April 2010 « Digital Tool Factory blog

The Digital Tool Factory Blog

Is an Ivy League education pointless for creative people?

IVE•RI•TAS came across some of Richard Florida’s work online yesterday (Florida is the author of “The Creative Class” and the creator of the notion that creative people should self-segregate) and I began wondering: why do Ivy League institutions produce so few creative people? Continue reading →


29
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

Beware aggressive salespeople – The power of “No”

the walls are coming downFor reasons unknown I spent most of yesterday dealing with salespeople.  One common component of all the salespeople was the instinct to “Close”.  The longer the contract period (these were all service companies) the stronger the close instinct.

Usually I just hang up on these people, but for fun I tried negotiating with them using the various Jim Camp “No” methods.  To my pleasure I was able to easily redirect questions and build need on my adversary’s part.    I was able to decrease the price (on average) 25% and got several freebies as well, if I ever decided to go through with any of the offers.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Unfurled

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


28
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

The civil war between designers and developers shifts to developers

07 Battle of Tunnel Hill 034I’ve long viewed web development as a shifting balance of power between graphic designers and software developers.   A rough timeline would go something like this Continue reading →


27
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

The three types of wealth – Money, Time, and Clan

Contando DinheiroAfter reading this article on the phenomenon of Farmville I revised my notions of wealth.  I previously categorized wealth in the following two ways:

  • Owning Money – how much money do you have in the bank account, or can be converted to cash quickly.  Most people regard money wealth as the only wealth
  • Owning Time – How much time do you have in the average week/month/year that is under your control?  Do you spend 90 hours a week working in a job you hate?   Do you spend 30 hours a week doing housework, maintaining electronic gear, smiling at people you don’t care about, or commuting?   If so, you possess little time, no matter how much money you can spend.  Tim Ferriss is the best explainer of this notion.  Read his blog (and book).  (I include  his book, The Four Hour Workweek on my all time top ten list of books.  I intend to write a time-wealth calculator at some point.)

Up until reading the Farmville article I limited my definitions of wealth to the above two categories.  Reading the article crystallized my notion of clan wealth.

Please note, I’m using the Southern American definition of Clan, which I define as a group of people related by blood, marriage, friendship, or history of friendship which has an intricate network of mutual obligations and debts and acts as one unit on divisive issues.  (Please also note, nothing in this post relates to the KKK).  In American pop history the Hatfield and the McCoy groups serve as the best example of clans.

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog

Continue reading →


22
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

The 5 lessons of personal development

Helper - B4 I’ve read many personal development books and business books in the past year, and they all seem to be variants of the following five ideas

  • Live in the present – thinking about the past and the future leads to thoughts of grievance or anxiety.  The best example is Derek Sivers’ essay on the topic
  • Be specific – self explanatory but the general rule is that if you can’t be specific about something, you will not get it, and probably don’t need it.
  • Not much will kill you – we conjure up dragons and doomsday scenarios in our heads, all for no purpose.  Go ahead and try it
  • Nothing is that important – you can afford to lose a few times so long as you rounds of the fight so long as you learn something
  • Measure – measurement is the key to everything – if it can’t be measured in at least some way, reconsider doing it.

The rest seem to be specific tips and tricks.

Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


20
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

The Kill Shot and Project Management

Sniper - SpetsnatsWhat is a preventable cause of scope creep?  Anxiety.  Anxiety attacks project managers at the end of projects, making some or all of the following happen:

  • Project managers insist on new “essential” features
  • Assistants demand detailed technical explanations for the most mundane of matters.
  • Urgent, surprise meetings will be held
  • People you’ve never heard of start talking about “revisiting” and “Ten Thousand Foot Views“.
  • The main project manager will put the project on hold “just for a little while” until “this is all sorted out”
  • The main project manager will decide that every manager in the company must sign off on the project.

The cause of the above is a difference in anxiety between you and the client.  The web developer experiences the highest anxiety and least clarity at the beginning (least specific point in terms of development) of the project and the lowest anxiety and most clarity at the end of the project.

Continue reading →


19
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

Upgrading to Silverlight 4 and Visual Studio 2010

Abstract TechnologySorry for the blog silence so far, I’m still working on my post on programming and endurance sports.  I also have started using Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4.  So far I’m impressed by both.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Wonderlane

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


16
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

Free Jim Camp negotiation book – “Start With No”

DiscussionI listened to an interview with negotiation coach Jim Camp on Mixergy and learned much from the experience.  He evangelizes (for lack of a better word) a negotiation strategy based on rules rather than outcomes, which rules out “win-win” as a strategy.    He also posted the audio copy of his book “Start With No” on his website, called (not surprisingly) StartWithNo.com.  I’m listening to the audio version now and I’m learning useful things.  So far, the economic basis for negotiation (consumer surplus, gains from trade, etc) is omitted and he affirms several obvious points that everyone needs to remember and explains several subtle points in detail.

Recommended reading and listening.  I find it to be  10 out of 10 so far.

I imagine I will wind up buying his later book for highlighting and checklist purposes.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pawpaw67

 

This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog


15
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

Lessons from Joseph Kennedy

I read the Wikipedia entry on Joseph Kennedy (JFK and Ted’s father) and his business life fascinated me.  Particularly I was struck by the following passage (describing his time in the stock market in the Great Crash) as :

Kennedy survived the crash “because he possessed a passion for facts, a complete lack of sentiment and a marvelous sense of timing.”

The above tendencies are usually descibed as “shrewd”, but it is informative to see the tendencies listed out like that. Continue reading →


14
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 

The Turner Rule in Marketing and Branding

good timesOver the years I have met many alumni of the Turner Empire (CNN/Turner Broadcasting/Turner Enterprises/WCW/TBS/Braves/Hawks, etc) and most of them have told me some version of the following story.

[Setup - In the early days of CNN and Turner Broadcasting Ted Turner would prowl his office building and drop in unannounced into random meetings.   One day he walked into a meeting where people were planning a cross-channel week-long special on dinosaurs] Continue reading →


12
Apr 10


Written By Steve French

 



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