Mike Laurie

Assumptions are a disease

When working in a team on a design or a vision, it’s pretty likely that lots and lots of assumptions will be made. They can be anthropological - “people will act as ambassadors”, “our users will share this” or “people will want to submit their stories, ideas, photos or limericks to our hub”. They can be economic – “This won’t cost much” or mechanical – “Yeah, of course our CMS can do that”.

Assumptions are seductive because they propel the project forward, they allow us to just bat away risk and move forward, like a juggernaut, unstoppable. They are exhilarating because it feels like you’re calling the shots, living on the edge or flying by the seat of your pants.

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Are you designing the wrong thing?

I’ve worked on some seriously massive failures in my time.

The things I consider massive failures haven’t failed because of the usual things people worry about - being late, looking shoddy, being a bit slow, being unstable, lacking finesse etc. In fact, I've never worked on anything that's failed for these reasons.

They failed because nobody used them.

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TV ontologies, how much do they matter?

A news program has opinions, news items (which might contain locations, types of events etc), issues, methods of finding out more. A news story itself might be part of a bigger feature, which has related stories, or they may be stories that are part of a larger story. 

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Facebook domination in 2 moves

There's a bit in the original film Karate Kid, when Daniel, almost crippled by blows to his leg, assumes the iconic Crane Kick stance and kicks his opponents chin in and knocks him out cold. Brilliant. 

That's basically what Facebook's could do to Google in two really sweet moves. Admittedly, performing those two moves could take a couple of years to pull off, but bear with me for a moment.

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Guardian #Activate2010

Guardian Activate 2010 logo

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend The Guardian’sAcvtivate2010 Summit, which is dedicated to looking at how the Internet is changing the world. The focus seemed to be very much on global good. Props need to go to Robin Hough, Head of Media Events and his team for packing in some of the most fascinating and inspiring speakers into a single day. Although it was fairly exhausting, it was worth being exhausted for.

Here are a few themes that stood out for me.

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The risks of parasitic apps

Twitter’s new and native URL shortening functionality (t.co) is going to make other URL shorteners such as ow.ly, is.gd and bit.ly totally obsolete.

I guess those businesses could see it coming. URL shortening is fairly basic functionality. It would take a decent developer a couple of days (if that) to comp something together that works well enough. It seems morally bankrupt of large social networks to toss aside small apps that add value to their platform by blatantly copying functionality. 

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