“When you’re running for President, you do the talking. When you’re President, they do the talking.”—
This quote popped into my head this morning. (Surprisingly, it’s never been said before.)
I think it’s more true than sliced bread.
When Obama was running, he did the talking. He was the media. We heard from him, we got to learn about him, and he got to tell us what his plans are. He had a lot of free time in his hands, so things like a Leno interview were something you heard about each day. He talked, we listened.
Now, for good or bad, the tables have turned. Obama is doing is work, and we’re doing the talking. Every American (and non-ignorant World Citizen) has an opinion about him and is not afraid to share it. We rarely get to see him talk to us (for some weeks, the 3 minute YouTube address is perhaps all we see of him), and it’s no wonder that a Leno appearance is cited as world history (“first President to appear on a late-night TV programme.”) He’s not talking to us any more — we’re talking about him.
Given this little piece of insight, it’s no wonder that he’s getting all the criticism he is. When he was running, people said something about him, and he could refute it, assuring his supporters of their anticipated viewpoint. Now, there is no one to refute, deny, or debate. People say something, and it is automatically cited as true. And it causes even the most vocal of his supporters to reconsider.
I personally find this to be a sad fact and wish it was the other way around. When you’re running, people should be talking about you, to you, and you should be listening. When you’re President, you should be talking to them about what’s right, where everyone is headed, and (re)assuring them of their future.
“Is Obama willing to speak hard truths? Is he willing to say that home ownership is for those with sound credit and solid jobs? Is he willing to say that credit, whether for auto loans, or student loans, or consumer purchases, should be restricted to those who have shown the maturity to manage debt — and no others need apply?”—
My dad always sends me these Pat Buchanan articles. I like picking through them and see what I agree/disagree with. I think the above quote makes sense, though his discussion about the financial sector offering sub-prime loans because politicians pressured them to is absurd. If a finance guy makes money on a transaction, that’s all the reason he needs to do it.
“Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such miniscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”
I love the insight in Doug Bowman’s “Goodbye Google,” his departure post on leaving Google after having worked there for many years as a Visual Designer.
Like most, I too have throughout the years suspected them of having a “let’s see if that pixel is in the right place by user testing” design philosophy, but there has been no direct evidence of that until now.
User testing and data-driven decisions are great, but I think they only work in the re-iteration process — that is, the time after a pause in the development of a product where the situation is, “we’ve built this, and we need someone to test and tell us where we screwed up so we can fix it and have it tested again.”
Where they don’t work is directly within the design process, where the situation 99% of the time is, “we can’t agree on where the logout button should be placed so we need to let someone decide.” In these cases, the designers and/or developers need to think it out, add a rational perspective, wrap it with a touch of good human taste, and come to a conclusion where the solution singularly fulfills the problem like no other alternative could. Even if this is all done, decided, and supported fully by just one person in the team (for example, I’d assume Steve Jobs did it a number of times with the iPhone), it is much better than a half-agreed upon solution by the team where nobody fully supports it but it seems to be the “only” thing to do to move forward with the next thing.
In the long-term, this is why I think Google is doomed in terms of design if they don’t bring in a key figure who can aggregate design decisions and see the product from a user’s perspective as opposed to a user testing group’s. Apple, on the other hand, has mastered this over the years, so even while Steve’s away, I can bet you someone is taking his place and cracking the whips when it comes to “should the textbox be 2 pixels down?”.
“There’s an old Hindu saying that comes into my mind occasionally: “For the first 30 years of your life, you make your habits. For the last 30 years of your life, your habits make you.” As I’m going to be 30 in February, the thought has crossed my mind.”—Steve Jobs, in a Playboy Magazine Interview from 1985 (via jackcheng)
5 Reasons Why Facebook Will Never Be (Or Beat) Twitter
Relationships are fundamentally different (friends vs. followers), and changing this will mean a complete infrastructure bet — unlikely in this economy, and given the fact that doing what it does has gotten Facebook to 100 million users.
There are no usernames. This, among other things, negates the possibility for “replies”. Comments are cool, but obscure. Wall posts are cool, but only visible to those who are friends with both people.
Related to the point above, the lack of usernames makes it impossible to promote one’s presence. A famous person might say, “add me on Facebook.” But if you’ve ever looked someone up, you’ll know how hard it is to decipher people with the same name (multiply that by 10 if the person is famous.) Oh, and “add me on facebook.com/profile.php?id=3992882” is not an option.
"Status updates" are not as cool as "tweets." ‘Nuff said?
It’s too damn complicated. There a 100 different actions you can take on Facebook, and only one — yes, one — on Twitter (with the exception of settings, etc.) Twitter’s simplicity is with its concept and execution, while Facebook’s is with execution only.