Bryan Landers

Toymaker + Shapeshifter

Google Script for Migrating Otherinbox Defender Email Addresses in Gmail

tl;dr Scroll to the bottom for instructions on using a Google Script you can use in Google Docs spreadsheets to extract your x@y.oib.com email addresses you’ll need to migrate before Otherinbox officially sunsets “Defender”.

Hook

Otherinbox first launched as a service that let you choose a username which was prepended to a subdomain that you could use to form email addresses on-the-fly. My subdomain was bryan.oib.com (‘oib’ was the shortened domain for “Otherinbox”), so when required to supply an email at checkout at an online store, I would give “store_name@bryan.oib.com”. This was endlessly entertaining to do in-person; salespeople would hear their company’s name in my email address and say, “no, we need your email.” I got quite good at pitching the concept. Often the salesperson would relent and accept the funky email and say, “huh, that’s really cool.”

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Seeking Aha!

The Emotion Required for Product Growth

The “aha! moment”, a term I first heard mentioned in relation to startup product design by Qualaroo CEO, and the original growth hacker, Sean Ellis, defines the moment when a customer truly experiences the value of a product during actual usage. The time and effort needed to achieve this moment differs greatly from product to product. Ellis relates the challenge of getting users to “aha!” with LogMeIn, a product where users had to install software on their work computer, find themselves in a situation where they needed to remotely access that computer, and finally remotely login from a different computer and take care of whatever task justified all of that effort. Ouch.

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Form Design: Text Field Specimens

Forms are everywhere. They’re how we humans share information with computers and are baked into the essence of web products. There’s the form you type in to search for something on Google, the form where you type your tweets on Twitter, the form where you enter your credit card information to buy something on Amazon.

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Most Advice Is Useless

Why I’ve stopped reading most content about entrepreneurship

Bloggers are obsessed with giving advice. “10 things you should…”, “What I learned by…” Some advice is anecdotal; some is data-driven. The trend is generally well-intentioned, or at least mutually beneficial. Authors try to offer value with their content marketing in hopes to gain attention in exchange for educational information.

The problem is:

90% of the advice I read is not actionable to me now.

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Look Beyond The Medium

Photo Sharing Is Message Sharing

Recently I found myself thinking, “I can’t believe I’m exploring ideas that could be considered ‘photo sharing’ app territory.” The way I arrived there was circuitous, so the observation snuck up on me.

This simple fact freed me from worrying about it:

Photos are a communication medium.

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Apple’s New iPhone Marketing Language


Apple’s new product pages are up for the iPhone 5s and 5c. The marketing copy and narration in the promotional videos is so emphatic it’s almost comical. This is what it sounds like to speak in italics. It’s very important to them that you know that they’ve considered every detail in manufacturing, design, and experience. I think it’s going needlessly overboard, since the finished products themselves communicate that message clearly.

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Here, a young Jimmy Page shares that he wanted to be a cancer research biologist when he grew up. He was one my first guitar heroes that inspired me to play music. I’m glad he didn’t realize those particular early dreams.

For some reason this video makes me recall this exchange from Harry Potter:

"Did you know—then?" asked Harry.

"Did I know that I had just met the most dangerous Dark wizard of all time?" said Dumbledore. "No, I had no idea that he was to grow up to be what he is. However, I was certainly intrigued by him."

Check out this amazing HTML email from Airbnb. It’s incredibly compelling because it manages to tell a story without any real details, which lets you fill in the blanks with your own imagination. The design creates a momentum that all leads toward one singular outcome: you clicking the “enter” button.

Check out this amazing HTML email from Airbnb. It’s incredibly compelling because it manages to tell a story without any real details, which lets you fill in the blanks with your own imagination. The design creates a momentum that all leads toward one singular outcome: you clicking the “enter” button.

Dear Artists, Make Me

Earn money and attention for your Kickstarter or Indiegogo project

Dear artists,

Make me. Make me want your art. Make me want to give you my money. Make me want to tell everyone about your crowd-funded project. This is an opportunity.

It’s time to stop asking for donations. You are not a 501(c)(3) organization. You are not helpless. You are not a charity. “We just need your help,” is no longer valid. What you need is to earn my money and attention.

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Showing Progress

Designing and Developing

Yesterday I spent the morning designing some website mockups for a client. Within an hour, I had six fairly high-fidelity screens to show her that I was quite proud of and that already told an engaging story about her as an artist and implied some exciting interaction and responsive design ideas. I took a lunch break after emailing my client a Dropbox folder with the new mockups and I noticed something - I felt great! After a fun design session, I felt charged up and inspired to work more. It’s not an unknown feeling to me, but I realized I haven’t been experiencing it much lately. Why?

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