I love making things. I’ve been doing it my whole life and I find genuinely indescribable joy in creating new things. Websites, apps, robots, products, businesses, writing, art, film — I’ve made a little bit of everything and constantly strive to explore more.
Being a maker myself, I’ve always appreciated things we use every day that were once someone else’s creation. It’s a strange feeling to describe, but I just feel so content and delighted when I see or use a well designed/engineered product (like my MacBook Pro, the Airbnb iOS app, even my Tuft & Needle mattress).
More than anything though, what really excites me are creations that subtly cloak great technology with effective design. Technology and engineering are what propel humanity forward, yet no matter how advanced, they’re useless until effective design renders these things practical for everyday people.
The Internet was invented as far back as the 1960s, but was rarely known to the public. It was only when Sir Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web and the Browser in 1991 that it suddenly became useful for everyone. Similarly, group chats have been around forever and plenty, yet it wasn’t until Slack wrapped it into a cross-platform app and pitched it as a dedicated team communication tool that it blew up.
This is what I want to do in life — making technology useful to everyone through intuitive design — and that’s what my personal laboratory Ember Labs is dedicated to do. It’s not just about making something look pretty — it’s about adapting real technology into a holistic user experience to the point where the end user doesn’t even notice the tech behind it. To them, it just works. To them, it’s just like magic.
I call this these creations Magical Black Boxes (black box is also a common term in Computing). Effective consumer products should be big magical black boxes that just work — you put something in, it spits something out. No one should ever need to know what’s actually going on inside that box. For all they care, it could be a cluster of quantum computers or a team of elves crunching numbers by hand. What matters is that it works brilliantly and it’s a seamless experience.
I love building these Magical Black Boxes, and that’s what Ember Labs is all about. It’s a giant Magical Black Box Factory, churning out consumer products that just work. The ingredients? Solid branding, product design, and engineering, sprinkled with a dash of creative marketing and effective distribution. Bon appétit!
// Written and published in Mexico City, Mexico
// At 2:56PM on 4/14/2017
// While listening to Good Love (Ft. 김범수) by Dynamic Duo