Stop fighting holy wars

There are many “holy wars” in tech, and you’d be best served to stop participating in them. These discussions are bikeshedding: Spending an outsized amount of time and energy on trivial details. And when talking in public, they don’t paint you in a good light. In sport, they can be fun. However, I think getting […]

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Quarantine Work is Not Remote Work

I’ve worked remotely for nearly a decade: Either self-employed or at a job, it was always completely or partially remote. I can count myself as blessed during the current situation; I have a full-time job in an industry that hasn’t taken much of a hit. My job, knock on wood, is safe. I know others […]

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5 Ways to Carve Large Pull Requests Into Bite-Sized Ones

Substantial, complicated updates break software in large, complicated ways. Smaller, simpler changes break in smaller, simpler ways. It would help if you considered applying the “ship more, ship smaller” mindset. It’ applies the single responsibility principle to your pull requests. Avoiding large pull requests also means avoiding arduous code reviews and delayed deployments. Here are five patterns […]

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What’s The Best Publishing Cadence?

If you’re starting a new blog or other publishing habits, how often should you be publishing?  My recommendation is to publish regularly, and as frequently as you can manage it.  The most frequent I’ve seen by individuals is daily. Seth Godin is famous for his daily blog, which has over 7,000 posts and counting. Seth […]

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Code is a Liability

The most valuable conversations I have with product leaders are the ones where I fire myself. Sometimes the best solution is not writing more code. Writing code comes with tradeoffs worth considering before starting a new initiative. All code, even perfect code, requires maintenance. Maintenance includes more than repairs when needed. It also includes hosting […]

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How to Choose Your Blogging Platform

There are more tools and channels for publishing content online than ever before, but getting started is also more daunting than ever. It’s because of the paradox of choice. Heightened anxiety caused by more choices leads to analysis paralysis. Tools should be used to enable your work, not deter you from it. If you want […]

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The Budget is Set. Now What?

Projects are sometimes doomed long before any designers or developers are brought in. Your work will never provide value or even see the light of day if you are working on something where the only possible outcomes are failure and mediocrity. But some can be saved. You can make it work. Your career will be better off if you can learn to avoid these projects and work within given constraints.

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Reading Articles Because You’re Bored, Huh?

When people ask me how work is going, my response is “the good kind of boring.”  How so?  No pressing deadlines. No sense of urgency. A tried-and-true tech stack. Feedback comes in, and I implement changes. I send code off for review and review others — Features ship. Bugs die.  It’s not terrible. But, when […]

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I Google Simple Functions Daily… Am I A Bad Developer?

“Help! I Landed A Job, And I Have No Idea What I’m Doing!” Do you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing… like you’re a fraud? Impostor syndrome is common in our industry. Wondering when you’ll “just know” something and not be so reliant on Google & Stack Overflow? That day never comes. Anxiety comes from […]

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Get Out Of Your House & Out of Your Head With A Coffee Cowork

To people who don’t work remotely, it sounds like a dream job. Stay in your pajamas all day; no commute, no distracting open floor plan static. People don’t think about the downsides: The isolation, the loneliness. Left unchecked, extended periods of working from home are a mental health hazard. Isolation leads to depression and anxiety, […]

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Writing With Siri

I’m writing this using Siri’s dictation feature on my iPhone. This new method of writing first draft has been a game changer for me. It’s more accurate and sophisticated than I was expecting. Once I got used to the cadence(Saying “Period. New line.” and stopping every 30 seconds because due to technical limitations ), it’s starting […]

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Why I Quit Freelancing

After a second full-time stint, I’ve decided to seek full-time employment opportunities. I’ve had a few people ask me why I’ve made this switch, so here’s my reason why. First, to clarify:  I don’t mean to put freelancing as a profession or those who make that career choice on blast. I have plenty of friends […]

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Freelancing vs. Employment — When to Go Solo and When to Join a Team

Most creatives freelance at some point. Either as extra nights-and-weekends work, filling gaps between jobs, or building your own business. I advocate for learning the basics of doing client work. It gives you immutable job security. If you know how to find clients and profitable work, you’re never unemployed. The ability to fend for yourself provides freedom. At some point, you’ll face […]

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Win Clients With Robots: Marketing Automation for Consultants

A few weeks back a reader asked:  Where should consultants start with marketing automation? I wanted to take a second to answer this. Here’s the challenge consultants face: working to relationships based business. You want to be efficient without being robotic. How can you put systems in place that make you more effective without turning clients off? Most of the times, […]

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What Did The Contractor Say to the Consultant?

There are three terms used for a technical service professional, often interchangeably: contractor, freelancer, and consultant. Let’s put a more specific point on it. Contracting… is the closest to employment. As a contractor, you are effectively an employee that doesn’t get benefits or pay payroll taxes. Engagements are often months in length, and 40 hours/week. […]

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Is Drip A Good Solution For Shopify Stores?

