1991-2016—25 years of Art & Logic

Persistence

Persistence

Boston

March 1911

Icy wind blew the pages of the young man’s book from beneath his near-frozen fingers. His tattered gloves helped little. He huddled in an alley finding what warmth he could behind a bakery. The scent of baking bread made his mouth water but he dared not spend the few coins he had. His family needed every penny he earned as a newsboy to survive. He returned to the book — a law book — the hundredth he had studied cover to cover since coming to America, a poor Russian child who spoke no English. In a few short minutes, he would head back out onto the street and cry “paper,” just as he had every day since his 10th birthday. But for now, he needed to focus on his studies, no matter how cold he was. (more…)

A Few of Our New Year’s Resolutions

A Few of Our New Year’s Resolutions

Paul
I resolve to brighten the lives and businesses of our clients and partners at every touch point.

I resolve to be more creative and persistent in uncovering the deepest and most meaningful ways in which we can impact our clients’ and partners’ success.

I resolve to get better at explaining how software is a creative medium and needs breathing room for creativity to flourish. (more…)

Composing and Improvising: the Art of Software Development

Composing and Improvising: the Art of Software Development

In the early years of Art & Logic, my wife and I liked to visit a small inn in Palm Springs called Villa Royale. It was lovely. Each room was decorated in a different European country theme. The proprietors traveled frequently and brought back regional artifacts to lend authenticity to the room designs. It was a relaxed and creative space — especially the small pool at the back of the property with its odd shape and faux antique fountain. This was before we had children, so we had lots of hours to while away. I spent many of them pacing around that pool and sketching out my vision for how Art & Logic should work. How would we recruit developers? How would we keep track of our time? How would we bill our clients? (more…)

Picasso vs. Cezanne: Experimental Innovation and Software Development

Picasso vs. Cezanne: Experimental Innovation and Software Development

In 2006, Wired Magazine published an article entitled “What Kind of Genius Are you?” The article highlights the work of economist David Galenson (currently a professor at the University of Chicago). Galenson is famous for postulating that artists fall into two classes: Conceptualists and Experimentalists. Conceptualists innovate radically, rapidly, and usually at early ages. The Wired article calls Picasso the archetype of Conceptual Innovation. Picasso upended modern art by inventing Cubism in his early 20’s. From the Wired article: (more…)

Why I Might Short Nintendo Stock

Why I Might Short Nintendo Stock

This morning, I read that Nintendo’s stock has more than doubled since the release of Pokemon Go and, as of this writing, Nintendo is worth more than Sony. A couple of days ago, Pokemon Go surpassed Twitter in active daily users and Facebook in engagement. Wherever you go, it seems, there are hordes of people catching enigmatic little virtual monsters and crying out with glee.

Last weekend, it was my family’s turn to have a go at it. We were at the beach and my children wanted to show the game to my technophobic wife. Nineteen captures (and about 5000 steps on my FitBit) later even my wife was delighting in collecting little red balls at the PokeStop that happened to be on the location of the final, climactic scene of Planet of the Apes (talk about hallowed ground). A good time was had by all, even if we completely ignored the beautiful Pacific sunset because we were staring at my iPhone screen. . .

But here’s the thing: how many more times will my family spend an afternoon playing Pokemon Go? How many more afternoons will most of the people playing the game right now spend playing it? I’m guessing there will be a monster attrition rate in upcoming months. I’m just not convinced Pokemon Go has the depth and richness – and hence, staying power – of, say, a Minecraft PE.

I’m also not convinced there’s a sustainable way to monetize the game. Sure, retail outlets will pay to sponsor Pokestops now while it’s an international phenomenon, but will they still be paying in a year if Pokemon Go becomes last year’s news? For Nintendo stock to justify its meteoric rise, the company has to sustain its success in mobile gaming. They need to continue to build on the Pokemon Go platform and also bring out new, successful mobile games. It’s certainly possible, but if the contrarian in me wanted to bet, it would bet against.

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