Thursday, November 20th, 2008

They’ve innovated shopping carts, the first Apple mouse, Nike sun glasses, Listerine Pocketmist, automatic three-speed cruiser bicycles, the Palm Pilot, medical devices, cooking utensils, and several thousand other major products that we enjoy.  They are the most recognized product design firm in the world.  More importantly, Ideo teaches people and organizations how to think about new products and services.  The concept is simple: study the way people actually do things… learn how they use products, talk to them, film them, analyze them… then refine products based on the reality of their experiences.  When brainstorming – promote wild ideas, build on each other, leverage a wide breadth of diverse experience, and never criticize.  Their motto, “Fail often to succeed sooner.”  This is a sexy bay area company.   Three of my close friends work there.  Trey is one of them.

I was interested to learn more about Trey’s environmental sustainability work with Ideo as my company has a similar interest.   He agreed to give me a tour of their facilities.  It was one of only a few sober experiences I’ve had with Trey to this point.  He is the non-evasive type of hippie…  He showers, uses skin care products, drives a normal car, shaves his head and is one hell of a chef.  He’s also very bright, very funny, and fluent in lots of sophisticated languages like Mandarin and Swahili.  I constantly learn from Trey… he’s a mentor of mine.  It was a pleasure to learn about how he plans to change the world.  He almost makes me want to start recycling… Almost.

Later that night, I met another of my Ideo friends, Tito, for a drink.  We’d not seen each other for several years so we needed to cover some ground: married life, the housing market, fake boobs, the Asian economy, and Fantasy Football.  Then we caught up to some others for dinner.  This would be Stone’s last night in town before my return to Denver so it was also our last chance to find him a new woman.  We failed miserably.