Tangerine [1]

This is an article in three parts about Tangerine, the media innovation and cognitive computing software company that I founded in 2016. Our work re-envisions media itself and will fuel important advancements in cognitive computing. Software companies: Partner with us!

part 1: my background, my motivations for starting the company

part 2: the business opportunities for software company partners

part 3: specifics of what we’re proposing to accomplish.

[1]

A “Rome Selfie”

I happened to be in Rome last week (lucky for me) and took a selfie. That’s me, reflecting.

IMG_9715

What am I trying to do?

I give a simple answer:

I want my company, Tangerine, which I started in 2016, to co-develop media innovations that I envision, together with the right partner company who wants to build it with me. What do I want in a business partner? A company that builds on discussion among people with mutual respect for the search for the best ideas and approach.

What are the ideas that I envision? Answering that is the purpose of this short post (short for me; others will say it’s too long to read)

what’s the future, models or drawings? or is it something else?

It’s very popular today to say that drawings are going to be obsolete, because they are being replaced by models (or should be replaced by models).

See me standing in the mirror? Here’s what I’m thinking: That idea is incorrect.

It’s a wrong idea, unfounded, undermined by fundamental conceptual error. The idea that drawing is, or is going to be, obsolete, is based on mis-reading, misunderstanding. I used to believe in the idea myself. Starting years ago, back in the 1990s, and up until around 2007, I was a modeler myself and I was really really really into it. Here are a few of the models I worked on:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/gringo_en_mexico/sets/72057594101368471/with/518361434/  There are many more projects and models.

On every project for years, I championed total commitment to the idea of modeling. I was so into it that I was determined to make my models “complete” to an extent exceeding any reasonable expectation. The goal was to make the models as near as possible to totally complete, so complete that anywhere and everywhere you would choose to look at them, inside and out, in any area of detail in plan or section, what you would see would be complete enough to meet the professional standard of care for delivery of architectural construction drawings. 

It turned out though, and anyone who tries to do this knows, it’s too high of a goal, for a number of reasons mostly related to the practicalities of available time and budget. But those aren’t the most important limitations. It turns out that there are even more basic limitations having to do with limitations in the human ability to understand huge amounts of information. To sum it up, and I’ve written about this in detail on my blog for years, we need the ability to narrow down and focus, in order to wrap our minds around things. More on that later.

What happens though is you resort to a lower goal. You: make the model complete enough that the model can effectively automate every drawing in a set of construction drawings that you will issue, with no extra drafting needed.

Look at my selfie again. I’m still looking in the mirror. Do you see me laughing? Believe me. I’m laughing inside. You know its true, that the truest, the heartiest, the fullest laughter, always comes from the pain of recognition, recognition of painful experience.

Many people aren’t ready to admit their own pain. And that’s why comics make money. They’re ready to admit it, and they can show you. And you’re willing to pay them to do it.

Anyone who has tried to model a project in such a way that even this lower goal is met, really really really, well and truly, needs the services of a comedian.

Take a look at just a couple of simple drawings from even a simple, small building design and construction project:

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 1.09.57 PM

This is a close up from a sheet of 4 drawings:

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 1.09.36 PM

Stop and think for a second about how much gap there is between the two goals I mentioned above. The higher goal is to model so completely, everywhere, that anywhere that anyone might choose to look at the model, in any area of detail in plan or section (anywhere) – that what they would see there, can be relied upon as complete enough to meet the issuer’s standard of care.  Effectively, this is to claim that “…everything that should be shown here (wherever it is that you might be looking in this model), is shown here, and nothing that matters is missing, neither here, nor anywhere else that you might choose to look, elsewhere in the model.”

So that’s the higher goal. It sets out to make that claim true, everywhere, throughout the entirety of a model. And in making that claim, one’s professional liability (and credibility) is at stake in making it true, without exception, everywhere throughout the entire space of a project’s model.

Someone tell a funny joke now. I’m sure you can imagine one.

Who in their right mind would make a claim like that?

No one.

No sane person would claim that. But people do make that kind of claim, or claim that they intend to make it. Such people tend to be technology enthusiasts. Very rarely are they people who are putting their own professional credentials, to practice architecture or engineering, on the line. People who have their professional liability and reputation at stake require a method of narrowing the scope of their communications so that they are more precisely able to control what they review, claim, and certify as “good enough” to meet their professional standard of care.

Most fundamentally, this act of narrowing IS what a set of drawings is: a narrowing down to a finite set of specific locations at which articulate affirmation is made, and for which, responsibility is claimed. I’ve written about this so many times in so many places that I won’t go into further detail, as, it’s hardly necessary anyway. The point is a simple one, and fundamental. What matters is simply to recognize it, and to include that recognition in future innovation. I’ll talk more about that in this document.

However there is an even more primary, more fundamental motivation for this, more basic than this practical need to narrow down to maintain at least some kind of liability control. The primary motivation for narrowing down is even more basic, and it has to do simply with the limits of human understanding, limits of the human mind. We just can’t hold very much in our minds at once. We get overloaded. We lose the ability to make sense of things. To deal with these cognitive limits, we have to narrow down and simplify. Thinking itself, it seems, largely has to do with this act of doing that, narrowing down, focusing. But if you think about it, it’s not really just the narrowing down. It’s actually both narrowing down, and expanding. It’s a ping-ponging between our narrower articulations, and the wider expanse of the whole of an environment. A very good argument can be made that this back and forth, between wide and narrow, ping-ponging between them, really is, either near the root of cognition itself, or actually IS, cognition. In either case, it’s in the ping-ponging back and forth, between wide and narrow, environment and focus, where thinking happens, where understanding grows. And this is true both for project authors and for viewers, both for authors and readers. I’ve written more about this ping-ponging, often, and most recently here: https://tangerinefocus.com/2017/06/20/the-field-of-play-9/

Go to: part 2: the business opportunities for potential partners


This is an article in three parts about Tangerine, the media innovation and cognitive computing software company that I founded in 2016. Our work re-envisions media itself and will fuel important advancements in cognitive computing. Software companies: Partner with us!

part 1: my background, my motivations for starting the company

part 2: the business opportunities for software company partners

part 3: specifics of what we’re proposing to accomplish.

 

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