“If I’m willing to pay $100 for someone to bring me a glass of fresh milk from an Omaha dairy cow right now, there might very well be a guy who would be super happy to do that, but he doesn’t know that I’m the crazy guy who is willing to pay $100.” Bo Fishback was on stage at the “Big Omaha” startup conference in 2011, trying to explain how his company Zaarly was designed to make that connection between the person with more money than time and anyone who, finding themselves in the opposite situation, could fulfill his hankering for local farm products. “It creates instantly the ultimate opt-in employment market, where there is no excuse for people who say, ‘I don’t know how to get a job, I don’t know how to get started.'” Fishback wrapped up his presentation with a flourish: A man in a baseball cap arrived, cow in tow, with a tall plastic jug of milk. advertisement advertisement Neither Fishback nor I … [Read more...] about Pixel & Dimed On (Not) Getting By in the Gig Economy
advertisement advertisement One key aspect of creating smarter, more liveable cities is to create more complete streets that are friendlier to bikers. A pretty good indicator of how well cities are doing at this is how many people are willing to brave a commute on their bikes. This infographic shows, by state, what percent of commuters use bikes, and then breaks down the 10 most popular bike cities. [Click to view larger] The darker the state, the larger percent of bike commuters it has. The larger the red square, the larger the total number (we apologize for the incredible difficulty of comparing different sized areas). The most compelling information on the graphic–which was designed by Kory Northrop, a master’s student in the Environmental Studies program at the University of Oregon–is the share of women bikers. Why women? It turns out women are an “indicator species” for bike commuting: As biking gets safer, more women bike. A state with a high … [Read more...] about Graphic: The Cities and States Doing the Best for Bike Commuters
[This is part of the Femme Den series from Smart Design. To read the introduction to the series, go here.] advertisement advertisement Most designers and engineers have childhood stories about fantastic Lego creations or amazing home-built projects that hinted at their early propensity toward design. For me, my nascent interest in mechanics manifested itself in my Matchbox car collection. One day, a neighbor’s mother saw me with my miniature parking lot and cried, “Cars are for boys! Those aren’t for you!” Decades later, I still remember that moment. It was my first real awareness that my penchants didn’t fulfill gender expectations. But I wasn’t deterred. I embraced my “oddball” identity all the way through engineering school (where I was one of two women in a class of 40), through industrial design studies, and into job roles that have always been challenging, inspiring, fundamentally technical, and male-dominated. Though I … [Read more...] about How Women Are Leading The Effort To Make Robots More Humane
While Occupy protesters are holding sit-ins in foreclosed homes and pledging to default on their student loans, Madison Avenue, too, is targeting Wall Street’s abusive practices. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the new government agency formerly led by high-profile Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, has just unveiled a prototype of a new, radically simplified credit card agreement, with the aim of letting Americans take control of their credit by making the information in their contracts much more clear advertisement The designer is Peter Sunna, who’s worked for brands like Burton and Microsoft, and who was recruited by none other than the cutting-edge marketing group Co: Collective, an outfit highlighted for its innovative business structure in Fast Company‘s Future of Advertising piece. (Sunna also did the identity design for Co:Collective’s new coworking space Grind. Two-thirds of consumers say they don’t understand how their credit cards … [Read more...] about Could Better Design Reform The Banking Industry?
We live in a mobile world, and consequently, everything must have an app. And that includes government agencies. But making apps is hard for the suits in D.C. Why not instead source them out to bespectacled programmers around the world? So last June, the Environmental Protection Agency launched a competition called Apps for the Environment, to find new uses for its data, much of which either never sees the light of day, or is poorly presented or difficult to understand. It put dozens of datasets online, covering everything from air quality to hazardous waste, and said to the public: “Do what you can.” The result was enthusiastic, and varied: 38 entries, ranging from the undeniably useful, to the faintly weird, all of which can be seen here. advertisement The overall winner was the Light Bulb Finder, an app that aims to make it easier for people to choose and buy energy-efficient light bulbs. As we know from Al Gore, changing light bulbs is important. And according to … [Read more...] about Apps For The Environment, Powered By The Government