- How minimalism, normcore, Marie Kondo's organizational system, and the smooth pastel backdrops of countless startup product photo shoots resemble a strange puritanical mutation of markets overstuffed with opportunities for consumption. That uncluttered but crisp look has been holding on strong as a trend for years now, perhaps because the blankness of such a visual style suggests to us that there is room for a few more objects in our lives, a few more clothes in the closet.
- IKEA spends a great deal of time and money researching how people the world over live, drawing on extensive ethnographic research and trawling through their own data on sales and trends. IKEA's latest collection is a departure, that replaces the bright plastics and the smooth particle board constructions of a self-delighted consumer with the earthy sparseness of a pseudo-spiritual hermit withdrawing from a troubling world into a domestic cave. The copy for their new line is riddled with references to anxieties and coping techniques both metaphysical and mundane, with statements like "Take a break from your connected, complicated life," and "The perfect place to open your chakras...or a pizza box."
- Continuum Innovation is the latest (and one of the largest) design consultancies to get acquired.
- Bose has been funding a lot of hardware startups and academic research in recent years, in a wide range of categories: everything from wearables to novel sensors. Now the company, best known for their audio devices, is trying to break into augmented reality devices with a $50MM fund.
Machines for Moving:
- A simple explainer of how autonomous vehicles "see" and the systems that may have failed in the first fatal self-driving car accident that took place on March 18th.
- Amazon's original programming seems to be an effective means of acquiring customers, claiming that shows like The Man in the High Castle brought new Prime subscribers at a cost of around $63.
- What it's like to try to build a startup when you're far from the well-funded coasts, and a look at how Digital-Key built their business in rural Minnesota, starting decades ago.