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final week : video reflection

The video-making process has generally gone unhindered during our process. While it took some time trying to decide upon a digital medium, my group finally settled on Prezi. While we strongly considered After Effects or Final Cut Pro, we felt that it was ultimately more efficient to use a pre-defined framework on which to structure our ideas. Prezi makes it easy to make a PowerPoint’s worth of information look good as efficiently as possible. Since we are essentially making a video presentation, this made the most sense to us.

Videos are nothing new to me, having grown up, surrounded by the famously competitive filmmaking talents in Los Angeles. I got started on the storyboard immediately. In order to create a cohesive video, a logical series of events is absolutely necessary. From that point, I constructed the framework of the script. My fellow team members are currently putting together a nice Prezi presentation (almost finished!), and I will soon record the corresponding voice-over.

I think that while it took us some time to figure out how many resources were truly needed to dedicate to the creation of our video presentation, following our decision, we had a clear direction. After fiddling with the final script, we’re ready to go!

It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you guys on Project Communities! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and continued dedication! :)

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:

week seven : processing

Researching online communities is an ongoing process. The concept itself is not physical enough to grasp so immediately. I think that the best way to know if an online community or network is indeed functional is to reflect on past experiences with specific platforms. We learn best by getting our hands dirty. Mistakes are the best possible outcome for anyone diving into a new subject matter.

I think that the best way to approach an online community is with an open mind and a high tolerance for annoying people (usually a given). Online communities are very specialized, as they strive to differentiate themselves from competing services. This dynamic encourages users like us to scan our options before diving in. Design should be held to the bare minimum functionality; one shouldn’t stress about joining a service that doesn’t feel like a natural fit to them. If anything, this mentioned stress will only hinder whatever project they’re working on. It’s plain easier to make your customers happy if you greet them with enthusiasm.

My scope of online communities is already quite broad. I have a ton of past experience with them. Yet, as a result, I feel the need to reduce this chaos to as few services as possible. It’s hard to say what I would like to learn about online communities, because I’m not currently struggling with any.

Maybe we should consider the next steps: how will we be communicating with each other in five years’ time? Or ten? But that’s another topic entirely.

The Future is Already Here

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:

week six : just a designer?

In my opinion, crowdsourcing in design is a generally minimalistic way of describing the funding process. While design may entice potential customers, it can never be the lone driving force of a successful product. Crowdsourcing should be used not as a verification method, but as a launchpad for thoroughly developed ideas. Crowdfunding is not always a “choice”. Funds are a necessity in breaking into today’s vibrant market, so great designs may never be noticed without a sufficient business plan. Going it alone is an unaffordable cost.

Launching a crowdfunding campaign also requires a ton of work and dedication. Obsess over your product. Dedicate every waking moment to its success, before, during, and in the future. In the words of crowdfunding consultant Vann Alexandra Daly, “…pre-production is the most important part of launching a successful crowdsourcing campaign. If your project doesn’t explode as soon as it goes live, it’s probably going to just limp to the finish, or die trying.” But that’s not all. Jon Fawcett of Fuse Chicken urges future crowdfunding entrepreneurs to locate a manufacturer as early on as possible to reduce unforeseen delays. For that, Alibaba is your best bet. I’ll just leave out the standard schtick regarding the perfect pitch for the sake of brevity. However, I highly recommend taking a peek at this document to gather some statistically-backed inspiration.

Engineering / programming: $10,000 → 
Marketing and press: $5,000
Building the mold: $10,000
Manufacturing the first 500 units: $10,000
Expedited shipping and distribution costs: $10,000
Fulfilling pre-orders: $15,000
Unforeseen costs: $1,000,000,000,000

And this is a theoretical “limited” launch. Intimidated? I thought so.

If you have absolutely zero interest in starting your own company, offers somewhat of a safe haven. The crowdsourcing site aggregates a steady stream of product concepts submitted by its user base. Their partnership with General Electric allows users the freedom to utilize any of the latter company’s sea of patents. Eventually, an idea is chosen and becomes a runaway success (ex. The Pivot Power).

Starting from scratch is really, really difficult and absolutely requires the right business connections. If you choose not to raise funds for your product, whether they’re from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or the classic angel or venture capital investors, then I wish your independent career good luck.

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:

week five : creative mush


The impact of size on a group’s efficiency seems to be understated by many. In my personal opinion, larger groups have the tendency to turn a multitude of ideas into a pile of mush, for lack of a better term. In a large group, one may quickly realize the extent of compromises imposed in an attempt to realize a product. The personality, or culture, of a project can therefore become weaker. Smaller groups of, say, five or fewer active team members streamline the creative process by imposing a more conversational method of productivity. While some may argue against smaller teams, citing the lack of diverse idea generation, it is obvious that in the context of larger group work, tasks are rendered most effective when broken apart amongst dedicated members.

It is also important to consider the ways in which culture plays a role in teamwork. To that point, I say that either the chemistry is there, or that one or no team members saw their ideas through. I believe that if everyone feels appreciated by the other group members, the chance that the respective project will hit a chord with audiences is much higher. And larger groups do not tend to that need very easily, leaving perhaps several members astray.

