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It’s time for the semi-regular year end post from FortySeven Media! 2010 was a nutty year filled with lots of traveling, some great client projects and some even better personal projects. Let’s get started, shall we?
Speaking, Conferencing and Traveling
While we got our first taste of web conferences back in 2009, 2010 took it to a whole other level.
First off was LessConf in Atlanta. With speakers like Jason and David from 37 Signals, Cameron Moll, Chris Wanstrath from GitHub, Dan Martell, Clay Hebert and Peldi Guilizoni of Balsamiq we were energized and encouraged to keep making kick-awesome stuff.
Next was EECI2010 the US Edition in San Francisco. I got to speak at this one and we were reunited with a bunch of our old friends from the Leiden conference back in 2009. The city was fantastic and we even got to meet a few of our long-distance clients while we were there!
We’re a little late to the party, but wanted to give a quick wrap-up on our experience at EECIEU 2010. The ExpressionEngine & CodeIgniter Conference was in it’s third iteration, and I think it was the best. Robert from Whoooz! has been refining the schedule while still taking risks and trying new things. The single channel format this time around was much more enjoyable. At past conferences I kept having to choose certain tracks and felt like I missed things, so the simplification was great. The venue was very cool as well.
Our doorbell rang at 10:00 last night. Ashley and I looked at each other. “That’s weird, who in the world would be at our door this late?” I said. We’re not the type to have people over at all hours of the night. Since most of our friends have kids now, everyone packs up at 8 or so to get home before the tantrums begin. But either way, no one shows up on our doorstep this time of night.
I went to the front door and flipped on the outside lights to see our neighbor standing there. We just moved and she’s been very friendly, telling us all that goes on in the neighborhood.
I’ll admit it. I’m not really a social person. We’ve lived in our neighborhood almost 6 years and I can count the number of times we’ve talked to our neighbors on my hand. And by talk I mean had a full conversation. So yeah, not a lot.
Several weeks ago we put our house on the market. Too many kids, not enough rooms; you know the drill. We’ve outgrown this place, unfortunately. And in preparation to sell it, we needed to finish replacing all the doors and trim we had started a couple of years ago. Since my gifts are in handcrafting pixels, my wife’s dad came to the rescue, taking a week off from work and plowing through our huge list of repairs, updates and so on.
First off, let me say that we’re psyched to finally be able to share this project with you. We believe that side projects don’t work unless you’re passionate about them. Well, guess what? We love music and we love design. They go hand in hand, really. So we decided that there should be a place where designers can find new music recommended by other designers: DesignersMusic
Go play with it now or read on below for details!
Felt like a poem of sorts today. Enjoy:
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t subdue that voice in your head that keeps telling you to ask “why” and “how” and “if.”
We’re the disrupters, the button pushers and the strange ones who don’t take “It’s always been this way” for an answer. Because maybe â just maybe, there’s a better way.
And if we don’t keep pushing to find that better way, who will?
Don’t give up. Don’t give in. And don’t ever stop challenging the status quo.
Inspired by Seth Godin’s “Why Ask Why” article.
I would guess that 90% of the people you meet deal with the same problems they’ve dealt with their whole life. Maybe they’re workaholics (lifting my own hand). Maybe they have anger issues. Maybe they’re lazy or maybe they lack self esteem.
We all have personality traits and tendencies that we’re not proud of, but that’s no excuse to accept them.
The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Or maybe in this case becoming aware that you need to change something. Depending on what the problem is, this can be a huge step.
One night, as I sat in the office/studio, I was overcome with the desire to write a song. A spy song. I grabbed my guitar and began to pound out the sneakiest riffs and rhythms I could muster. Yes, yes, this would do.
If I were a spy this music would play every time I was chasing a car around the winding Swiss mountain roads, or single handedly besting the brutish thugs of my arch nemesis.
I fired one of our first clients last week. It was messy and no fun for everyone involved. I also managed to get a lecture from the president of that company on how to run my business and better serve the needs of my clients.
While the initial reaction for any of us would probably be thoughts of a Chuck Norris roundhouse to the face (in slow motion, of course), the whole incident made me think hard about what 47m is at it’s core, and what it truly means to serve a client. I think there are two ways to serve a client:
Scenario 1: Blind Serving
In blind serving, you’re always making the logo bigger or adding starbursts because the client says so. Not because it’s better for them, but simply because they demand it. A lot of companies won’t fight this because they’re just trying to make a living. And that’s ok. I think everyone starts out serving blindly. Get the job done ? client happy ? get paycheck.
But at some point, you come to a crossroads. At some point, your experience will tickle the back of your brain and say “That’s a bad idea!” So what happens then?
