The Three Things, Edition 47

Indian Pipes Flowers with no Chlorophyll. Mad River Valley, Vermont

Indian Pipes Flowers with no Chlorophyll. Mad River Valley, Vermont

Welcome to the 47th edition of The Three Things, the weekly update of three links, podcasts, videos, or books you can’t miss from  Michael Schechter (A Better Mess), Lindsay Bell (Spin Sucks, Arment Dietrich) and me your favorite Chief Alien.

For those of you new to this series, The Three Things arrives in your inbox on Sunday mornings (unless you don’t subscribe, but that can easily be fixed if you hurry over and enter your email address or add to your RSS feed) so you have some extra time to spend perusing the obscure content we’ve curated for you (and one another) before your week begins and deadlines, meetings, and work takes over.

This week we look at the latest trends in web design, the never ending debate about Big Brother, and an amazing book about living with autism.

Web Design Book of Trends 2013-2014

Michael on Web Design. Despite having a limited skill for actually creating them, I have a deep love and respect for a well executed website. For those who appreciate recent shifts in web design, this is a really well curated collection of the latest trends. It does an excellent job of identifying the latest shifts, and showcases those who are using them well.

Much of the design featured in the book is on the bleeding edge, but it’s a great indication of where things are heading. It’s also an impressive look at what’s possible when creativity and technology are thoughtfully blended together.

Be sure to go beyond the ebook and actually visit the sites that catch your eye. It’s one thing to hear about these trends, it’s another to see them in action.

The Multiplexed Metropolis

Howie on Big Data. Big Data is one of those fancy jargon terms of the moment. It means taking a mass of data, and using computers and people to sift through it for value. This could be for the good of the people as this article mentions, like a smart power grid. It can also be the genesis of the totalitarian state aka Big Brother.

While in the United States, we are seeing a fast path to Big Brother. For example NSA spying, cameras in cities everywhere watching your every move, the police photographing your car everywhere and keeping a database of your movements (oh you didn’t read that was happening?!). But when a terrorist is found, Big Brother screams ‘Vindication.’

Obviously there are many examples of Big Data having potential to improve city life. Time will tell if this leads to better cities and more democracy, or to us hiding from the CIA/M16/FBI/KGB so we can speak in private. What are your thoughts?

A Peek Inside My Son’s Head

Lindsay on Autism. This week, I’m sharing with you a book review. Yup, a book review. But not just any old book review. This book review reads like a finely crafted, Booker Prize worthy short story. It’s by author David Mitchell. If you’ve read Mitchell’s acclaimed 2004 book Cloud Atlas, then you’re already familiar with him. But you may not know that Mitchell has an autistic son. He’s also been the driving force behind the English translation/publication of an astoundingly raw memoir, The Reason I Jump, written by a 14-year-old autistic Japanese boy.

As Mitchell says in the review “It is no exaggeration to say  The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship with our son. Naoki Higashida’s writing administered the kick I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, and start thinking how much tougher life was for my son, and what I could do to make it less tough.”

I don’t have an autistic child, but I have friends and family who do. And I applaud Mitchell’s efforts to bring this book to an English speaking audience.

Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, book, or article you think we need to see?

About Howie Goldfarb

Howie Goldfarb

Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic Marketing, Howie Goldfarb relishes his role as an industry outsider. With 20 years of Sales, Marketing, and Business Operations experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive.

His Degree in Finance givess him a CFO’s view to marketing, bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. After a 14-year career in direct B2B industrial sales Howie decided to lighten up his dreary work life and move into consumer advertising and marketing. Now he champions up and coming Consumer Brands.

Formerly an Angelino and New Yorker, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are his family, community, art, music, and the outdoors, He tries to cook, has been known to hunt Fiddleheads and loves the Vermont Fresh Network and other sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.