What Abbey Road can teach us about how to use old tech

I’ve just read this excellent article on The Technical Constraints That Made Abbey Road So Good. I recommend you read it if you’re interested in The Beatles, creative music or creative ways of working.

It was the following parts that really stood out to me:

as the 60s went on, culture—specifically counter-culture—began seeping into the studio and changing that dynamic relationship between the engineers and their tools. Over time, the room became filled with incredibly skilled people who were willing to break any rule if it helped their artists create new and interesting sounds.

The article goes on to talk about how the technicians were going out of their way to find difficult challenges and to make jokes, like making the band play out of a cupboard, a reality…

It was this combination of playfulness, openness to risk-taking, and deep professionalism which enabled Abbey Road’s technicians to respond to seemingly off-the-wall requests

Sounds like breaking rules is not only a great way to hit upon good creative ideas and revive old formats, but to have a lot of fun too.

Design thinking within constraints

I’m currently reading ‘Change by Design‘ by Tim Brown. This particular paragraph on creating environments for “design thinking” and the importance of constraints stood out:

The willing and even enthusiastic acceptance of competing constraints is the foundation of design thinking. The first stage of the design process is often about discovering which constraints are important and establishing a framework for evaluating them. Constraints can best be visualized in terms of three overlapping criteria for successful ideas: feasibility (what is functionally possible within the foreseeable future); viability (what is likely to become part of a sustainable business model); and desirability (what makes sense to people and for people).

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Metric time

“Metric time is the measure of time interval using the metric system, which defines the second as the base unit of time, and multiple and submultiple units formed with metric prefixes, such as kiloseconds and milliseconds.” ~ Wikipedia

Since I discovered that ‘metric time’ exists I’ve been trying to determine if we should be using it. Is the the current system of time as outdated as the imperial measurements of miles, yards, ounces & pounds? Or is this unit of measurement even more ingrained in our lives that we refuse to even consider an alternative?
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Collecting creative materials

book cover: a technique for producing ideas

I recently read ‘A technique for producing ideas’ by James W. Young as some recommended reading from work. Like many digital marketers I’ve gained most of my industry experience on the job and core practices like ‘how to be creative’ have been passively absorbed without any formality. The book doesn’t provide a holy grail but it does frame the creative process in a surprisingly simple 5 stage process, after 20 minutes (30 pages) I felt more competent in how to improve the skill.
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