E369: Yves Behar – Co-Founder of August



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A good product needs great design, as Yves Behar knows all too well. The August smart lock is just his latest in a long line of projects. He designed One Laptop per Child’s XO Laptop, Jawbone’s iconic bluetooth headset, and the dance party-starting Jambox. This is must-watch on the huge role that design plays in your company, your product, and innovation.

Show Yves some love!




0:00 Introduction to Yves Behar – One Laptop per Child, Jawbone, August
2:00 Audible
4:18 You’re the chief creative officer for Jawbone, and you have your own design firm.
4:50 You’ve been at this for over a decade?
5:00 Design has become the driving force in startups today. It wasn’t always like that.
5:50 What changed between 1993 and now 2013, where product discussion start with design? What changed in the last 20 years?
7:10 You pin that change on Steve Jobs.
8:50 Was the Walkman a well designed product or not?
10:00 What have you been influenced the most by, design-wise?
11:00 Architecture, magazines, other fields were also changed in that time.
11:40 What do you think is at the core of truly great design?
12:20:00 Almost like individually deserving it – celebrating the individual? [The Herman Miller Aeron chair] was a status symbol.
13:12 In your career, what do you think is your greatest moment as a designer?
14:15 Special on two levels – impact, but also the design (of the One Laptop per Child).
15:30 Is that great design? When somebody can pick it up once and remember so many features about it?
16:40 So proximity is a vector, is a factor to you in the design?
17:20 When I think about your designs, I can describe them.
18:50 Do you have a technique, lights to study how product interacts with light?
19:45 How many designs? And how many hours of design go into something like, the Jambox?
20:20 It defines an era — like the dock. But now, with the Jambox, the music is in my hand but we’re hearing it over here.
21:40 You’ve created a lot of dance parties. It must be really rewarding as a designer to see everything from children in Africa with laptops, to people at a dance party having fun?
22:25 Is it hard being a designer, or is it fun? It looks fun.
22:45 What do you do with all the prototypes you don’t use?
23:37 How many months did it take to make the Jambox?
24:05 What’s the longest you’ve put into a product?
25:00 You made the Sayl chair (for Herman Miller)? People love those.
25:30 How much of being an elite designer is your design ability versus your material science and engineering ability?
26:15 That’s got to be maddening though. Because you have the material saying now we’re capable of doing this lightweight material. But your design – do you start with the design and saying the materials don’t match… Is that really the alchemy of this blending those two different disciplines?
27:45 (The Jawbone Up) feels like an alien life form that wraps around you. Versus the Nike Fuel band. Feels like a handcuff.
30:00 The Up and Jambox both use rubber. It feels like the future is this kind of rubber.
31:50 I want to take a moment to thank Scott Ed Walker of Walker Corporate Law.
33:50 I never understood design, but just as an entrepreneur myself, I feel like I need to understand deeper. How can I get my design ability up?
35:30 Is it messy sometimes? There are stories of Steve Jobs being hardcore with his designers.
36:15 So defining the user case, people don’t do that enough?
36:45 That requires trust, collaboration, talking, and clarity of purpose.
38:10 Is that the high for you? When a team has that synchronicity?
38:50 Just holding this – I want it. So what am I holding? (The August Smart Lock)
39:35 How do you connect it to the lock?
41:40 How did you come up with his (smart lock) idea? It’s a genius idea.
43:40 It’s gorgeous. Why is it so beautiful? It seems like it’s unnecessarily beautiful.
44:15 What’s in here?
44:50 What do you think that’ll retail for?
45:45 This is another company that you founded, August. When you name a company August, then you come up with a smart lock, that means you have other ideas that you’ll do under the August brand. So what’s the August brand?
46:47 So more easy living products you think?
47:00 So if my phone gets stolen, or I don’t have it with me, what do I do? Is there a web interface?
47:47 I have the Model S from Tesla – you can use the app to honk the horn, or flash the lights with an iPhone app.
48:28 You have a Tesla, too, what do you think?
49:40 Interface? Design? The touchscreen (on Tesla Model S)?
50:50 What are your influences outside of design that impact your design?
51:30 Are there movies that do that for you? Blade Runner? Aliens? Prometheus?
52:27 Was there something in Blade Runner that you were particularly drawn to?
53:20 What’s next? Refrigerator? Are you going to make another nest?
54:05 What do you think about wearables? You heard Tim Cook say they’re basically going to do a watch.
55:30 What’s an example of that (interacting with something immediately around you)?
57:07 Just on the wristband thing — the curved glass — are those curved screens going to be in our lives any time soon?
58:00 I feel like the bangle is something I want. Like the Wonder Woman or Hercules, where I can turn my wrist and see… you know what it reminds me of, is Star Wars.
58:24 Do you think Apple’s got a lot left in them? Is it over or not?
59:57 Google Glass – is it an April Fool’s joke? Would you ever wear them? When they walk up to you with that thing on your head, do you think this person’s an idiot or what?
1:00 You have a dinner party, do you let people sit down with (Google Glass)?
1:01 Why would you destroy that great human moment?
1:02:05 We’re talking about slapping an iPhone on the side of your head. It’s the wrong use case.
1:03:00 Go to www.august.com, order this lock. And you have an audit trail of who came in, who left.


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