Davos Newbies Home

No state, no county 

The eight million of us that live in London may be in an unusual situation. Almost every e-commerce site I know has a required field for state, county, region or province. But London is London. It isn’t in a county (although many sports organisations, like the Lawn Tennis Association, persist in dividing it into Surrey and Middlesex (which, to complicate things further, isn’t even a county anymore)).

So I leave that field blank. All too many sites give me an error message, requiring me to fill in a state or county. So there are lots of databases where my address reads something like London, London. It’s very annoying.

Are we doomed?  

David Weinberger went to a World Economic Forum media industry discussion and reports at length. Essential reading:

  These are smart people and I liked talking with them. They were willing to listen. Some, in fact, even agree to varying degrees. But they are riding beasts that are in agony, and the Internet will be a sticky stain on the bottom of their massive hooves.
  We are doomed.

His own view on the importance of an open Internet isn’t novel, but it’s very well stated:

  BigCon’s product, I said, is special. It’s published. That means it’s given over to the public for us to appropriate it, make it our own. We hum it, we quote it, we make jokes with it as a punchline, we get it wrong. We do that because it matters to us. And that’s how creative works succeed. They become ours in some sense.
  Further, culture advances by our having the leeway to build on published work and incorporate it into other works. From The Star Spangled Banner to most of Disney’s feature length cartoons, that’s what we do.
  So, we need the leeway, both to be able to continue as a culture, and — more important from their point of view — to continue to get value from what the Big Content folks produce. It’s our ability to absorb and reuse that gives their product value.

The Big Picture, seen narrowly 

I enjoy reading Barry Ritholtz’s market commentary on The Big Picture, but pace its title, the focus is sometimes very narrow.

Here’s his read on the election: “Your taxes are going higher, regardless of who wins on Nov. 2. Oil will be expensive. GDP will be modest. While different sectors may do better or worse under each candidate, Greenspan will still be Fed Chief. That matters a whole lot more than who is sitting in the Oval Office…”

One thought on “Davos Newbies Home

  1. Nico Macdonald

    Forcing Londoners to ‘get in a state’ is evidence of a lack of user-centred design, as is assuming that post codes have five numbers in them, and phone numbers ten in the format 3-3-4. These kind of problems would be revealed if Web site publishers did a bit of research (or were a bit more worldly!) and if they tested their sites with a variety of users in different countries.

    A practical solution is to enter ‘Greater London’, which is the nearest to the ‘state were in’.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *