The Washington Post (USA) Interview
Aug-2005: A simple interview mainly asking for details about the website, resulting in a nice little article that was even picked up by a couple of other newspapers.
- Interviewed for: The Washington Post (USA)
- Interviewed by: Justin Rude
- Interviewed via: E-mail
- Interviewed on: 09-Aug-2005
JUSTIN: I would love to know how you became interested in different shoe lacing methods ...
IAN: Personally, I always go for simplicity, functionality and efficiency, so my real-world choices have always been Criss Cross or Over Under lacing. However, I also have an inquiring mind, so I couldn't help but be fascinated by the different possibilities from a scientific perspective: How many ways ARE there? What advantages and disadvantages do they have? Which is easiest? Which holds the tightest?
A couple of years ago, Nature journal ran an article quoting research by Burkard (sp?) Polster, in which he had calculated the number of ways of lacing shoes and determined the strongest and most popular. This article, which saw a huge surge of interest in my shoelace site, provided some impetus for me to greatly expand the lacing section.
My web site has also prompted a huge number of queries and suggestions from web site visitors, so in an effort to both make this a more comprehensive resource and to reduce the amount of time I spent describing solutions and/or fending off repeat suggestions, I've gradually found the time to add the most popular lacing methods to the site.
JUSTIN: ... how many man-hours it has taken to create your site ...
IAN: I couldn't say! The site is not so much a labour of love but simply something that I've fallen into as I've discovered that this is one area of expertise that I can contribute to the community. I get up each morning at 6am so that I can spend an hour or so answering e-mails, checking site statistics, making changes, etc., then I work a bit on weekends making significant changes. I guess if you look at this over the course of the last few years, it would add up to a couple of thousand man-hours, though it would be hard to say what percentages were spent on the site, responding to e-mails, or learning about web site design and development.
JUSTIN: ... what sort of responses you have gotten so far.
IAN: Many of the responses can be found in the “Ian Knot Testimonials”, “Ian's Secure Knot Testimonials” and “Slipping Knot Testimonials” pages. I should also add one for Lacing, as this has become one of the major areas of the site. Generally, most people have nice things to say and are usually appreciative that someone would go to the trouble of making this information freely available. What really annoys me is when people comment that “This guy has way too much time on his hands”. This obviously comes from people that have never done a good deed for anyone else and therefore can't comprehend that some people will actually go to the effort of MAKING time to do something that they consider worthwhile. The site actually costs me money for hosting, and the freeloaders of this world don't stop to think who's going to the time, effort and expense of providing the wealth of information that is out there on the Internet for them to play with freely.
“BuzzWorthy : Ian's Shoelace Site”
By Justin Rude, The Washington Post, 21-Aug-2005
Most folks' shoelace training begins and ends in kindergarten. You remember taking the bunny ears over, around and through, right? Ian Fieggen, a computer programmer and graphic designer from Melbourne, Australia, wants to change that: enter http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace, his Web site devoted to untangling the singular subject of shoelaces. And how: The site serves up 25 lacing styles and 15 different knots, complete with illustrated instructions and a list of pros and cons for each method. Looking for something fast? Try Double Helix Lacing (con: “asymmetrical”). More interested in a decorative lace? Opt for the Checkerboard, above (con: “loose fit”).
[Photo of Checkerboard Lacing]
As for Fieggen's own preferences: “I always go for simplicity, functionality and efficiency,” he says, naming the Criss Cross and Over Under as favorites. Fieggen claims that he's “really not a knotting nut” -- rather, he attributes the site's existence to his passion for efficiency and desire to contribute something he considers worthwhile to the digital realm.
By and large, the site's “knot testimonials” have been appreciative. “I've mastered Ian's Knot, and even Ian's Secured Knot and now walk about in utter confidence,” writes “Doug M.” But there have been a couple of exceptions. “What really annoys me is when people comment that 'This guy has way too much time on his hands,'” Fieggen says. “This obviously comes from people that have never done a good deed for anyone else.”
– Justin Rude