You could make the case that my five-year-old isn’t an artist.

You could make the case that my five-year-old isn’t an artist.

But he is living and breathing creation. Simple images scratched out with markers being held wrong. Wrong? Or different? Either way, when he is concentrating on bringing his ideas onto the page, there is magic in the air. Tonight he presented me with his first book.

“There you go dad. Here’s my first book.”

When starting a fire, it takes just the right amount of breath to give the flame life. Too little, and the spark doesn’t catch. Too much, and the flame is extinguished.

So here we are with my five-year-old and his creativity. Let us tread carefully, so as not to spook it.

Evernote’s Five-Percent Problem

Phil Libin, the ex-CEO of Evernote, trying to explain the lack of focus:

What winds up happening at Evernote conferences is that people go and they say, ‘Oh, I love Evernote and I’ve been using it for years and now I realize I’ve only been using it for 5 percent of what it can do’ … And the problem is that it’s a different 5 percent for everyone.

Evernote’s icon is an Elephant. Because an elephant never forgets. Elephants are also difficult to work with, bad at telling you what you want to know, and they will roll your Land Rover if you get too close.

Evernote was created by combining an old kitchen appliance with a drunk know-it-all and a bucket of mud. And like the universe, it is ever-expanding.

I don’t like it anymore. Maybe I never did. I’ve moved most of my notes into Apple Notes and text files syncing through Dropbox. But the 5% of Evernote that I still use just isn’t easily replicated anywhere else.

Design is Problem Solving

Ben Brooks responding to a Medium post about why it’s important for designers to understand business:

I’m not sure it is about designers understanding business as much as it is about them understanding what they are trying to do. Design isn’t just visuals, it’s broader problem solving. You can give a beautiful answer without understanding the problem, but only give a great answer when you fully understand the problem.

Being good at strategy or design or writing is more than overt craft. It’s knowing why and how and when to apply that craft. Having intention. It’s not just the way something looks, it’s how it works.

Coincidentally, this is why Brandcenter graduates kick so much ass when they get out of school. They are good at problem solving and making killer work that actually works. It’s a transformation.

…though I might be a little biased.

Your Data and The Wrong Stuff

You aren’t worried enough about your personal data.

I worry about my personal data online now more than ever. I wasn’t concerned at all a few years ago. That was before I realized how much of it was being collected by how many companies. No spoilers, but it’s a lot more than just Google and Facebook.

Having used Ghostery on my laptop for the last six months, my eyes are open to the sheer number of trackers online. The fact that I haven’t heard of most of them might mean that I don’t know much about the business. But it could also mean that at least one-or-two of them are wobbly startups, clinging to life, a botched round of funding away from going tits-up.

This is the way your data privacy is violated. Not with a bang, but with a whimpering Stanford grad.

What happens to your data when one of these places goes to the great tech-conference in the sky? The next time you see it might be on your credit report or in some kind of ransom note.

I’m sorry sir, but your credit report shows that you have an unhealthy obsession with fusion jazz, and we’ll be unable to extend this loan to you. And if you don’t give us a thousand dollars, we’ll tell your kids about your Warhammer 40k collection.

But that is nowhere nearly as fascinating as what’s being called LOVEINT. It’s a problem common enough that the intelligence community has a government-speak acronym for it. Imagine high-school jealousy, pettiness, and emotional instability powered by Big Data.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and with rosemary, at least that’s what your data profile indicated.

Richard wrote about it over at Sanspoint:

But another aspect of all that data collection is whether we trust who has access to it. I’m not talking about malicious hackers getting access into the Facebook database and finding out everything it knows about everyone. I’m more concerned about the stereotypical jilted ex who uses their access to do a deep dive into what their company knows about their former partner. No matter how well you lock down what other people can see on Facebook, someone—likely multiple someones—at the company have access into the database.

Yes, the people who have access to this stuff are likely big shots who have been vetted somehow. But never forget the NASA Astronaut that drove from Houston to Orlando wearing a diaper.

Even people with The Right Stuff can misplace it and spend days sitting in The Wrong Stuff.