One improvement to Spotify

I love Spotify, I don’t know much about music rights, but I do know it’s amazing for listening to music. But I often find myself wanting more, there’s so much stuff they could do. Don’t get me wrong, they do do amazing things in terms of content and updates but often they miss the mark with social, there’s so much potential.

For instance, why is it so hard to listen along with someone? A simple piece of functionality to let one person listen along with another would instantly make the software more communal. The joiner gets to listen to some new music and learn something about the DJ, the DJ gets a nice social warm feeling/ego boost when a notification pops up saying “so and so is listening along with you”. Wouldn’t that be nice?

spotify interface mockup with a 'listen with' functionality


Games that flow

Flow is something that we talk about a lot at work, long story short, it’s the feeling of being “in the zone”. You can find a full psychology description of it here, but you know what it feels like, it’s when you become so immersed in a task that you receive a constant satisfaction and joy as you complete it.

Until now I’ve only spoken or heard about flow in terms of productivity or work, but recently I read this article that introduced me to the concept of flow in games, in particular how Call of Duty is engineered to get players into a flow state.

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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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