How to Be a Great Beginner (Talk)

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak at the Chattanooga Developer’s lunch. I talked about how to be a great beginner. This talk isn’t just for beginners, though – it’s for anyone who is working in technology, or any industry that requires constant skill acquisition.

The Infinite Toolset, Craftsmanship, and Developer Sanity

I’ve been using the metaphor of blacksmith and cobbler recently in discussions about craftsmanship. Why? Blacksmiths and cobblers are renowned as dedicated to their craft. Repeating the motions every day. They both take raw materials, perform a process of actions using a set of tools to refine those materials, and consistently produce something of practical […]

Talk: Creative DNA

I recently did a talk on some of the concepts in the book I’m working on. The talk really helped clarify some of the ideas I want to share with the world, and I’m sharing that talk with you today. Specifically, I discuss why our perception of creativity as it relates to logic is wrongly […]

Re: Voice Interfaces

Dustin Curtis wrote a fantastic article discussing the shortcomings of voice interfaces. I’d like to discuss a few further points in relation to this problem. Go read his thoughts first, then come back. I’ll wait. Contextual Awareness Dustin outlines that a lack of contextual awareness makes voice interfaces less than simple to use. I’d argue […]

Steal these iWatch App Ideas

I want you to steal my ideas. I’ve said it before, and nothing has changed. Ideas are important, but they aren’t proprietary. I want these things to exist, so hopefully with this post I can inspire someone to make them, even if that person is me. The iWatch (or whatever it is going to be […]

Quick Tip: Serve Parse Files via HTTPS

Trying to serve your Parse files via SSL/HTTPS? You’ll notice that you can’t force it, and Parse doesn’t support this via their file URL scheme. But you can use the same trick Parse uses on Anypic. Replace http:// with So if you start with this:…/tfss-fa825f28-e541-…-jpg The final url will look something like this: […]

The Path to Productivity: 7 Hacks, Principles, and Patterns

Share this article on Twitter Productivity is such a huge focus in our lives. We are all allocated the same amount of time, so how do some people do amazing things while others always seem behind the curve? The answer, in some ways, is that those who are on their game have learned how they […]

7 Tips for Hyper-productive Wunderlist-ing

I’m loving the newest version of Wunderlist. Honestly, I’m not even sure what all has changed, but here’s what I know: Wunderlist is probably my favorite ToDo management application thus far. That’s a big deal, you know… there’s about a thousand ToDo managers. Here’s how I’m using it. 1. Put it everywhere One of Wunderlist’s […]

Steal these Startup Ideas: Collection Two

As I’ve said before in collection one of this series, ideas are everywhere. Furthermore, I certainly don’t have time to make all of my ideas a reality. I want them to be real, and truly would use each and every one of these. If you like one of the ideas and want to take it […]

Make Me Work for It: Challenge Psychology

Fifth-degree black belt. Doctorate. Rocket scientist. Triathlon competitor. Fighter pilot. Franciscan Monk. Astronaut. World-record holder. Five-star General. Firefighter. Navy SEAL. Everest scaler. Antarctic explorer. Olympian. What comes to your mind when you read these titles? For some, these titles were the answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up”, before they […]

Create Small Things

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. – Vincent Van Gogh Rule of Parsimony: Write a big program only when it is clear by demonstration that nothing else will do. – The Unix philosophy How many of your successes came from complex, massive projects? The world is made up of […]

Getting Past Writer’s Block: Break the Rules

One thing I’ve been able to do in my writing career is… well, write. Perhaps the better way to describe this is to say that I have a knack for not getting stuck in writer’s block. I didn’t realize this was a skill until a coworker recently asked me about my writing process, and inquired […]

Feature Requests vs. Business Problems

I recently encountered an interesting situation with a client. We were talking on the phone about a priority list of features they need on a platform we built; a while into the conversation, they mentioned that they felt like they had already told me all of the problems they were listing. I was somewhat confused […]

My Best Onboarding Experience… at a Chiropractor

Recently, I had a fantastic new customer experience at North Shore Chiropractic & Rehab here in Chattanooga. Let me preface this: I have absolutely no incentive from North Shore Chiro to share this story, and this wasn’t prompted by them in any way. Truly, this is intended to encourage you to consider how you approach […]

Design Decision Guidelines: Trendability vs. Usability

When you make a design decision, understand that there is no single more important guideline to follow than an equal balance of your own intention and the consumer’s situation. Often, conversations discussing the usability implications of a particular design decision spike on HN/DN, bringing opinions out of the wood work. Whether you are talking about […]

The Internet of Places: The Context of Things

The Internet of Things is absolutely upon us. Whether you’re fully aware and plugged in to tech rumor blogs and things like, or if you’ve never heard the term before, the Internet of Things is a huge wave in the way we think about technology. A brief summary: everything is connected to the internet […]

The Terror of Facebook and the Endless Social Network

They died. I have seen these words on my screen countless times. I fear them, in many ways, as they seem to hit closer to home all of the time. Fear of death isn’t irrational – I know that when someone I love dies, it will be painful. It is natural, but that doesn’t make […]

Steal these Startup Ideas: Collection One

I want you to steal these ideas. Seriously. Make these things a reality. There have been a LOT of people who have said this in recent years: ideas are relatively of no value. Until someone actually executes and makes them valuable, ideas are about as value-less as dreams. Okay, sure – the genesis of creativity […]

The Anatomy of Surprise and Delight

A chance to surprise and delight someone by doing something a little exceptional goes a long way because it provides a smack of awesome humanity upside the head. – Alexis Ohanian [1] Bill Murray has a reputation. Sure, to many he is an actor with a strong and highly memorable personality in each of his […]

Nonchalant Arrogance, Intellect, and Caring About Your Work

I recently encountered a demeanor that I couldn’t quite place. I anonymously overheard a conversation and, unfortunately, let it get under my skin enough to tell you about it. I (somewhat ashamedly) tried to find some kind of a meme that described the person who portrayed this demeanor, which forced me to put it into […]

I’m Using Buffer to Segment My Working Day, and it’s Awesome

I have a lot of different responsibilities on a day-to-day basis. I’m guessing you probably do too. Family and home responsibilities, like loving my wife, paying bills, and taking my dog on walks. Personal responsibilities like sleeping enough, exercising, chasing my own goals, and making time for intentional sanity. Work responsibilities – now there’s a […]

The war of privacy is coming in 2014

What will you do when you have the opportunity to trade your privacy as a currency? Of course, it’s not a sustainable model, but that’s not the point. The point is that as long as we can trade our info for goods and services, we will set new standards for technological boundaries on our lives. […]

How We Adopted an Agency-wide Grunt Workflow

tldr; When adopting tools, do so to eliminate waste. It’s not worth adopting a tool for the sake of the clout of adopting it. For development, automate things you do the same often (or should/could do the same often). Build shareable processes that require little training overhead. Identify pieces of your process that require a […]

My Solution for Quantified Self: Prompted Data Aggregation

The quantified self is really quite a hot topic. Ivan Kirigin talks about it in his post here as a potential startup idea. I’ve created something simple I’d like to share with all of you. It is really quite simple, but also very flexible. Before I explain what it is, I’ll cover some of the […]