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Preview: metacool


thoughts on the art & science of bringing cool stuff to life, by Diego Rodriguez

Published: 2013-06-07T19:13:37-07:00


metacool is now at


All good things must come to an end, what goes up must come down, all public companies eventually go out of business, and every blog ends up on a new server. Per my post from a few weeks back, I'm...

The heart of leadership


Like many people, I was deeply moved by the brave individuals who ignored their own safety to help victims just seconds after the recent Boston Marathon bomb blasts. How and why did they do such courageous things that day? The...

John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!


This talk by John McWhorter is another of my favorites from TED 2013. It's elegant, witty, informative, intelligent, entertaining, persuasive. This is so because McWhorter only gives one talk here. Allow me to say more about what I mean by...

metacool Thought of the Day


"Everything can look like a failure in the middle. Persist, persevere, refocus, and things can turn around." - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Seinfeld + Porsche: a shared creative process


To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, comedy writing and car design are two things you don’t see people doing in public. So here’s a video peek at Seinfeld’s private creative process—and that of Michael Mauer and Mitja Borkert, both design leaders at...

Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness: General Motors


There's some amazing design work happening at GM these days. Though I have not driven either model (they're not on the market yet), I'm really impressed by the design work done on two new GM models, the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette...

Nine years of metacool-ing


This week marks nine years of my exploring the art and science of bringing cool stuff to life. I started metacool because I was bored one Saturday afternoon. My wife was out of town for the weekend, I was bored,...

metacool Thought of the Day


"I give myself 24 hours to mourn a failure. When something fails, I wallow in it for a day. And then I move on. I never let it stay with me for more than a day. But I give it...

Failing. And dealing with it.


A few of my Principles for Innovating are more popular than others. When I give a talk on those principles, the first six are received with a lot of enthusiasm, which is to be expected, because they're all about design...

John Maeda on creative leadership


Here's a really interesting diagram created by my friend John Maeda, who is the President of RISD. It's a portrait of leading, surviving being the leader of something, and then thriving and growing: This diagram really speaks to me. It...

metacool LinkedIn influencing


I am pleased to announce that I'm now writing the occasional essay for LinkedIn as part of its Influencers group. Here's my debut effort. What will I be writing about, you ask? Since my personality and brain haven't been changed...

Wise words from a five-year-old


This isn't one of those posts where a parent brags about their kid. I do think she's pretty special, but I'm not going to go there today. However, my daughter said something this morning which I think really nails an...

Why robocars and the Porsche GT3 are kissing cousins


Earlier this week Virginia Postrel published a great Bloomberg article titled Why Silicon Valley is Winning the Robocar Race. It's a provocative look at what's happening at the intersection of digital technologies and cars, and it also serves up a...

Allan Savory, innovating from first principles


How do you recover from failure, if at all? Two of my principles for innovating deal directly with the reality of failing: No. 13: Do everything right, and you still can fail No. 14: Failure sucks, but instructs If you're...

metacool Thought of the Day


Patterned by Nature from Sosolimited on Vimeo. Principle for Innovating 2: See and hear with the mind of a child

Why this Sprinter van conversion shows us what good prototyping looks like


Have you ever held a wooden surfboard? What a revelation. In my humble opinion they are some of the most beautiful objects around Paul Jensen is a master craftsman who, among other things, creates truly gorgeous surfboards out of wood....

Being honest the Harry Weathersby Stamps way


Never underestimate the value of being honest -- deeply honest -- when you're working as part of a team. Learning to express what you're thinking in a truthful but respectful way is a foundational skill for people who work with...

Innovating. Doing, not talking.


Which of the following two propositions makes you want to put down the TV remote and go do something interesting with your life?: "Let's grab some coffee after lunch and talk about innovation." or "I had a dream about how...

metacool Thought of the Day


“You know, when you are in your 20s, you always believe that the race, that the championship is the only thing that matters. But then 20 years later, you say ‘Ooohhh, I remember when I was there with my mechanics,...

