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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".

"The Vegas Scene Gets Britney Jean"

On Sara Alina

Britney Spears, a girl who gave us some of the best pop hits of all time. An Icon .......... A Pop Princess. Even at her lows, the love for her still endured and sill endures, as she continues to sell out arenas and top the charts. I mean who doesn't love Britney Spears. For many, she holds the memories of childhood, paired next to the boy band frenzy and Christina Aguilera, in her "Genie in a bottle" days. She has grown up with us, and we have grown with her, as she transitioned from a little girl to a grown woman.

If you haven't seen her in concert yet, I highly recommend it, but there is no use in waiting for her tour to come around. No, don't worry she's not retiring; Britney just signed a huge deal for the next two years, as a recurring show in the fabulous LAS VEGAS. That's right, move over Celine Dion, Shania Twain, and Rod Stewart, Britney is in the Planet Hollywood building! As you can guess, she is also receiving a pretty hefty allowance, at 300, 000 per show and 30 million for the next set of shows in 2015. Britney Spears is perfect for what Vegas has been transitioning into for the last few years. Now, Vegas is seeing a younger demographic coming in to "Sin City" to party, and not so much coming for the casinos. So, you have two years to head to the "younger Las Vegas" and check out Britney Spears to hear her classic oldies, and the new "Britney Jean" album goodies.

- Love Sara Alina


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