Posts tagged “improv”

Keegan-Michael Key on Improv

When I speak about improv, I point out that despite what you may think, improv is not about chaotically doing WHATEVER BLAH WHOO but rather working with highly-constrained problems, with both axes of freedom and axes of constraint. In this video Keegan-Michael Key talks about this concept in a lovely and evocative way, describing a metaphorical notion of the camera pulling back and revealing more context, and as the performer, looking for (and incorporating) more information beyond what you are given.

(Thanks, Ian Smile)

Facilitation and exercises for creativity and presence

I run different types of workshops with clients and at events and have built up a number of different activities that invite the participants to have a novel moment and then reflect on it to reveal something potentially profound. I’ve written my current favorites, but welcome suggestions, additions, requests for clarification, and so on.

1. The Superpower Intro

  • When starting out a group session, everyone introduces themselves in turn, with their name and their super-power.
  • It’s best not to over-constrain what constitutes a super-power. Some will speak about the thing that brings the group together (e.g., work), some will talk about their personal lives, and so on.

I nicked this exercise from Marissa Louie who used it as a way to kick-off a talk. But you can use this to go in a number of different directions. In my workshops on soft skills, I’ve adopted this warm-up because it often happens that the kinds of things people share as their super-powers are indeed soft skills. It can be a positive way to see all the things that people are good at (actually great at!). Christina Wodtke does a variation where people, in pairs, ask each other for stories about an experience or accomplishment they are proud of, and then tell that person what they think their super-power is.

2. Doodling

There are many ways to doodle, but here’s what I’ve been doing as part of my 100 doodles in 100 days project

  • Get a pen and piece of paper.
  • Close your eyes – or look away – and move the pen. Make a scrawl or a squiggle. Don’t try to make anything happen, just get some marks down.
  • Now look at what you’ve got and try to create something out of it. It can be abstract. Or it might look like something. For fun, you might want to draw eyes and a mouth, animal parts (see Dave Gray’s amazing Squiggle Birds exercise).
  • Don’t take too long, but try to think about when the doodle is done.

This isn’t about producing something good, artistic, or even visually pleasing. It’s about taking an activity that usually is very deliberate, where we are focused on the outcome and trying to do it differently. You can reflect on how it felt to “draw” this way and how you feel about your output.

3. Storytelling Circle

This is an improv game played with 6 – 8 people.

  • Get in a circle. If you are doing the game in a larger group, you can make a semi-circle so that the everyone is facing out to the rest of the group.
  • As with many improv games, get three suggestions from the audience. You might ask for a proper name, the name of a place, a household object, something you might find in a purse, etc.
  • The people in the circle are to tell a story (incorporating those elements) one word a time. Go around and around until you are done!
  • Move quickly and aim to have the sentences the group creates come out almost as quickly as if one person was speaking.
  • One trick is for everyone to be ready to start a new sentence. The almost-default of a run-on sentence isn’t much fun to do or to watch.
  • Don’t throw all your story elements in at once, and try to look for the ending to the story.

I like to do a couple of rounds of this until everyone has gone and then debrief about the experience. What was it like to do this? What were you thinking when you were playing? What did you observe when you were watching?

There are some common responses when I debrief this activity, but I also hear something new every time.

I teach an entire workshop about improv (video, slides). And just for fun, you can see some hilarious improv anti-patterns in this clip.

4. It’s going to be okay

  • Working with a partner, share something you are worried about. It can be something big or something small.
  • The partner says, as authentically as possible “It’s going to be okay.
  • The first person acknowledges that yes, it is.
  • Then switch roles and repeat the exercise.
  • As a group, talk about what happened.

This simple exercise uncovers a lot of complex individual stuff. My objective is to just give people a chance to play with the notion of “it’s going to be okay” which is maybe not that comfortable for everyone. But worry takes you away from the present moment, into the future when some unwanted consequence may occur. And I hope that by playing with it, and seeing how it does or doesn’t work for the individual, people may have some power to try this themselves.

When I’ve led a group through this exercise, some people made it a silly activity (“I’m worried about vampires”), others felt that the response wasn’t sufficient to mollify the concerns they had just given voice to and reported feeling worse, others felt that just expressing the worry gave them some relief, others felt like the exchange was calming. I have been challenged by being asked “Well, what if it’s not going to be okay, like what if it’s cancer?” Of course, the process of coming to grips with death does indeed include acceptance. Oliver Sacks wrote a terrific and touching essay about his own impending death from cancer.

