Zeno's Paradox
While critical thinking may not make up for a lack of knowledge, it is essential for gaining knowledge.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003:  
Critical Thinking, Business:
Beta vs VHS: The Decline and Fall of Betamax (Helge Moulding)
Even Sony today agrees that the difference in recording length was the difference that layed Beta low. The other factor appears to have been the one factor for which no company can control: pure luck.
Myths make for great propaganda. How many times have you heard that Beta video was higher quality than VHS, but VHS became the standard due to better marketing? It's is just such a myth.

What can we learn from this besides that people like to perpetuate myths (rather than check sources, research subject matter, etc)?
  • A few key product differences can make or break a product for an entire market.
  • Product differences that people cannot easily perceive rarely make for a better product.
  • Beta was better than VHS? Pure, uninformed propaganda.
See also: Why VHS was better than Betamax

    -  Ron  2:45 PM

Sunday, August 17, 2003:  
Management, Human Factors, Critical Thinking:
A New Organization for Designers Forming?
I've been spending quite a bit of time following (and contributing to) all the discussion that's occurred in response to Bruce Tognazzini's "It's Time We Got Respect"
  • Do we need another organization? Most of the supporting arguments are petty or based upon ignorance of existing organizations...
  • Who would this new organization be for? There are some vague ideas, and lots of assumptions...
  • What would be the primary purpose of this organization? To market and promote itself and its members, obviously. It appears a lot of people feel that they don't get the respect they deserve, and creating a new organization is the solution to this problem. Of course, no one wants to consider the possibility that maybe people are getting all the respect they deserve, or that respect (at least in the long term) can only be gained through accomplishment rather than influence.
My recommendations:
  • No new organization is necessary. UPA, despite their poor choice for a name, has been educating and promoting designers for over a decade.
  • Designers need to stop whining about not getting enough respect and instead do something about it. Along the way, be extremely skeptical of consultants selling you lines aimed at your insecurities.
  • Improve the quality of your work, and help others do the same. Too many either haven't had the opportunity or are unwilling to put their egos aside, find others with common goals, and share their experiences, methodologies, and results (both successful and unsuccessful).
Please share your thoughts in the Interaction Architects discussion.

    -  Ron  5:43 PM

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