Don't talk about what your product is

It’s really important, not to talk about what your product is. Nobody Cares. Talk about what the customer feels, wants, dreams of, etcetera. That’s what they care about. – Amy Hoy Speaking on the Ruby Rogues Podcast #72

The Entrepreneur's Notebook (part 1)

Part 1 of 3 See also: Part 2 - Tips for more productive note-taking Part 3 - Searchability, Notebook choices, and backups “Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.” - Francis Bacon, Sr. I contend that the best thing you can do to improve your entrepreneurial skills is to practice thinking like one. What follows is my favorite technique for doing just that, and if you choose to emulate it, I guarantee you’ll end up with more business ideas to work on than you every imagined you had in you.

The Entrepreneur's Notebook (part 2)

Tips for more productive note-taking Part 2 of 3 See also: Part 1 - Introducing the Entrepreneur’s Notebook Part 3 - Searchability, Notebook choices, and backups So, you’ve decided you want to try keeping an Entrepreneur’s Notebook, or maybe you already do, but want some tips on making it more useful. Excellent. What follows are the techniques I’ve found to be most useful in my entrepreneurial notebooks. If you’ve got some tips of your own, please drop me a note or leave a comment.

The Entrepreneur's Notebook (part 3)

Notebook choices, and backups Part 3 of 3 See also: Part 1 - Introducing the Entrepreneur’s Notebook Part 2 - Tips for more productive note-taking What about backups and searchability? This is one place where the digital age is unquestionably superior. Dropbox, iCloud, email… there are myriad ways to back up your digital writing, and text is easy to search. On the mac, Spotlight gives you great search across every document you’ve ever written and searching within a document is easy in any text editor.

Appcelerator: extortion is just part of the job...

Appcelerator was recently caught extorting one of its free users, and then that users client for £5000, and then others spoke up to say it’d happened to them too. Initially it looked like it could have either been a bullshit company policy, or just a salesperson lacking in morals. In the end, it turns out to be both, but the response by the CEO is why I would strongly encourage you to never use an Appcelerator product (free or otherwise) for your project.

Cheshire [Definition]

Cheshire: the collective noun for sidecar motorcycles (alternately known as “hacks”) owing to the extraordinarily high probability of generating smiles in the people they pass relative to all other vehicles. Usage: “Upon encountering a cheshire of sidecars one should strongly consider playing the lottery.” or “Wow! There goes a cheshire of hacks.”

Blog post dates: Precision, or freshness. What's important?

Not too long ago I sent out a question. I asked people when, and why, dates were important to them on blog posts. The responses were revealing, both for what they did, and did not contain. There are some situations where having a date on your blog posts is obviously needed. If you write about anything techy you absolutely need them. I come across tons of sites with perfectly good code examples, that have been obsolete for years.

An offer for Web Geeks

I’d like to make a simple offer to the web geeks out there: One hour of one person’s skills, to make the web a little bit more awesome, and raise $75 for your favorite environmental or medical charity. Information Architects (the people behind iAWriter) have come up with a really spectacular JavaScript / CSS widget. When you load one of their long articles (like this one) you’ll see a widget in the top right corner that says “Older | Newer” and links you to the previous or next article.

I love the internet

Something kind-of amazing just happened. Background: is a really cool site, that I’d never heard of until Amazon decided to stop processing payments for them. Think Kickstarter for freeing out-of print books. They get people to create a wishlist of books they’d like to see released as Creative Commons licensed DRM-free ebooks. They then talk to the authors and publishers of the books people want to find out how much money it would take to “unglue” them.

Turning Down Apple

I just turned down an interview with Apple. There are a few companies who, when they call with a job offer you’ll respond with “fuck yes”. Apple is on that list for me. And yet… A recruiter called me the other day. Apple needs someone and my particular skillset and background. It seemed to be a pretty good match, and she’d been looking for a while. An internal tool building kind of job, in a language I enjoy, for a company I admire?