That’s really the great mystery about bureaucracies. Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. Pleasing your teachers, pleasing your superiors, picking a powerful mentor and riding his coattails until it’s time to stab him in the back. Jumping through hoops. Getting along by going along. Being whatever other people want you to be, so that it finally comes to seem that,...you have nothing inside you at all. Not taking stupid risks like trying to change how things are done or question why they’re done. Just keeping the routine going.
It’s tough speaking truth to power, and much easier to just stay quiet. I find that sometime when someone is branded a troublemaker, it may be they are just curious. It’s a long read, but worth it.
I've been sitting in on a few design meetings over the pass few weeks, and the one thing I was absolutly looking to hear is how a person or company is approaching mobile when building applications or websites. What I'm hoping to hear is "we don't have one"
At this point a mobile stategy is not a seperate idea, but a part of the whole strategy. A company that spins out mobile as a seperate line item is the same as saying to me, that making a site semantic is an extra cost, or using css is a extra cost. In my mind making a site look it’s best on any device is part of the job and working out the best way to serve your user and within your technical capabilities
The largest trend to hit web applications over the last few years is mobile. I think we are at the tipping point where most companies will have needed to think about an approach to mobile. A few years ago it was almost laughable to think anyone would make a purchase over a mobile device. Today, some 60% and rising, are using smartphones to make those purchases. If a company is not moving on mobile, then they are being left behind.
The software program that I think gets it right, business acumen aside, is Netflix. I think there are
three areas that they get right.
1. They are device agnostic. I think the fact that they are striving to be on every device that a potential user might be on is great. I think they really understand that a user wants it, when they want it, where they want it.
2. They take care of the grunt work. I think a great program makes me not have to think. Other than downloading, there is never any configuration, never any hassles. Also, I constantly amazed that even through the movie is streaming, it never feels like it.
3. I’m awesome. Because of item one and two, as a user, I feel great. For me it just works, in that way, Netflix becomes transparent, and achieves my goal, which is to watch the past seasons of Breaking Bad
I think my runner up would probably be Dropbox for almost exactly the same reasons.
One thing that is always on the mind of a developer is optimization. Business requirements generally don’t specify optimization or speed unless it’s slow or the return on server overhead is noticeably not proportional to the return. As a developer it falls, and rightfully so, to us.
Here are three really easy to reduce download time, actual and perceived.
Use image sprites. An image sprite traditionally is an image file for, say, a button with states for when you hover over the button and when you click on a button. So instead of having three files for one button, you’d have one. The file size is going to be a little larger, but weighing the file size verses server request makes it worth it. Expecially if you have a bunch of buttons.
Speaking of image sprites, do what you can in CSS. CSS has come quite a ways, so there is a real possibility that the button or the effect might be done in CSS. CSS will almost always be less expressive than images.
You have to drive folks to innovate. The tendency in lots of large organizations is to try and find a comfortable place where you think you can get measured rewards for measured work. In other words, they say to themselves, “I know how much I’m going to get if I do this much, and then my life is in balance.” I just don’t think you get a lot of innovation under those circumstances. You want people to figure out how to do things better, to figure out a smarter way. When that’s a constant process, you start seeing things innovate. It’s not because someone comes up with some brand-new idea where you say, “Oh, no one’s ever thought about this before.”
I would hazard to guess that no one is going to read this. Not this post, not this website or anything about me. Why? Because it’s too long, there’s too much, and who can invest in something that they may or may not be interesting or helpful.
I’m actually okay with this, because really this site has one purpose, I want a visitor to know: Who I am and what I do. Everything else on the site is just in support of that.
That got me to thinking: Should more sites be designed around a tl;dr statement?
The term tl;dr means “Too long; don’t read”, you’ll find it in use in some popular forums such as Hacker News and Reddit and is usually followed by a short synopsis of a more lengthy comment that adds color and nuisance, but really the tl;dr says it all.
When thinking about your site, could it be summed up in a short thesis sentence? Will digging deeper only reinforce the thesis? If so why not help your visitors?
