How Digital Is Saving Vinyl Records and Pinball Machines

Harvard Business Review, The Daily Idea

What do Swiss watches, pinball machines, fountain pens, handmade goods and vinyl records have in common? They have all seen a resurgence in recent years after being disrupted by new and cheaper technologies. On the surface it may seem like a paradox that these products are finding new life in the face of the very thing that threatened their demise in the first place: the digital age. But it’s really not a paradox at all. The makers of these types of goods are actually finding success because of digital platforms such as Etsy, eBay, and Kickstarter, not despite them. In other words, the internet isn’t killing handmade, artisanal, or non-digital goods; it’s actually saving them.

Source: How the Internet Saved Handmade Goods by Larry Downes and Paul Nunes

Robert Brunner: What All Great Design Companies Know

What’s the secret to becoming a legendary design company like Apple or BMW? In this 99U talk, designer Robert Brunner deconstructs his creative process revealing the stories behind products like Beats by Dre headphones and the Polaroid Cube.

First, he says, recognize that a brand belongs to your customers. ”You don’t own your brand. A brand isn’t a logo or packaging,” he says. “It’s a gut feeling. And when two people have the same gut feeling, you have a brand.” Secondly, most people view design as a part of the production chain, you get requirements in and out comes a product. But design is the chain, and for the best products it permeates every step. “It should be a topic of conversation constantly,” he says. “Thats how you make great stuff.”

Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

Daniel J. Levitin on the benefits of monotasking and daydreaming, for The New York Times

If you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods. Your social networking should be done during a designated time, not as constant interruptions to your day.
Email, too, should be done at designated times. An email that you know is sitting there, unread, may sap attentional resources as your brain keeps thinking about it, distracting you from what you’re doing. What might be in it? Who’s it from? Is it good news or bad news? It’s better to leave your email program off than to hear that constant ping and know that you’re ignoring messages.