On ‘making your own club’… link

If you don’t seem to find one that suits you, make one. Create a place where you feel comfortable and can be edifying to others.

I mean, BarCamp arose as an open-to-the-public alternative to Foo Camp, which is an annual invitation-only participant-driven conference hosted by Tim O’Reilly.

So Tim’s thoughts seem fitting …

Being friends with big names isn’t what makes you awesome, being kind and respectful does. You can’t give people too much importance; sometimes, even your heroes will let you down.

It’s a bummer when your heros do this.

Start somewhere. The sky is the limit.

Sam Walton's 5-10 (five-and-dime)

This is a picture of Sam Walton’s very first Walton’s 5-10 (five-and-dime).

I’m visiting Pure Charity’s HQ in Bentonville, AR, also the worldwide headquarters of Walmart, which for the most part is a small town “in the middle of nowhere,” Arkansas.

This is literally where it all began.

Whatever you do, start somewhere!

Spending Time

There’s a reason why time is often referred to as spent.

You might hear yourself, or someone say something like this.

“Hey let’s spend some time together next week when I’m in town.”

…or

“I spent my Christmas at my parent’s house this year. I love spending time with the family for the holidays.”

…or

“I wish we had more time to spend together. I can’t believe it’s over.”

Everyday, every human-being on Earth is constantly spending their time. No matter who you are, or what you’re doing, you’re always spending time. Everyone’s time is limited, and none of us know exactly how much time we have to spend. We do know that once your time is gone, and there’s no more left to spend, that’s it. It’s gone.

Take a minute, or should I say spend a minute, to pause and truly reflect on that truth for a moment. Be silent, and be still. Think about all the ways you spend your time. Knowing that your time is limited, and that once it’s gone there’s no more — is there anything you’d change about how you’re spending your time? What are you spending your time on? Where are you spending your time? How are you spending your time? With whom are you spending your time?

Time is precious. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Spend wisely.

When you’re doing it your own way, it doesn’t feel like work link

In this video with AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, Sarah Lacy asks him about the one thing he believes in that no one else does.

Sarah:

In the future, we’re all working for small companies. Does that mean that everyone has to work harder? ‘Cause people at startups work a lot harder than people at big companies (on average).

Naval:

Yea, but when you’re working it your way, there’s less bullshit (hopefully). When you’re doing it your own way, it doesn’t feel like work.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Follow me on AngelList

Spoiled by Retina link

Joshua Schnell:

I can’t say this enough. The iPad mini screen is terrible. A complete disappointment. If you want to use the device for reading, and you’re coming to the iPad mini from a retina iPad or iPhone 4, 4S, or 5, wait for the new retina version. Absolutely wait.

This is EXACTLY why I’ve stuck with my iPad 3. I’m absolutely spoiled by its retina display. That’s actually the reason I bought it in the first place. My main function on my iPad is reading. If I’m not reading/tweeting with Tweetbot, I’m reading a book with Kindle or reading articles in Readability.

Plus, as Joshua said in his post, the size and weight of an iPad mini hasn’t had a chance to taint my feelings for its larger iPad 3 counterpart yet.

Waiting for retina.

Iterate. link

Apple iMac Evolution

The first iMac was a revolution: An all-in-one computer that put everything — display, processor, graphics, storage, memory, and more — inside one simple, stylish enclosure. Countless innovations later, we’ve raised the bar yet again. The new iMac includes the most advanced, most brilliant desktop display we’ve ever built, and it’s filled with the latest high-performance technologies. Yet it’s just 5 mm thin at its edge with up to 40 percent less volume than the previous generation. To do all that required unprecedented feats of engineering — and imagination. We invented new technologies, pioneered new manufacturing techniques, and devised all-new ways to do more in less space.

The pursuit of perfection takes time, and patience. Iterate.

Change feelings. Not the facts. link

Seth Godin:

The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.

It doesn’t matter if your “forgot password” link is clearly visible. That fact is irrelevant. What matters is how you react to show how human you are and how you make a connection that changes how that person feels about you and the solution you aim to provide.

Don’t let pride stop you from providing a delightful experience.

Follow your bliss (your genius) link

Joseph Campbell in Reflections in the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

Powerful words.

Thanks for sharing this Chuck.

Your user requirements include four-hundred features link

Dilbert comic strip for 04/14/2001

Adding “easy to use” to the list of desired features does not ensure what you’ve asked for will be “easy to use.”

Don’t be this person.

Scrollbars through the history link

Scrollbars Through the History

The history of scrollbars seems like a natural progression to me. Although, when Apple revealed the scrollbar only during user interaction on the iPhone in 2007, and then adopted that pattern in OS X Lion with what they termed “Overlay Scrollbars” – that was a significant turning point for the scrollbar UI/UX.

Sources: Kelly Martin, @ilistes, Mashable

I’m a cog.

Me:

I’m a very sharp, highly specific, purposefully purposeful cog that’s part of a much bigger, much more grand, machine. I play a very specific, highly needed part so that others can do the same. I serve the unit, the team, and its mission – not myself.

Seth Godin says to “be a linchpin,” but I’m starting to wonder if that concept isn’t just a bit arrogant and self-centered. Are any of us truly indispensable? Aren’t we all replaceable?

I’m the Product Manager at Pure Charity, so I know all the reasons I need to be a linchpin, to be indispensable. I know I do a great job leading product for Pure Charity and that I may seem indispensable. But if something happened, the bus factor for example, and I needed to be replaced, I’m sure I could be. Sure, there would likely be a few hiccups in the process, but again, are any of us truly indispensable? Aren’t we all replaceable at some point? There’s always someone better than you, someone striving to learn what you know, to be what you can be, do what you can do. To think that you can truly be indispensable is a farse. It’s fiction. It’s not possible. It’s a trap of the prideful.

