When You Freelance, Make Decisions & Stick to Them

I almost called this one, “Trust and be Trusted, but don’t betray your business.” That’s the gist of the next two stories. It’s easy to make concessions when you’re freelancing, especially when business is slow. You need the work and you’re willing to bend your rules a little bit to move the chains, or bump the bottom line, or whatever metaphor you want to use for, “make more money.” But that might not always work out. I wrote this article in a notebook while on vacation, about 1 month before starting the book Start with Why. I’m happy to say this book reinforced the sentiments of what I’m about to share with you: When you make decisions for your business, stick to them.  Continue reading “When You Freelance, Make Decisions & Stick to Them”

Should we Charge Extra for IE Development?

The exact question was worded this way: Has the time come to charge clients extra for getting their site to work in any version of IE? It’s an interesting question to say the least, and one that comes up every so often when a developer is frustrated with something that works fine in Chrome/Firefox/Safari but not IE. There’s not really an easy answer to this because it all depends on why this question gets asked so often. There is a difference between charging more because of a project’s complexity and charging more because you don’t want to deal with something.

Continue reading “Should we Charge Extra for IE Development?”

Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, & the United States 240 Years Later

Perhaps at this point, you’ve heard of the bastard, orphan, immigrant presently featured on the $10 Bill (though he’s actually been on all of them). I’m talking about Alexander Hamilton, the founding father who’s seen a resurgence thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s incredible musical, Hamilton. And you know Thomas Jefferson, the founding father whose popularity is rivaled only by George Washington’s. I’ve been thinking a lot about these guys thanks to a book I recently read called Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry that Forged a Nation. But that’s not the only reason; today is the 240th Anniversary of the United States becoming an independent nation. 2015-2016 has been politically tumultuous and things don’t promise to get much better as we enter the primaries. However, I am reminded that there have been worse times, and our republic has survived. It’s almost a quarter of a century old, and that’s incredible.

Continue reading “Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, & the United States 240 Years Later”

What I Learned from 2 Weeks without Data

When I arrived in Italy for what would be an epic 2 week honeymoon, I had a plan in mind to make sure I would not be without a cell phone and data connection. My wife got me a Nexus 5X last Christmas so I decided to sign up for Google’s Project Fi for international cell service. It’s much cheaper than ATT and I’d get to spend some quality time with Android after being away for about a year. However, when we arrived in Venice I noticed I was connecting to cell towers, but I wasn’t able to text or get online. I thought maybe Venice was spotty but as we moved down country, I still had no luck. I was relegated to calls anywhere, but text and data only on WiFi, which was basically at the hotel. Here’s how that went.

Continue reading “What I Learned from 2 Weeks without Data”

Solve Actual Problems

Imagine you are taking a test. You are presented with several word problems and are instructed to pick one to solve. Instead what you do is write your own problem – one that you think is a good one to solve, and answer that one. You’re so confident that the teacher will be impressed because you thought of it and you love it and you think it’s a great solution. But when you get the test back, it has a big red F on it. How could that be? Your solution is sound and well thought out. You were invested in it! The teacher explains that while the solution seems like a good one, you didn’t solve any of the problems he asked you to solve. You made up your own based on what you believe. This is a bad way to take tests. But this happens all the time with new products or services. I will come up with an idea I think is great, sink time and money into it, and ultimately it will fail. The reason is I’m trying to solve problems people don’t think they have. The key to a successful product or service is solve actual problems.

Continue reading “Solve Actual Problems”

The Keys to being Productive When Your Work Remotely

We are approaching the end of another school year. Students & teachers alike are clamoring for the sweet freedom that summer brings. When I was in middle school and high school I remember looking forward to summer so much that I told my parents I wish I could skip the school year and just have summer vacations. Of course like many kids my age, my short-sightedness got the best of me. Not long after that final school bell my brothers and I would be out in the front yard when one of us would utter the 2 words that parents dread hearing: “I’m bored.” We were so focused on getting to summer break that we didn’t take much time to think about what we would do once we got there. The same thing could happen when you work remotely: just because you can go anywhere, doesn’t mean you can work anywhere. A little preparation will help.

Continue reading “The Keys to being Productive When Your Work Remotely”

Flip the Classroom, but not onto its Head

Imagine you’re watching a movie. In this thriller, the protagonist is in a dark ally pursuing the bad guy. All seems quite when out of the corner of your eye the killer come into view. He sneaks up on our hero, raises his weapon, and gets ready to strike. You scream, “LOOK OUT,” but no one can hear you. You can’t interact with the film; you know this, but you scream anyway. But what if it wasn’t a movie? What if you’re in a classroom, learning some complicated theory. You have questions, but the instructor can’t hear you. You, like our protagonist, are out of luck. That’s a terrible way to learn. It’s also what could happen when Flipped Classrooms are done wrong.

Continue reading “Flip the Classroom, but not onto its Head”

My 2016 Learning Plan: Timeboxing, Better Photos, and Tech

Every so often I decide it’s high time I start learning some new skills. My first “learning binge” was a pretty successful one, as I accomplished everything I hoped I would. My second one took a little longer than I hoped, but in the end I still hit a couple of good goals. There are a few kinks I need to work out of both projects but they are more or less in the wild. This time around, there’s a list of things I want to learn and project I want to work on and release. Much like last time I will use those projects to learn new things, but there’s a new challenge: time management.

Continue reading “My 2016 Learning Plan: Timeboxing, Better Photos, and Tech”