press release about Reading Ahead and our design competition in partnership with Core77
- Mexican Government Runs A Contest To Expose The Hellish Depths Of Bureaucracy – "Ms. Pardo said she thought the competition would not by itself guarantee change. But she said it helped not only to highlight the problem, but also encouraged Mexicans to speak out to try to force change, rather than just accepting the status quo. “Chileans don’t let this happen to them,” she said."
From a strange article in the NYT about McDonald’s holding an employee-only American Idol-style singing competition (for reasons they don’t exactly make clear)
Employee contests with big prizes are nothing new in corporate America. McDonald’s has pitted stores and regions against one another to determine who makes the best shakes.
But I thought that shakes (sorry, not milkshakes) were identical from store to store, based on a standard recipe and ingredients. Then what do you compete on? Speed? Panache?