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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Suffering from chronic idiocy since 1977

Archive for April, 2004

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Weekend Reading (18)

Friday, April 30th, 2004

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Guru on Paper: Edward Tufte

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

As requested by Jon Hicks,
I present to you none other than one of my favourite gurus: Edward Tufte. From
his book Envi­sion­ing Infor­ma­tion
to his lat­est essay on
Pow­er­point
, the man has changed my views on (infor­ma­tion) design and has
been an inspi­ra­tion ever since I made my first chart.

edward tufte

Through the magic of bits and bytes I have tele­ported a younger Edward Tufte
to the twenty-first cen­tury! As you can see he is giv­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on good
design. Some­how that par­tic­u­lar slide looks famil­iar… Can it be that Tufte
has been noti­fied of the lat­est
rev­o­lu­tion in blo­gos­phere
? Has he come to real­ize that the new gen­er­a­tion
is ready to take on the liv­ing legends?

So what guru shall I draw next? Men­tion your favourite in the comments.

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FAST: Koenigsegg CCR

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

FAST Issue no.3

Intro­duc­tion

So, you would think Swe­den is only known for pro­duc­ing extremely safe but dull
cars, such as Saab and Volvo. Now, think again. Chris­t­ian von Koenigsegg grew
up with the dream of cre­at­ing the per­fect sports­car. After sev­eral years of
plan­ning he launched the Koenigsegg project in 1993. Designer David Craaford
pro­vided a design con­cept fol­low­ing Christian’s guide­lines. The vikings
now have a car that is going to make some noise in the super­car scene: the Koenigsegg
CCR.

(more…)

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Weekend Reading (17)

Saturday, April 24th, 2004

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Bullish by Design

Friday, April 23rd, 2004

As both an econ­o­mist and designer I wel­comed a report by Design
Coun­cil
enti­tled “The
Impact of Design on Stock Mar­ket Per­for­mance
”:

Design is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of busi­ness per­for­mance. We’ve
heard design­ers, com­men­ta­tors and com­pa­nies say it. But, to date, the evi­dence
for the link between share­holder return and invest­ment in design has been
scarce and anecdotal.”

While I strongly rec­om­mend this report to design­ers and man­agers alike I’m
afraid it is going to make more than one econ­o­mist frown. Design is a crit­i­cal
com­po­nent of busi­ness per­for­mance, no doubt. That said, I have trou­bles link­ing
design directly to stock mar­ket prices, even after read­ing this report. Com­pa­nies
are val­ued using finan­cial met­rics — fac­tual and ver­i­fi­able (behold the accoun­tants
and con­trollers do their work cor­rectly and honestly.)

More impor­tant than try­ing to link design to share
prices, is the rela­tion between design and busi­ness in gen­eral (not specif­i­cally
stock mar­ket per­for­mance). In my opin­ion bet­ter design leads to bet­ter prod­ucts,
and even­tu­ally improved busi­ness per­for­mance. My crit­i­cism is directed at their
method­ol­ogy and the vari­ables used to explain the rela­tion. To use stock mar­ket
per­for­mance as the basis for busi­ness per­for­mance is dubi­ous. More­over, nowa­days
share prices are pre­dom­i­nantly deter­mined by demand and sup­ply. It is
naïve to assume that share prices actu­ally reflect how a com­pany
is really performing.

I would have pre­ferred to see research based on the link between design and
inter­nal busi­ness per­for­mance, such as sales, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and brand
expe­ri­ence (i.e. bet­ter design leads to % increase in sales.) In my opin­ion
share prices are too volatile and include too much noise to con­clude to any­thing.
That said, the choice to use stock mar­ket per­for­mance as a met­ric is obvi­ous and prac­ti­cal,
being freely and pub­licly acces­si­ble information.

Despite the some­what flawed method­ol­ogy, this report is an excel­lent read and,
in all hon­esty, I could not agree more with their find­ings. Design mat­ters!
The gen­eral ideas elab­o­rated through­out this report make sense and have been
researched exten­sively. Design is indeed a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of busi­ness per­for­mance
— I’m just not so sure about stock mar­ket per­for­mance as a good
and reli­able metric.

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