It's hard not to think about Radiohead's latest album as a test of one my favorite quotes - "Expectation is a prison." The intention of King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp was toward music, of course. Listeners tend to make assumptions based on their previous experience with music about what will soon be coming to them from an artist, and then are disappointed when what they expected is not delivered, rather than leaving themselves open to the possibility of surprise.
However, in a way, it's easy to see that perhaps some of us expected too much from Radiohead when they announced that they would offer their album for pretty much any price you were willing to pay (aside from a 90-or-so cent service fee.) Given absolutely no information of what to expect, I, and many others, expected that Radiohead was thinking along the same lines as I was - that we'd get high-bitrate mp3s, and some artwork of some kind. Alas, the reality, to many of us, was a bit of a "let down," to use a Radiohead song title.
The secrecy, it seems, had lead many of us to get bigger ideas than the band had planned. It is this that takes me back to a project at my first major job, just out of college, where I'd been given free reign with my division's website.
It was all mine to do with as I pleased, and I planned on blowing everybody away with something huge, complex, and beautiful. So I kept it all quiet, and when asked in meetings about it I would politely, but excitedly related that I couldn't reveal much, but that it would be big. It took a while - hand-coding the HTML in notepad (because WYSIWYG editors barely even existed at the time,) cutting all the images in Photoshop (and these were the days before Photoshop came packaged with tools to help you do anything for the internet,) and a lot of trial and error finally yielded a beautiful website that boasted the company colors (the vivid corporate scheme of blue and white) and many changing photos of the aircraft we proudly built.