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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".

Boston Weekend Roundup/Week Preview 8/16-17

On Boston Sports Daily

Patriots –

On Friday night the Patriots took on the Eagles and I told you a couple things to look for. Here are some results and some other things that come to mind after the 42-35 win.

The quarterbacks played pretty well, especially Tom Brady. Overall, Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Ryan Mallett combined to go 21/33 for 226 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. The interception of course was the result of a lineman-turned-tight end who blatantly ran the wrong route and left Brady out to dry. Other than that it was smooth sailing for the passing game. Garoppolo did get the nod to come out second and he exceled in his role and it looks like Mallett has one more foot out the door despite his performance.

The wide receivers were solid once again. Aaron Dobson didn’t see any time just coming off the PUP list, but preseason week 1 standout Brian Tyms caught 3 balls on 7 targets including a touchdown. He showed once again that he wants to be a part of this team and with the time that Belichick gave him, it looks like he’s reciprocated the feeling. The two receivers that Brady looked to the most were Kenbrell Thompkins and Julian Edelman, not so different from last year, but it’s a matter of time before Brandon LaFell becomes more prevalent given his rapport with the younger QBs.

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