Stories [What's capturing my attention these days across strategy, design, and more]

"I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument."

These are the striking opening lines of this op-ed​ by Caroline Wililams, a brilliant former classmate. It is required reading. It can be easy as a white American to dismiss the sins of the past as something long ago and far away. This piece is a vivid reminder of just how present they are.​

As professionals working in design and innovation, we are given the power every day to rethink solutions and reinvent systems. I hope we can all commit to an ongoing reexamination of the status quo. Let's push ourselves and our teams to understand which relics of the past are continuing to revictimize and disenfranchise simply because we hadn't thought to question them until now.

Definitely a clickbait-y title, but offered an important insight from Antoinette Carroll of the Creative Reaction Lab: the design thinking process is predicated on gathering feedback from the end user to build human-centered solutions​. Thus, this system invariably has outsiders...who tend to be the most systematically marginalized.

Perhaps they should amend the title from "Forget Design Thinking," to "Make Sure You're Talking to the Full Spectrum of Those Impacted by Your Solution, You Bozo".

Appreciated too how it aligned with equityXdesign's suggestion to build "Equity Pauses" into the design process:  


"Our common discourse of urgency and business-as-usual creates little time for reflection. Strategic equity pauses stop the clock to reflect on our language, ideas, and hunches in the context of a discourse of transformation. Without this moment to think, our brains default to the familiar and the known, making a repeat of past practice likely."

This prototype truly must be seen to believed. Using only open-source code, French designer Cyril Diagne created AR Copy Paste to drag and drop real objects from your surroundings onto a digital canvas using your smartphone. Sound like something from Minority Report? It looks like it too.

As of May, he is offering access to a beta app if you reach out to him on Twitter @cyrildiagne.

Speaking of Minority Report, I ​highly recommend this series on the future of data by Jaron Lanier, the "computer philosopher" who advised Spielberg on the film. The 5-minute videos are beautifully produced, but if you'd rather cut to the takeaways I've included them here:
 

  • Part I: The Problem --> We're manipulated by our own data

    • "We've created a whole civilization based on tricking each other...and you are the fuel. Data is the new oil. And you're giving away everything in exchange for nothing."
       

  • Part II: The Solution --> Data Dignity

    • Data Dignity gives you agency to sell your own data to companies based on how much it is worth to you. Essentially, a 21st Century approach to our evaporating pensions and universal basic income.

    • Rather than expecting all internet services for free, we will pay for superior services. In exchange, we will be paid for the use of our data that fuels them, and ultimately emerge net positive.
       

  • Part II: The Implementation --> Don't listen to the critics

    • "I won't get paid enough to be worth it" - Silicon valley makes trillions on our free data. Let's redistribute this wealth. Jaron estimates the average family could net $20K annually.​

    • "People will never pay for internet services" - Youtube made us expect videos for free, yet Netflix was the first of many to prove that when you pay for stuff it gets better. 

    • "The tech giants won't allow it" -  Despite initial pushback, the overall economic growth will benefit tech companies as well. Plus, they will shift their strategic focus to serving paying consumers directly, rather than serving advertisers.

    • "Poor people will be shut out of the internet" - We need to be vigilant about this. Jaron points to how public libraries offering free access to all published literature did not damage the publishing industry, emblematic of how we have creatively tackled accessibility in the past.​

*Thanks to Lauren Brown for submitting this one!

I have TikTok to thank for this one (see Mom, it is educational!).

 

ExplodingTopics lets you sort the biggest industry trending topics by timeline (from 1 month to 15 years). Stellar way to see what people inside each industry are talking about.

 

FAR more ideosyncratic results than I expected; can guarantee if you spend 5 min browsing you will learn something new.

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I MAY DESTROY YOU (HBO)

Being widely compared to Fleabag, and for good reason. A British writer-actor, a beautifully shot show, a focus on idiosyncratic relationships working through trauma, and an expert blend of quippy comedy and powerful message, cute boys. It has it all!

I have loved every second of this show and am completely blown away by Michaela Cole, the creator. Even the trailer makes it look like a twisted drama thriller, but Cole brilliantly tackles the topic of drug-assisted rape through a deeply human and often funny lens.

PIVOT: Facebook fails...can Trump ban TikTok?

This episode makes two points I've been thinking about for weeks:
 

  1. Universities are perpetrating "concentric hallucination" in convincing parents that there will be in-person classes because they are financial dependent on parents' deposit checks

    • "The super-spreaders in the US right now are far right Republican governors and university presidents who are even entertaining the notion that we bring young people to areas of concentration and expect that they will maintain ridiculous distance protocols."
       

  2. Facebook (plus Insta and WhatsApp) has successful established an unchallenged monopoly over social media. This position gives them limited incentive to prioritize user needs, ensure privacy, or protect democracy. Given that our government is unlikely to break it up, TikTok is suddenly in a unique position to challenge the Facebook juggernaut:

    • TikTok has built an enviable algorithm that targets users with personalized bits of joy and highlights tremendous user creativity.

    • Were TikTok to acquire Snap (and Twitter?), they could potentially become a global competitor able to hold Facebook accountable and challenge some of their questionable policies.

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SOUVENIR (by Johnnyswim)

This married duo have such a cool blend of styles. Like alt-folk-soul-pop? When those chords hit in the chorus I dare you not to bop.

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DONE WITH YOU (by Audra Mae & Vista Kicks)

Truly one of the greatest, most underrated vocalists. Have been obsessed with her for over a decade. You may recognize her voice from her 2014 collab with Avicii, Addicted to You. This track is from her current folk collab with Vista Kicks. I dedicate it to the guy in the White House.

doodles

I've always been an avid doodler. During my MBA, and the countless hours of lecture time it entailed, I was overwhelmed by the encouragement I got from peers who observed my absent-minded habit.

During the pandemic, I decided to transform my hobby into an actual practice, launching an instagram channel to both hold me accountable to daily updates and allow me to share my creations with friends near and far. 

To see the full collection, follow me on Instagram at barry.doodles

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