Three dots representing good cheap and fast, and a fourth empty dot.
Three dots representing good cheap and fast, and a fourth empty dot.

Those of us who make things inevitably encounter that client who needs a “kick butt solution,” for very little money… by tomorrow. And when we were young, naive contractors, most of us tried valiantly to deliver on that; usually failing in some key way. We lost money on the job, we missed the deadline, or worst of all — maybe our work sucked.

Then one day we heard someone more experienced push back at that client and say, “Good, cheap, fast. Pick two.”

Boom. Like a ton of bricks the pure rationality of that line hit your chest. It was…


Remember Tron? Depending on your age you’ll say, “Yes” and still maybe mean a different movie. It doesn’t matter, whichever Tron you remember opened on a lovely visualization of data moving through an integrated circuit. Abstracted pulses of light running along circuit traces which then gracefully morphed into, wait for it… cars driving on city streets.


The year was 1996. I lived in San Francisco.

Like an idiot, I hadn’t bought tickets in advance, and the show was sold out.

So my then wife and I had to wait near the back of a line, behind a bunch of other people who’d arrived before us, in a last-ditch hope of buying no-show tickets for a new indie film that was screening only once at the Castro Theater. I loved the Castro Theater. I loved the Castro neighborhood. Both were big and grand in different ways. You never felt judged in the Castro.

Unless you were an…


Image via Joel Hladecek

Joel Hladecek, Worldwide Creative Officer, EF Education First

Professional creatives, designers, and artists in any medium, staff or freelance, tend to share a common career goal: after entering the workforce and working in our chosen field for a number of years, we imagine naturally progressing to directing, where we will be inspiring teams of people in doing what we have done. We may further imagine rather loftier goals than that, but surely directing is part of our journey.

Although often eager to achieve the goal, few creatives are aware of the hidden barrier–the wall–that sits between their great talent today…


VR was never on your phone. AR wasn’t entertainment. Snarky man from the future tells you how Virtual Reality played out.

Ok, so in the future, Elon Musk’s math turned out to be wrong.

No, we don’t live in a Virtual Reality simulation. Turns out, however dull and tragic it might seem, this world is our actual base reality.

Boring, I know. However, what his math did prove was that otherwise smart people who are exposed even to old, crappy pseudo-VR (like you have today) almost immediately start to question their base reality for no other apparent reason. Not surprisingly this turned out to be equally true of 15-year-old boys who watched “The Matrix”. Go figure.

That said when we extended…


A man from the future explains how it went down.

I’m sure you’ve had your own debates with the “Apple is about to die” crowd. I’ve had those too. Except that being from the future, of course I’m the only one who actually knows what I’m talking about. And yet even though the future is not always rosy for Apple, even though some of these people sometimes have a point, they still piss me off just like they did the first time I was here.

Usually the argument centers around the tired meme that Apple has nothing significantly visionary or profitable to jump to that comes close to the potential…


Dear Disney and ABC,

Holy crap, how could you assholes so monumentally blow it!?

Whoa… I’m… I’m so sorry, that just came out. I totally meant to intelligently build up to that point. Sorry, let me start over:

Dear Disney and ABC,

There is precious little joy in our world. Such little magic and wonder. Far too little care-free innocence.

When we connect through media today, our lives are more commonly associated with terrorism, disease, economic meltdowns resulting from greed, natural disasters, child shootings, police brutality, suffering, intolerance, hatred…


or A Very Long-Winded, Typo-Ridden Comment

There was an excellent post on Medium recently called: 13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations, by Mike Monteiro which contained thoughtful recommendations related to the selling of design work. It was an enjoyable read. I whole-heartedly agreed with all 13 points. However in his first paragraph, establishing the primary rationale for the article, Mr. Monteiro, made a statement that caused me to choke on my coffee:

“I would rather have a good designer who can present well, than a great designer who can’t.”

Like a punch to the gut — it caught me off guard. I had to reread…


What Happened to

Apple Watch

by Joel Hladecek

As some of you know by now, I am from the future. And slightly annoyed to be here. But anyway, this is what became of Apple Watch.

Truth is, being back in 2015 is such a trip. All this talk about “wearables”. I have to laugh, I remember that! Ugh, It’s so quaint to hear that again. “Wearables”. For the record, in the future no one talks about “wearables” like it’s some classification of device. That’s just you guys coming to grips with the fact that technology is everywhere. It’s in everything, it’s networked, and no, you…


My little voice is nothing in the breathless rush of chatter about the Apple Watch. But I keep hearing the same set of sentiments from my friends and I think they have it all wrong.

In various ways, friends are lamenting the loss of the mechanical watch. Others are asking “Why do I need this accessory? What’s the killer app”?

Back in the day people had pocket watches. You’d dig in your pocket, and pull out your pocket watch to tell the time.

Then the wristwatch came along. It was smaller — but so much more convenient. …

Joel Hladecek

Worldwide Creative Officer, EF Education First

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