Big changes under the new Fico regime. Here are the changes and consequences in English.
We hire lots of designers, many of them from the local technical university. I’m always surprised at how many of them have really crappy technical skills. It seems to go with the underlying meme in society that computers are for guys. Invariably, these designers are very concerned with doing creative work and being seen as creative.
Here’s how bad it can get. Our latest hire (with a Master’s Degree in technical design!) could not even do a scan properly. She handed back jaggy 700 px x 1000 px scans of 12 x 18 photos with bad black and white points.
Wake up ladies. Design is a craft. There is no more excuse for you not having first rate technical skills than for a carpenter not to be able to use a lathe properly.
Perhaps they could make the argument that they are more sculptors than wood workers. Did Rodin have to know how to use a lathe (actually Rodin worked mainly in bronze)?
On LinkedIn, have you seen the message?
Full profiles for 3rd-degree connections are available only to premium account holders.
The first couple of times I saw this I thought it had to be temporary glitch. At a time when everyone else is adding useful features, LinkedIn is taking them away.
Most of the time you cannot see what LinkedIn call 3rd degree connections. But not all of the time.
We’ve suffered through two world wars with you, you didn’t pay the reparations we wanted for the first one, you’ll pay those reparations now.
Foliovision were recently contacted to provide $500 of technical work by a firm called Visiomente. A simple Typepad to WordPress content move. Normally we would never write about an inquiry but Visiomente made such an effort to screw us and wasted enough of our time that a look at their business tactics is widely instructive about what’s wrong with American business these days.
Our hopes are this post might help other small businesses protect themselves against Visiomente and their ilk in the future.
Visiomente appears not to do anything themselves except run around and subcontract experts to provide work to high end clients. It appears Visiomente’s sole business model is to contract at the lowest possible prices and then charges on the work at the highest possible prices under their own name.
Heroic work at great personal sacrifice are what makes hope possible. It is an honour to support such work.
“people who buy iPhones are image-conscious fad-following idiots”.
The words of Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame, not mine. But a pretty good summary of the situation.
Gruber was complaining about the brilliant Samsung Galaxy S II ad making the rounds. Here is the long version (1m25s) which you might otherwise miss. There's lots of additional clever repartee not in the airplay version: "I guess this is what adultery feels like," says one of the Apple fans in the queue with the Samsung Galaxy in his hands.
long form version of the brilliant Samsung ad
I'm one of the people who moved from iPhone to Android and is really happy about it. Here's why. I owned an iPhone 3GS. After the initial thrill of ownership wore off, I became very tired of:
- being forced to update to the latest version of iTunes every week
- having my mobile phone tied to my credit card and personal account at Apple, sending all the info in my mobile phone to Apple anytime Apple chooses
- fighting with a virtual keyboard which fills most of the screen when you are using it
- really slow network switching (I live on the border between Slovakia and Austria and need to switch networks often), usually requiring turning the iPhone on and off
- having to hack the iPhone to be able to share the internet connection from the iPhone even to a Mac: and then to be worried that any given update could kill my tethering set up
- looking at really lousy photographs, worse than my two year old Nokias
What's your best advice for balancing life and work as an entrepreneur? Forget it.
This post is a continuation from a recent post about Scientific Management and the Toyota Way.
Something we are working on is some additional capacity in peak periods (as auto manufacturers have additional suppliers they can bring online if a sudden surge in demand appears). Gradually we are getting there. In the meantime, I take great care not to take on more work than we can handle. There's at least a $100,000/month of business which I'm not seeking as we just couldn't maintain quality standards yet. We are working on increasing capacity first and then slowly adding those additional clients.
My girlfriend is shocked and horrified that we are leaving this kind of money on the table. Her shock diminished when I explained that every day Foliovision leaves millions on the table in Slovakia alone:
A new order for some advanced Basecamp features came in. I checked the weblog of the client to see where they are coming from and ran into a new term: neo-Taylorism. Taylorism apparently had very negative connotations. My only acquaintance with Taylor is with the sails manufacturer and the association is positive. I decided to go digging and in the process ran into the concepts of:
- scientific management
- human relations movement
- Toyota production system
Running a company is
a pain in the neck tremendously challenging.
