From 'Let my people go surfing' by Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia
When I had my blacksmith shop, I contracted out the tooling of our climbing gear, and some of the production, to Harold Leffler's machine shop in Burbank. Leffler was a draftsman and tool and die maker with fifty years' hands-on experience. We called him the genius as often as we called him Harold. He was so good at his craft that he received requests from aircraft companies around the country to bid on their projects, even though he ran a small shop.
Harold used to joke about the blueprints he received from the engineers; they were so over-designed that the cost to produce them would be ten to twenty times higher than necessary, and in many cases, they would be impossible to make at all. Because I had no training in engineering but did know what I wanted a carabiner or ice screw to do, I would show up with a simple sketch or a carved wooden model, or just an idea in my head, and we would work together to come up with a design that would be feasible. Even after Tom Frost, a talented engineer and draftsman, became my partner, we consulted Harold Leffler at all stages in the design process.
My relationship with Leffler taught me all about how important it is for the designer to work with the producer up front. This applies to every product. Building a house proceeds more smoothly and less expensively if the architect and contractor work out the real-world problems of a blueprint before the cement truck rolls up to pour the foundation. Likewise a rain jacket is better made when the producer understands from the start what the product needs to achieve and, conversely, when the designer understands what processes have to be followed and, finally, when everyone stays on the team and works until it is done.
Michael Kant refers to this team approach as concurrent, as opposed to assembly-line manufacturing, in which responsibility for one part of the process is handed off in stages to the next in the line. A concurrent approach brings all participants together at the beginning of the design phase. As Dr Kami points out, only about 10 percent of the products costs are incurred during the design phase, but 90 percent of the costs are irrevocably committed. The ongoing relationship beyond the design phase is critical too. Builders have been known to make on-site changes without knowing the architect's intentions, and sewing contractors can easily compromise a rain jacket's performance by altering construction of a seam to fit their own work habits and practices.
‘... You gotta grab the reader by the throat. He’s on the train. It’s hot. He’s trying to hit on his secretary; she’s not giving him the time of day. His wife is mad at him. His kid needs braces; he doesn’t have the money. The guy next door to him stinks. It’s crowded. You want him to read your story? You better make it interesting.’
This is a haiku posted to John Maeda's blog in 2007, which some enterprising people have turned into a very nice little print using sign letters from a junk shop. It echoes the thinking - doing things - thinking virtuous cycle that I stole from someone a while back and have been using in meetings ever since.
The picture above is available to buy from 20x200.com
I came across this song for the first time last Thursday, and it is literally everywhere now, thanks to the success of the English Rugby team over the last week. The song is really good, and actually almost as good as 'Ruby', also by Rogers. Songs with stories have always had a special place for me, like Johnny Yuma by Johnny Cash, Patches by Clarence Carter, Coat of many colours by Dolly Parton, and the Hurricane by Dylan. I never thought about it, but they always seem to be from blues, folk and country music.
Perhaps an entrant to our new and improved chart system - without the need for the record to be re-released? Surely Rogers must be making some money from this?
Human Brain Cloud is bit like 'visual thesaurus' but free, and completely user generated - and arguably a bit more interestingly designed. The cloud started with a single word; 'volcano', and everything else has come from people visiting the site. Charmingly I was human126023.
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and
bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched,
courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack,
slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's
blood and probably themselves will not be realized.
Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering
that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die,
but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting
itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons
and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.
Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.
She was," he proclaimed, "so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly
laughed out loud. She ... [was] famine, fire, destruction and plague
... the only true begetter. Her breasts were apocalyptic, they would
topple empires before they withered ... her body was a miracle of
construction ... She was unquestionably gorgeous. She was lavish. She
was a dark, unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much ...
Those huge violet blue eyes ... had an odd glint ... Aeons passed,
civilizations came and went while these cosmic headlights examined my
flawed personality. Every pockmark on my face became a crater of the