Drip, an email and marketing automation tool, recently launched a redesign and repositioning of their service: Drip’s New Look:   ??? Drip’s New Message The colors aren’t important. What’s important is how Drip changed its self-image. Here’s the important bit from their new manifesto: At Drip, our focus is on driving consumer sales, not B2B […]

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Who Do You Serve? Defining Positioning

The first problem any service business needs to solve is deciding who they are going to serve. Being a generalist makes marketing harder. If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. Other consultants Philip Morgan and Jonathan Stark advocate for what they call the fool-proof positioning statement: I help $TargetCustomer solve $expensiveProblem. Unlike […]

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6 Places You Can Look For RFPs

Are requests for proposals a trap? It’s debatable. Some agencies and consulting make a lot of cash from some large clients. Others spend hours writing proposals and don’t make any progress. If you want to try your hand at winning RFPs, here are some sites you can check out: CommBuys Mirren Ariba Find RFP RFB […]

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How To Use Pipedrive to Close More Sales

Many sales conversations go nowhere. It’s frustrating and like it’s a waste of time. How often do you start a conversation with a potential client, only to have them ghost you after two emails? Having a process to follow up and start new discussions helps alleviate this problem. I use Pipedrive to keep track of this, […]

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A Workaround for CSV Upload Limits

Sometimes, applications have a limit on how many records you can import at once. Sometimes massive imports flag for a manual check, adding a roadblock to your work. Want to split one CSV into many quickly and avoid those pesky upload limits? Here’s a short bash script I use to split .csv files into multiple files while maintaining the header […]

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12 Ways to Increase Revenue With Drip

Email marketing is so much more than a “weekly newsletter” these days, and with powerful tools available at lower price points, a lot more companies can take advantage of these. My go-to tool is Drip. It has a great balance of affordability, simplicity, and power.  There’s a lot of businesses out there that could gain […]

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Using Growth Initiatives To Increase Focus

Is your marketing department allergic to project management? Here’s a strategy that might help you reign in the chaos a little bit: Morphing my vague marketing tasks into discrete, measurable projects: I call them growth initiatives. Others call them experiments, which I don’t use here because when I say that people tend to think “A/B testing”. […]

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The Difference Between Marketing and Growth

Marketing and Growth are two terms have different meanings depending on company culture and context. Here’s how I think about the difference: Marketing is the discipline of increasing the number of eyeballs on you. Marketing is focused on lead generation; building email lists, getting people to sign up for free trials, and general brand awareness. […]

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Step 1. Automate Keyword Research; Step 2.Gain 10,000 New Leads; Step 3: Profit

The Problem Optimizing Amazon listings requires hours of tedious research and calculations to find the best keywords. To solve this problem, Seller Labs was looking to launch Scope: it’s innovative market research and keyword optimization tool. They saw an opportunity to help sellers do a better job at optimizing their listings. The market for Amazon Seller tools […]

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The Good Book Bad Title Book Club

These are a list of books that I recommend often, but always have to follow with “I know what it sounds like, but…” 1. The 4-hour work week by Tim Ferriss What it sounds like: yet another “lifestyle blogger” teaching you how to be lazy and still profit. What’s actually in the book: The original […]

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Recommended Reading for June 2017

Watch the Hands, Not the Cards — The Magic of Megabrew AB InBev is buying up craft breweries with increasing velocity, and not for the reasons you think. Chris Herron, an owner of Athens brewery Creature Comforts, explores the motivations behind these buyouts. As a current brewmaster and former Miller employee, Chris provides in-depth business […]

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How to Raise Your Rates with Existing Clients

Every Freelancer I Know(Myself Included) Made The Same Mistake Starting Out: Charging Too Little Maybe it’s because they didn’t have experience. Maybe it’s because they thought the formula was rate = salary rate / 2000. They didn’t consider all the overhead and liability of being an independent business owner. The Good Ones Wise up. They […]

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Minimum Viable Team Management

There are hundreds of project management tools out there, almost enough to convince software developers that they shouldn’t build another one. As a consultant, I form small teams frequently: my assistant and me, or pulling contractors together into a Large Project Justice League. I also have the privilege of working with many different companies, experiencing a smorgasbord of tools, techniques, and […]

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Tiny Rock Side Hustle

Mother works in Elberton, GA, The Granite Capital of the World at a local Quarry. Here is their #2 best selling product: Tombstones. I love companies like this, invisible enterprises that build something important to everyone. But this isn’t a letter about tombstones; this is a letter about their all-time #1 bestseller: Gravel. If you ever think […]

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How to Make an AJAX Request Without Using Frameworks or Libraries

There are a lot of JavaScript frameworks out there these days. It makes it harder to choose a front-end development workflow when starting a new project and write code that’s portable between different projects. Also, using a complex framework to solve a simple problem adds unneeded complexity and risk to a project, which makes getting that […]

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