Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘social web’

21 OCTOBER, 2010

The Threadless Story: A Tale of Creative Entrepreneurship


Ten years ago, two guys in Chicago won $1,000 in an internet t-shirt design contest, but they got more than a prize — they got an idea: What if people could submit their t-shirt designs online and have others vote on them, then print the best ones and sell them? The wonderful Threadless was born. This year, to celebrate the big anniversary, they’ve put together a book. But it’s not about t-shirts. Instead, it uses t-shirts as a vehicle to tell a wonderful and inspired story about art, design, creativity and community.

From profiles of individual designers who share their creative process to essays by prominent Threadless fans like John Maeda and Wired‘s Jeff Howe, Threadless is both a visual treat and a truly inspirational manifesto for the power of creative entrepreneurship.

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19 OCTOBER, 2010

projeqt: A Creative Storytelling Platform


The new language of the creative polyglot, or what tweets have to do with portfolios.

Much has been said over the past few years about the future of publishing and content on the web. Terms like “transmedia storytelling” and “cross-platform publishing” are tossed around like giant balls of cotton candy — delicious, fluffy but, ultimately, without much substance. And while certain platforms have made multimedia storytelling possible for publishers and visual artists, none offers a truly holistic proposition.

This week, the launch of projeqt offers hope for a platform that does it all and then some. Dubbed a “creative storytelling platform,” it’s Tumblr meets Slideshare meets Cargo Collective — only a more flexible Tumblr, a sleeker Slideshare and spanning more media than Cargo Collective. And if this isn’t enough of a treat, it’s also device-agnostic — built entirely in HTML5 for cross-platform compatibility and specifically optimized for iPad and iPhone, projeqt is part publishing CMS, part portfolio-builder, part something else entirely.

projeqt is simple, intuitive and highly social, playing nice with other platforms by allowing you to mesh together text, image, video and feeds within the same projeqt, so you can embed your Vimeo uploads, post photos from your Flickr stream, import your blog’s RSS feed and even your tweets — in other words, it’s a creative polyglot that invites you to tell your story, whatever creative languages it may be in. (The reader experience is equally flexible, allowing for seamlessly switching between line, grid and full-screen view.)

Great stories keep us riveted to the page. Or the screen (whatever shape or size it happens to come in.) Great stories get shared and are retold time after time after time. Great stories always leave us wanting more. Projeqt gives you the tools and technology to tell your story. It provides a robust architecture, with unprecedented flexibility and possibilities.”

We’re thrilled about the creative possibilities with projeqt. If you’re a cross-media creative type who writes, designs, does photography and has a significant Twitter presence, you can pull all of these personalities into one cohesive portfolio. If you’re an educator, you can use it as sleek storage for your research. If you’re a content curator, you can put together digital exhibitions around specific topics. In fact, to get a first-hand feel for projeqt‘s capabilities, we’ve curated a thematic projeqt about data visualization — take a peek to see how it all works.

Though projeqt is currently in beta and invite-only, we’ve secured a limited number of invites for our newsletter readers — to request one, subscribe to our free weekly newsletter if you haven’t already, then shoot us an email with “projeqt” in the subject line. [UPDATE: We’re no longer taking names (though we’re still kicking ass) but you can still sign up for the regular waitlist on the projeqt website.] Meanwhile, follow projeqt on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

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23 SEPTEMBER, 2010

Steven Johnson on Where Good Ideas Come From


“Chance favors the connected mind.”

After their animated exploration of capitalism, the RSA are back with a visual distillation of one of the most important questions in creative culture: Where do good ideas come from? Steven Johnson tackles the grand question with insights from his latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, and a historical perspective on innovation throughout human civilization.

Johnson’s answer strongly echoes the Brain Pickings mission — to build a rich and wide-spanning pool of mental resources that serve as the building blocks of creativity.

That’s the real lesson: Chance favors the connected mind.” ~ Steven Johnson

Also worth watching: Johnson’s recent TED talk, one of our favorites this year:

Where Good Ideas Come From comes as a fine addition to these must-read books by TEDGlobal speakers.

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21 SEPTEMBER, 2010

A More Open Place: Photographing Privacy


What Mark Zuckerberg has to do with tyranny, memory and digital perishables.

Facebook is the largest photo-sharing platform in the world, with over 100 million photos uploaded daily by a half-billion active users worldwide. At the same time, Facebook’s ever-changing, ever-convoluted privacy policies remain among the most hotly debated issues on and about the social web. While most of the public discourse revolves around the personal information shared by and on Facebook, one particularly fascinating and unsettling aspect of the issue is how Facebook handles image rights — their terms state that any user automatically grants Facebook a sub-licensable, royalty-free, transferable, worldwide license to any image uploaded on the site.

This form of digital tyranny is exactly what conceptual artist Phillip Maisel explores in his A More Open Place project — a series of images each produced by taking long-exposure photographs of a computer screen while flipping through a Facebook album. Inspired by a quote from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerber — who famously said, “We’re going to change the world. I think we can make the world a more open place.” — the project examines both our reaction to this digital deluge of photos and their fleeting nature.

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

The technology is such that it allows one to view photographs in albums in quick succession, infinitely looping. Because of this, an entire collection of photographs can be experienced in a matter of seconds. Documents of entire vacations, whose seasons, can blur by in an instant. In this way, I see the document becoming as fleeing as the moment it initially tried to capture.” ~ Phillip Maisel

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

The documentary and narrative capabilities of photography as a medium render it nearly perfect in its potential to act as a surrogate for memory. […] With the advent of websites like Facebook, the combination of technology and photography is playing an increasing role as a databank for our memories. At the same time, despite Facebook’s current popularity, its lasting prominence in our collective lives is uncertain, highlighting the ephemeral quality of photography in the digital age.” ~ Phillip Maisel

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

Image copyright Phillip Maisel |

A More Open Place presents a compelling example of cross-platform, multimedia storytelling where a non-linear, unexpected narrative serves as the vehicle for an important social conversation about the givens of — as well as what is being taken by — the digital age.

via Photojojo

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