Archive for the ‘Startups’ Category

Flagship Unclutter

Unclutter is the harbinger of an idea for consumer internet products. Indeed, perhaps, for many kinds of products.

It is the idea of customization.

But perhaps more than customization, which is already represented in the ability for a potential customer to choose one of a select bunch of pre-customized permutations.

i.e., To choose whether she is going to have the Red Corolla or the Blue Corolla in Physical Goods, or the 6gb of RAM or the 8gb of RAM for her new Windows 8 laptop in Electronics, or the Casual or the Pro plan in her SaaS.

Nay, that which Unclutter harbinges is the idea of auto-customization.

This is not customization that happens automatically, but customization done by the user. This is the creation by the user of that permutation, exclusively to optimize their own productivity based on their idiosyncratic style of using a product.

(Perhaps another aspect is DEPTH of customization, not just that it is done by the user?)

But there is another factor that makes this idea unprecedented.

It is the ability to be “on-the-fly”. Once you have chosen your red corolla, it is red except by the will of a mechanic who will install for you one of the other pre-customized permutations for a fee.

The alternative that Unclutter presents is the ability to ‘tune’ or ‘remix’ your unique iteration of the product *as you use it*, then ‘tune’ it again based on the quality of your first ‘remix’.

It is the ability for the USER of a software to ITERATE on that software. At least, in the USER INTERFACE aspect of it.

So the three enumerated aspects of this movement would be User-performed, Iterative, Customization.

Or Iterative Auto-Customization.

Unclutter contributes to this ability by giving users a Graphical User Interface to edit Graphical User Interfaces. It lets the user cut, paste, or delete HTML elements of web pages – Removing distracting or unnecessary elements of a website, or moving features you use most often to somewhere more convenient, like dragging it out of a drop-down menu where it was formerly buried and putting it on your toolbar as a stand-alone element.

Unclutter is Iterative Auto-Customization for the web. This allows users to take a consumer web product that was once frustrating and make a version of it that is beautiful, simple, and easy to use from THEIR perspective, not that of the designer.

I’m not saying that users will become better than professional designers at respecting the tenets of Design Theory that makes things beautiful. But they do understand what is intuitive to them better than a UX designer does, because they are iterating through their own process, and can do it faster than even a startup. Even if only as a diagnostic tool for pre-production design, the ability for a user to express how they think about a product and how they WANT to use it is incredibly valuable for internet companies.

And perhaps, if every person had a tool that they could actually use, human productivity and the fulfillment of human potential would go up around the world.

An Alternative to Visioneering

This post is inspired by The Visioneers, a book by W. Patrick McCray.

The worlds imagined by visioneers are many steps of massive technological innovation away. However, these steps don’t happen simultaneously. Thus, the social impact of any one of the steps isn’t taken into account by the original vision- visioneers are not oracles who can predict complex dependancy chains of cause and effect. We have no human nor group of humans who is cabale of complete prognostication.

An alternative to distant future visioneering, futurism, or science fiction, is
The ability to imagine a near future made possible by one well-placed step, and the resulting social impact on innovative potential. …

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Startup Reality in Los Angeles

This is a bit of a sentimental journal entry.

I had a talk with a Startup CEO friend of mine today. Honestly, it scared me a bit.

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