Thoughts and articles about design, digital era and more…
by Dan Maccarone and Bob SullivanA screeching ring pierces the otherwise silent 4:30 a.m Sunday morning. Dan rolls over and sees his then-wife wife, Mel, groggily hit accept on her iPhone, then listens to one side of a conversation that escalates quickly. She hangs up.
“What was that about?” Dan asks, hoping against hope he could turn over and go back to sleep.
“That was Josh. He’s freaking out. A guy was just shot right outside our bar.”
It’s August of 2009 and we were two months in as bar owners. Welcome to the business.
Josh, the bartender closing that night, had every reason to freak out, of course. Taz, the guy who had been shot, was a regular at our bar, Destination, in Manhattan’s East Village. He was also a doorman at a different bar across the street. He’d been off that night and Josh had even served him a couple hours before the shooting. He was pronounced dead that night. Two other patrons were wounded.
This was ridiculous. The East Village in 2009 was about as safe as you c..
by Dan Maccarone and Bob SullivanThe stolen glance at a watch or phone. The fiddling with the coat on the back of a chair. The lingering over a one-third full drink. The “one last look around.”
A well-trained bartender spots the signs right away. The “Should I Stay or Should I Go” look. This crucial moment plays out dozens, maybe hundreds of times each night at every bar in every city in the world. What happens next might be the difference between a great night for the till and a bar that closes early. Or closes, forever.
And right at this very moment, a well-trained bartender saves the day — or in this case, the night — with a well-timed free gift.
When done correctly, with class and elegance, no one even notices. In fact, the subtlety of the gesture is critical. Because it’s not for everyone. It’s just for someone who is special.
As if delivered from the sky, a fresh bottle, glass, or mug appears — often swapped out for the near-empty drink with sleight of hand befitting a street she..
by Dan Maccarone and Bob SullivanHave you ever wondered how tips get shared in a busy bar when multiple servers help you? Well, with so much cash changing hands so quickly, it’s not exactly scientific. And sometimes, it gets messy — or downright ugly. Here’s an example of both:
“I worked in a bar once that didn’t have a ‘pooled house,’ and bartenders got tipped out by servers. I was serving downstairs with an inexperienced bartender on a quiet Sunday, but there was a party upstairs that eventually spilled over onto our floor,” tells a bartender friend of Dan’s. “The bartender was quickly overwhelmed, so I left my tables — and my tips — and jumped behind the bar to help her bust out cocktails. When the rush was over, I mentioned to her that she wasn’t going to tip me out because the bartenders never tipped out the servers. She said, ‘Well, I found this 28 dollars on the bar and I don’t know what it’s for, so why don’t you just take that. I said ‘thank you,’ and took it.”
This story — ta..
by Dan Maccarone and Bob SullivanThe voice is soothing, even sultry, as it cuts through the otherwise empty, black night.
“Overnight, under the covers,” he says, the bass in his voice turned up almost to Barry White levels. He invites himself into bed with you. “Me here, you there.”
Steve Somers is miles away. But suddenly, you aren’t alone.
He’s not offering sex. He’s offering sports. Specifically, “schmoozing S-P-O-R-T-S.” But he might as well be offering sex. Somers helped invent the category of overnight sports talk radio shows in the late 1980s, when there was one all-sports station, WFAN, in New York. Within a decade, there were hundreds of copycats in the lucrative new category. Steve’s late-night style worked because he understood a profound truth about human nature: most people are lonely. Really, really lonely.
It’s no mistake that Somers’ taglines hinted ever-so-gently at another 1980s late-night cash cow — 1–900 telephone numbers. In fact, in graduate school, Bob wrote a pa..
By Dan Maccarone & Sarah Doody“If I were to just see you blind, I’d think ‘Cute kid, next.’”
That’s how Emily Rees, Director of Talent at The Stem, described how she normally would have reacted to Dan as a candidate for an information architect position when his resume landed on her desk in May of 1999.
On paper, Dan had zero professional design training or experience and neither his B.A. in English and performing arts nor his M.S. in journalism stood out as typical qualifications for what she looked for to fill that role.
“But you were referred by someone high up in the organization, so that’s what got you the interview,” says Rees. “Otherwise, you didn’t fit what I was looking for. You got the job because of the interview.”
Rees isn’t wrong in her thinking — not then and not now as she still hires roles in the world of user experience. But as we started exploring how organizations hire UX professionals, the problem arose: what should you look for and why does that differ depending on..
For almost a decade now, I’ve been privileged to count myself among the people in tech who enjoy the crossover into media and Gawker was at the center of that overlap. Whether it be their roof parties on Elizabeth Street, the spontaneous gatherings at The Magician and Tom & Jerry’s (or even the Gawker TV Trivia Nights at my old bar, Destination), it was a ubiquitous presence.
Plenty has been written about why it died. There’s no need for me to address that, nor am I the right person to do so.
Instead, I‘d like to celebrate the extraordinary people that Gawker has set loose in the media world who are, for the most part, making journalism a better, more innovative place — especially at a time when the media industry is crumbling around itself.
I’m proud to call many of them friends.
Over the past two years, I’ve spoken to almost 100 tech and media people on my podcast, Story in a Bottle. Many of them have touched Gawker in some way or another, but there are four who were there, on the gr..
I hate the term “unicorn.” Seriously hate. And I’m not talking about mythical beasts leaping over rainbows. Everyone loves those. I’m talking about a much more dangerous and rare animal.
So many startups we talk to are looking to find that one person who will solve all of their problems. The one person who can strategize, design both the experience and the visual identity, code the whole damn thing, and have it all done before the investor meetings start next month. And since it’s one person, their budget won’t take a hit.
By Dan Maccarone & Sarah DoodyThis is the third article in a 3 part series about the state of the UX ecosystem. To start at the beginning, read this article.
Let’s get the hard part out of the way. Not everyone is cut out to work in User Experience (UX). That’s not a dig at anyone. Most of us aren’t cut out to be dentists, developers, or defensive linebackers. For those that excel at UX, it starts with seeing the world through a problem solving lens and a need to keep improving on the solutions we’ve already found.
We currently live in a world where UX is trendy and a lot of people want to break into it. “It’s sort of like when people hopped onto being HTML Developers,” says Jessica Sciorra, a veteran recruiter who works for VSA Partners in New York City. “They found that writing that stuff could make them a lot of money. It’s similar to any hot topic field. People get into it because it sounds sexy and it’s involved in new products.”
Part of the problem is that there’s still confusion..
Do you know if they actually place people in quality jobs? Just curious. I don’t know much about them.
I have to totally disagree with your defense of GA not suggesting that you’re ready to start shopping around a portfolio as soon as you’re done with the shorter courses. They say in black and white (which we linked to) that you can have a portfolio piece by the end of the 1-week course. If don’t think that’s suggesting students will be able to put that in front of a potential employer, then you’re missing how they’re spinning the marketing spin for that class. But let’s move on from the shorter class, because the longer immersive class is where we still have issue.
I’ve met a variety of people who have take these classes and some have been thrown into the fire without mentorship, without true UX training without the real thinking skills it takes to do this and with a false sense of ability. I don’t want to attack GA in a bubble — that’s not fair to them or to UX education in general, but belittling what we do by suggesting anyone can be ready to hop into the world after 12-weeks of int..