Apprentice
I Can't Believe It's Not Clutter

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Miss Alli: B- | Grade It Now!
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Office space

Magna shows up at Smart Design. They're buzzed in, and Kendra explains that they went over to choose their concept and start on the prototype. She tells Craig that she and Tana were really struck by the use of the stackable file holders. Craig asks her what's her "concept," and then he complains in an interview that she "could not conceptualize it." Oy. I'm so very suspicious of remarks like "she could not conceptualize it." Craig is suddenly talking about how they can make a thing with four of the stackable thingies as the four sides of a cube (roughly). Kendra interviews that he kind of swiped her idea, which wasn't great, but in the end, they got an idea together that worked. George pops in on their meeting, and Craig explains what they're doing. George says he thinks it sounds tough to execute, and Craig says that his big thing was to make the bins "portrait" instead of "landscape," meaning you'd put in papers vertically. The idea, not a bad one in and of itself, is to keep the thing from taking up too much desktop real estate.

Over at Net Worth, Bren and Alex are working on their product, and Alex is suddenly talking about a standalone cart of sorts that you can "wheel out." He's working on a "drafting table" with a flip-up top. Bren calls it a "little table," and when the design team visits, Alex tells them that his brilliant idea is that there will be two baskets under a Plexiglas top, so that you can look down into them. Provided, you know, that there's nothing actually on top of the desk. Bren says in an interview that Alex is a lot better at risk-taking than he is. As Alex explains the project, one of the designers says, a little dubiously and very uncomfortably, "So this is an extra desk...next to your normal desk." Alex equally uncomfortably confirms that that's it exactly. And then he laughs. Uncomfortably. It's safe to say this moment is uncomfortable. Because it's a very stupid idea, and nobody is sure whether it's okay to tell that to Alex. I just love the fact that Alex has emerged as the "idea guy." Alex! Has emerged as...well, you know.

Night. Magna is at Staples, and they're shopping for the stuff that they're going to put in the organizer for the presentation. Kendra suggests that they buy some file folders, because after all, that's the way people actually keep papers in offices -- mostly in folders or files, and not just loose. Tana points out that Kendra is right, but that file folders are generally aligned horizontally, and the organizer is vertical. Kendra wonders aloud, probably a little too late for it to be productive, whether this, then, constitutes a "design flaw." Craig says no, the point is to file loose papers in the "stackable." And...you could do that. You could tell people that it's for loose papers. My problem with that is that if you make it so it can accommodate folders, then it can be for loose papers or for files. Whereas this is just for loose papers, and I don't think loose papers are the cause of most clutter. And to the degree that they are, they're loose papers that should be in file folders, so at best, this would be just a temporary solution until you get around to filing the loose papers, you know? Maybe I am allowing my own messy office to create a bias in my thinking. ["Perhaps you could just conceptualize it better for us…?" -- Sars] At any rate, Craig gives an exasperated interview about how dumb it would look to put horizontal folders in a "vertical product." Putting aside the questionable phrasing of "vertical product," I'm not sure why they can't just use regular stand-up folders, then. You know, like Duo-Tangs? It would seem to me to be better than nothing. Kendra says that she thinks they'll "misrepresent [the] product" if they don't have folders, by which I believe she means (and is not doing a good job of saying) that they'll be showing the product in a way people would be unlikely to actually use it, since people mostly keep office papers in files. Craig says to her, "I'm trying to show you how we're not misrepresenting our product." And then he says, "We're going to run this by you slowly." Which really is very rude and unbelievably -- well, I'll let Kendra take it, since she gets it right. "That's condescending, and that's not very nice," she says, a little pouty, but spot-on. Craig tells her that he's just trying to talk "in a common-sense way." Kendra interviews that this is the tone she gets from Craig all the time. "I'm just offended that somebody thinks that they can talk to me as if I'm five years old." Not a big Kendra fan, but I have to agree with her there.

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