10 minutes with John Maeda


John Maeda is the Fortune Cookie it says. I had no desire to snap him in half and extract his wisdom on a piece of roughly typed paper. But I did figure it’d be a chance to meet an interesting guy and ask him a question in a strange setting.

I turned up to the Riflemaker gallery and had a look round at a bunch of his tweets and some of his art.




Then I had to decide what kind of artwork I wanted to buy to documenet our consultation. It was part of the rules. I wasn’t really sure, so I thought I’d get him to take a picture of me and sign it. I thought that just getting a tweet would be a little ordinary. The profits are going towards funding scholarships to the Rhode Island School of Design, so I didn’t mind coughing up a few quid.


Once I’d made my choice. I got taken upstairs to meet the man. It’s a dark-ish room. He’s sanding there in a puffer jacket in a sandpit. There’s nothing else in the sandpit apart from a chair and a stick. There’s incense burning. There’s no doubt that an enigmatic air is being manufactured.

He starts out by asking me to sit down. And then he asks who I am and what I do. Turns out he knows John Jay from W+K (hardly surprising, everyone who’s anyone knows John Jay).


So the conversation gets pretty specific about work pretty fast – at some point during the conversation he picks up a Polaroid camera and takes a snap of me. He writes a single word “NO” underneath it and signs it.

Me by John Maeda

During our conversation he paces around the sandpit occasionally making notes in the sand with a long stick. Towards the end of our conversation he pulls out his Canon S90 camera (I only spotted that because I have the same one) and takes a photo of his sand scribblings. I have no idea what he’s going to do with these photos and maybe I never will.

In the gallery notes they say:

“The overall experience being somewhere between McKinsey Consulting going on tour and a visit to the hairdresser. ”

Not an inaccurate description although my experience was somewhere between meeting Yoda, a tutorial with an amazing professor and a careers guidance session.

So what did I learn?

I got referred to 2 books that I ought to read:

Oh, and at the end he told me not to worry. So I won’t.

Why did he write “NO” under my photo? I don’t think it was any kind of rejection, I suspect it’s actually connected to an important part of my story that he got me to share. A pivotal moment. Or alternatively he could have just written that on everyone’s photo who he didn’t like much. But I’m not going to worry about that either.

At The End of the Day

Like shooting fish in a barrel. But there’s a bit in the middle that’s a minor stroke of genius (I won’t spoil it)…

Originally found at jiggmiester’s Tumblr.

A Dream Come True (and it’s Only Monday)

Safe falling out of a window

I’ve always wanted to see a safe fall out of a window (like in the cartoons).

This morning as I was walking down Commercial Street I saw a safe lying on the pavement!

A Safe On The Street

I don’t think it can have fallen out of a window. And the pallet sitting next to it would suggest that the safe fell off that somehow. But still in my heart I’m hoping that it fell from here:

Above the Safe

Seeing something this good on the way to work on a Monday must be a good omen for the week.

In The Past

Nik just sent me this photo from a few years ago. It’s from 2001 I’m guessing. Before we started Poke we had a company called Nodding Dog that existed for a year or so. We lived in Naked’s basement sharing it with a TV company called Monkey. A few things worth noting:

  • I was less comfortable in front of a camera back then, hence the gesture.
  • I looked younger – that Oil of Olay stuff doesn’t work how it says in the ads.
  • We had a lot more beige computers. A lot more.


Exactitudes at Selfridges

I’d spotted this exhibition in the press and then stumbled on it totally by accident in Selfridges basement this evening. It’s amazing. It’s a series of photographs of style tribes.

Exactitudes at Selfridges 2

They say:

Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek have worked together since October 1994. Inspired by a shared interest in the striking dress codes of various social groups, they have systematically documented numerous identities over the last 13 years.

As well as the exhibit they’re scouting for and photographing people in the basement of Selfridges. There were a few big guys with beards in there getting photographed when I was in, which added to the whole affair.

You can see most of the photos on the website: http://www.exactitudes.com

There’s also a lovely book that you can buy with all the photos in it. There’s a copy here on Amazon.

Here’s ‘The Gabbers’

Pop in and have a look, it’s well good.

EDIT: I’ve just realised I’m behind the curve on this one. PSFK and Herd have both talked about it. But I guess I’ve actually seen it so I’m allowed to blog it ;-p

Who Needs Tripods?

This is far from an exclusive, it’s been featured in quite a few places. But it’s something that everyone with an interest in taking photos should see. It’s so simple. Brilliant.

$1 Image Stabilizer For Any Camera – Lose The TripodFunny videos are here

Brighton Got Wood

It appears that the wood from the sunken ship has made it down the cost to Brighton. It’s nowhere near as impressive as it looks in Worthing, but it’s not bad.

It’s nice to see how much fun people can have with a bit of wood. But there are some splinter warnings out…

Need A Photographer?

Mareses Photo of Wendie

My friend Marese has just gone freelance as a Photographer and is looking for work. She says: I’m specialising in portraiture, but my skills are flexible – I also work in documentary, landscape, event and fashion photography.

Have a look at her site here: http://www.luminette.org there’s lots of nice stuff.

She’s thoroughly lovely, enthusiastic and hardworking too. So give her a shout if you’ve got any photographic needs.