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 ®. 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)