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Then run even faster.

11 Jul 2012

It’s a hard, simple calculus: Run until you can’t run anymore. Then run some more. Find a new source of energy and will. Then run even faster.

Scott Jurek from Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

This reminded me of a time when Gary and I were running near the waterfront in downtown Portland. He said something along the lines of that when I get towards the top of a incline that I should push myself even harder. He had some explanation that involved how our bodies burn energy, use oxygen, etc... I don't recall the specifics.

Anyhow, a few years later, I recall this conversation each time I find myself overcoming the hardest part of a challenge. Below the surface... and a few layers below that, there is always more energy inside of me... yearning to be burned.


The Web was done by amateurs

11 Jul 2012

The Internet was done so well that most people think of it as a natural resource like the Pacific Ocean, rather than something that was man-made. When was the last time a technology with a scale like that was so error-free? The Web, in comparison, is a joke. The Web was done by amateurs.

Alan Kay from Interview with Alan Kay


Me: The Play!

10 Jul 2012

Empathy – and realizing that the other person is actually a whole separate person, not an actor in your own production of Me: The Play! – is the core thing in every human communication difficulty.

Amy Hoy from Amy replies to "Levels of aspiration"

but... but... as far as I can see, the world revolves around me.

Quote  |  Misc

Portland boasts about 6,000 jobs in app development

5 Jul 2012

The Portland area has emerged as a leading center of mobile-application development, a field Apple essentially created with its iPhone and iPad. A recent study credited the app development industry with about 6,000 local jobs.

Zach Dundas and Will Lambeth from iOregon, Portland Monthly

Even I was a bit surprised to read these numbers. There's heavy competition in Portland!


The continued shift toward mobile

27 Jun 2012

17% of cell phone owners do most of their online browsing on their phone.

Key Findings from Pew Research Cell Internet Use report

Crazy! A bit more math and we can determine, since 88% of U.S. adults own a cell phone, that 15% of American adults are using their phones, more than any other device, to browse the web. 88% is a significant increase even since April, when I pegged that same statistic at 83% in my Mobile Web Statistics article. This percentage is even larger for young Americans- 45% of 18-29 year olds who access the internet on their phones, compared with 31% for adults in general, use their phones for the majority of their web browsing. What does this mean? For web professionals, mobile should most definitely not be an afterthought. Yes, many people are using their phones as an additional web-capable device but, as these numbers reveal, tons of Americans are using their phones as their primary internet device. The landscape is changing- whether we're ready or not.



19 Jun 2012

We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size or fixed expense.

Amazon from Amazon Leadership Principles

Some food for thought.


Riding the Rails... for over seven years

7 Jun 2012

Programmer Robby Russell began exploring the framework just over a year ago. Within weeks, he was hooked and evangelical; he launched a crusading blog, “Robby on Rails,” and realigned his consultancy, Portland, Ore.-based Planet Argon, to work exclusively on Rails development and hosting.

Stacy Cowley, CRN from Riding The Ruby Rails In A New Direction

It's crazy to think that this was written over six years ago.


An Occupying Force

1 Jun 2012

Ultimately, the organization’s instinct is to protect the ground that’s already been taken rather than take new ground. Every organization begins as an advance force and ends up as an occupying force.

Todd Henry from The Accidental Creative


People are the web

29 May 2012

Beyond the baseline demographic data of age, race, sex, location etc, we should ponder some questions: Who are they? How are they? How well do they sleep? Are they anxious? Are they extroverts displaying their digital peacock feathers? Are they introverts who can socialize but head home early because their feet hurt and they’d rather read a book? Are 52% of them introverts who live voyeuristically through the safety of glowing screens? What is it that they want? Can we provide for them? Do we have to?

Dave Allen, director, interactive strategy for NORTH from Memorial Day musings: Facebook, Bob Dylan, Paul Krugman and introverts

It sounds like Dave had a lovely weekend down in Palm Springs and busted out this thought-provoking post about Facebook's recent IPO and what they are likely going to need to focus on as a business... while raising a lot of good questions for us all to ponder.

Quote  |  Misc

Where are the women?

23 May 2012

A survey of 11 recent Portland tech startups, ranging from companies with four employees to 80, reveals that their total workforces were typically 70 percent to 80 percent male, while their development and engineering teams—i.e., the people who write the actual code—have even fewer women. In many cases, none.

Ruth Brown from Willamette Week: Where the Tech is She?

It's good to see this issue getting more and more attention.

Quote  |  Strategy

Conversion Rates as the wrong metric

18 May 2012

For any e-commerce site, I have the perfect advice on how to raise their conversion rate significantly. All they have to do is stop marketing. Once they stop marketing, the number of visitors will drop to only those who are already loyal customers.

Because those visitors are loyal, they are probably only coming to buy something. The ratio of purchasers to visitors will skyrocket. Sales will likely drop, but conversion will go sky-high.

Sounds great, right? That’s the other problem with the conversion rate ratio: it’s not at all related to the other business operations.

Jared Spool from Avoid Ratios For Metrics – Moving Beyond Conversion Rates, Part 1

Let's avoid getting too focused on conversion rates.

