Bobbie Johnson, has started a meme about five blogs which inspire him - beyond his normal professional interest. And he's been kind enough to include me, which I'm regarding as a tag and I'm taking up the challenge. What makes it harder is he's included quite a few blogs that I'd have put on my list, so now I have to think harder. Curse thinking harder. It's also an opportunity to confess to some minor stalking, in the same way that Bobbie's admitted an to obsession with Jan Chipchase (which I share). It was also hard to try and decide what falls outwith professional interest for a dilettante planner. But this is my list.
Anne has suggested that Matt (below) and Schulze And Webb are who I wanted to be when I grew up. She has a point. If only I'd applied myself more. Schulze and Webb's blog is pulse laser, and it's full of original, off-centre ideas about product design, technology and the world, all expressed with charm and imagination. I get quite fan-boy about it. Embarrassing really. For typically instructive and fascinating entries look here and here.
I love blackbeltjones because of Matt's noticing. It's noticing from a splendid angle. He spots all sorts of revealing little things, on and off the web, and every now and then he'll post a big burst of splendid thinking.
I suspect the other thing that keeps me going back to Matt and S&W is the stuff they're thinking about is always new, always changing. The stuff I spend much of my professional life thinking about doesn't change much - cars, sport, shoes, coffee - established categories where everyone knows the rules, the good moves and the bad moves. There's decent fun to be had in finding new approaches to the old problems but it's not as captivating as inventing new categories and new rules, as these folk are doing.
I met Anne from i like today. First time ever. But it feels like I've known her for years because you get this really clear sense of who she is from what she writes about what she likes. And she has immaculate taste, you're going to like everything she likes. And then there's her other sites which are also magnificent; Nothing To See Here and This is M. Sasek. When I started blogging 'i like' was what I wanted to make.
There's nothing as enthusing as enthusiasm, especially informed enthusiasm and Music Thing has all this. If it was just musical gear-porn it would be damn good, obviously, but it's more than that, it's also the best odd musical bits of youtube and genius musical miscellanea like 'how to play music with barbed wire and chainsaws' and features like Tiny Music.
Alex Ross always makes me feel inadequate. But in a good way. His passion for all sorts of music is incredibly infectious, nudging me towards brilliant sounds in exactly the way my music A level didn't. Because of him I've listened to Stockhausen's Helicopter Quartet three times. He'll write something dense about the Eroica and then end it with "In short, Beethoven kicks it". (Though I have to say Beeker's giving him some decent competition.)
So there we are. Five inspiring sites. To be honest I'm slightly hoping none of the people I've linked to read this. We might all find my fanboyness a bit embarrassing. Anyway. It's done now.