5. Designer is Present

  • People get into pairs and move so that they are sitting directly across from each other. Their knees shouldn’t be touching but they should be close.
  • Without staring, each pair looks quietly at each other for 60 seconds.
  • Without debriefing or discussing, everyone stands up and moves around for a moment to “shake it off” and then sits down to resume for an additional 60 seconds.
  • As a group, debrief the experience.

This activity comes from the performance artist Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present, a show at MoMA where as part of a retrospective of her career she performed a new piece where she sat silently facing individual museum-goers, all day, day after day, for several months. An excellent documentary about the show is reviewed here.

I have since learned that you can find versions of this exercise in dance and in couples therapy.

You can also read more about presence in an article I co-wrote about noticing. For more on this workshop, watch the video and check out the slides.

6. Reframing Bad ideas

  • Each person is given two sticky notes.
  • On the first sticky note, write or draw the worst idea for a product or service. Something that is dangerous, immoral, bad for business. I often give the example of “candy for breakfast.”
  • Pass the sticky note to someone else. It doesn’t have to be a direct swap, as long as everyone has someone else’s bad idea.
  • On the second sticky note, design the circumstances whereby the bad idea you’ve received becomes a good idea. I’ll offer the scenario where colony collapse disorder has disrupted the food supply enough that children aren’t getting enough sugar through regular sources and breakfast candy is the result.
  • Have people share the idea they were given and the way they successfully reframed it.

I stole this exercise from Mathew Lincez. I use it in combination with “It’s going to be okay” to illustrate our capacity for reframing and as part of a workshop on creativity called the Power of Bad Ideas (article, slides, video).

From Fluxible, The Designer is Present

I had an amazing time at Fluxible, and was so happy to have the opportunity to debut a brand new workshop, The Designer is Present.

The notion of presence is a critical idea for those of us in user experience. At the risk of sounding like Yoda, presence is tied to self-knowing. During ten years of writing, lecturing and coaching on “interviewing users”, many of the questions that Steve Portigal receives are about controlling or influencing another person’s behavior. Yet these interactions with others are really about ourselves, what’s inside us, who we are.

In this workshop, you’ll tap into a new level of personal authenticity to unlock a powerful boon. Together, we’ll explore this point of view and participate in a range of exercises to learn more about these ideas – and about ourselves.

The experience was a compelling one for all of us. I can not wait to do this workshop again (so hopefully someone will arrange for that to happen before too long). Taking a cue from Marina Abramovic (as well as performance and couples therapy), we tried an exercise where people gazed silently into the eyes of another person for 30 seconds. Which felt like an eternity, especially when done a second time. Everyone in the group was crazy brave and willing to try anything I asked of them, and even better was willing to really share honestly what these exercises revealed for them.

At other points we did a simple improv exercise (something I deal with a lot more in Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha) about “accepting offers” – essentially one person waits on stage while another approaches and says something like “Hi, I’m a baker and here’s a loaf of bread.” The initial actor responds with “Thanks, I’ll go get some butter!” or something else relevant, and then walks offstage. That’s it – all we did was a series of saying “yes” to other ideas; ideas we couldn’t plan for. Even that simple and silly activity produced a lot of powerful reflection.

We also explored how reframing (especially bad ideas into good ones; something I deal with more extensively in The Power of Bad Ideas) can help with keeping us in the moment and not letting catastrophizing whisk us away.

It seemed that these ideas had a real impact; several speakers were present and reflected on the workshop in their end-of-event summaries the next day. Konrad Sauer even shared some of his experience in a blog post:

Steve then asked us to turn to the person beside us and for 30 seconds, stare into the other persons eyes. We were all strangers and the experience was amazing. After the exercise, we were asked to describe the experience. Most people had a strong sense of discomfort – this was an incredibly intimate thing to do with someone let along with someone we did not know. Many people found strategies for dealing with the discomfort – to focus on a single feature on the persons face – usually to avoid the eyes. Some people laughed, some people looked away. Some people paid attention to their breathing, the noises outside. But we all observed that we had made a much deeper connection to that person sitting across from us. Throughout the rest of the conference, whenever our eyes re-connected, it felt like seeing a very old friend again and there was a an immediate re-connection. That is how one of the other speakers described it and I think he was bang on. It was very cool.

I put together a reading list with various podcasts, websites, articles and more. You can check it out here.

Finally, I’ve embedded the slides below (although they are really only a pointer to the experience we all shared together).

Trying the Iguana Cha-Cha: Thoughts on Steve Portigal’s Improv Talk

Alicia Dornadic has a great writeup of last week’s talk on improv, creativity and design.
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Overcoming one’s fears to do improv in front of a group of strangers must feel so empowering, but watching it can be excruciating. Some people are deer in headlights, whereas others are composed and focused. But the activity goes well, meaning everyone manages to say a word in turn, and at times the sentences actually make sense. “How did it go?” Steve asks when they’re done. Participants share that it was hard to anticipate what would be said, so they had to be “in the moment.” You can’t control the sentence and so just have to go with the flow. Sometimes you have be a “the” person or an “and” person to help the sentence make sense, sacrificing a cool word choice to help the team. Get where this is going? Good collaboration tips. Personally, I love to see the player’s expression the second after they say their word. Eyes wide, relieved that they said something, hopeful to see what comes next. It was exciting.

ChittahChattah Quickies

McRoskey mattress jumping is serious work [SFGate] – Silly-but-true stories of product manufacturing. I guess if feet are good enough for grapes they are good enough for mattresses.

Jumping on a mattress is one of the final steps in making a handmade mattress. It may be true that machines, which can be made to do most things, can be made to jump on a mattress. But a machine cannot do what Reynoso and his toes can do, which is to expertly compress no fewer than 28 layers of fluffy cotton batting while seeking to detect pea-size mattress lumps or other imperfections, the kind that can give insomnia to fairy-tale princesses and real-world princesses, too. Reynoso does his jumping in the McRoskey mattress factory on Potrero Hill. McRoskey has been stomping out high-end mattresses in San Francisco for 112 years and is something of a cult among mattress fanciers.

The yard. [Marcin Wichary] – Field research sometimes gets us backstage into interesting environments where we can ask questions and get all the details about how something works. And so I loved this tour of a bus yard, filled with great photos of artifacts, processes, signs, and interfaces.

My friend showed me around the MUNI Kirkland bus yard. MUNI is the municipal public transit system serving the city and county of San Francisco. It will turn exactly 100 later this year. The Kirkland bus yard, near Pier 39, is one of the smallest and oldest bus yards in San Francisco. It is dedicated solely to diesel buses running mostly neighbouring lines, and some express routes too. There are typically over one hundred buses leaving this yard every weekday morning for the rush hour; I visited on the weekend, when it was much quieter and many of the buses were still on the site.

To Have the Most Impact, Ask the Right Questions [HBR] – I’ve written about seventeen types of interviewing questions; here’s another simpler framework that isn’t focused specifically on interviewing.

  1. Convergent questions: What, where, who, and when questions get a person to clarify the specifics of what he or she is thinking. Converging questions can be important when time is of the essence or you are dealing with someone who is theoretical.
  2. Divergent or expansive questions: Why and what if questions ask a person to expand on what he or she is thinking. Divergent questions can be important when you need someone to see the larger context of a position.
  3. Integrating questions: If…then what questions demonstrate an attempt to find common ground between opposing positions. This builds trust and encourages compromise, which is important in situations where the stakes are high for both sides.

Architect Bjarke Ingels’s Youthful Ambition [New Yorker] – Here’s a principle from improv applied to a fresh context: managing creativity and vision in an architectural firm.

“I think you can have high competence, ambitious, without having stress and fear as the motivating factor. It’s one of the ideas of [his manifesto] Yes is More: you can be critical through affirmation rather than negation. You can be critical by putting forward alternatives rather than spending all your energy whining about the alternatives you don’t like.”

Slides from yesterday’s talk on Improv, Creativity and Design

Last night I spoke at the ACM Bay Area chapter’s monthly event. My talk was Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha: Improv, Creativity and Design, another iteration of a talk I’ve been giving since 2005. For me, the topic continues to evolve and inspire and each time I talk to a group about this, some new things emerge. Last night, I talked (albeit briefly) about the power of Yes. In improv, we hear a lot about “Yes, and…” which is really an alternative to saying “no.” In “Yes, and…” you accept an idea and then add your own. But I really got to thinking about the fundamental reframe being about empowering ourselves to say Yes. The “and…” is about putting yourself back into it, but I thought there was something to focusing for a moment on the core idea of responding to things with yes. A few years ago we led an ideation training workshop and at the end we had everyone line up and one at a time come to the front and say something that they had learned, while everyone in the room responded with “Yes!” While it had a bit of a revival meeting about it, it was an interesting exercise. My challenge to the folks last night (a mix of old-skool Silicon Valley types and people in my network, all of whom jumped into the games and exercise) was to try responding yes in a situation where you might typically respond no. It’s a challenge I’ll have to take on myself as well.