Quote  |  Strategy

comScore provides mobile social media insights

15 May 2012

The 25.6 million Twitter mobile users had an average engagement of nearly 2 hours during [March]. By comparison, people visiting on their computers spent just 20.4 minutes on…

Mobile Metrix 2.0 findings from comScore's latest press release

In terms of mobile trends, what is perhaps even more significant than the above statistic is this: The average U.S. smartphone subscriber spent 441 minutes engaged with either the Facebook app or mobile site. This is in comparison to the 391 minutes that the average Facebook user spends interacting with the desktop site. Yowza! Mobile! I expect to see the same trends when I check the analytics of my soon-to-be wildly popular dating site, OkDeluded (OkStupid was taken).

Quote  |  Work

McMenamins - another happy customer

5 Apr 2012

I have nothing but positive things to say about our relationship with Planet Argon. Their team really has followed through with everything as promised, on time and with an admirable work ethic. A refreshing experience… we’re working with true professionals! I look forward to a long and strong partnership.

Jon Sokol, Director of Internet Technology at McMenamins from Client Testimonials

To be fair, they've been great too.

Quote  |  Leadership

High school dropout

25 Oct 2011

Joanne had one requirement: Her child must be adopted by college graduates. So the doctor arranged for the baby to be placed with a lawyer and his wife. But when a boy was born—on February 24, 1955—the designated couple decided that they wanted a girl and backed out. Thus it was that the boy became the son not of a lawyer but of a high school dropout with a passion for mechanics and his salt-of-the-earth wife who was working as a bookkeeper.

Walter Isaacson from Steve Jobs

Definitely been an enjoyable read so far...


The culture fear

14 Sep 2011

While identity theft is a real problem, there is abundant evidence that it comes from institutional sources: from hackers breaking in to corporate databases or from gross security leaks on a mass scale. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that individuals are stealing passwords by over-the-shoulder spying.

Alan Cooper from The culture of fear

This reminded me of a project we worked on a few years ago where we dropped concealing the password field. As a benefit, we were also able to remove the password confirmation field because it was now redundant information someone could see with their own eyes.


Affected by what you say

3 Jul 2011

It’s too overwhelming to remember that at the end of every computer is a real person, a lot like you, whose birthday was last week, who has three best friends but nobody to spoon at night, and who is personally affected by what you say.

Derek Sivers from Anything You Want

Just finished Derek Siver's new book. Found his take on running a business very humbling and honest.


Sherlock on theorising

2 Jul 2011

I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

We can learn a lot from Sherlock Holmes.


Jacques Cousteau made it happen

21 Jul 2010

However, during the war, the German army was requisitioning almost all of the 35-millimeter film stock in Europe, for use in reconnaissance missions; not only was the film expensive, but now it was nearly impossible to find. This presented a problem for my determined father, who searched diligently in film shops all over France. Whatever the cost, he was determined to pay it. Wherever he happened to be, he found time to look for his precious film, until one day, he realized that he did not need movie film at all. He saw that any 35-millimeter film would work equally well, so he purchased rolls and rolls of film intended for still photography. Then, he and my mother would stay up half the night, under the bedcovers, gluing the film together 36-frame strip by 36-frame strip, so that it would be suitable for moving pictures.

Daniel Paisner, Jean-Michel Cousteau from My Father, the Captain: My Life With Jacques Cousteau

A great example of Jacques Cousteau finding a creative solution to bypass external constraints that could prevent his projects from happening.


Collection system

19 Jul 2010

There are three “collection success factors”: 1. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head. 2. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with. 3. You must empty them regularly.

David Allen from Getting Things Done

An old one... but rereading parts of this book always seems to initiate some new-found motivation to organize my cognitive space.


It hits the panic button.

2 Jun 2010

The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point, Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got. The professional must be alert for this counterattack. Be wary at the end. Don’t open that bag of wind.

Steven Pressfield from THE WAR OF ART


Day 30 could wait.

2 Jun 2010

When we launched Basecamp, we didn’t even have the ability to bill customers! Because the product billed in monthly cycles, we knew we had a thirty-day gap to figure it out. So we used the time before launch to solve more urgent problems that actually mattered on day one. Day 30 could wait.

Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson from Rework

You have no idea how many times we've managed to convince our clients to wait to do Y until after we launch X. When faced with this predicament... ask yourself, "Can we get by without X? Can we get by without Y?" Get the necessities to market first and let nature take it's course.


Narrative forms

25 Feb 2010

I was curious how it would perform against a traditional form. Would people be more inclined to complete it because of the narrative format? Or would the unfamiliar presentation format confuse people?

Luke Wroblewski from "Mad Libs" Style Form Increases Conversion 25-40%

An interesting approach to form design that we might want to explore ourselves.


As to Science

16 Feb 2010

We may well define it for our purpose as “methodical thinking directed toward finding regulative connections between our sensual experiences.” Science, in the immediate, produces knowledge and, indirectly, means of action. It leads to methodical action if definite goals are set up in advance. For the function of setting up goals and passing statements of value transcends its domain. While it is true that science, to the extent of it’s grasp of causative connections, may reach important conclusions as to the compatibility and incompatibility of goals and evaluations, the independent and fundamental definitions regarding goals and values remain beyond science’s reach.

Albert Einstein Ideas and Opinions p. 58 (1948)

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