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Notes from the desert

Posts on web design, development, and the occassional bicycle reference.

App unbundling, search and discovery

Benedict Evans:

Just as Yahoo’s hierarchical directory didn’t really scale after 1996 or so, so too app stores have not scaled as a discovery platform. Further, though there are lots of ways that the execution of the app stores could be improved, this still ultimately boils down to saying ‘Yahoo’s home page should be better’ back in 1996. Indeed it should have been, but the answer was still PageRank. And we have no analogue of PageRank for mobile apps.

Frank Chimero on how we talk about design behaviors:

We need to work as a community to develop a language of transformation so we can talk to one another. And we probably need to steal these words from places like animation, theater, puppetry, dance, and choreography.

Words matter. They are abstractions, too—an interface to thought and understanding by communication. The words we use mold our perception of our work and the world around us. They become a frame, just like the interfaces we design.

I can’t agree more on with Frank about this. Having to prototype something because we aren’t able to accurately describe the behavior isn’t a great place to find ourselves in.

Frank is also making another print run of his book, The Shape of Design. I suggest picking up a copy if you can, or it’s free to read online or download as an e-pub.

Great article by Nick Bilton for the NYT:

It’s one of Silicon Valley’s great oddities that start-up founders refer to themselves as “entrepreneurs.” More often than not, the people who come up with company ideas have no understanding of how to run a business or turn a profit. Partly as a result, the relationship between the entrepreneurs, who have the ideas, and the venture capitalists, who finance them, can become tense.

Nick talks about the history Twitter, it’s founders, and how it got to where it is today. How much of it is true is another matter, but it’s a fun read regardless.