The slides are below:

This Week @ Portigal

Here’s what’s going on for us this week

  • We made rapid progress through our data last week to produce a final deliverable for our client. Due to some scheduling challenges, we won’t actually talk through what this means for them in terms of new opportunities until next week. So this week, the project is in a holding pattern. We lose a bit of momentum this way, but there’s nothing we can do about it.
  • Up next? For the past 6 weeks we’ve been making slow but steady progress on a new project that should take us to some interesting business and industrial environments across the US. The client team is super engaged and understandably taking a lot of time to align on the details, having never done this sort of work before. Meanwhile, we’re crawling our way through the corporate processes, finding ourselves assigned vendor numbers, and other trappings of the way that sourcing works. I hope for this week to be the one that officially moves us towards the next steps, but it’s entirely out of my hands.
  • We’ll be publishing some fieldwork War Stories this week. I’ve got one in hand as of this writing and another promised to me. As this archive continues to grow, we welcome your contribution!
  • We’re gathering applications for our open positions. Interested in working with us? Let us know!
  • Tamara is in Hot’lanta to speak at CPSI, connecting the insights from research to ideation.
  • I’m speaking in Cupertino this Wednesday for the San Francisco ACM, talking about improv, creativity, and design. This event is free, open to the public, and I’m told there is going to be food. Come on out!
  • I’m working with Kelly and Alison at gotomedia to finalize our Barcelona WebVisions workshop (use reg code PORTIGAL to save 40%). It promises to be an interesting synthesis of our complementary approaches and best practices.
  • Early this week, I’ll turn over the next revision of my book manuscript, now with all the figures detailed. It’s been a flurry of activity tracking down original files (in some cases, original paper documents) and numbering and cataloging them.
  • I’m excited about meeting some new people this week, possible colleagues and collaborators that I’ll be having lunches and introductory phone calls with.
  • Check out my pictures from Lisbon and UXLX!
  • Ten Years Gone: On All This ChittahChattah in June, 2002: umbrage over MCI (remember them?) sales scumbaggery, appreciation for an early archive of Internet humor.
  • What we’re consuming: the LEO at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, Chum-chum the bored bear, The Other F Word, and Big Train

Steve speaking locally, about improv, design, and creativity

I am frequently asked when I’m doing a public talk in the SF Bay Area, and now I can answer: next week!

I’m giving my popular talk Yes, My Iguana Loves to Cha-Cha in Cupertino on Wednesday, June 20th, at 6:30. This talk, about improv, creativity, and design, is something I’ve revisited and revised for a number of years. As the talk has evolved, I’ve presented it at CHIFOO, Puget Sound SIGCHI, IxDA New York (slides, video), IDSA’s Southern Conference, IDSA/ICSID World Design Congress, IDSA 2009, and DUX05.

Read more here, and come on down to the event
HP Oak Room
19111 Pruneridge Avenue
Cupertino, CA 95014

I hope to see you there. No iguanas will be harmed. No one will be forced to do improv but there should be plenty of opportunities to try it out if you’re up for it!

Creativity, Sex, & the Karate Kid

One of my favorite tools to inspire radical new thinking is a technique I call forced connections. It is, fundamentally, a cognitive math problem: x + y = ? (assuming, of course, that x and y are seemingly unrelated things). This concept, also described as combinatorial creativity, is amazing because human brains are wired for it. The brain experiences cognitive dissonance when you try to hold two or more dissimilar things in your mind at the same time. It wants to resolve that tension so it creates resolution in the form of a new idea. Understanding how ideas work helps us design tools that facilitate idea generation. The articles and talk below explore ideational procreation through the lenses of neuroscience, quantum theory, psychology, and anthropology.

Musical Creativity and the Brain [The Dana Foundation] – This article explores some big theoretical and empirical questions about creativity, namely what it is and how we do it. My researcher heart jumped for joy with the introduction of an operational definition of creativity that comfortably applies across a range of artistic and business contexts: a fundamental activity of human information processing. The researchers discuss the brain functioning behind creative problem solving and the processes that make up creative behavior. Not surprisingly, it is a study in polarities: creativity is deliberate and spontaneous, cognitive and emotional, improvisation and composition, productive and consumptive. One of the authors, Charles Limb is a surgeon who also studies creativity and talks about your brain on improv.

