Tag Archives: books

Designed For Life, a Book in Process: Excerpt 1

I aspire to write my first book, working title: Designed for Life. It is an expansion on our Design Philosophy, as its been discovered through our work at Lovesac, and embodied by our star product: Sactionals. I believe that Sactionals might be the first (and hopefully not last) Designed for Life product. My hope is that countless entrepreneurs someday adopt this philosophy and a revolution in (durable goods) product design comes to fruition. Below is a small excerpt from the preface of my book–still a work in progress. I plan to share more previews on this blog as it continues to unfold. It will appear as our standard to live up to, on the walls of Lovesac stores everywhere.

Designed For Life

The Designed for Life philosophy, official text – visit Lovesac.com to see it in action

EXCERPT: DESIGNED FOR LIFE  (preface) …

DESIGNED FOR LIFE: The Oncoming Revolution in the Product Economy

PREDICTION: Durable product-based companies will no longer lead our economic growth. The days of Apple being “the biggest company in the world,” and its growth story are over…but the economy will be just fine.

The industrial revolution of the 19th century was originally fueled by innovation in one industry. In fact, the word “industry” before 1880 meant one thing: cotton. The systems, processes, management theory, and machinery that came along with the modernization of the textile industry in America paved the way for ongoing innovation and business practices in every “industry” since from automobiles to electronics. It would be impossible to stand in 1850 and imagine massive economic growth without cotton driving it…let alone child labor, slavery, and the many other “critical,” and consequential components of the burgeoning economy at that time. How could unfettered growth be expected to continue without these things?

Yet we wake up today, well into the new millennium, having witnessed unceasing, exponential, even monumental economic growth in the United States…and where is cotton? We somehow have done just fine without it as the zenith of our economic engine. At some point it faded into the background or went offshore, yet our economy marched on without it. We will continue to see the economy expand and evolve even as the industrial revolution becomes a chapter in history, the technological revolution, some might argue, is nearly complete, and this new “Knowledge Worker Economy,” as coined by author Steven Covey, comes to fruition.

It is no longer necessary for products to be the driving force of our economy—certainly not durable goods. This economic revolution we are living through right now will allow a new paradigm to emerge—where companies like Apple, who are rooted in the preceding paradigm, are absolutely caught in the Innovator’s Dilemma that Clayton Christensen thoughtfully exposes in his book of the same name. What’s more, most large companies are so entangled in the realities of our finance industries’ “Capitalists Dilemma” that Mr. Christensen has since exposed, that there is no likely trajectory change for them. Companies like mine still have a choice. Consumers like you and me will likewise have a choice…and for many reasons, in this new economy we will choose Designed for Life products. The time is ripe for the small to eat the big.

EXCERPT END

 

One of my big inspirations for this philosophy, and the book, is the work of William McDonough and Michael Braungart. At this moment, I am just finishing their amazing work, The Upcycle. It, by my estimation, the most well-informed and up-to-date long-form work in the area of sustainability and I encourage everyone on the planet to read it….especially policy makers and entrepreneurs. Please check it out.

The Upcycle

The Upcycle. Read it!

Thank you!

— Shawn

“Reading Set Me Free”

With all of the distractions of our modern life, we bring in guest contributor Eric Bennion aka “The DiaryDad”, who reminds us the importance of reading on the couch as a family…

The couch acts a reading classroom...

The couch acts a reading classroom…

Spending time on the couch with my family can mean any one of many activities is going on. We have movie time there, sometimes we play a few video games from it, we have even been known to throw impromptu dance parties around it.   Our couch is definitely a place where we come together for good family fun.  One of my favorite “couch activities” is reading.   I like to read my books there, my wife and I enjoy curling up on weekends for a good Sunday afternoon read; the best however is when I read to my boys. In the last year we have completed the first Percy Jackson Series, a book on Greek mythology, and King Arthur’s tales. Just recently we began The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and almost every night they ask if I am reading a chapter (more often than not they convince me to read them two).

I think reading to and with your children is such an important activity.  There is great freedom in developing the skill and ability to read.  When I was a little tyke I remember wanting to read.  I wanted to read so bad I felt like it was killing me.  My workbooks were hard, my flashcards were hard, my phonics lessons were hard; but then again I was only 5 years old.  I saw people reading and wondered what it would be like when I didn’t have to ask someone to read a story to me.   I wanted to know if there was something I was missing.  I wanted to stop feeling like I was being held back by this inability to make funny black marks on a white page make sense.

They're getting pretty good!

They’re getting pretty good!

One day after weeks or months of struggling through phonics exercises and letter recognition with my mom and grandpa, I decided to have it out with a book.  I walked up to the bookshelf grabbed a copy of “Fun with Dick and Jane” and went to the couch in our basement in a winner-take-all showdown.  Either I would conquer that book or my brain would explode… and yes I read the hell out of that book.  Then I proceeded to read the hell out of it to anyone that would listen to me.  I read it to my mom, my grandparents, my dad , my brothers, and if I could have caught the mailman I would have read it to him too.

The great thing about that moment is that it set me free. Sure it was just a “Dick and Jane” book and sure it really lacked substance, but I couldn’t be held back anymore. All the knowledge that was out here in the world was available to me because I was a reader.  I began reading books with gusto, and to this day there is great comfort for me in the pages of a good book.

Reading to the boys on the couch...

Reading to the boys on the couch…

I remember watching this same phenomenon in my children, specifically my youngest.  I remember watching the frustration as he worked to make meaning from those funny marks on the pages.  When it finally happened I was more than happy to listen to him read the same story to me as many times as he wanted, because I knew.  I had been there and it was a huge defining moment.  Now both my boys are avid readers.  So much so that it is a punishment to make them go to bed without the opportunity to read.  One of the best “go-to” adventures for us is a “quick” walk to the library to load up on new books to read. Those trips never take us less than an hour even though the library is 5 minutes from our home and we never come home without a bag (or two) loaded with new books to read.

Whether at the library, the beach, at a park, in their bed- or on our couch, I hope that my kids never lose their love of reading.  It has been fun to see the things that inspire them.  What’s more, it is comforting to know that they have the same freedom that I gained those many years ago.  Learning to love reading is one of my favorite fathering moments and it is definitely a hallmark of my family’s “Life on a Couch”!

For more “Dadventures” from Eric Bennion, go to his page at www.diarydad.com!

What’s the last book YOU read on the couch?

— Shawny