So why do we lie to ourselves?

Rather than striving to be a linchpin, to be indispensable – why not focus on how purposeful you are to your team? Recognize the specificity of the role you play in the grand machine and mission. Serve the unit, the team, and its mission – not yourself.

Constant, gentle pressure. link

Danny Meyer:

It’s my job, and consequently the job of every other leader in my company, to teach everyone who works for us to distinguish center from off center and always to set things right. I send my managers an unequivocal message: I’m going to be extremely specific as to where every component on that tabletop belongs. I anticipate that outside forces, including you, will conspire to change the table setting. Every time that happens, I’m going to move everything back to the way it should be. That’s the constant aspect. I’ll never recenter the saltshaker in a way that denies you your dignity. That’s the gentle aspect. But standards are standards, and I’m constantly watching every table and pushing back on every saltshaker that’s moved because excellent performance is paramount. That’s the pressure.

Matt Vasquez shared this article with the Pure Charity dev team not long ago during a retrospective when talking about leadership.

It’s a fantastic read for those who are leaders, or aspire to lead.

Apply human behavior to the design of software apps link

Mental Notes

It’s tough to remember all the ways to apply psychology into the design of our applications. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying, “oh let me make a ‘mental note’ of that,” you’ll love Stephen Anderson’s Mental Notes.

Stephen:

In the midst of a busy project it’s all too easy to forget the nuances that distinguish great products. Mental Notes brings together 50 insights from psychology into an easy reference and brainstorming tool. Each card describes one insight into human behavior and suggests ways to apply this to the design of Web sites, Web apps, and software applications.

Squarespace comes out swinging with their new developer platform link

Anthony Casalena:

Web development has traditionally been segmented into two discrete worlds: you can either (1) opt into a hosted platform with limited – if any – code control, or (2) get a shared hosting account, where you have complete platform control but are forced to deal with the burdens of managing your own server – from security, to scalability, to updates, and more. With the Squarespace Developer Platform, we have taken a significant step to bridge these worlds together, eliminating the need for a shared web host for the most demanding website designs.

I have to say that I’m rather hopeful for where this is going. Having Git in the mix certainly makes things interesting, but their choice of LESS over Sass is upsetting. Y’all know I’m a huge advocate for Sass.

The Squarespace developer platform is free to develop on, but once you’re ready to go live, an unlimited Squarespace package ($16/month) is required to use the developer features. Total cost for a squarespace site with developer features is $192 per year ($16 * $12 = $192).

The Industry #22 covers the launch of iPhone 5 and herding Llamas link

Jared:

Yup, no more ‘one more thing’ and they went 4″, something Steve Jobs said they would never do.

Drew:

What I think’s great about the new site they’ve rolled with all this stuff. The Myriad Thin they’re using looks so good. So much better, oh my gosh. That is attractive.

Josh:

Did you watch that video? That’s what makes you want those things so bad.

We have fun on The Industry Radio Show.

Ryan Carson gives an incredible talk at Creative Bath link

I’ve had the honor of having Ryan on my podcasts onetwothree times.

Ryan Carson on stage

Ryan:

I’ve started tweeting a lot less and started just . . . I disengaged from social media a lot and it’s because I feel like I’m not focusing on the people who will matter to me when I die.
Maybe it’s having kids or something that does this to you but I’m like, “Oh my gosh. There’s a core set of people in my life who I care about and if I do not connect with them, and I connect to my Twitter followers, what the fuck am I doing? It’s just crazy.”

I have so many people to love, and I mean LOVE, in my life. And I guess I had to hear Ryan say it like he said it (26:35) for me to get it. Twitter, Facebook and social media are a means to an end, to create relationships, and share our thoughts and share moments … not every thought, every moment.

I want to spend less time sharing me with people that are not in that core group of people that I really LOVE in life.

Ryan Singer explains his shorthand for designing user flows link

Shorthand UI Flow

Ryan:

Flows are just as important to good interfaces as individual screens are. Customers don’t land on screens from out of nowhere. Specific sequences of actions lead customers through your app as they try to accomplish their tasks.

Before I start wireframing or designing screens, I start by fleshing out the flows the user can take to complete the task or job I’m designing. Since reading this post by Ryan Singer, I now use his simple shorthand method on paper and OmniGraffle to create my flows. This shorthand method not only saves time, but also keeps things simple.

Joshua Bennett says ‘Stay Uncomfortable. Stay Hungry.’ link

Joshua makes some very good points on contentment and how that effects your drive and hunger.

Joshua:

Without hunger you have no opinions, no substance, no soul. I realize now why the great minds of history always appear ‘mad’ or ‘angry’ — they were hungry. Hungry for change and improvement.

If you are content; you become stagnant, less aggressive, and make careless mistakes. He closes with “Stay unsettled. Keep it uncomfortable,” which reminds me of “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” from the late Steve Jobs.

Sean Hennessey shows us how Apple designed the iPhone 5 link

How Apple Designed iPhone 5 by Sean Hennessey

It’s a bit more than this, but this is essentially what Apple has done to change everything, again.

Disclosure: I pre-ordered my iPhone 5 a mere 30 minutes after the Apple Store re-opened for pre-orders Sept 14th.

A founders’ values and principles define the company’s culture link

Where does a company’s culture come from?

Rui Rodrigues:

What the founders actually do on a daily basis, what their core values are, what attitudes guide them will in the end have more influence in the company’s culture than a set of guidelines written on the wall. Whatever the principles that you agree on, a company’s culture is defined over the simplest interactions that happen among all those involved with the company.

If you lead, they will follow and the values you represent will trickle down into the life blood of your business.