Peery, Arrillaga Honored

If you have ever wondered who the "Arrillaga" is that is on a quest to rename every building on the Stanford University campus, here’s a nice article featuring John Arrillaga and Richard Peery.

"They don’t know what the internal rate of returns is and they have no idea how to use a spreadsheet. But they do know addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and they know addition and multiplication a lot better."

This is a story that is as much a part of Silicon Valley’s history as any tech company, indeed these guys own more of the Valley than anyone else.

Google’s Un-Memorial Day

I wasn’t going to post this but after thinking about it for the last day it really started to make me angry. Google’s holiday logos are pretty standard fare by now, so it was with some surprise when I learned that they didn’t do anything for Memorial Day even though they have special logos for other countries equivalent of Memorial Day. Zombie is running a contest featuring examples of what that logo could have looked like. Bad Google bad.

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The Eternal Quest for Good Design

"The idea of community, user generated content and more dynamic web pages are not inherently bad in the same way, they should be secondary to the primary things sites should get right."

I wanted to find something to disagree with Nielsen on but he is so right

The one thing I would add is that designing software for users is hard, unbelievably hard. I found this out at my last company, engineers think think only about whether something is easy for them to use and they are more than willing to live with quirky user experiences, while designers think about design more than usability.

When you can get good engineering coupled to good design with an awareness of the actual user group targeted, the effect is powerful but getting them together is a real challenge because everything starts so far apart.

When I wrote about Cambrian House a while back I could have been writing a case study for Nielsen. The user experience features overlapping features, lot’s of community this and that, confusing jargon, and their own made up vocabularly. This is a great example of an outstanding concept that gets in the way of itself with a user interface that doesn’t value speed and simplicity.

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Sony is Now Dragging Down Their Partners on the PS3

Good article in the Merc about EA’s stumble with their bet on the PS3 and their absence on the Wii. I have written on several occasions about what a disaster the PS3 is for Sony, and in the months that have passed things just haven’t gotten any better for them.

Some analysts and investors are beginning to question this upbeat outlook. The biggest problem: the surprising early dominance of Nintendo’s Wii in the latest round of the console wars. It’s no coincidence, they say, that EA emerged as the top game maker at a time when Sony’s PlayStations dominated the game console market. The threat that the Wii now poses to Sony’s dominance is bound to affect EA as well, they say.

The real issue here, and it’s one that I have only recently realized, is that it’s not about the console hardware or even the games anymore. Nintendo is on fire with the Wii because it’s the "everyman’s game machine" that everyone can truly enjoy. The games are described as "quirky" but what’s quirky about bass fishing or bowling? Apparently, a large slice of the market finds these game themes more appealing than the latest first person shooter with amazing graphics and "dude did you see how the bits of flesh blew off".

The age of the hardcore gamer being the center of the game business universe is over and companies like EA will have to make a painful transition to remain relevant.

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