I would wager that the majority of web designers end up doing work for small to medium-sized businesses. And I’m sure we all have a fantastic story of how ludicrous they can be sometimes. After a few “interesting” experiences, I’ve had this one rolling around in me for a while. Small business people; we love you, but pay attention, alright?
We Understand it’s Your Baby
If anyone can sympathize with a small business owner it’s a small web design shop. We know you busted your tail, working night and day to get this off the ground. So did we. We know you’ve had to wear so many hats it’s not even funny. Salesman, bookkeeper, account manager, marketing guy, the list goes on and on. We do it all, too. It’s exhausting. And so when you bring someone else in to help you visually define what you are; it’s like we’re messing with a part of you. Here’s the thing, though. You’re too close. You need someone with a neutral perspective to help you make decisions for the better. My favorite saying goes, “You can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle.” You’re so close to the details and emotional attachments that it’s hard to see the big picture.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be doing a workshop at the ExpressionEngine and CodeIgniter Conference in Leiden, Netherlands October 22-23, 2009. I’m really excited about this trip because 1.) I’ve never been out of the country and 2.) The group of people at this conference are amazing. Honestly, I’m quite humbled by the lineup. How did I get to be invited again? I can’t even list them all here, but include household names like Leslie Camacho of EllisLab, Veerle Pieters of Duoh!, Brandon Kelly of LEVEL Studios, Leevi Graham of Newism and Ryan Irelan of Happy Cog. Like Veerle laments, I’m not much of an EE coder compared to everyone else, so here’s to hoping I can bring something good to the table. In fact, I’ll be talking about how we take our static HTML/CSS pages and speed up development putting it into EE first and then building out real links and content.
This post has nothing to do with web design. In fact, the link I’m about to give you is to a horrible flash driven site. This company specializes in building secret passageways into your house! So, take a break you hardworking web designers/developers/ninjas and check out how you can finally get that secret lair you’ve wanted since you were 9. The staircases are my favorites. What’s yours?
So this little blog popped up a couple of weeks ago called Minimal Mac. Yeah, yeah Macs are minimal; we all know that right? Steve Jobs hates buttons, blah blah blah. Ok, but how about when you’re using them day to day?
As we’ve become more involved in the community I’ve been finding myself more and more distracted as of late. I’m trying to work, but there’s a new RSS feed I need to read. Or a new email that just came in. Twitter just never stops. Ever. There’s something about new stuff that gets us all excited and makes us feel like we need to see it now.
Continuing on our theme of planning and making goals, I want to talk for a minute about why it’s important to write things down. I’ll be the first to say that I have failed miserably at this over the past year. In my never ending attempt to “de-clutter” my life I’ve tried to put everything in the computer and rid my desk of all those pesky pieces of paper. Well, I think I may have been wrong on a number of levels. For now we’ll focus on why you need to write down your goals.
I’ve been trying to come up with something to write about for a couple of days now and just realized that there’s nothing wrong. If you think about it, we usually write when we’re upset about something or when there’s a problem we’re trying to fix. Maybe we like to vent or rant all the time, but I thought it might be nice to take some time and tell you what’s good in my life. Not that my life is better than yours! I’m just finding the good in what I’ve got. I hope you’ll try to do the same.
I have the coolest family. My wife is totally awesome, and we’re expecting our 3rd child in October. She cooks seriously amazing food all the time, does the books for the business, takes care of the kids and manages to find time to clean the house. I could not do that!
Jon and I were talking earlier today about goals and I thought I’d share some of those thoughts with you. Many of us have these vague and vaporous ideas we like to call goals. That’s me included. We call them goals, but really they are just dreams at this point. Why? Because we have no plans to make them reality.
I’m defining a goal this way: “A goal is a desire to achieve a result measurable in concrete terms.”
It’s official! Mr. Dan Denny (aka webdesignfanboy) is putting together the Front-End Design Conference, a single day event with a focus on content, presentation and behavior.
Hello and welcome to a new segment on the 47m blog! Annoying: a place where we get to vent about things that really tick us off. I think it will be very therapeutic for everyone!
Today’s topic is “people that don’t get back to us.” We get quite a few job requests that come through our site and I’d say about 30% of them never respond back to us. I don’t understand why. I mean they contacted us first! We’ve just shot them an email back to setup a time to talk. What’s the deal? Is it that hard to hit the reply button? At least tell me if you’re not interested anymore so I can take you off my list of people to keep responding to. All the checking and rechecking is quite a time waster.
Just a quick thought. I’m in the middle of a rather nasty family emergency where one person has been mind-bogglingly selfish. Like he is the only person in the world selfish. It’s really bad.
Ever wanted to find friends based on the books they love? Then Bookmesh is the place for you. We’re incredibly excited to announce that it’s finally ready for some beta testers, and you’re invited.