You can’t buy apps for people.

Benjamin W.

January 7, 2011

iTunes lets you gift someone an album.

iTunes buy now link

But if you were thinking about buying someone a late Christmas present and that present just might have been an app from the new App Store, let me crush your dreams now and save you the pain of this discovery:

Mac App Store buy now link

It made me realize you can’t gift someone an app from the iPad or iPhone app stores either. This seems like a missed opportunity to me. How many apps would have been gifted over Christmas had this feature been available and highlighted?

Pizza and the web.

Benjamin W.

January 6, 2011

I love Pizza so much. And as I love it so much, I contemplate it in all it’s splendor.

That’s when I decided that a great pizza was like a great website. Let me explain:

To make a good pizza you need great sauce or great cheese or great crust. If the cheese is amazing but the sauce and pizza are okay, you’ll still say, “that was a good pizza”.

But to create a great pizza, all three components have to be great. Amazing bubbly cheese, perfect tomato sauce (not too sweet, not too acidic) and a crispy, bubbly, buttery crust.

It’s the same with a web site or any product for that matter. It can look amazing but if the content isn’t compelling, no one will care. The content has to be great but if no one can find it on your site, so what. And if people actually find you on the web but you show no character, no goodness, no you, why would they come back ever again.

From now on, I want to make great pizza more often.

Year End

Benjamin W.

December 30, 2010

I just read Seth’s post about the things he’s shipped this year. It’s kind of sad that I don’t have two things to put on my list of shipped items. New Years has always been about what I could do next year and not what I did this year. I’m not proud or excited by the things I’ve shipped this year.

I think this is a fundamentally different way to approach 2011. I’m not going to think up some ridiculously lofty goals that I can fill my empty day with as we start the next year. I’m going to ship things. Small things, big things, I don’t care. But I’m going to finish them and launch them and do things that I care about. I’ll let you know how it turned out as we get close to 2012.

Newspapers A La Carte

Benjamin W.

December 23, 2010

There is a dream that I can’t help but dream.

Everything, everywhere, anytime, a la carte.

And though it seems slow going I get a taste of it when I realize that episode I missed is on Hulu or I remember an old song from my high school years. Of course it’s on iTunes.

This got me thinking about newspapers. The problem I have with them is that I only want to read 10% of each one. It’s not like MacWorld which is full of stuff I’m into. Macworld can survive as a print mag because the people who subscribe to it probably read most, if not all of each issue. But a newspaper has to appeal to everyone. Its job is to give me the most important information, on any topic, anywhere in the world. And it has to appeal to me, my mom, my mean neighbor and everyone else, all at the same time. That’s tough.

Let’s say you download the Wall Street Journal app on your iPad. You can share links and see what your colleagues are reading/sharing. You can post the links to your blog or email them to your dad. The only difference is, everything is free with excerpts but it cost’s 10¢ for each full article.

I know, I know. Pay Wall!!! Ahhhhh! Run!!! Murdoch is a dinosaur!

But I don’t look at it like that. This way you really get what you pay for and you don’t pay for anything you don’t want. You can still get a sense of what’s happening in the financial/tech/battle world but the things you’re really interested in, you pay for.

In an “all free or nothing free” newspaper world, I’d prefer nothing. But in a mostly free news world, I’d be handing over a lot more cash than I am now. Or at least a few dimes.

I locked myself in.

Benjamin W.

September 28, 2010

I’m locked in to all kinds of crap. My mac, iPhone, FreshBooks, Backpack, etc. But I’m locked in by choice. I wouldn’t even want to leave if I could. I love these tools. They’re a joy to use and have become indispensable to what I do. This is the best kind of customer loyalty there is.

I can’t believe that in the age of twitter, blogging and yelp, we can’t find some way to overcome the incredibly terrible service we get from Telcos and ISPs.

AT&T should have bought GrandCentral and turned it into a free product like Google Voice. Verizon should have such good customer service that a 2 year contract isn’t even required because you wouldn’t leave if you had the chance.

That’s something people can learn from Apple. They’re a product based company. There’s more competition in the product area. They know they have to respond and so they’re constantly innovating to stay ahead of that competition.

But with Telcos, they know they have you by the balls for two years. Oh, what a beautiful day it will be when I stay with my ISP out of loyalty.

Seth Godin: Linchpin Series.

Benjamin W.

April 22, 2010

If you are creative at all in any way, if you’re wondering how in the hell you’re going make a living doing something you love, download and listen to this talk right now.

April Linchpin Session – Seth Godin.

It is something I needed to hear. It’s for anyone who wants what they love and what they do for money to be the same thing. And anyone who wants to change things.

For more on Seth Godin, just google him.

Spare Time and Start Ups

Benjamin W.

February 18, 2010

I think the hope of making a bunch of money skews creative people in the wrong direction. Some more than others. But this definitely happens to me. I want to work on a project that will solve my financial worries for good. And I’m not talking about a cash buy out or anything like that. I just mean something that I can grow over time and turn into a multi-million dollar company (NBD). But trying to guess which project could possibly be this one is not only impossible, it’s pointless. You become too skewed by the money factor.

So I propose a new formula to all creative people who want to run their own business, make their own films, record their own records, etc:

Imagine that you have $2,000,000 in the bank. You’ve bought your shiny new Macbook Pro and 27inch iMac. Or five of each. You have enough money to live of of for a good long while. Now, if you had to keep the $2,000,000 for living expenses and couldn’t spend it to launch some hairbrained idea, what would you want to spend time on. Which project would you want to do when the bills are covered and living is good and it’s just you and a laptop? Would you start a non-profit to teach kids how to cook and keep them out of gangs? Would you design the web application that you’ve been waiting for someone else to design? Would you work on your science fiction novel about a civil war that happens 10,000 years from now?

That is what you should do in your spare time. That is the project you should work on and see if it goes anywhere. Take the money out of it for a sec and see what looks like the most fun. Go do that and tell everyone you can about it once you’re done. That’s may not make you a bundle of money. But it’ll make you happier and remember, you’ve got $2,000,000 in the bank. So, no big deal.

Letter Case

Graphic Design & Web Design

Letter Case was my one-man design shop based in Los Angeles, CA.
I ran it for 2 years until I joined Typekit in January 2011.

In my spare time I've been learning to program by building my first web application.
A simple tool called Talkative to help people publish their talks on the web.

My current project is The Briefcase. A blog and podcast.
It's a place for me to create and publish stuff.

If you have any comments, thoughts or questions,
feel free to contact me at: benthomaswelch [at]

Thanks for checking out my blog. Cheers!

Simplicity is harder than it looks.