MiniStory: The Leap of Faith

August 31st, 2006

“Take and eat.”, said the Voice.

I looked out athe apple, hanging over the abyss. “What!?”

“Take and eat.”

Could I grab the apple without falling in? I reached. Too high. I stretched. Too high. The only way was to leap. I had come so far. What the hell! I leaped and grabbed the apple, thinking to swing back to solid ground. My heart leaped along with me. I held fast to the branch but it didn’t bear my weight at all. I fell into the abyss, apple in hand.

Down, down, down. It was getting dark.

I cursed, I thrashed, I screamed. “You betrayed me! You lied!” The voice was silent. I fell deeper into blackness, my anger smoldered. Then I thought about how the voice had led me true this far. It had brought such joy, though mixed with sorrow. But here the sorrow seemed even sweeter somehow. Could I die for the voice? Yes. I might as well accept this death with courage.

“Take and eat.” the voice said again.

Oh! I couldn’t see the apple in the darkness, but I took a bite. Life entered me as I had never known. Light bloomed around me. I was flying with the wings of a great eagle in the abyss which suddently seemed to be full of life. There were birds of every species dancing joyfully in the air. I took to the sky, laughing.

“I am such a fool!”, I cried out as tears of joy floated off into the cool breeze.

Tell a Web Story

August 31st, 2006

I said before when reflecting on the movie DareDevil that story is king. It came back to me today as I was reflecting about what makes a good website. This analogy can be extended to good software as well. The elements of a good story are present in a good website.

So what are the elements of a good story? Basically they are:
  • Get the attention and interest
  • Draw the viewer / reader deeper
  • Connect to the emotions
  • Build up some tension
  • Resolve the tension (if you want)

I’m not drawing these basic elements from an instructional manual on what makes a good story, so there are many people in the world that could disagree with me. I just threw out the things that came to mind.

Ultimately, a good website will do all of these things. It starts from the link that directs the person to your website. There has to be something in it that interests them. Then they land on your website. Can you draw them deeper? Can you connect with their emotions? Maybe they already have some tension and that’s why they came to your site. Maybe they are thinking “I really need to find out how to handle my kids’ temper tantrums.” or “I have to get my debt under control!” or “How do I get my page to render properly in INTERNET EXPLORER”. Can you feel the tension? If you can relieve their tension, you may have just written the end of a good story.

On the other hand, a visitor to your site might have no tension, just interest. Your site can give them an interest in something new. Then the tension might just be the desire to learn more about this new thing.

Overall, I just noticed that good websites make an attempt to tell a story. On the other hand, there are a lot of websites out there that just post up information. I don’t think they are as effective. We all like to be grabbed and taken along for a ride in an interesting story. If you can do that, then your reader will gladly linger and explore your website and they won’t resent the time you just took from their fast-paced, hectic world.

Make the world a better place. Make your website a story!

The Lessons of DareDevil

August 2nd, 2006

I just watched the director’s cut of DareDevil. I never saw the theatrical release and I sure am glad I didn’t. This movie was a good movie. I wouldn’t put it up next to Spider-Man, but I would definitely include it in my list of comic book movies that ‘got it’.

I was prompted to blog about this because there are important lessons to be taken away from this. I look and see that some really talented people got together and made a great movie, then it got cut up and a lousy movie was released to the theatres. I think a lot can be taken away from thinking about what happened, why it happened and what actually makes a great movie.

I want to blog about this more later when I have the chance, but for now I want to put down the things that are jumping out at me:

  1. The producer had a different vision from the director, and he held the money.
  2. The end-user’s expectations weren’t understood and met.
  3. Story is KING.
  4. It’s the little things that make it big.

I want to translate these ideas into understanding what makes good software, because the challenges involved with making a movie are the same types of challenges involved in making software. Stay tuned kids.