During any creative act, from language production to marketing techniques selling the latest iPhone, ideas or past experiences are combined in novel and significant ways via the interaction of such cognitive capacities. The creative cognition approach is the current model dominating the neuroscientific study of creative thinking. According to this approach, creativity is far from a magical event of unexpected random inspiration. Instead, it is a mental occurrence that results from the application of ordinary cognitive processes.

How the Mind Creates Ideas [Psychology Today] – I often use forced connections when facilitating brainstorming as a deliberate idea-generating activity with specific stimuli (i.e. research insights). Quantum theory offers a more expansive approach to thinking about ideas as unmanifested sub-atomic particles that represent endless possibilities and countless possible combinations. The key to harnessing your quantum creative potential is to harvest as many ideas as you can: observe, record, interact, react.

We are taught to be exclusionary thinkers, which means we exclude anything that is not immediately related to our subject. Creative geniuses do not think this way. They know that the sky is a billion different shades of blue. When they brainstorm for ideas, their first objective is to observe and record all thoughts and ideas as possibilities. They observe without judgment. This is why all their thoughts and ideas come into existence as possibilities. Creative geniuses also think inclusively which means they include everything no matter how unrelated or absurd. This is a basic requirement of creative thinking. Creative thinking requires the generation of associations and connections between two or more dissimilar subjects.

Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex [TED] – The notion of ideas having sex is not, in fact, a new idea and the fruits of idea coupling have been applied and studied in a variety of areas. Ridley brings to life this concept with a tour of human evolution that offers material culture as evidence of our inescapable need for cross-germination in the collective brain. If you are interested in such creative romancing you can also find some practical tools to set the metaphorical mood here.

What The Karate Kid Can Teach Us About Agile and UX [UIE] – While the selections above discuss the process of ideational procreation, this article illustrates the progeny of forced connections: Daniel-san + UX=Lessons in Agile Mastery. Gothelf suggests that ritual and repetition breed expertise in both the hard skills (i.e.rapid rendering) and soft skills (i.e. trust and transparency) necessary for collaborative cohesion. Mr. Miyagi would certainly approve of this evolution of “Wax on. Wax off.”

Daniel found this level of mastery in the final tournament where he anticipated his opponent’s moves and ultimately defeated him. An Agile team achieves this when they trust each other implicitly, react as a cohesive unit to change and manage that change as well as any conflict with little impact to productivity or quality of work.

*Nota bene: The forced connection as metaphoric literary trope is not necessarily novel. In fact, some might convincingly argue that it is overplayed for its linkbaiting ability to seduce readers with catchy headlines. Personally, I am a sucker for such headlines and I have yet to grow tired of this tactic because I liken it to creative calisthenics. Reading and writing such pieces forces the brain to contemplate a familiar topic through a new lens. It requires the brain to constantly make new connections and it nurtures our divergent thinking capabilities. If you are looking for such exercise, try some of these: What Jay-Z Can Teach Us About The Future Of Education,What Downton Abbey Can Teach Us About the Future of Energy, What Nature Can Teach Us About Design, and What Visual Designers Can Learn From Biggie Smalls.

 

Tips to Improve Your Interviewing Skills (and a request for more!)

I’m working on some of the final chapters of my book about interviewing and am interested in the ways that people have developed their own skills as an interviewer. I’ll list a few but this list can only get better with your input.

  • Practice, man, practice. It’s how you get to Carnegie Hall and it’s how you get better at interviewing.
  • Create your own practice occasions: that chatty seat mate on an airplane, the extroverted cashier – ask them a question and then ask them a follow up questions!
  • Reflect, just like a football coach who reviews the game films; watch your videos, read your transcripts, and look at what worked well and what you might have improved
  • Be interviewed whether it’s for a survey or a usability study or a poll, experience the interview from the other side of the lens
  • Critique the interviews of others (without resorting to your just-got-your-drivers’-license-know-it-all we all were at 16)
  • Observe others at work including great interviewers and poor interviewers – this can be in your work context, or in the media (Marc Maron, Charlie Rose, Terry Gross, and others) 
  • Collect war stories (more on this coming very soon)
  • Try improv 

That’s my starter list, but what have you done to get better as an interviewer?

