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💎 Friday Gems #27 (Enshittification, If A Hammer Was Like AI, Decolonizing Design, Don’t Think!)
Insights to help you learn, grow, and thrive in your life.
Friday I mean Saturday Low Fidelity readers!
I had a classic case of overthinking yesterday as I was about to send out the Friday Gems issue. I was ready to hit the send button, but at that very moment, I started questioning if the first gem, which is about Enshittification, would be valuable for you.
For some reason, I decided it wasn’t, but then this morning, as I thought about it over my first cup of coffee, I realized, yes, this story does bring value to my readers because it helps us see the bigger picture of the platforms we use in our daily lives and how they behave.
We spend a lot of time on these platforms, and they become part of us.
We depend on them for business, community, and connection.
So being aware of how these platforms operate is important for us as give them our most valuable resource, which is our attention.
I hope you enjoy the gems this week and thanks for your support. ✌🏽
On to this week’s gems!
First, it was Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and now TikTok.
There is a pattern to how platforms die.
First, they are good to their users; then, they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.
Cory Doctorow calls this “Enshittification” of a platform, and now I can’t unsee it. The platform needs users, so it begins by being valuable to us and becoming our friend. Then as it has trapped enough people who depend on it for their livelihood, it pulls the rugs from underneath and begins to dictate demands because it knows there is nowhere else for us to go.
We get locked in and have nowhere else to go.
Then the platform becomes all about shareholder value and a push to extract the most from its users.
I hope Substack, the platform used for this newsletter, stands out. It is a unique platform that focuses on giving writers the independence they need to share their ideas without depending on an algorithm for their livelihood. They control their writing, their audience, their conversations, their community, and their income.
Of course, Substack could also end up in the same pattern of enshittification, but because it has started differently than the others, there is hope for it.
What do you think about the enshittification of platforms? I’d love to know. Share your thoughts in the comments!
💎 If a hammer was like AI
Source: Per Axbom
💎 Why We Need to Decolonize Design, And how to do it.
To decolonize design is to fundamentally change the way the industry is run in order to create better products and experiences for everyone. It departs from design’s white, Eurocentric roots and instead focuses on amplifying diverse voices with unique values, beliefs and lived experiences.
- Ellen Glover
How can we start to decolonize design? In this article, Malene Barnett, a ceramist, textile artist, and painter, shares the experience that led her to break free from the Eurocentric and colonial design school curriculum and suggests ways we can “decolonize” our design thinking and embrace people, processes, materials, and methodologies from people around the world.
All her suggestions are great, but one that resonated with me was to broaden our references. Instead of focusing on the usual artists such as Picasso, Monet, or Van Gogh, she suggests Black American artists such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Romare Bearding, and Elizabeth Catlett.
Whichever design field we are in, we can explore how other cultures, countries, and indigenous groups practice design to widen our circle and begin to decolonize design.
Source: House Beautiful
💎 Don’t Think!
“The intellect is a great danger to creativity… You begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things instead of staying with your own basic truth: Who you are, what you are, what you want to be. I've had a sign over my typewriter for 25 years now which reads, 'don't think.'“
- Ray Bradbury
Let me know in the comments if any of the gems resonate with you. I always love hearing from you. :)
Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic weekend!