Vintage Cars in 2038

Vintage cars from the 60’s sell for thousands, even tens or hundreds of thousands, of dollars as collectibles. Was there anything made in the 80’s, the decade of my youth, that will be revered and sought after in 2038 like the cars from the 60’s are in 2018?

I’m not so sure. Camaro, Firebird, Mustang, or Corvette? They were still going strong in the 80’s but their heyday was in the 60s (50s for the ‘vette—the 1955 Corvette may be my favorite vintage car… breathtaking).

I think this Cadillac Allanté may be a contender.

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Base price in ’87 was a stupendous $56,533 – equivalent to almost $160,000 in 2015 dollars.

Just 2,569 were sold.

Read more at: https://www.ericpetersautos.com/2015/03/08/1986-1993-cadillac-allante-they-got-it-right-too-late/

I’m scoping this query to American made cars. What do you think? Is there anything out there that rare enough and beloved enough to make it into a Sotheby’s auction in 2038?

 

/MC

P.S. There’s one close by (https://houston.craigslist.org/cto/d/1989-cadillac-allante-hardtop/6556600398.html) if anyone wants to surprise me with a nice gift. 😉

A fiend for Donut Friend!

Donut Friend is a popular donut shop—like people waiting in line at 11pm on a Friday night popular. It’s located in the hipster mecca of the West Coast: Highland Park, CA.

I always thought it was named Donut Fiend until my daughter corrected me on our latest trip to Los Angeles.

fiend | fēnd |a person who is excessively fond of or addicted to something: the restaurant’s owner is a wine fiend.

Wouldn’t that be a better name?

Zipper UX

One of these zippers is not like the other; one of these zippers is different!

Wow. I’ve had this bag for 5 years and just discovered this little design choice. The zipper with the circle pull is for expanding the storage. All the other zippers open pockets. Brilliant! In product design we classify that as low discoverability, high learn-ability, high memorability. I won’t forget it anytime soon. Lovely little feature. I don’t know how many times I’ve pulled that zipper trying to open my bag. No more. Even in the dark, I’ll be able to distinguish the different zippers. Delightful!

 

What features have you added, or want to add, to your product that have low discoverability, high learn-ability, and high memorability? Don’t leave out the delighters, folks!

Featured image by @kaptainkobold

Saving money with a PlayStation​ 2

I was playing Sly Cooper with my 8-year-old daughter this weekend and patting myself on the back for how much life I’ve squeezed out of our PlayStation 2 and how it fits into our minimalist leanings, serving both as our DVD player and our only gaming console. My wife and I have never been gamers. We bought the PS2 on a lark when we were still a duo to play the whimsical — and borderline psychedelic — Katamari Damacy. We’ve also enjoyed pulling it out with friends to play social games like Karaoke Revolution or DDR. It really started gathering dust once our daughter joined the family, but in the past few years, I’ve bought a couple of games for her from Half Priced Books. We picked up Lego Stars Wars that way, and it was a big hit. She’s only ever known iPhone games and has no idea that a PS2 is way behind the times.

I forget this sometimes, too. In fact, I was impressed with the graphics in Sly Cooper, so I paused the game and did a quick search to find out when it was released. I assumed it was recent-ish and backported to the PS2. Nope. 2002. The game is 15 years old! My console is 10 years old! Wow. The pats on the back got louder. Good on me for making it a decade with one gaming console. Now let’s pull out the calculator.

Lifetime ownership cost:

$100 — 10 games @ $10 (another benefit of staying behind the times)
$200 — PS2 Slim Console
$50 — Controllers, dance pad, mics, cables
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$350 total ÷ 10 year = $35 a year

While keeping a console for 10 years sounds like a high-five moment. $35 a year actually sounds pricey to me for an object I feel like I’ve rarely used. In retrospect, I’d much rather have bought a nice bread machine.

I do like the $10 used games as a price for some cheap weekend entertainment, but I’m still paying off that initial cost of the console. Though, I figure I’ll get the amortized costs down to $25-$30/yr by the time I retire our PS2 in five to ten years.

How much have you spent on video games in the past decade? What’s their lifetime cost of ownership?

 

/MC

Getting intimate with your products

You should intimately know not only the products you build but the products you own.

It’s why I read the instruction manual cover to cover when I buy something new.

It’s why I change my own oil.

It takes more effort, which is a good forcing factor to own less things. I could own 100 things, not know much about them, leave undiscovered redundancies in place, and pay other people to fix them. Or, I could own 40 things, know them inside-out, purchase hybrid products to reduce redundancies, and repair them myself.

/MC

Featured image by Mestigoit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Motion is Emotion

It’s common knowledge how time-lapse videos are made: a series of photos are taken in sequence with a 1, 2, 3 or more second pause in between. Often times, time-lapse videos are filmed with the combined technique of long exposure. This allows for awesome shots like moon risings or stars spinning or car taillights painting lines through a cityscape.

Have you also seen those more complicated time-lapse videos where the camera is impossibly moving from left to right or spinning on its axis? How do those get made? I love them. I’m mesmerized. It’s otherworldly. You can imagine that’s the view of gods or spirits — a different scale of time and space for beings that outlast our meager effort as humans to last, at most, a fleeting century on this earth. But who is moving the camera? Is someone inching the camera a millimeter between each shot? That seems like an impossible amount of patience and precision (I tried once with interesting results… different post).

As you can imagine the process is automated. A few years ago the equipment was very expensive but a host of options have recently arrived on the market. And, today, Facebook targeted ads nailed me. I got chills when this ad from Edelkrone popped up in my feed. They have a suite of camera rigging products (i.e., toys I want) for achieving these cool, evocative shots.

Chills. I want to buy all these.

And they have this rad byline: “Motion is Emotion.” They also solicit shots from customers and compile them into sizzle reels to showcase their products’ capabilities.

This all got me thinking about motion on the web and its role in user experience design. No conclusions yet, but if motion elicits emotion, then it’s a powerful tool in the tool belt.

Embedded for your delight are a few of the Motion is Emotion sizzle reels:

Hybrid Products

I bought a Honda Ridgeline. It’s not a great truck. It’s not a great car. Though, I am very happy with my purchase. 2006_Honda_Ridgeline_RTS_--_NHTSA_2Why would I be happy with a large purchase of something that’s not great as a car or truck?

I typically buy single-purpose, high-quality products. As a product manager, I consider lifetime cost and research my purchases more than the average consumer. I’m looking to BIFL (Buy It For Life) where I can.

My pocket knife:

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My pen:

KW40140-ZZZ~Kaweco-Skyline-Classic-Sport-Fountain-Pen-Mint_P1

My bag:

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I opt for simplicity and durability. I opt for manual operation. So, why did I buy a Honda Ridgeline?

To carry my hybrid SUP/Kayak of course!

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No joke. I bought a boat. It’s not a great kayak. It’s not a great SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard). Though, I’m very happy with my purchase.

Another hypothetical example: If I had a motorcycle I know it would be a Kawasaki KLR650. It’s well known as the Swiss army knife of motorcycles.

Klr650close-up.JPG

I struggle to arrive at the calculus to represent these contradictions in my decisionmaking process. Though, a formula undoubtedly has size and cost as major factors.

That is, the more space one of my possessions requires, the more I expect it to be able to do. Or, if its lifetime cost is high, then I expect it to do many things. Because in both cases I cannot afford—due to constraints of cost and space—to own multiple single-purpose products. What becomes interesting is the relativity of “space.” Space on my person is small when I’m walking around town or hiking in the mountains. In these cases, I’m even more likely to carry a hybrid product. The most ubiquitous example is the smartphone.

A smartphone can do so many things! But it’s not great at one thing that I need: photos of subjects more than 2ft away. The iPhone Plus with its 2nd camera is not bad, but for the same price, you can get this amazing Sony point and shoot. It’s one of the many reasons I ditched my smartphone and replaced it with a wristphone.

More on that and hybrid products later.

/MC

You’ve got mail! And it feels so good.

This week I’ve inverted my strategy for how I use Facebook and e-mail.

It all started when I created a digital holiday card and was hunting for the 50 friends and family I wanted to send it to.

Oh, the pain of going through 2,000 contacts. Only 1 out of 40 contacts was relevant to my current task.

Think about it. If I moved at a rate of 1 contact a sec, then it took me 33mins to get through the whole list. Once I had the list I quickly realized there were people missing.

I only had 40 email addresses of the 50 people I wanted to send cards to. That means I was missing email addresses for 20% of my closest friends and family. I blame Facebook.

In the end, I pared my email contact list to a manageable 140 contacts down from 2,000+.

So here’s my new, inverted strategy. I’ll be friends with anyone on Facebook: acquaintance, coworker, whoever! I don’t post to Facebook anyway, so I don’t have to fiddle with post visibility setting. Ditto with LinkedIn. I accept any connection. But you don’t get into my Contacts unless you’re a close friend. When I’m making a holiday card or have an extra ticket to a concert, I want to be able to scroll up and down my contact list, know who everyone is without needing to Google them, and genuinely want to reach out to them.

