Contractual Matters: Idea Disclosure

I was recently shown THE most bizarre contract I’ve ever seen. I wanted to share some odd bits from it so that other designers and UI pros can look out for these things when reading a client’s contract. For more posts on contracts, check our blog tag for “contracts.”

The Problem: The contract I was shown had language that basically said that in the process of working for this client, if I had any ideas that could possibly benefit his company in any way, I had to immediately disclose them. These ideas were then his property 100%.

The Solution: I told him that as a consultant, and especially a marketing consultant, I have ideas all the time… but they are for sale. I normally don’t just report every idea I have to a client without being paid for that type of consulting work. I suggested that if he wanted piles of ideas for me to put me on retainer. If I’m being paid, I’d be happy to be in constant-brainstorm mode, and hand him lots of ideas.

The Discussion: He told me he would not pay any extra for my ideas, and I would be obligated to give them all to him at no extra charge.

I didn’t sign the contract. We won’t be doing business. Read contracts carefully! Sometimes, it’s better to walk away from the work than to sign something you’ll be sorry about later.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Contractual Matters: Rejected Ideas

(Back to our series on contracts…) I was recently shown THE most bizarre contract I’ve ever seen. I wanted to share some odd bits from it so that other designers and UI pros can look out for these things when reading a client’s contract. For more posts on contracts, check our blog tag for “contracts.”

The Problem: The contract I showed this potential client had a section that said that we will show him a number of design ideas. We are ultimately selling him one idea, revised and tweaked until he’s thrilled and approves it. He is buying this one idea off of us, and we give him all the rights he could possibly ever want to that one idea. Any ideas that he rejects or does not specifically approve stay as our property. They would be ours, and we can sell them to somebody else, do nothing with them, etc… Anything he doesn’t want is ours.

The Solution: He told me he wants to own every idea we show him. I told him that would be fine. We’ll come up with a price for ideas he sees that he wants to own, but are never revised, tweaked, or carried to completion.

The Discussion: He told me that he will not pay for additional ideas. Every design idea we show him should automatically be his exclusive property, and we would have no rights to it.

I didn’t sign the contract. We won’t be doing business. Read contracts carefully! Sometimes, it’s better to walk away from the work than to sign something you’ll be sorry about later.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

PayPal X Innovate 2010

Are you at the PayPal X Innovate 2010 conference in San Francisco on 26 & 27 October 2010? So am I. I’m presenting the breakout session on Branding and Marketing, which will also cover user interface. My session is 2pm on the 27th, and it’s in the Business track, so enjoy the presentation and say hello!

You can also get my attention on Twitter @brassflowers. If you want to meet up, please send a text message to 408 320 8984, or email deb AT brass flowers DOT com as I may notice either of those faster than I will notice a tweet.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Twitter As An Online Newspaper

In an age where newspapers seem to be going extinct, or at least going online/mobile, Paper.LI wants you to create a “newspaper” based on Twitter. You can pull from your followers, a hash tag, or a Twitter list. Paper.LI grabs what seems to be recent and relevant, and puts it in a traditional newspaper layout.

As an example, here is “The #UI Daily” based on tweets with the #ui hash tag. With Twitter about short messages in tiny bites, this starts to look like a lot to try to digest… in a no-attention-span, don’t-make-me-read world.

Are you more likely to read tweets, opinions, or info in this format? Is this better or easier than following your fave hash tags or tweeters?


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Contractual Matters: Definition Of Work

(Back to our series on contracts…) I was recently shown THE most bizarre contract I’ve ever seen. I wanted to share some odd bits from it so that other designers and UI pros can look out for these things when reading a client’s contract. For more posts on contracts, check our blog tag for “contracts.”

The Problem: The contract I was shown was for this client to hire outside software developers. There was an area of the contract that defined software development. He just added, “User interface,” to the definition of software development. The rest of the contract continued referring to my work as software development when we were being hired for UI, web design, copy writing, and possibly some future marketing work.

This reminded me of when Schering-Plough gave me a contract in the 1990s for a website project. They had taken a standard vendor contract, and done a find and replace to get the word “website” in there, since that’s what we were doing. The contract ended up saying brilliant things like we needed to have a million-dollar insurance policy in case someone trips and falls on the website.

The Solution: I told him that the definition of work was way off. It should exclude references to software development since I shouldn’t be signing a contract that states that I’m providing software development services (when I’m not). I said that the contract needed to clearly define what Brass Flowers is doing for his company.

The Discussion: He told me that what he did was fine, and refused to change it.

I didn’t sign the contract. We won’t be doing business. Read contracts carefully! Sometimes, it’s better to walk away from the work than to sign something you’ll be sorry about later.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

New Facebook Groups: Fail

I had high hopes for the new Facebook Groups. They made it sound like they were going to rebuild Friends Lists so that you could more easily organize info you only wanted seen by certain people. They didn’t do that. They just turned Old Groups into New Groups.

So let’s say I have 300 Facebook friends, and I want to break them into groups so that certain people see certain content. My business associates don’t hear about my online dating, so I might create a business group. I can then post something only they see, or I can post something where only they are excluded. That’s how Friends Lists work now, but using Friends Lists now is really cumbersome.

