Week 98: What is Next?
4 Jan, 2023
It’s a new year, and that also marks another end and beginning for me.
I decided to leave my role leading the Tools & Interactions team at Bang & Olufsen, which also means I am looking for what is next for me. If you have interesting ideas, book 30 min. with me on Calendly or contact me.
For the past nine years I’ve invented new technologies, products, tools, teams and processes. The only constant has been that the missions and their deadlines were “impossible”, so I’ve had to invent new ways of thinking and doing to make them happen. I’m still curious to do that in an environment where people are excited to learn and build together.
I have spent some time reflecting on the products I have built over the years, as well as the sketching and prototyping environments I built to make them happen. To me, products like LEGO Super Mario and LEGO Education SPIKE Prime are tools for play and learning. And a lot of the prototypes I built to bring them into the world were built as tools for sketching faster and more creatively across design, engineering and business.
At Bang & Olufsen I drove new thinking about redefining audiovisual products, patented a number of technologies to make interactions more intuitive and expressive, and managed a team of young talented designers for the first time. I removed abstractions between design and engineering through closer collaboration and an emphasis on learning and shared responsibility.
Now I’m searching for a new mission and group of people to do something exciting with. Searching for something relentful. Something that has the ambition to build products that are more like tools. Something that takes the best of human and machine intelligence and treats them as complementary. With the new wave of AI technologies, it feels like Mark Andreessen’s old claim that “software is eating the world” is happening again. I’m still curious though, about the interfaces to that software. And what could the physical entrypoints to that software be?
The past month, I have been focused on gathering. Listening, reading, talking to people.
I’ve dabbled in learning Svelte and connecting it with THREE.js through the Threlte library. I still build websites and have increasingly used web-based interfaces to rapidly sketch with hardware and software. Maybe I’m wrong on this, but Svelte feels easier and lighter than React. I’m considering respinning my portfolio using Svelte and THREE.js, since it could be a fun project for learning.
Like everyone else, I have also been dabbling in ChatGPT and playing with GPT-3. Although the hype will subside, I believe these AI technologies will change the field of technology products, how they are made, and even what kind of teams will be needed to make them.
- Peer Apprenticeships is an interesting concept
- Inspired by Julius Tarng and their Toolshop practice
- Inspired by Nat Friedman’s GPT-3 Browser Controller
As a learning project for GPT-3, I have been toying with the idea of an Adventure Writer application that supports writing adventures in a way that combines human and machine intelligence. The concept is that you enter a loop where you alternate between writing by yourself and using GPT-3 to generate a few sentences at a time as inspiration. Through a few key interactions like scrolling to increase/decrease the amount of text generated, and clicking words to generate synonyms, I’m hoping to build an interface that stimulates the creative process.
Based on user feedback, I have also been making updates to Morphaweb and added a version number to the website that will help when debugging with users. Curious about automating the versioning through GitHub Actions or something clever - might ask GPT for ideas.