John Maeda put us in touch with Aaron Perry-Zucker, who writes:
I created Design for Obama and saw what a fully engaged, passionate, creative community can do. On that occasion, we were eager to lend our creative talents to a movement calling for change and inspire others to do the same.
Today we face a much graver task: In the wake of the unimaginable suffering that has befallen the island of Haiti, it is our job as artists and designers to use our talents to call for advocacy and understanding. Thanks to Design for Obama artist, James Nesbitt, we are now operating from designforhaiti.com.
Consider this a creative call to action to design:
Both are necessary; this is what artists and designers do best. Let us come together and lead the way to relief.
— Aaron Perry-Zucker
Continuing my recent fascination/attention to health care, an interesting post on the New York Times site about the economics of increasing health costs, based on the ideas of William J. Baumol, who developed the notion of “cost disease”:
Dr. Baumol and a colleague, William G. Bowen, described the cost disease in a 1966 book on the economics of the performing arts. Their point was that some sectors of the economy are burdened by an inexorable rise in labor costs because they tend not to benefit from increased efficiency. As an example, they used a Mozart string quintet composed in 1787: 223 years later, it still requires five musicians and the same amount of time to play.
Essentially, making the point that no matter how much reform there is, the cost of care will still outpace inflation. The article (and theory) focuses on people as the most significant bottleneck, though I haven’t seen anything showing that in the current setting, the excessive increase in costs from the last ten years (and why the U.S. is paying twice other industrialized nations, for only average care) is tied to salaries. Tests, insurance cost, overhead, equipment all seem like things that the market can fix, but then again, I’m not much for Economics. In the end, the post is light on details (it’s a blog post, not a full article), but is interesting food for thought.
(Thanks to Teri for the link)
Back in December, I made the decision to leave Seed and strike out on my own. As of January 1st (two weeks ago), I’m setting up shop in Cambridge. (That’s the fake Cambridge for you UK readers. Or, Cambridge like “MIT and Harvard” not “University Of”).
The federal government knows this new venture under the charmingly creative moniker of BEN FRY LLC, but with any luck, a proper name will be found soon so that I don’t have to introduce myself as Ben Fry, founder of Ben Fry LLC. (Which is even worse than having a site with your own name as the URL. I have Tom White—who originally registered the site as a joke—to thank for that.)
I’ll soon be hiring designers, developers, data people, and peculiar hybrids thereof. If you do the sort of work that you see on this site, please get in touch (send a message to mail at benfry.com). In particular I’d like to find people local to Cambridge/Boston, but because some of this will be project-oriented freelance work, some of it can be done at a distance.
Stay tuned, more to come.
(Update 1/21/2010 – Thanks for the responses. I’m having trouble keeping on top of my inbox so my apologies in advance if you don’t hear back from me promptly.)