Ron Finley. Guerrilla gardener. Leader


This elegant talk by artist and designer Ron Finley was by far the highlight of my experience at TED last week. I find it inspiring on so many levels -- here are a few: I am inspired by the way...

More thoughts on designing from Chris Bangle


A few days ago I came across this wonderful interview of Chris Bangle done by Hugo Becker in June 2012. I did a lot of research prepping for my Revs Program event with Chris, but I unfortunately never saw this...

Sugata Mitra: experience the world


Last week I was fortunate to participate in the TED conference in Long Beach. I learned a ton and it sparked a lot of new thoughts for me, which I will be writing about here on the pages of metacool...

Chris Bangle and the tail of the fox


If my time at IDEO has taught me anything, it's that a creative environment need not be toxic, caustic, or unnecessarily stressful. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite: if you want people to do great work together, just...

Girl Scout Cookies and learning to live an entrepreneurial life


Today is National Girl Scout Cookie Day. I used to not know much about the Girl Scouts, but my wife recently started a troop, and this has given me the opportunity to learn a bunch about this remarkable organization. In...

A Tribute to Bill Moggridge


Bill Moggridge, 1943-2012

metacool Thought of the Day


MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Eating bacon chocolate, living at the intersection


Last week I attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. It's like the CES of food, with over 1,300 exhibitors from 35 countries showing 80,000 products to over 17,000 attendees. If that sounds like a recipe for something big...

Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Steve Christopher, and the Art of Infusing Creativity


At one point in David Kelley's interview with Charlie Rose, Rose states that the process of going through life has a way of squeezing the creativity out of people. A depressing thought. But if we take it as true, how...

metacool Thought of the Day


Designing for Difference with Chris Bangle


I'm very happy to be interviewing Chris Bangle onstage next week as part of an Open Garage series event at the Stanford Revs Program. Our discussion will focus on the topic of "Designing for Difference in a World of Sameness"....

Innovating means shipping and executing


As a non-trivial coda to my series of posts on the Nissan DeltaWing and the process of innovating, here's a brief account of how the DeltaWing team fared over the weekend. When we last checked in on this intrepid crew,...

A new verb for innovators: deltawing


As a boy growing up in Boulder, I attended a wonderful school named Burke Elementary. An amazing place, staffed with passionate, dedicated teachers, and named for a great American, Admiral Arleigh Burke. Admiral Burke used to visit our school once...

Learning from Professor Poubelle


Here's a charming video created a few years ago by my friends Bill Moggridge and Bernie Roth. It tells the story of Professor Doug Wilde. Here's the movie caption from YouTube: Doug Wilde is an Emeritus Stanford Professor who suffers...

Bill Moggridge, 1943-2012


Bill Moggridge

Alex Zanardi: Olympic gold medalist, hero


At the height of his powers as a race car driver, Alex Zanardi used to put on breathtaking displays of sheer genius and artistry, such as this notable victory: He would then celebrate the sweetness of victory with a healthy...

metacool Thought of the Day


“I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and propelled by compressible flow.” - Neil Armstrong

Learning from Zanardi


<A href="" _mce_href="" target="_new" title="INDYCAR: Zanardi for Gold - 2012">Video: INDYCAR: Zanardi for Gold - 2012</A> This Great Recession of ours has forced me to learn a lot about myself, and to improve my approach to just about everything in...

Bob Sutton: creating infectious action


During the formative years of the Stanford, I taught a class with Bob Sutton and some other colleagues called Creating Infectious Action. The class revolved around a basic question: could ideas be designed to spread? The answer, delivered by...

metacool Thought of the Day


“For every negative, there’s a positive. It’s in everything. How you deal with life, outlook, how much energy you put into achieving something. That’s why I detest entitlement. Anything that’s worthwhile is going to call for some sacrifice. Nothing worthwhile...

Innovation Principles at Work: the Cannondale Hooligan


Behold the Cannondale Hooligan bicycle. I hesitate to write this blog post, because I'm the prowl for a lightly used Cannondale Hooligan 3 -- in matte black, natch! (don't buy my bike, dude!) The Hooligan is still in production, but...