ChittahChattah Quickies

Interview with Patricia Ryan Madson on How Improv Can Change the World [Priya Parker] – As often happens, the principles of improv give us a lens towards larger truths about how life – just being in the world – can or should work.

Trying produces tension and misdirects our focus away from what we are doing onto an obsession with the result. We are doomed to fail when we try to be smart or witty or amazing. It you think about it the people who actually are smart, etc. are focusing on what they are doing rather than how they are doing. I can make an average painting, story, etc. And if I put my attention on just doing what comes naturally, just making it the most obvious to me then the result is commonly pretty good. Trying is misplaced attention. The idea of excellence robs us of our common sense intelligence.

Snooping in the Age of E-book [NYT] – There are many reasons we advocate for studying people in their own environment. One of them is the richness of the cues you get from that environment. This short piece articulates those cues nicely.

A bit of gumshoe in someone’s cupboard or closet can reveal far more about them than an entire evening’s worth of chitchat. “Places reflect long series of behavior,” he told me during a recent visit to my home. “If I have a conversation with you, I just get snippets of behavior. Your books, your chairs, your wall hangings represent an accumulation over many years. A space distills repeated acts. That’s why it’s hard to fake.” Of the five major personality traits, three – openness, conscientiousness and extroversion – are clearly revealed in people’s spaces…Snooping, in other words, instead of being an antisocial activity, is actually prosocial. Our spaces are telling others what we’re like even when we’re not. These days, we need such boosts to communication, because as the demise of the bookshelf shows, our true selves are increasingly retreating from public display and disappearing inside our devices. We are becoming, as Ms. Fadiman lamented, more invisible. “Our obsession with privacy is somehow reflected in the fact that our taste is now locked up invisibly inside all of these little boxes.”

Can the Cult of Bang & Olufsen Last? [Wired] – Rob Walker catches up with the 2011 edition of this long-standing audio company, known for out of this world design and out of reach prices, as he says, “audiophiles lost out to audio audio files.” The closing paragraph is telling and compelling.

Mantoni sounds intent on prodding B&O toward a less aloof attitude about the marketplace. “We need to go out and talk to customers,” he says. He recently told 30 of his top executives that they would be working in B&O stores for a while to meet customers face-to-face. There’s a message here about design: Of course the company has to keep producing distinctive wares-but these also have to fit shoppers’ actual lives.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] No.4 Secret Soles – Rosso Solini [I Am Hiawatha] – [Louboutin shoes start at $300 and go up to several thousand dollars. Their red sole is a distinctive design mark that signifies the wearer's brand choice. A 15-year old student has designed and is marketing an aftermarket red sole that can add that signifier to any pair of shoes.] Rosso Solini ‘Secret Soles’ is a shoe customisation kit that gives you the tools and equipment to turn any high-heel into a red soled, Louboutonesque shoe.
  • [from steve_portigal] WET Design and the Improv Approach to Listening [NYTimes.com] – [Mark Fuller, chief excellence officer of WET Design explains what is unusual about his company’s culture] Improv is really about listening to the other person, because there’s no script. It’s about responding. If you have an argument with [your] wife or husband, you are just waiting for the other person to finish so they can say what they’re waiting to say. So usually they’re these serial machine-gun monologues, and very little listening. That doesn’t work in improv. If we’re on the stage, I don’t know what goofball thing you’re going to say, so I can’t be planning anything. I have to really be listening to you so I can make an intelligent response….You’re sort of in this gray space of uncertainty. Most of us don’t like to be uncertain ­ you know, most of us like to be thinking what we’re going to say next. You get your mind into a space where you say, “I’m really enjoying that I don’t know what he’s going to ask me next, and I’m going to be open and listening and come back.
  • [from steve_portigal] Open Source Electronics Pioneer Limor Fried on the DIY Revolution [Wired Magazine] – [I've long wondered if our experiences consuming software have changed our expectations for the updatability and customizability of all products] People do want very specialized technology, and they just couldn’t get it. Now they’ll be able to get it. When I make stuff, I make it for only one person, myself. And, like, two of my friends. But it turns out that hundreds of thousands of people want the same thing. And I think that’s how good design starts. So instead of having to just put up with whatever Sony comes out with, consumers will have more choices made by people who are more like them. And they’re not just trying to manufacture as Sony; they’re manufacturing as a small company that is trying to fulfill the needs of a small community…We have no idea [where this movement will go]. It’s going to be weird and completely surprising, and we’re going to be just shocked, and it will be awesome.

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