Friday, June 25, 2010

Positive <==> Successful?

Went to an IndyHall happy hour tonight at National Mechanics. It was excellent.

There's one thing I've been noticing over the past couple weeks. "Successful" people are positive. I know this is nothing new or terribly original, but it's something that, when you really get to talking to people, you can't help but notice. They have a way of seeing the lesson and the value in almost any experience.

I have only anecdotal evidence yet (I'm a scientist), but I think it may be true that positive people are "successful" too. I'm thinking this is because there are fewer opportunities for outright failure when the majority of experiences have some value. So positive people are less likely to classify what other people would as outright failure; they're just stepping stones—educational moments—on the way to something else.

Ok, that's enough Tony Robbins for tonight.

By the way, I don't really hate marketing. I just have a lot to learn.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lies Facebook Tells

I'm just a little frustrated at Facebook right now. When I created my event, I checked the little box that said "Anyone can view and RSVP (public event)". Then, on my event page, under Event Information, it says:
This is a public event. Anyone can see the event, RSVP, or invite others to this event.
Awesome. Sounds good.

So why, when I clicked on a link to my event without being signed in today, did it tell me that "You must log in to see this page."?!?! Turns out that when they say that anyone can see the event, they're just lying to you. Really what they mean is:
Only people with a Facebook account, or people that were explicitly invited, can view your event. And there's no way to open it up. Because the only public that we care about is the select portion of the public that chooses to use Facebook. We will alienate anyone else. Sorry.
Damn it, Facebook! I already sent out the announcements.

*Sigh*, I should have tested harder.  The moral of the story: you can use Facebook, just don't believe a thing it tells you.

I Hate Marketing

I hate marketing.  I guess the marketing I'm referring to is the sending of notices through email, twitter, facebook, and every other communication channel you can access. It makes my palms sweat. Makes my heart beat fast. I feel like I'm bothering people. I feel like I'm inundating a lot of already over-inundated people with extra information.

Part of this is that I have to get better at using different communication channels. For example, I sent out a tweet about the Phillyware meeting this thursday. It said:
hey folks, i'm holding a brainstorming meeting for ideas on building civic software community in philly. come by:
Someone from Refresh Philly repackaged it as:
Interested in building civic software tools for Philly citizens? Join @mjumbewu at @indyhall this Thurs
I found that a much more appropriate blast. Why? They both talked about the meeting, but while my message leads with what I was doing, RefreshPhilly's leads with the reason you would be interested. It engages you with a question, an actual prompt through which to consider the meeting, in 140 characters or less.

This is, of course, something that anyone with any experience in marketing would know.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I (heart) My Gnome Desktop

So I was sitting here yet again enjoying my Gnome desktop experience, and I was so moved by my enjoyment that I had to write a post about it. I'm really loving my Gnome these days.

Someone Read this Blog

Someone commented on my post-RefreshPhilly post the other day. Which was weird because I never really expect anyone to read this blog. It's more of a personal space. But then if I didn't invite it, I'd have made the blog private.

Anyway, it makes me nervous about writing anything disparaging. It prompted me to re-read my post, nervous about what I said.  But I have no reason to be nervous (my most harsh comment was that the talks weren't "earth-shattering"). Really, I just have to remember that, even when writing to myself, I'm incredibly forgiving of my subjects.

1.5 miles on June 17

So today, in about 13 minutes, I ran this much:

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It's about 1.5 miles, according to Google. I think I was trying to outdo my before. But it turns out I didn't do much better. I mean, I wasn't as beat as before, but I think that may be because I had more of a goal. Anyway, it's not bad. I feel like I'd like to be able to do 2 miles in 15 minutes or less.

Monday, June 14, 2010

HappyCog @ RefreshPhilly

I went to a RefreshPhilly talk by HappyCog this evening.  They talked about their process in developing the new website.  They presented four stages of development: information architecture, back-end coding, front-end coding, and design.  Things were not necessarily done in that order, but that was the presentation order.
  • Information Architecture

    This is classification of information within context. It's clumping and separating. It's apples and oranges, but to a botanist or a chef. The information architectural design is going to determine the structure of your menus and links (and probably other stuff).

    Start with a detailed breakdown of the domain (context) you're working within, from a users point of view. Classify them according to importance and according to how well they can be achieved through software, and then clump them into separable categories (experiential goals -- things the user wants to do with the software).

    The presenter recommended a book: Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young.  Might be worth checking out. I should also get around to reading those other books like The Design of Everyday Things.
  • Back-end Coding

    This, in the case of HappyCog and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), was construction of the system that the site maintainers will interact with.  It was choosing and setting up a CMS.  It was also deciding how to transfer all the old data into the new system.
  • Front-end Coding

    This was basically taking the design and coding it.  She gave some good best-practices advice, like making landing pages for all top-level menu links (for folks without javascript), and making :hover :focus and onMouseOver onFocus for those people browsing with their keyboards (I do that!).  Also, I like their "megamenus".
  • Design

    I would sum-up design as a word in one of the slides: reinterpreting. It was taking a new [conceptual] image of the city and putting it into a visual statement.  They came up with some emotive themes that they wanted Philadelphia tourism to embody (contemporary, fashionable, and a couple others I don't remember), and evaluated each of their design possibilities against those themes.
Anyways, nothing earth-shattering, but I certainly learned some things, and had other things that I may have already known on some level made salient.

1.2 Miles Today

So this is the route I ran today:

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Apparently it took me about 10 minutes. Hm. Well, I'm not training for a marathon or anything, but I'd like to be in good soccer shape. That's not good soccer shape yet, I think.