Lifestyle design: the plunge

Getting started was much harder than expected. After I got past the first wave of fear & procrastination actual problems reared their ugly heads.

“Problems”

Now there are a lot of people who complain about this word; problems. They seem to believe that by admitting there is such a thing, we stop and give up.

I’ve never believed that. I think we need to clearly state and define every problem and complication before we can do anything about them.

In my experience, the people complaining about this word are the same people who are least likely to solve anything. I might be wrong about this, but it is interesting to note that the larger and more sluggish an organisation, the fewer problems they seem to communicate.

Problems solved

I have things I need to deal with to really get going. The first of these major hurdles I’ve just left in the dust. I’ve managed to clean up my debt and I’m back in the black. It took some radical action, but I’m actually better off now than I have been in years.


Getting ready to celebrate

Happy celebrations

I also managed to celebrate my 31st birthday with a few of my dearest friends. We drank sparkling wine far into the night and both laughed and cries. There was also chocolate cake that might haunt me forever.

Friends

Thank you everyone, I really needed that.

 

Lifestyle design: procrastination and fear

As soon as I had decided to redesign my life. All my creativity left me. All the ideas and opportunities dried up instantly from my mind.

It’s odd how much we’re dependent on a sense of normalcy, of having routine, to help us act.

This is fear, a resistance we feel to change. I’ve never felt it this clearly.

But it’s time to get comfortable with change. Not as a single event, something that happens every once in a while. But something that is constantly ongoing. 

Nothing is ever the same. Not even us.

This week I’ve spent time discussing what it is I want to change with my life. And I’ve realized I feel trapped. By debt, and by living in the same place for 6 years. 

So the coming week, I hope to significantly change that state.

 

Lifestyle design: beginning somewhere

This december my life changed dramatically. I transitioned from being a partner of the worlds best web agencies to what is essentially a normal, though mostly remote, developer job.
Then suddenly, my intended life partner left me. We came to terms again but after months of tears, talks and moments of happiness we finally parted ways.

So now I find myself in a situation usually refered to as a life crisis. But I’m not sure I would call it that.

I’m not crushed. Just a bit sad.

I am not powerless, but more empowered than ever before.

So what now?

Lifestyle design

I’ve always wanted to design my own lifestyle. To try and define how parts of my life fit together. And I’ve had some success creating an unorthodox daily routine already. But now is the perfect time to try something a bit more interesting.

I’m looking into every area of my life, to try to change basically everything, into something that is more me. I will post a step by step log here with my ideas, and my outcomes.

I have no idea where this is going.

But here’s my initial plan: Over the coming year, I will try to tackle one aspect of my life per week. Some might take many weeks. Some might take days. I expect most of these experiments to fail, but to be interesting nonetheless.

If you have any ideas, I’d love to read them. I have a few already and will post about the first one shortly.

 

Massimo Vignelli on focus groups

It is one thing to believe something, and an entirely different animal to put that belief into an articulate argument for that belief. This quote by Vignelli explains the true issues of trusting focus groups and market testing.

“I don’t believe in market research. I don’t believe in marketing the way it’s done in America. The American way of marketing is to answer to the wants of the customer instead of answering to the needs of the customer. The purpose of marketing should be to find needs — not to find wants.

People do not know what they want. They barely know what they need, but they definitely do not know what they want. They’re conditioned by the limited imagination of what is possible. … Most of the time, focus groups are built on the pressure of ignorance.” via BrainPickings

Whenever someone asks me to do a focus group, I usually begin with asking that person what they want the focus group to answer. It is usually quite easy to guess the normal responses. Especially if the product or service is entirely new.

It’s not that the focus group isn’t observant or brilliant, they quite often are. The problem stems from them not having enough time with the product or service to really give us the important information. And sadly we can’t observe a tester for weeks.

Don’t confused with testing for quality assurance purposes, I’ve never seen a project without a few rough corners left, and that sort of testing is essential.

 

The continuing decline of Twitter

As I’ve written about before I love Twitter, the service, but I’m not very impressed by Twitter the company. Twitter wants to change that, Twitters claims they have changed. This time things will be different. The problem is that Twitter seems to have become even less likeable.

A few days ago Twitter launched Digits, a service completely unrelated to their core product. Possibly because they don’t like the whole micro-blogging thing. Digits is a service to help people log in without emails or passwords (in detail over on the Verge).

The interesting part, to me, is how Twitter deals with developers.

Twitter now wants to reach out to developers, to tell us they’ve changed, by inviting us to a conference about what sounds like dev tools:

As a peace offering, Twitter on Wednesday is expected to announce a suite of tools that aim to make it easier for programmers to build apps, according to people familiar with the matter. – WSJ

But Twitter already burned developers severely a few years ago by closing down APIs. They burned developers so much that Marco Arment just wrote a scathing blog post arguing that we can’t trust them. And I think he’s right.

Responding to Marcos comments a Kevin Weil (“vice president of product for revenue”) tells the Verge:

He (Weil) named a few companies that have made millions of dollars developing on Twitter’s platform, including TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and the social-media monitoring company Radian6, which sold to Salesforce for $340 million. The changes in 2012 were intended only to ensure Twitter had control over its core service, he says. “Our API was so open that we allowed people to compete with us, and so there were changes we had to make.”

Wait. What is Weil saying here? That Twitter as a platform should only be available to companies who don’t make money? Or just the companies Twitter would like to make money? Or is Twitter NOT a platform at all, but a closed service that has an API just to taunt developers?

None of the services mentioned compete with Twitter as a platform or service. One could argue they had competitive UIs though. But shouldn’t all that traffic made it easy for Twitter to monetize? Perhaps sell higher volumes of API access? It’s hard to understand just what Weil intends to say with this strange answer. My only possible takeaway is that Twitter prefers its partners to not actually succeed.

I think this proves Marco’s point wonderfully. Twitter doesn’t want developers. Twitter is not a platform. And they want those meddling coder kids to stay off their lawn.