Posted by Carlos Pero | Filed under productivity
I just discovered Scott Young's writing, and his post about "10 really obvious ways to be more productive" had enough original thought in it to inspire a response from me. Because, you know, I haven't posted in about 3 weeks.
So do yourself a favor and go read that post first, because I'm going to provide my point-by-point thoughts and how they apply to me. Maybe you can relate to some of them.
#1 - Be Single and Childless
I'm married with an 8 year-old son, so that ship has sailed. But since I don't have a full-time job right now, there are at least 6-8 hours a day where I can pretend that I'm all alone again. (Because I do love spending those other waking hours with my family, and that's not worth trading for anything.)
#2 - Love What You Do
I love working on the Web. In the past, that has meant working at a good company. In this economy, it means creating my own success. Because I haven't been employed at that good company recently, it hasn't been like the good old days and thus I wasn't loving ...
Posted by Carlos Pero | Filed under redesign
I've got to contribute to this conversation about redesigning the American Airlines Web site. I've worked for a number of corporations in my time, and can see both sides of the argument. But the fact is, Mr. X crossed a line responding to Dustin, and as a result Mr. X was "fired".
(I put "fired" in quotes, because according to one of the comments Mr. X was a contract employee, so it's certainly easier to terminate a contract rather than dismissing an employee.)
Dustin Curtis is a young designer, obviously very talented by the looks of his Web site. I specifically mention young because he simply hasn't had the years of experience in the corporate world to know that things aren't always as easy as they seem. In some ways, that's a good thing, because the world needs fresh perspective and optimistic minds to make the Web a better place. But at the same time, you have to have respect for large organizations that are top-of-mind brands and have a market position to defend, if not grow. Let me expound on this further for a minute.
As Mr. X acknowledged, a fresh design is ...
Posted by Carlos Pero | Filed under productivity
It's all too easy to wake up in the morning and start surfing Twitter, Facebook, or your RSS feeds to see what's going on.
The problem is, your mind starts filling up with new information, and there's only so much you can learn in a day before your mind is exhausted.
Therefore you should not consume media before you produce something yourself. Think about it: reading things online is a lot like sitting back and watching TV. Sure, TV is a lot more passive, but both are injecting new situations and information into your brain. Instead, if you're a morning person like me, try to produce something first instead of consuming. Like eating, consuming too much media is bad for you, in this case it's bad for your brain and your thinking process. Your ideas are freshest and crispest in the morning, and only get relegated to the backseat if you start consuming other people's stuff.
Here's another way to think about it: all the things you're reading or watching online? Someone else produced that, maybe while you were sleeping or the day before. They've done more than you. Do your ...
Posted by Carlos Pero | Filed under 37signals
This week Jason Fried and the 37signals team debuted Haystack, a new Web site that lets companies visually search for designers in their price range and desired location. The site initially debuted without browsing and filtering features, meaning it was a "pre-launch" phase where designers could submit their information, and when the site reached around 1,000 members the browsing would be enabled. That happened later that day, faster than Jason anticipated.
First of all, the idea is remarkable. Of all the places you can go and try to find a designer, why not start a new one? It would be highly visual by letting you glance over snapshots of their work easily...take a look at the designers in Chicago between $3,000 and $10,000. As you scroll down more appear. Even the URL
http://haystack.com/chicago/3000-to-10000 is beautiful and RESTful, encouraging linking.
Second, there is a clear way to generate revenue. Jason is a designer, and this product helps real people and real companies connect, and that is worth some money. Imagine there are 50 other designers in your city and in your price range, how do you stand out? You spend a little money ...
I casually mentioned in my last post how marvelous it was that Web technology enables you to customize almost down to the individual level now.
This morning I wake up to discover that Facebook just rolled out a change to user's home pages that first shows them a summary "news feed" of the most interesting activity that happened in the last day, and a "live feed" of what is going on right now.
This example isn't exactly what I was talking about, but it's close, because it respects the state of mind of user when they arrive at Facebook and strives to present them the most relevant information right away. I'd say the Twitter reading/browsing model is partially broken here, because when you fire up your Twitter client you can either commence reading from where you left off, or start with the latest tweets live right now; there is no middle ground to "help me see the most important stuff I missed".
Near the end of the blog post, Facebook acknowledges that they are moving around the furniture on the home page yet again. Regarding individual customization, when are they going to get to the ...
Posted by Carlos Pero | Filed under expectation
This post from Jeff Atwood is getting some attention today, as he talks about how users just don't read what's in front of them. The issue is someone who posted a question to one of the Stack Exchange-powered sites but who didn't take the time to nicely format it for reading.
It may be true that users don't carefully read every word on the page, but at the same time you should take steps to make sure they have a pleasant experience, especially if it is their first time. I'm sure the user who posted the question is pleased, but Jeff is riled up because the new user didn't take the time to learn how to properly use the site.
Here's the problem: there are WAAAAY too many sites now to try to learn how to use each one. Read that again. The burden just cannot be on the user to properly use the site. Those are the old days of traditional software, when the user has spent money on a program so he/she has a vested interest in learning how to use it properly. Conversely, they have no loyalty to your ...
Posted by Carlos Pero | Filed under about
This is the obligatory first post of the blog, so let me explain the intention.
I've been working with the Web for 15 years, starting down at the University of Illinois in the very early days before Netscape was formed and you couldn't center text on a page. I've seen the technology evolve, and how regular business has been affected. And it keeps changing.
Which brings me to my point: I've been one heck of a consumer of all of this information, and can't take in anymore without spitting some back out. Thus, I'm transforming into a producer. It's easy to consume things...food, television, books. It's much harder to produce. Sure, I've created some sites here and there, but you can tell they haven't gotten a lot of loving attention.
That's because as an engineer by nature, I'm good at putting things together to solve a problem. Once there are no more obstacles, there are people that are better suited to making the trains run on time, all day every day. That's just a simple fact of different personality types.
But I've also learned that ...