In the context of my petite group of four, the efficiency of task completion is throttled. It took a single meeting to bounce ideas off of each other and arrive at a somewhat concrete plan. This was due to our ability to orchestrate a controlled conversation about our NGO and in part due to the amazing speed at which we arrived at the designation of our roles in the project. The latter depended on the unique circumstances involved and may not offer any useful work-template for other teams. In the coming weeks, it will be useful to establish a mutual understanding of how to go about finalizing our concepts with our client.

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:


I just want to give a brief shoutout to three of my other websites.

Det Modernet -

My inspiration tumblog. These are the things that drive my personal aesthetic. Technology and design convergence.

Personal Portfolio -

I built a personal portfolio in preparation for applying to universities, as well as to cover me for future opportunities. -

An interactive online directory of farmers markets in California. I started building this by myself to support a school project back in May of 2013. There are still some kinks I have to work out. Because I can’t actually code very well, some features might not work as expected.

I would also like to congratulate my best friend, Benji, on the arrival of the first batch of his Allo speaker/case. It’s been fun to consult on and observe the project’s road to success! You can check out his funded Kickstarter here.

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:

week four : social layering

Advanced web applications such as Lagoa, as well as more rudimentary services such as Trello do not inherently require a layer of social networking to ensure that they perform their basic functions. If I wish to quickly render a 3D file, I don’t necessarily want to bother uploading my images to the public gallery. And if I’m using Trello to organize a project, I don’t have to include others if I don’t want to. Social layers are added by online tools and services with the intent of increasing usage and/or web traffic. Business as usual.

On the contrary, Trello’s Google-like sharing features also function to better the core service. Sure, adding friends or colleagues to my “board” simply feeds the website a handful of new and potentially faithful users. What’s in it for me? The tool becomes an integral methodology and enhances group productivity and its respective task management capabilities.

Lagoa’s public gallery is instead a crowd-sourced visual advertisement: “Look at everything our service can do! Try it out for yourself. Oh, and it would be great if down the road, you could become a loyal paid subscriber.” This is cookie-cutter shit, and consumers love cookies. And I totally respect that.

I am a member of defined and bounded groups on Facebook and Google+. My Facebook groups tend to be more localized -people I know, and my Google+ groups tap into the larger community. I use Facebook groups on a daily basis to source help and information on regular practicalities and formalities. Google+ typically attracts a larger population of awesome nerds, so it’s a great place to source some deep technical knowledge and advice. Google also offers an incredibly useful service called Helpouts which aims to solidify 1-on-1 exchanges of knowledge on the interwebs. Both Facebook groups and Google+ groups are valuable in their own respects -If they carried the same strengths, then I wouldn’t be using both of them.

BTW, Soundcloud is the best service for discovering new, unknown music, thanks to their “browse” feature. I don’t even need to follow anyone to find my new favorite song. The service is a great example of establishing online communities without the use of groups.

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:

week two : client reception

When I consider using an technological tool to improve upon the execution of a given task, I evaluate it based solely on personal preference. One should never force his or herself to tap into a method that functions against his or her internal methodological grain. When consulting with an NGO on what I believe are the most effective options, I still have no way of knowing whether or not my favorite tool will be the right fit for my client. For example, while I prefer a service such as Thunderclap, due to its effective broadcasting capabilities, my client might not feel secure enough in her abilities to successfully navigate the often complex web of social networking.

If my colleagues had varying preferences in online tools, I wouldn’t feel too hindered. At this point in time, I have the strongest opinion on online tools and services, as well as their respective benefits and drawbacks. Like I mentioned before, our client’s decision is largely personal. Therefor, the best we can do is to recommend services to an unknown reception.

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog:

week one : the feedback engine

Hi all. This is a blog dedicated to uncovering insights into how online communities can foster new and vital benefits for multiple and individual entities.

So let’s get started.

In this connected age, it is a handicap not to allow oneself the privilege of an online presence. Sure, networking online is just like networking in person. But, the internet’s magic power is the ability to connect people from all walks of life -who probably don’t just live in your neighborhood. For students and designers today, sourcing external feedback on his or her ideas is easier than ever before. Think about Behance’s handy work-in-progress classification, or Autodesk and Adobe’s collaborative online “feedback engines”.

These feedback engines have the potential to not solely apply to creative individuals, but to NGOs alike. Sites like are appearing every day, providing a nearly endless stream of opportunities for charitable organizations. However, this trend simultaneously introduces a new challenge: With so many causes saturating the web, what can each organization do to achieve a satisfactory dose of spotlight?

This is just a taste of the content soon to come from this blog. By exploring the potential of a select NGO, while generating useful solutions for discoverability, it is possible to draw a worthwhile learning experience.

Ideally, I will contribute valuable professional connections and attempt to develop our NGO’s brand identity beyond what is already in place.

Posted in Community, Group 9, Students
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: