Design Shop?


Just a quick little post to let you know that I know that you know that I know.

Cameron, 20th July 2012.

Just a quick little post to let you know that I know that you know that I know.1 Someone sent me this Pando Daily article because Fictive Kin gets a mention in it. The article, entitled “Is the Crowdsourcing Debate Finally Over?,” is about 99Designs. But rather than be the one to ignite the design community’s seasonal spec work “discussion,” I’m gonna make this all about me and the Fictives.2 I present…Exhibit A:

“We all read that designers are the new rock stars,3 so much so that venture firms are hiring in-house designers as a perk for their portfolio companies, and design shops are sourcing startup ideas. (Or at least one is: design shop Fictive Kin is now formally working with Betaworks to think up ideas.”

That’s a juicy mignon of a paragraph with plenty to chew on, but I want to deal with the bit about us being called a “design shop.” Fictive Kin is not a design shop. We’re a product shop and any decent product shop puts a high value on design. To call us a design shop misses the mark on design’s role and upsets our developers. Evan, in particular, gets very angry. And you wouldn’t like Evan when he’s angry.4

Erin can hardly be blamed. The TC article she references, where presumably she learned about the deal, calls us a “design collective.” Even worse.5 I’m calling all this out not to be pedantic or grumpy, but because I think FK has a chance to do something special with this betaworks deal and it’s important that the messaging is right. This is not a story of designers’ ascendancy over developers. It’s a story of developers and designers working as partners from the start and we’re kinda hoping it turns out to be a good one.


Cameron, 20th July 2012

  1. 1 that you know that I know.
  2. 2 Navel located.
  3. 3 I’m all kinds of coming back to this.
  4. 4 He stops bathing.
  5. 5 I can smell Evan already.
  6. 6 I didn’t manage to get back to that whole rock stars thing but I’ll do it tomorrow or so.

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