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Consequences of the Rise of Design

On Tynan

I was walking through the mall a couple days ago. My path took me past a bunch of stores and kiosks, including the Nike Store. I walked past it and looked at their window display. They had a really nicely photographed poster and some cool looking shoes in a bunch of different colors. The store was beautiful and looked like a fun place to be. At the same time, their shoes aren't particularly great, they aren't actually innovative, and they're made of cheap materials. There are many shoe companies that are way lower quality than Nike, but I don't know if there are any with such a disparity between their presentation and the actual product.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this isn't just nike or most of the clothes in the mall-- it's how our culture works now. Back in the day, if you wanted a pair of shoes you'd go to a cobbler. He would design a pair for you, or use one of his existing designs, pick out some nice leather, and make you a pair of shoes. His design work, his execution, and his materials could all be leveraged about equally, so I'd guess that you'd tend to have either poorly designed shoes that are poorly executed and made of poor materials, or well designed shoes that were well executed and used good materials.

These days, things have changed. Design can be leveraged almost infinitely, which has changed the whole equation. Mass manufacturing ensures decent execution, but supplying top quality materials is difficult. A cobbler who makes a hundred pairs of shoes a year can take the time to pick out the best hides to get the best leather. That doesn't scale to making thousands of shoes a day, so material quality drops. Execution has become more consistent, but the benefits of cutting corners is magnified. Saving a penny on making a pair of shoes didn't matter to the cobblers, but it matters to Nike.

So these days, most of what people buy is well designed, decently and consistently executed, and uses relatively poor quality materials. In the mall I walked past a kiosk of phone cases. There were some that were blinged out. Pretty good design in that they fit perfectly on the phone the're meant for, the rows of fake diamonds are all uniform, etc.. Each one looks the same and is okay quality. But the materials are crap-- cheap plastic painted to look like metal covered in lackluster plastic "gems".

current travel gear setup and progress.

On Ideas in the Making

Taking a note out of tynan's books and my experiences travelling, travelling with less is always more. Having heavy bags, having to find a place where to store thing, and being bogged down is not how I like to travel, and thus I choose to travel very very minimalisitcally, Although I think tynan might be pushing it wanting to go sub-19 liters, but to each their own.

Laptop: Macbook Pro 13'

I love this thing, and now that the price is very competitive compared to other windows laptops in the range there is really no reason not to pay the, now, much smaller premium. before mac book would cost 25%+ than windows laptops in the same range, now the differnece is probably only 10%. For example, that asus zenbook 301ux LA (my current favortie windows laptop, I don't like tynans because the processor is not 4258u or 4558u which means lower wattage, worse built in graphics, and slightly worse performance, although his computer does weigh substantially less and due to lower wattage uses less battery. , so to each their own) costs about the same, give or take 100 dollars ( about 7% of the price) as the mac, except with mac you can run mac osx, and other oses, although the mac does weigh a little bit more, but I like the build a bit better.

Overall with the macbook pro you get a top of the line processor with the best built in graphics for ultrabook use, weighs a measly 3.3 pounds, which is a lot compared to the air and such, but you get a rugged build, and a 2560x1600 display resolution. and you can just bootcamp windows and linux. Overall I really like it, and I don't mind the extra weight because I find the gestures and the mac osx environments so useful on a laptop that I can't see myself going back. and I can just run windows apps within mac osx via parallels, whats not to love?

backpack: Tom bihn 19 synapse.

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