Many of America’s towns and cities could charitably be described as boring. New development, that is. America is home to an incredible diversity of regional architectural and planning styles. We cherish what makes each of these places special, traveling far and wide to take in their idiosyncrasies and beauty. But somewhere along the way, we stopped building according to local traditions. Over the last 70 years, America hasn’t put its best design foot forward.
It would be disappointing enough to fail in gracing a land as physically beautiful as the US with the built companions it deserves. But it’s downright…
In 2007, when BlackBerry was still the leader in the enterprise mobile space, a new competitor launched an irresistibly sleek touch-screen smartphone that epitomized the marriage of art and science. (Yes, we’re talking about the iPhone’s debut). BlackBerry executives scoffed at the seemingly pretentious device, which they thought would only appeal to consumers seeking mindless escape on YouTube and who possibly couldn’t care less about BlackBerry’s inner beauty — its relentless focus on security and its efficient, almost miserly, use of network bandwidth. BlackBerry’s bet was on what it called the “prosumer,” or the professional consumer.
The stock market, still caught up in the GameStop trading frenzy, recently put a spotlight on the gaming industry’s latest entrant: Roblox. It debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last week via direct listing and was valued at a mind-boggling $45 billion. The gaming platform of the future has proven itself to be a pandemic mainstay among youth, with daily screen-time usage nearly doubling in the past year alone.
The world of online fashion has been going through the same reckoning with white supremacist conspiracy theories as the rest of the internet. Platforms such as Etsy and CafePress were skewered shortly after the January 6 insurrection for hosting merchandise celebrating the event, which caused them to scramble to take some of the incendiary content down. If you type “QAnon” into sites such as Zazzle or Etsy, you will not get any hits, except for maybe a parody “QaNOPE” T-shirt.
Forget the Year of the Ox — 2021 is rapidly shaping up to be the Year of the Doge, a cryptocurrency based on the internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog with a less than stellar command of English, hence “doge” and not “dog.” Nowhere has this development been cheered on more than on Elon Musk’s Twitter feed.
Remember when the back of everyone’s toilet had a pile of magazines on it?Those magazine piles vanished with the advent of the mobile internet. Today, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are never-ending sources of content you can tune into in those spare moments, to occupy that part of your brain. Clubhouse — the new darling of Silicon Valley and the extremely online set — may have hit upon a rich vein of similar desperation, and if the company navigates it correctly, could become just as essential.
Stratechery’s Ben Thompson wrote about Clubhouse’s opportunity last week. Economics of podcasts and blogging aside…