I'll be posting Seth's answers to my questions over the next few hours, so let's get started, and be sure to check back later for more of his thinking.
Can a good story be used as a substitute for bad design? Many of
the examples in All Marketers are Liars communicate their story through good design, from message to product to package. Does a good story make up for lousy aesthetics and/or functionality?
A story is worthless without authenticity. You can't say, "Well, this
was designed by Phillipe Starck, therefore it's easy to use," and
expect that to work if, in the long run, people hate using it. Sure,
some people will fall for it, but what really delivers is something
like OXO. The OXO design is totally overdone, emphasizing at every turn
just how USEFUL this must be. But it IS useful! So the story works.