Letters. Updates. Advice.

Music’s Secret Money Machine

Thank you for the phenomenal article on Musictoday and the visionaries behind it (“Way Behind the Music,” February). It was interesting to read about the back-end operations of one of the most brilliant, passionate, and eclectic bands of all time. That, of course, is the Dave Matthews Band. Please keep the wisdom coming.


Brad Newman
Santa Monica, California

Can’t Touch This

Your story on Jeff Han was a great piece of journalism (“Can’t Touch This,” February).What’s fascinating to me as a blogger, journalist, and all-round technologist is the melding of the user into the interface to create connections to information that previously were viewable only in the mind and big-budget movies.

Imagine being able to graphically explore tags at home in minutes like Digg does, or view source ties and virtually anything else with the feel of navigating a dream. Googling just got more interesting. Social networks such as Technorati, Wikipedia, and MySpace are in for a rocking. The user interface changes the efficiency of so many things that it’s both exciting and frightening at the same time. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone’s heard the last of Jeff Han.


Andrew Venegas
San Jose, California

Man, this will be pretty cool when it gets out! We’ll see if Apple won’t do something with this, beyond the iPhone.

Mike Hansen


This looks like the kind of technology Tom Cruise’s detective character used in the film Minority Report. I knew it was the future. As a publisher, I am glad to see something coming that will allow me to work faster. Soon, I suppose, we will be able to do even more with just a thought.

Kathy Osborne
Ponderay, Idaho

Yearn. That’s all I can say when I see Jeff Han’s touch-screen technology. This has so much potential and looks so much cleaner than Microsoft’s attempt.


Frank Jonen
Idstein, Germany

Math Geeks, Unite!

I am a 14-year-old math geek. I took algebra in seventh grade and geometry before even going into high school. I have often thought of the possibilities of working with math my entire life. After reading “She’s Got Their Number” (February), I found myself thinking more than ever that math has many interesting career paths. Thank you for publishing this article. It has really made me consider all of the possibilities that are open to me.

Blake Hefley
Wichita, Kansas


Riding the Bus in L.A.

It is great to see Los Angeles willing to invest a little more to make the transit system something people will actually want to ride (“L.A. Goes Public,” February). The real test, though, will be how they treat bus stops outside of the main Bus Rapid Transit corridors. Will riders on those routes have anything more than a rusty signpost next to a muddy path by the road?

John Z Wetmore
Bethesda, Maryland

Accounting for Design

I am not against numbers, but Chuck Jones’s methodology doesn’t look very appropriate to make design decisions (“No Accounting for Design?” February). Focus groups give qualitative data, so it would be wrong to extrapolate those results to the rest of the market. This would be even worse if you use that same data for the rest of the world. It isn’t correct to use past information to predict the future behavior of the market.


I once heard a really interesting quote: Art collectors didn’t ask Picasso to invent cubism. When we talk about disruptive innovation, you cannot ask the consumers for things they can’t even imagine. Maybe that’s why they don’t use focus groups at Apple.

Nicolas Gonzalez Garrido
Buenos Aires, Argentina

I am confused. I recall reading an article a few years back where Chuck Jones said that initial consumer feedback for the Duet washer and dryer was extremely negative because it was such a new concept that consumers could not relate to it. Therefore, it was rejected initially. If we depend on this type of qualitative data to measure design, we run the risk of never bringing consumers truly innovative products that they’re not accustomed to. The same thing happened with Herman Miller’s Aeron chair. If it had taken consumer feedback to heart and not moved ahead on instinct, that product would have never come to market.


Sergio de Oliveira
Indianapolis, Indiana

Ski Aspen

For a father of three, the hard facts of climate change (“Degree of Difficulty,” February) are overwhelming for the future existence of my great-grandchildren (and yours). I always enjoy learning of any small armies digging their heels in, especially through political action. I hope you’ll do more articles on climate change that go deeper than the alpine winter recreation business.

Chris Franks
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin


For Auden Schendler and Patrick O’Donnell to sing the praises of 20 Coke machines with motion sensors as helping level out climate change while ignoring the hundreds of private jets that come in and out of Aspen every year is the height of absurdity. What impact do you think a Gulfstream V with only two passengers on board has on the Rocky Mountain environment as it roars out of the Aspen Valley area?

Phil Jobe
Prosper, Texas

The Sound of the Future

Thanks for the interesting article “Twenty People, Four Notes” (February). As a 52-year-old CEO brought up in the creative music world of the 1960s and 1970s, I was pleased to see that Robert Fripp was part of the project. After a tough day in the modern business world, I can’t think of a more appropriate song than his biggest hit, “21st Century Schizoid Man.”


Randy Mercer
Fort Myers, Florida

John Mackey’s $1 Salary

In years to come, we may no longer think it’s unusual, strange, or suspect for someone to say, “I no longer want to work for money,” as Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey did (Final Word, February). Rather, we may accept it as a sign of wisdom and maturity. As Lau Tzu once said, “He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.”

Miles Kierson
Arlington Heights, Illinois


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