If you are in the knowledge business, there are two major challenges:
- managing people
- managing process
You are spared the pain of managing inventory. In a sense, time becomes your inventory but it does at least take a third dimension out of the equation, in comparison to auto parts production where you really, really need to manage raw materials and parts.
What's cool about business theory is that it's all been invented before.
Scientific Management: neo-Taylorism
This Taylor is Frederick and he died in 1915, before Henry Ford's factories were built. Frederick Taylor came up with something called Scientific Management. The basic idea was to improve workflow (hey I need some of that) and labour output (work faster!).
The basic idea is that best practice methods should be documented and taught: all workers should produce quality work. A good start. The problem remains that with equal pay, there is no disincentive for workers not to dog it or goldbrick. Taylor called this slow working "soldiering". Many workers call it "getting through the day". I've got a friend like this. Once someone approaches work like this, that person is nearly unemployable at Foliovision or anywhere else where enthusiasm, productivity and quality of work are valued.
Drupal can be justified for enormous projects, Joomla should die a violent death, WordPress is great for any kind of site small or large. Here's why.
Keeping out of date and inaccurate information in your help documents is just wrong. Case in point: 37signals Highrise export.
How should you get feedback from your employees. It depends on organisation size. Small groups: just ask. Larger: have a look at Rypple.
Should you use bcToolkit? How important is reporting. Are there any more affordable alternatives to bcToolkit?
Rand Fishkin's three months in VC hell in 2009 and how he woke up out of the nightmare and made SEOmoz profitable instead. Goal: build a better world.
Is it worth upgrading to the 37signals suite from Basecamp? Really, it depends how much sync you need and how much integration you want.
For years we had our sites all on Cartika Hosting and we loved it. For about five years I think. We recommended Cartika Hosting to all our clients and put up a lot of sites on Cartika.
The disk space limits and even bandwidth were always pretty tight in comparison to what you could get with Dreamhost, Bluehost or Hostgator. But we didn't mind.
What we wanted was quality and security and for that we were prepared to pay a significant premium over discount hosting. We called it "business quality hosting", after a rough ride with our own site Foliovision on Dreamhost for a few months with our client sites on Hostroute.
Alas, without civil oversight, private enterprise is not an invisible helping hand, but the ripper's glove on your throat.
In January we helped Mark Levison's Agile Pain Relife consulting make a very successful Typepad to WordPress transition. Behind the scenes there is a very interesting design case study, we'd like to share.
The main aim was to move the content from Typepad webblog to his new business domain. Mark's company focuses on the business of "relieving software development pain". He came to us with a great domain and a catchy name for this business: Agile Pain Relief Consulting comes from.
Mark chose the WooTuits theme, which we thought was a great fit. He didn't ask any significant modifications. The challenge was to adapt it to Mark's consulting firm's business goals. At Foliovision, when we talk about customising a template it goes far beyond simple changes like background colour or the size of the font. We start with a template but seek to end with a unique site which look like a custom design.
We firmly believe that getting one's logo and branding right is the starting point for a successful design. Mark didn't have a budget for the logo work so we agreed to do a new logo ourselves which Mark would purchase if he liked it.
Whatever happened to the CDDB and to FreeDB?
CDDB evolved into Gracenote. It looked like they were losing their stranglehold when Roxio moved to FreeDB in 2000. A closed settlement resulted in Roxio moving to Gracenote full time. I hope they were clever enough to get free stock in Gracenote for the pleasure.
The next death knell (although no one knew how important it was at the time) for FreeDB was that Apple went with Gracenote and then disabled any ability for users to submit to FreeDB (for a couple of years it was possible to use the FreeDB servers instead by monkeying around in one's hosts file, but it was a pretty techy solution). Without