Archive for the ‘software’ Category

Thinking about a career change

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

Three months ago I left my job of 14 years, where I’d worked on the same product with many of the same people since I started part-time in college. There were a lot of things that I had loved about that job, and a lot of things that I still thought were great, but I had this growing sense that it was time to move on. The only problem was, I had no idea how to do that. Of course I was aware of some of the basics — I hadn’t been living in a vacuum — but I didn’t know firsthand where to start and how to proceed.

I set out analyzing my feelings, figuring out what my options were, and creating a plan for how to go forward. I rarely use pen & paper anymore, but this was one of those tough brain-dumping exercises where I needed to blurt ideas out freely on a pad, then spend time later exploring them and fleshing them out. After lots of days & hours working through the ideas, tossing some out and adding new ones in, and talking them out with Chrissy and others, I settled on a plan that I could believe in.

My next step was to document the plan, and to keep revising it as I went along in my job hunt. I didn’t get very far with that: fortunately, I found a great new job very quickly. So I guess I could say that the plan worked very well, or that I just had dumb luck and never really put the plan to the test. Either way, I thought the plan was useful in building my confidence and in focusing my sights on a specific goal. If you’re interested, see below:

The plan in LucidChart: (Click Open this Example to zoom in.)

Click the image below to see the chart full-size, or download it as a pdf file.
job and career change plan

If you’ve read this far, maybe you’re in a similar spot. I know it’s a very scary place to be, but it’s also exciting to have such an opportunity to steer your future. I hope my chart can help you in some small way, and I wish you the best of luck!

The simple power of b-sides

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

The digital native generation has never experienced owning music in the form of a physical tape or disc. CD’s have become relics, as useless as 8-track tapes. Growing up in the 80’s (the heyday of the cassette tape), moving to CD’s in the 90’s, and then to streaming radio, podcasts, and downloads in the last decade, I have to acknowledge the leaps & bounds that the music industry has made in improving the quality, portability, and durability of their product. However, since I spend a decent amount of my time listening to DJ’s playing old vinyl, I sometimes ponder other aspects of what was better, worse, or just different with the old modes of distribution.

One big difference: iTunes lets you buy any single song, one at a time. We’ve always had singles, and record companies have always pushed individual songs rather than whole albums, but we’ve lost an important piece of the concept: the b-side.

Do it without titles

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Dear Gmail,

Why do you insist that every mail I send should have both a subject and a body?

I just want to send a single nugget of thought, sprinkled with #hashtags. I don’t want to spend extra time typing out a meaningless extra field (especially if I’m mailing from my phone and trying to finish before the light turns green).

If you expect to continue in your pivotal role as the glue between all of my apps and devices, you should stop hassling me with these silly warnings.

P.S. Most of the rest of everything you do is reliably awesome.

P.P.S. I stole the subject of this post from another blog, Launching a start-up? Do it without titles.