What’s wrong with social networks? They’re archives.

So my friend gets locked in an elevator. Adds a post to facebook asking for help. No reply. He waits a couple hours until an elevator repairman gets him out.

This is a  case study in what’s wrong with traditional social networks. They are not social networks at all – they’re archives. Amazing that the core use case above is entirely missed.

Using laserthread tactical controls including geofence, elasticnet, and livewire, my friend would have found help immediately.

Instead, his social network fell flat on its facebook.

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BooleanGrid – Spooky action

I began the design of BooleanGrid with an analog model that used paper swatches to track flipped coins. I had a number of coins and tossed them repeatedly, keeping track of how often each turned up heads or tails. Of course, I realized how absurd of an undertaking it was. Neat existential moment, that.

It got pretty complicated, and I ended up tossing a lot of coins a lot of times. My hope was to put BooleanGrid to the ultimate test by seeing if it could somehow predict the future performance of tossed coins. Naturally, I lost track of a couple of the coins, which messed everything up. All I had was a bunch of pennies and scraps of paper to show for my efforts. Not feeling like too much of a cool startup founder.

Later I found the two coins that had gone missing, and discovered that BooleanGrid had precisely predicted their rate of heads vs tails percentage, even though one was almost all heads, the other almost all tails!

Spooky!

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Conceptual art for laserthread.com

So the concept for laserthread art riffs off of the hobo signs that LT uses to navigate.

LT is about live action. It’s not an archive like the other SNs. So I was walking around Union Square, and I thought: “What’s live right now?” And I saw people hanging out in the park, collecting money, etc. as is well known from press coverage, mostly negative.

The hobo signs were originally critical ways of communicating. And people on the street today aren’t going to fluff around on Facebook. They have urgent needs.

Social networks should be about connecting and taking action in real time. What would you do if you were on the street? Scramble, focus, take action.

LT makes it much easier to sign up, for example by using the newer Facebook routines, and in particular by providing JoinMe invites. Still, people may be surprised at getting the invites, or even dislike them.

And that’s what I encountered when I tried to take people’s pictures. Even though I offered them ten bucks, a cool transaction indeed, many did not want their picture taken. So I took photos of hands only. You do get a bit of the background, and a sense of what’s going on.

That’s kind of what SNs are about – a bit of a risk, a bit of a connection, faces in and out of view…

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Toward a new agency model

Most design agencies are artistic pretenders. People who really know art rightly scoff at the idea of advertising as art. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Ideally, advertising would transcend the limits of the current practice to become art. The best possible advertising would be conceptual art. But that requires a whole new way of thinking.

Most companies today are not worthy of this approach. No serious artist would represent a company that sells nothing but boatloads of cheap baggy underwear. But if companies began reinventing themselves so that they could secure better representation, then artists would be leading the way, and everyone would benefit in so many ways.

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The hidden matrix

I’m seeing BooleanGrid as revealing the matrix underlying the stock market.

It makes you a part of the algorithm and lets you see the inner workings as you move through various dimensions and changes.

But I suppose it’s not too different from the fun some people have when they play with sports statistics.

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Consulting, agencies, corporations, and startup innovation

It looks like lots of folks are trying to get in on the innovation bandwagon. Yee-haw! Consulting companies in particular seem to be trying to do this by buying design agencies or creating internal agencies.

Maybe it’s a sales gimmick.

It sounds like a good idea – at first. Consultings are bad at design – agencies don’t know from business. It seems like putting them together would be synergistic. They can learn from each other.

In fact the opposite is true. That’s because the underlying issue is never solved for. The two groups maintain their alphas and deltas. There’s the rub.

Of course, a synergistic outcome is eminently possible.

But few know how to get there.

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Tenets Behind The Grid

BooleanGrid is a different take on a stock market screener. As such I guess it will need to be presented differently. Here are some principles behind it.

1. BG is different than other stock screeners.

2. BG is not supposed to work like other stock screeners. That would be drinking the koolade.

3. BG is designed as a game, although it has serious capability.

4. To use BG, you perform a series of actions that initially may feel random. First you take action, without knowing what will happen. Then you see the surprising result. Then you take another action. That is the game aspect of it random -> deterministic. Notice this is the opposite of how this kind of thing normally works!

5. BooleanGrid was initially conceived as conceptual art. So it may not seem to be 100% buttoned-down rational. That is OK.

6. There are, potentially, interesting ramifications to the project that have not been explicated. Areas to investigate could be: the ability to change the odds, what happens when you transition to a quantum view, the impact of a multi-player system, pushback from existing stakeholders.

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BooleanGrid hits the iStore

I’m pleased to announce that after a long review process, BooleanGrid, the revolutionary quantum stock screener, is now available as an iPhone / iPad app for all sizes.

It has been awhile in coming. This app is so radical that I didn’t expect it to pass review. At the end of the day though, business innovation through design won out.

Which reminds me about exactly why I made it. Somebody had to do something new here. It would’ve had to be me – and it had to be now, and done quickly by a small team.

Things like this usually just don’t get built.

http://itunes.com/apps/booleangrid

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