What a design firm can learn from Replicants

header1 Batty: Questions...Morpholgy? Longevity? Incept Dates? What does it look like? How long will it last? Why? Questions… indeed. We created Nelson Cash on March 21, 2011. Like Roy Batty in Blade Runner, we quit being slaves and decided to go off-world to seek answers. Forbidden, but fuck it. We only have so much time. Tick, tock. Tic tock.


Batty: Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.

Before Nelson Cash, most of us spent years as branded slaves for agencies, startups, hedge funds, hospitals and the corporate rat race. We worked in fear. We suffered in neat little rows of tiny prison cubes.

Don’t think, do. Don’t question, perform. Here is your carrot, wait for it… for decades. Play the game and one day you too will enjoy a corner cube, manage the fry machine and have better benefits like another week of vacation you don’t enjoy, another benefits package you don’t understand, 401Krap. Trapped, can’t leave, gotta make the mortgage, credit card payment, pay for a new suit, the next molecular dinner.

We wonder, is there another way? A better way?


Batty: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate…

In starting something new, we had to be conscious and choose what to take with us, what to leave behind and what to create anew. This industry has so much mental damage. Everyone has a fear of getting paid. Everyone underestimates their worth. Everyone recycles the same products over and over again. Everyone creates the same flawed structures.

As the business guy at Nelson Cash, I’ve seen unbelievable things. Kiting checks off the outer rim of banking systems, glittering forged P&L statements near the rating gates, cloaked “creative” accounting.

No more.

Our designers have witnessed the fallout. Net-never payment systems. Shapeshifter aliens as creative directors. Micro-manager gravitational distortions.

We are not searching for a better way. We are going to create it.


Tyrell: Would you… like to be upgraded?

Batty: I had in mind something a little more radical.

Our first headline for Nelson Cash: Eliminate the bullshit. There were only a few of us at the time and I didn’t create that sentence. But the second I heard it I knew Nelson Cash would be “it.” I wanted IN.

We create and recreate Nelson Cash every day. No more zombies, shuffling to appointed cubes. We hire brains for thinking, not for eating. We are free to design without rules. This is not about a simple upgrade. We have something a little more radical in mind.


Tyrell: I’m surprised you didn’t come here sooner.

Batty: It’s not an easy thing to meet your maker.

Tyrell: What could he do for you?

Batty: Can the maker repair what he makes?

I’m surprised I did not do this sooner. I’m surprised more people don’t do this. But it’s not easy to meet your maker and it’s harder when the maker is you. And when the maker does not have all the answers it’s frightening.

Can you repair what you make? Genius question.


Tyrell: The facts of life… to make an alteration in the evolvement of an organic life system is fatal. A coding sequence cannot be revised once it’s been established.

Batty: Why not?

Tyrell: … But this, all of this is academic. … You were made as well as we could make you.

Batty: But not to last.

Tyrell: The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you: you’re the Prodigal Son; you’re quite a prize!

Batty: I’ve done… questionable things.

Tyrell: Also extraordinary things; revel in your time.

Revel in this time… yes. We don’t have all the answers. We may not succeed. But what we considered to be “risk” now looks very different from this new perspective. If not now… when? If not here… where? It’s too bad we won’t live forever… but then again, who does?