As a test, I created a group called, “Closest Friends,” and added 7 people to it. I posted a test message asking if they can see who each other is. Yes, they can. When you create a Friends List, nobody knows they’re on a list. Nobody knows who sees what, and they certainly don’t see each other. It’s like BCC where new Facebook Groups are like CC. There is no way to post something to Facebook, and say “Everybody sees this EXCEPT my “Business Associates” group.

Another friend told me how created a Facebook group, and one of the members started adding other people. Now you’ve lost control over who sees your content since members you may not have wanted are being added. Back in the test group I created, I can’t remove members, even ones I invited. They have to choose to leave. I can’t delete my group. Facebook will make it go away once everybody (including me) has left.

New Groups are not usable for me. I think Facebook really failed in giving people a way to better control friends and content. Many people I know have hundreds and over 1000 friends. We need more tools to group and organize people so that we are showing certain content to certain people. Right now, I am avoiding adding business associates as friends because my Facebook is so personal. If I could more easily control who sees what content, I might use apps like Foursquare more… but right now, I don’t want all my Facebook connections to see where I am (or that I’m not home).

If Friends Lists were easier to use, I could add more people, and then choose who sees what. That would make Facebook more useful, which would mean I’m using it more. I hope Facebook is listening.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Eventbrite Measures Power of Like vs Tweet

In October 2010, event registration website Eventbrite blogged about how different types of social sharing turned into paid event registrations. Their most interesting data is quoted here:

When someone shares an event with their friends through social media, this action results in real dollars. Our most recent data shows that over the past 12 weeks, one share on Facebook equals $2.52, a share on Twitter equals $0.43, a share on LinkedIn equals $0.90, and a share through our ”email friends” application equals $2.34.

More and more, I believe that Facebook is more powerful than Twitter. It’s better for interactions (compared to just broadcasting), it’s stickier, and it looks like it generates more action-driven results.

Update: Entrepreneur Magazine agrees: http://blog.entrepreneur.com/2010/10/thoughts-on-twitter-versus-facebook-for-business.php


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Contractual Matters: Power Of Attorney

I was recently shown THE most bizarre contract I’ve ever seen. I wanted to share some odd bits from it so that other designers and UI pros can look out for these things when reading a client’s contract. For more posts on contracts, check our blog tag for “contracts.”

The Problem: The contract I was shown had language that basically said that if my client ever needed me to sign any legal document relating to the rights of the work I’d create, I am giving him Power Of Attorney over me. That means he can legally sign my name to any hopefully-relevant document, even if I’ve seen the document and refuse to sign it, and even if I’ve never seen the document.

The Solution: I told him to rewrite my rights section so that it gave him all the rights he could possibly ever need to my work, worldwide and forever, so that there is never any future document that might require my signature. I asked him to have his lawyer write something that was air tight and not vague so that he would be satisfied with his rights ownership.

The Discussion: He told me there is no language that can really give him all the rights, and he had to have that power. I told him I could not sign something that said that I agree that in the future, he can sign my name to documents I’ve never seen and might refuse to sign. I told him if that clause is so great, make it mutual. Give me the power to sign his names to documents I might need signed pertaining to the rights to our work. He didn’t go for that.

I didn’t sign the contract. We won’t be doing business. Read contracts carefully! Sometimes, it’s better to walk away from the work than to sign something you’ll be sorry about later.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

What’s In A Name: Tungle

Tungle. First, let me say that Tungle is one of my fave apps ever. It’s not perfect, but holy cats, it absolutely makes my life easier MANY times a day… and it’s free. I’d pay for it. It’s that good.

Tungle interfaces with Google and other calendars to be a central system where people can make appointments with you. If you decide you want to schedule a conference call with me, you don’t have to have 10 emails back and forth with me where you propose times, I tell you they don’t work, you propose others, I reject them, we wait for each other to respond, etc… Just hit my Tungle page. There’s my availability (you don’t get to see what I’m doing if I’m not available). Pick times, propose multiple times if you want, and it gets sent to me. Once I confirm, they dump it back into my Google calendar… which syncs with my email/calendar app as well as my Android phone. Niiiiiiice.

But I hate the name. I’m sorry, but I do.

Firstly, the URL you can use for your personalized site is “tungle.me.” You only have to be age 12 for that to sound like “tongue me” when speaking it out loud.

Secondly, as a made up word, I have to spell it… “No, not tongue. Not Tangle. It’s Tungle. Like Jungle, but with a T like Thomas.” That’s a lot for me to have to say. I wish they had a name that isn’t embarrassing to say, and is obvious to spell. It’s not quite tangle, it’s not quite jungle, and I associate neither with scheduling, meetings, or calendars.

I got this message earlier this month: “Send me a link to your meeting schedule site again so I can grab 30 min. I forget what it’s called…tussle? Tangle? Tango? Not making fun….I really don’t recall.” Sorry, Tungle, but you’re just not grabbing people.

The only solution I can think of is to build some sort of redirect… like brassflowers.com/calendar drops you on my Tungle. I guess I’ll have to consider setting that up.


Like It? Share It!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS