Brave New World for Entrepreneurs

The story of how a couple of guys used Kickstarter to raise the funds to produce a great product idea.

On July 11th, 2010, Tom Gerhardt and I had an idea for an iPhone accessory: a tripod mount that doubled as a stand. Five months later, customers began to receive our product, the Glif, in the mail. This turnaround, from idea to market in five months by two guys with no retail or manufacturing experience, signifies a shift in the way products are made and sold — a shift only made possible in the last couple years.

This is has become a darling example of how a great idea and some smart execution can leverage a flat world to make some money, and rightly so. (via Gruber)

AutoCAD on the Mac

Autodesk recently announced they will be shipping AutoCAD 2011 for the Mac (and iOS) sometime in the next couple of months. I think this is great move for them. Perhaps this relys a bit much on some old stereotypes of Mac vs Windows users, but I see this is Autodesk’s greater push beyond their traditional users into the more “creative” roles (the implication being that artsy-fartsy types use Macs). With their establishment of their Media & Entertainment vertical in 1999 and subsequent acquisitions, particularly that of the animation platform Maya in 2005, they have become a major player in visual creative services. While AutoCAD (or any 3D CAD platform for that matter) isn’t a traditional tool of many creative types, that doesn’t mean that it won’t find some interesting applications.

No More Watchmen

So Alan Moore says that he doesn’t even want the rights to Watchmen back after DC approaches him with a deal. So, no more Watchmen stories. Normally, I find myself always wanting more from a world so rich as that created by Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. However, for some reason, I cannot imagine wanting anything else of this storyline. It stands so complete on its own, it just doesn’t need anything else. It feels as if every loose end – every last molecule of story – is completely tied down by the end.

iPhone for the Deaf on the WWDC keynote by Steve Jobs yesterday:

The “one more thing” from Steve Jobs was something we all expected – video calling on the iPhone 4. What was not expected was how it put American Sign Language users in the spotlight, at the very end of the FaceTime video.

Of everything in the (nearly two hour) presentation, this caught my attention the most. Most of the examples of how Apple thinks iPhone 4 owners will use FaceTime were everything you’d expect (except for that; you do that that on your own time). However, showing a conversation taking place over the phone in ASL was a moving way to showcase how this phone can really do something no other can.

Will the iPhone 4 be the first cell phone that supports communication for the hearing impaired with no configuration or third-party applications?

Designing User-Focused Context Sensitive Help

This presentation by Matthew Ellison [Goog docs] given at last year’s Australasian Online Documentation and Content Conference (AODC 2009) has some excellent points on how to craft online help for context sensitive calls. This is something Bentley uses (a lot) and I’m trying to catch up on. There are really a lot of excellent points in these slides. I believe that even if you aren’t employing context-sensitive help, structuring your help as though you were is just as likely to get your users to their answers faster.

Also, the slide in this photo (from the same conference) made me laugh out loud (literally, not in a LOL sort of way).

Tax and Spend Conservatives

USA Today‘s Dennis Cauchon:

Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

“The idea that taxes are high right now is pretty much nuts,” says Michael Ettlinger, head of economic policy at the liberal Center for American Progress.

Who was in charge when the country had its last budget surplus? Bill Clinton (D). Who was in charge when it (quickly) ended and we reached the highest deficit in history? George W. Bush (R). Who is in charge now that we have the lowest taxes in six decades? Barack Obama (D).

Who nearly bankrupt the Commonwealth of Virginia with spending? A long line of Republican governors. Who slashed spending and got the state back in the black? Mark Warner (D).

So do we all understand the notion of ‘tax and spend liberal’ is a boogeyman? I sure hope so. (via Gruber)