Around the Office: hand-drawn websites, the value of failure, more

Kobayashi Online has been strengthening its profiles on the social networks this week.

Our Facebook page now has the “vanity” URL: And a handful of new LinkedIn testimonials have come in. “The [Kobayashi Online] team is always quick to implement and offers additional recommendations after taking the time to understand what we are looking to accomplish,” said Spark Boutik president and CEO Steve Dao.

We think glowing testimonials are a great thing for businesses of all kinds to publish. They provide an important second opinion, building credibility to your claims. And, of course, movie companies have known for decades that testimonials printed on their posters help fill seats. Testimonials are a tried and tested marketing technique that, if anything, is more potent since the digital age.

We’ve been inspired by the fun and quirky websites that use a hand-drawn style of design to add the look of doodles and sketches. Vandelay Design has rounded up 25 examples of sites that use hand drawing, including the site of musician Jason Grey, which incorporates some great hand drawings, and Frocktastic incorporates a combination of hard-drawn and photographic elements. While hand-drawn movie titles have become cliche to the point of parody, we think hand-drawn websites have a place on websites beyond the prototype phase.

We’re still getting used to Steve Jobs leaving his post as head of Apple. Since then, we’ve had some time to reflect on Jobs’ successes… as well as his failures. “Jobs failed better than anyone else in Silicon Valley,” writes Nick Schulz, an AEI resident fellow. Long before successes like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Jobs had a fair number of failures which led to his departure in 1985. Jobs said in a Stanford commencement speech: “It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.“

These failures have undoubtedly helped Jobs refine his later efforts, Schulz concludes. “Steve Jobs is a reminder that failure is a good and necessary thing,” he writes, “and that sometimes the greatest glories are born of catastrophe.”

In his presentation at Toronto’s Word11 blogging festival, Brent talked about how failures can help drive blog content, and (believe it or not) build customer trust. “Understanding why you did something and talking about what you learned from it not working shows you’re thinking and willing to improve,” he said. “Trust is built because we all fail at something and no one trusts another person who only talks about their victories.” So remember, make note of failures as well as successes.