I had the good fortune to take the two day workshop for SEO. It was a very good experience,and there is plenty that can help others. Here is my Top Ten takeaways from the workshop that can help everyone
10. Google is really the only search engine that matters. They carefully control their search market share here in the US to under 66% so they won’t get charged with running a monopoly. In other parts of the world they have 90% market share
9. Check what is the norm for you industry. Generally a well optimized web page falls in what is considered normal for like pages. For example, a shopping page might only have 250 words of copy, this is considered ‘natural’. Google does try to consider that when determining Search Engine results, so if you are doing something different, while you may not penalized, it may not help.
8. #1, #2 and #3 are the only positions that matter in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Google is increasingly adding value to searches by adding maps, images and videos in SERPs, a great thing for the user, but it does take a little more effort for the site that wants to get above the fold. Position 20 might as well be position 10,000.
7. Search results is a games of inches. With millions of results per query, the distance between position 3 and position 2 and position 1 is the width of a hair. It’s about which page is ‘least imperfect’. Put another way SERPs is a game of inches.
6. Focus on the long-tail. When people search they generally try to be specific as possible generally using 3-4 words. If those terms don’t produce the desired results, then the user start searching more broadly
5. Use the tilde ‘~’ when doing keyword research. The tilde is an undocumented way when doing a google search to also return up a result that not only produce your results but also other terms that users have used when searching for the same thing, this is great for long-tail keyword research. An example search term might be “~fashion”, which also brings up ‘style’, ‘accessories’, ‘clothing’ and a slew of fashion related terms
4. Structure you site into silos. If structure is properly done, you can maximize pagerank for internal links. So, that means fewer links per page, linking to landing pages, and being a lot more thoughtful on how you link to other areas of the site and whether you should.
3. Use Google endorsed schema’s. Sitemaps XML files are something we already know about, but a new thing google has endorsed is schemas. This s a spec they intend to probably support in 2012, but it’s a headache to implement, so weight the cost benefit of implementation
2. Result may vary, Factors in SERP can be influence by location and the searches that can before it. For example, if you initially search pushups you’d probably get a lot of results about exercise, but if the search before that one was on bras, you’d get a different set of results. In regards to location, they are starting to be more and more important in result rankings. Think about those things when writing for your sites.
1. Content is still king. We all know this, but the definition is expanding to video (with transcribing), PDFs and images, (which google is starting to learn to read), and of course social media
I've had an additional blog to help people become better speakers called Afterwit.com. This is dedicated to all things that go into making a better speaker. As a very active Toastmaster and something I'm passionate about, I'm always on the lookout for good resources. I've just recently posting there again. Check it out.
I participated in the foursquare hackathon over the weekend. My project is called Everything is cool. The idea behind my project is that most people when they hear of something going on in your area,, whether it be something weather related, or an accident, all they really want know is where you are and that you are okay.
My app let’s you do that in the quickest way possible. Using the Foursquare API, once you sign in it grabs the nearest location to you. From there you can just hit a button, and an email or text will be sent to your contact list with two pieces of information: Where you are and that everything is cool. Here is a link to the demo
I think the term social media will be obsolete. In 5 years all media (and everything else for that matter) will be social and baked into everything that we interact with because everything we interact with will be connected in some form or fashion to a greater network.
Social as it is defined now refers to living organisms, i.e. people, but I think that definition is bound to expand to include things as well. What we’ll really mean though is everything will be networked and ‘aware’ of it’s surroundings. I can imagine a world where the alarm clock will be networked to your online calendar and will know when you have a 9am meeting and disable the snooze button.
Additionally, they say that the best time to be on social networks is when you are alone but the gulf of being in two places at once (reality and virtual) will continue to close, on one end technology will be get better and phones (or whatever they will be called) as a distribution and consumption platform will have evolved in to something less intrusive and natural. On the other hand talking with someone face-to-face and doing whatever else will become accepted and even expected by the mainstream.
The first thing we noticed was a drop in traffic. Then other symptoms that seemed unrelated at the time were also being reported like search not working. it wasn't until we got a notice from Google Webmaster that we realized we'd been hacked. Again.
After taking the site down for the second time in two weeks, it dawned on me, if we are to continue we’d better learn to fail.
It’s simple, a website with our set -up running a popular content management system on a public facing website might be compromised. It could happen for a variety reasons both in and out of our control. The important thing then is getting the site back to a point where it is safe as soon as possible while being 99% sure that whatever compromised the site in the first place has been removed.