My email inbox is now sacred. It’s returned to its former glory. If you’re a friend, you’ll get an email from me. Facebook has become my White Pages. Now all I need is a really cool “You’ve got mail” sound effect to round out this 90’s bliss. Everything old is new again.

Thought exercise: if you received a 5000 character email from a friend, would that be more exciting than ten 500 character FB Messenger chats?

/MC

The Hottest New Project Management Methodology: Stuff-But

Have you heard of the new Project Management methodology that’s taking the tech world by storm? Stuff-but is the way to track the progress of a large team working hard to squeeze more functionality out of a legacy (5 year plus) code base. It’s agile, it’s iterative and it’s flexible as hell. If you’re in a startup building the next Tinder (wassup Jbad), Snapchat, or Candy Crush then I’d recommend Scrum. But, if you’re like me, you work at an established company with an inherited product and you’ve got to manage new product development alongside bugs of varying severity, sunsetting of fringe features, and technical debt payback plans.

Before we knew Stuff-but was an option we chose Stuff as our methodology of choice. It wasn’t Kanban. It wasn’t Sashimi. It surely wasn’t Scrum. It was Stuff! What stuff?

  1. Breaking work into tasks no greater than a day.
  2. Daily Standups where the team talks about their tasks for no more than 10 mins.
  3. Status updates every two weeks.
  4. Retrospective at the end of the project.

I wish I could say that we stuck with Stuff. There were some Stuff zealots in the beginning, but because there is no Stuff manifesto or no Stuff certification courses, the methodology devolved into Stuff-but. This often happened because:

  1. Small Tasks – Teams composed of very talented Senior Devs/Architects could work on tasks that spanned multiple days and still hit projections.
  2. Daily Standups – Would often turn into requirements gathering as Devs and QA used the opportunity to get clarification on specs from SMEs. The meetings would go over 10 – 20 mins. But it was a good use of time, and everyone went back to their desks with actionable work for the rest of the day.
  3. Status Updates – Some of the Stuff-but teams were only composed of one or two resources. If one of them went out of town or was sick the status update couldn’t be done.
  4. Retrospectives – Resources would come in and out of projects based on the skills required, so at the end of the project the team from phase three wouldn’t have relevant comments for the team from phase one and two.

I’ve seen Stuff and Stuff-but both succeed and fail. I know a lot of you out there are running projects this way. That’s okay. Just set expectations, revisit processes and pull the right tool out of your proverbial tool belt. Start with Stuff (or Scrum or Kanban) but recognize when you’ve got a bad fit then decide if you either want to grease the slide to get to S-but faster or grab the yoke to steer back into calmer skies.

I saw a cockroach on the subway today.

I saw a cockroach on the subway today. Not in the subway; on the subway. On the train. I was standing, as I regularly do, holding the handrails that run along the ceiling. As I looked down to read my book, I saw the bug running laps across the seat back adjacent to me. I was about to alert the seat’s tenants, but it was a crowded car, and given there was nowhere for them to safely flee, I thought it better to quietly watch him. Surely this bold display of calisthenics in plain view wouldn’t last, and he’d soon drop to the ground to be crushed underfoot at the next stop. As if hearing my thoughts, he stopped his laps two and fro across the seat back. Changing direction, he circled the post that connects the seat to the roof thrice, as if gaining momentum or courage, then ascended it. Now eye level with me he politely waived his little antennae then took a right turn onto the handrail I was using to steady myself.

I thought, “You. Don’t you betray our little understanding and crawl on my hand. I didn’t tattletale on you.”

Seemingly in full compliance, at that very moment, he dove off the rail onto the shirt sleeve of the woman in the aisle seat. I gasped, a nearly inaudible gasp, leaving my jaw slightly agape from what I realize now was more admiration than disgust.

I had the urge to warn this poor woman, but I hesitated, musing, “I could spare a bug’s life and a woman’s discomfort by staying mum.” He climbed down her sleeve and into her purse. What could I possibly say now, “Pardon me, Miss, there’s a roach in your purse?”

The train stopped. The doors opened. I exited.

I imagine he is still down in that patent leather purse nibbling away on an endless supply of Lance cracker crumbs. I wonder if he misses the underground family he left behind. I wonder if he thinks about me. I wonder if he is actually a sentient robot soldier from the future and that innocuous lady with the plaid skirt and plain face is a federal employee. He could be hitching a ride to sleuth into some vault or access some mainframe to broadcast back the key to human survival. There are a lot of consulates near that stop. And didn’t she have an ID badge?

 How am I supposed to focus on work when these things keep happening to me?