Daniel T. Richards

Daniel T. Richards

Digital Strategist & Rhetorician

3 Reasons to Celebrate Celebrity Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding’s impact on film financing has been significant and swift. Hundreds or thousands of micro-financiers can now fund projects of niche interest without huge risk, creating financial openings for “the little guy” who doesn’t have an in with a major studio.

But what about the “big” little guy?

Adam Carolla, king of podcasting and libertarian provocateur, finds himself in the crosshairs of media pundits who would have him eschew the $1.3 million he raised on Fund Anything and finance Road Hard, his new movie, himself.

Carolla follows the trailblazing success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign, which soared into crowdfunding history by raising $2 million in one day. The campaign ended with $5.7 million but an asterisk by its record—at least according to critics. Should rich celebrities like Kristen Bell—later Zach Braff and now Adam Carolla—use crowdfunding to finance pet projects?

Absolutely. Here’s why:

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How “Tweetable” Is Francisco d’Anconia?

Francisco’s “Money Speech” from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is about 70% “tweetable” according to a new tool from Yahoo! News. It measures the length of your sentences, looking for quips that are 120 characters or shorter. (Apparently President Obama is a natural tweet speaker.) Is being more “tweetable” a good thing? That depends on the purpose of your speech and your audience. This would be a handy tool, for instance, if want people to live-tweet your talk.

Money Speech Tweetability

Check it out. Add your own speeches to see how “tweetable” you are:

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4 Tips to Make Office Email Less Painful

Pacman EmailEmail often feels like a necessary evil—or an outright, unequivocal evil when using it for work.

OK, so maybe it’s not that bad. But most work email needs improvement, right? Here’s some advice for being a better communicator via electronic mail. (I’m talking to you, too, managers.)

The problem most people have when sending work email is they don’t anticipate what the person they’re talking to doesn’t know. Put differently: it’s hard to get out of our own heads. We know what we want (usually), and we know what we know (usually). But we’re not good at giving that information to other people because we assume they know what we know!

That assumption is wrong. And it can lead to frustrating strings of email asking for clarification and passive aggressive responses. To avoid email Hell, include these four points in your office communiqué:

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Art v. Design

David and the iPhoneMichelangelo’s David and Steve Jobs’s iPhone have many things in common. Both are quintessential examples of the things they represent—”man” and “smart phone,” respectively. Both come from the minds of geniuses. Both have curves in all the right places.

Both are beautiful.

Yet there is a major difference between the two—one that demands stating, one that should inform the evaluation of digital infotecture. David is art. The iPhone is not.

Michelangelo’s masterpiece is meant to be looked at, studied, contemplated. Its purpose is to show viewers an ideal man.

And while I admit to occasionally staring at my iPhone in awe of Jony Ive’s design, satisfying my contemplative nature is not its purpose. Its purpose is to make calls and, well, “there’s an app for that.”

David’s purpose is its meaning. The iPhone’s is its utility.

Art is an end in itself. Design is not.

When evaluating information design, it’s important to understand the aesthetics behind the design—insomuch as aesthetics concerns itself with what is beautiful (though not exclusively). People like beautiful things, beautiful experiences.

But it’s equally important to understand the intended function of the information. Is it meant for comparison? For quick reference? For deep study?

Beauty and utility. Both are necessary for good design, for eloquent information. Without the former, people won’t care. Without the latter, it won’t matter how much they care because they won’t be able to access the data.

A design, like a building or a man, should have integrity. That integrity comes from understanding the differences between art and design.