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The Moment of Truth.

I said in the last post that if the only outcome of this project was writing more, I’d be satisfied. That’s partially true, but there are many, many easier ways to write that aren’t wrapped up in creating a software product. I want to see this thing come to life! While I can excuse part of my month-long silence on just generally being busy (I have the terrible habit of saying yes to everything) and other projects (y’all are listening to my podcasts, right?) I have, in fact, been working on creating enough of a shareable artifact that it becomes clear what I’m trying to do.

The question of where to draw the line in terms of that shareable artifact is indeed the question that every designer deals with non-stop in their professional careers. I’ve worked with folks where I could say “It should be like FFWWMMRR [hand motion]” and they’re on it, I’ve also worked with people who want a fully documented brief, soup to nuts, and honestly that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s necessary to communicate a complex idea with more than a Jetsons noise.

For all of you following along at home, I think this is the correct level of detail: enough of a glimpse into the ecosystem that it suggests the larger shape and flow of 100DB. It should come as no surprise that it models how I organize everything in my life – at the most basic level: just lists. Music doesn’t need fancy visualizers or cover art or graphics, it just needs us to shut up and listen. The interesting part of this system is its outputs, not the UI.

I’m not precious about my own work. I want to share this now because I think it’s comprehensible, not because it’s good. So: here it is. Here’s how this weird idea took shape in my mind.


If you want to zoom and pan around you can check this out in more detail on Figma (please feel free to leave comments if you’re so inclined).

Some caveats while you’re having a peek: These mocks lack a sense of what the ‘intelligence’ aspect might be around recommendations, because I’m honestly not sure how that’ll work. My naive assumption is that once someone’s done enough “stuff”, we could potentially build a profile to start making fun correlations.

I’ve been reading a very interesting post this week that everyone making products should check out – “Status as a Service”. It’s been very helpful in giving me words for concepts that I was thinking about, but didn’t know how to frame. One of the problems that the post discusses is how social networks – and 100DB is, in some ways, a social network – deal with the cold boot-up problem: how can a network have value when there’s nobody else there?

One solution is to create single-player utility. Figma is useful to me as a run-anywhere creative tool even without the multi-user aspects. “Sketch, but in the cloud” is a compelling enough hook that I used Figma for months without ever collaborating with another user. While I fervently hope that 100DB will not just be used by me, banging around by myself inside a big ol’ drafty piece of software, I do believe the individual usefulness is there. The people I’ve talked with about this project have all expressed their own frustrations not only with discovery but with organization, taxonomy, curation – all of which can be solved in a single-user world.

I want to reiterate that any ego I ever had as a designer has been destroyed by grinding XP in the industry for years. I would love your feedback, constructive or otherwise – don’t spare my feelings if you’ve got something to share. Now feels like a good time to get everybody’s hand back on the ball. More soon.

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