Starting July 11, 2000
Harvey Edwards: Dance is work, Ads for Napster, What will drive personal wireless Internet usage?, Lucky day
Tuesday, July 18, 2000
Harvey Edwards: Dance is work
Back in my Software Arts days, in the very early 1980's, I was asked by some of my relatives to choose something to decorate my office which they would then give me as a gift. I chose two posters that I loved because I felt they conveyed the image I had of my work at Software Arts.
The caption on one, "Dance is work", was a message I wanted as a reminder to me and my co-workers. A dancer's moves may look graceful and simple, but lots of sweat went into making them that way. Software is the same. "Natural" UI's take lots of hard work. With the other poster, I hoped to inspire myself to feel like my hours at the keyboard were like a musician working with his instrument to produce something of beauty. Some people like being inspired by music as they work. I also like visual images to inspire me.
Those two posters have graced my office most of the years since. (At Software Arts, when we moved into a big building and used interior decorators, the whole decor of my office was set to match the color one.) Periodically, I've noticed other posters by the artist, Harvey Edwards. One of the most common is a picture of a dancer's legs in very worn leg-warmers. You'll find his posters being sold on many popular web sites, like www.art.com and www.art4all.co.uk.
Harvey Edwards posters that have hung in my office (and close-up), reproduced with permission of the artist
The web does wonderful and mysterious things. Yesterday the phone rings. "This is Harvey Edwards. The photographer." He had some questions about web sites he hoped I could help him with. It seems searching the web for his name brought up an article about me in Computer Reseller News which in the middle mentions the Harvey Edwards prints behind my desk. Seeing the connection and having the questions, he decided to call.
We talked for a while. It was great. Hopefully my answers will help him. (I made sure to get in a request for permission to post pictures of the posters and then photographed them last night.) He told me that "Dance is work" was his first poster, no longer in print. He believes very strongly that art should be affordable to normal people, so he switched from selling expensive photographic prints to the less expensive poster prints.
I also learned that "Dance is work" applies to his work, too. He doesn't just happen upon a nice old shack and snap a picture of a window. He "creates the whole thing from nothing" he says, like a painter making up a still-life scene. For a popular picture of a window he took a piece of plywood, cut a hole, hammered on molding, added a shelf, got bottles for the shelf, put rice paper behind them, made the paint look old and cracked, etc., etc. From my visits to the Norman Rockwell Museum, I remember that those famous pictures were also painted from carefully constructed scenes. Dance is work, and so is painting, photography, and software.
Wednesday, July 12, 2000
Ads for Napster
Some quick thoughts on Napster. It's constantly in the news, yet I find that people who aren't teenagers know nothing about it. Those that do get a kick out of headlines like "The Che Guevara of the music industry".
I tell people who don't understand what Napster is to try to remember the Qwest "Ride the Light" television ads last year (done by J. Walter Thompson). A guy walks into a saloon and is told "...our Jukebox has every performance by every artist of every piece of music ever recorded." If that wasn't an early ad preparing people for Napster, et al, aimed at kids, I don't know what is.
I found a couple of links discussing the ads: Frank Priscaro's critique (with pictures) in Marketing Computers, and Patrick Neighly's Runners Up mention in America's Network.
The companion "Every movie" ad from Qwest can be viewed on AdCritic.com in QuickTime. (If you haven't seen it already, AdCritic.com is a really cool site that has copies of lots and lots of TV ads, from Alka-Seltzer's "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" to Budweiser's "Wazzzup?" series.)
Tuesday, July 11, 2000
What will drive personal wireless Internet usage?
Yesterday, the New York Times had a couple of articles about cell phones and Internet access, "Wireless Web Has Big Promise but a Few Kinks" and "Cellular Phone Carriers Untangle a Wireless Web". Like many other discussions of wireless, there is reference to "...checking stock quotes, sending e-mail messages, even buying books at the touch of the button." These articles, though, mainly talk of technical problems.
I have some thoughts about the what regular people will pay for which may say something about the applications that will drive wireless. Read my essay in the Writings section of my main web site, "What will people pay for?".
The basic idea is that regular people will pay for things that give them emotional satisfaction, most importantly simple interactions with people they care about.
Internet cafe in Paris, 1999, showing people who overwhelmingly paid money for email, not web surfing or eCommerce
Today, 7/11, is the anniversary of the day I was due to be born 49 years ago, according to the doctor's calculations. (I wasn't -- as with many first borns, I was "late".) My mom tells me the doctor used to say she was coming in with the lucky baby for prenatal check ups, since 7 and 11 are lucky in dice. No such luck: I was born days later. Being an entrepreneur all these years, though, I guess I stuck with risks.
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