I realized a while ago at work that when you ask someone to do something you have to include a few key elements if you actually want it to get done. This is particularly relevant in a work environment.
I'm writing this so other developers can share in the laughter (ha!) and designers/managers can learn.
I've seen this a few times. It feels like there's a mad-libs form that designers/managers use to communicate things in a software project.
$normal_behavior_of_our_product_for_the_past_year, $insulting_phrase, $client_need_never_mentioned_before_this_month, $high_stress!!!!!
So, an example letter:
We started watching the tv-show lost a while ago on netflix streaming. This is great because we can watch episodes back to back which gets rid of the anxiety over what will happen "next week."
We found a few occurrences that were uncommon enough that they could be used as a pretty decent game.
I recently accepted a position as an employee at Acquia. I have been "my own boss" since about 2006. I had a brief stint as a part-time employee at a company that has now ceased operations, but for the most part I've been the "owner" of GVS.
Thoughts on GVS
I founded GVS with a few goals. I wanted a company that mirrored open source values of do-ocracy and collaborative decision making. In part this was to make it easy for us to hire community rock-stars and have them feel right at home. In reality that didn't work perfectly though it worked pretty darn well. In part this was because I don't really like being a "manager" and wanted to have an empowered independent team. That mostly worked :)
GVS has had a ton of amazing clients and projects. Some of my personal highlights I'm most proud of are the work on Economist.com, California Closets, and the Drupalcon Chicago site which really helped push forward the COD platform. Not everything turned out perfectly. We had our fair share of mistakes but I think in the end we at least were honest and did our best to deliver what we promised and what the client wanted.
One of the real highlights was that working at GVS allowed me to take a 9 month long trip through Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, and Peru with my wonderful wife. We visited 30+ wineries, drastically improved our Spanish, and had an amazing time. I've asked every employer I worked for to support me in doing that and none really did. Working for myself I could do that. Of course, it was a lot of work to make that a reality. I had to be aggressive about accepting certain clients that would be flexible with me while I was abroad and on flakey internet connections. I also used that time strategically by investing much more than normal in my community work which has had long term marketing benefits.
I haven't written nearly as much on this site in the last year or two in part because I "blog" less and in part because I'm just doing it in more specialized places. I realized that by writing about all sorts of different things on knaddison.com I was creating 1 site with no focus when instead I could create 12 sites each with singular focus. The latter form is, of course, more useful to readers.
Here's an introduction for one site Nikki and I have been working on that we really enjoy: Ice Cream Denver.
Denver Ice Cream Review & Photo blog
Nikki loves Ice Cream. I don't mind it ;) And especially with our little daughter we were looking for a new project that would be a fun weekend errand. We started the site in September of 2010 and immediately posted a bunch of store locations. Shortly after we started posting photos of the various shops.
A few of my favorites:
Chalk Board Menus
Chalk board menus are common in the restaurant industry and definitely deliver a cutesy feeling at ice cream shops. For liks south it's painted on and cutesy, but not so practical (in spite of their hundreds of flavors). At sweet action it seems purely practical: they are often adding and removing items from their menu. Menus are a popular item on the site, so popular I created a listing page.
And not a day too soon. Holy cow, after literally years of waiting and begging the IKEA in South Denver is finally opening on July 27th. I predict massive traffic jams. I plan to go there and sell tiny meatballs with tiny swedish flags in them accompanied by iced-lingonberry-juice-like-beverage.
I am an early adopter, packrat. When people need an extra phone charger or connector cable they come to me.
So if I throw something out, that means it must be old as dirt. Here is a list of things I threw away today.
- A Dell PS2 keyboard I got for free with my computer in 1997
- Palmrests for two keyboards I'm not even sure I own any more
- A Belkin vga/ps2 KVM switch I purchased in 2004
- A IEEE1394 (Firewire) PCMCIA card I purchased so I could connect my first generation ipod to my Windows XP powered 2003 HP laptop (I'm keeping the laptop)
- A PCI E-Sata connector - I think I got this with a 2.5" hard drive enclosure that ran on USB2.0 or E-sata (actually, I'm so keeping this if I can just find the e-sata cable!)
- 2 RJ11 (yes, 11!) cords - one approximately 10 feet, one 20 feet. Wired telephones??!?! Ha!
- A 6 foot long USB extension cable (i.e. male to female) that we bought in 2002 so we could put the computer behind the couch and the monitor on the side table like a TV
- A serial to ps2 connecter that I got for free from upenn.forfree so I could plug in a serial mouse I got somewhere...I don't even remember how this story ends
- A plug that goes from UK to standard power supply - WTF did I need this?
- A USB to Sony Ericcson T-9(?)00? connector cable I purchased in 2004. The software it came with sucked
- A PCMCIA adapter for compact flash I bought in 2000. This was awesome. But, it turns out that compactflash is the biggest kind of flash. Also, I have another 9 way flash adapter that has compactflash in it! :)
- Not one, but TWO power chargers for mini USB phones. Too bad the industry just standardized on micro USB.
- An adapter that takes USB/PS2 power and uses that to give energy to an external 2.5" hard drive enclosure just in case your USB1.1 doesn't give the drive enough power. (Yes, USB 1.1!). I bought this in ~2005.
- A PS2 mouse from a computer I bought in ~2005