Why I Want to Have Seth Godin's Babies

From his post No to average:

This is scary. It’s really scary to turn down most (the average) of what comes your way and hold out for the remarkable opportunities. Scary to quit your job at an average company doing average work just because you know that if you stay, you’ll end up just like them. Scary to go way out on an edge and intentionally make what you do unattractive to some.

Which is why it’s such a great opportunity.

Seth’s probably one of my favorite business writers right now.

via WorkHappy

American's Commutes Keep Getting Longer

According to Reuters, our commutes just keep getting longer and longer:

Dave Givens drives 370 miles to work and back every day and considers his seven-hour commute the best answer to balancing his work with his personal life.

Umm, yeah. This is obviously extreme, but it sounds like ridiculously long commutes are becoming more common:

In the most recent U.S. Census Bureau study, 2.8 million people have so-called extreme commutes, topping 90 minutes. … The average one-way commute grew by 13 percent to 25.5 minutes between 1990 and 2000.

My commute is less than 15 minutes, one way. Most days, I get to come home for lunch and see my wife and kids. I used to have a 7 minute commute. I kind of miss that.

Dean Kamen on Innovation

There’s an interview in the latest Make magazine with Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and many other cool things. It’s a good interview, and definitely worth your time to read it. One thing that stuck out was this quote on designing things: “I do very little research as to what the product should be … if you do “product research”, the product that you end up with will be similar to what already exists”.

I think this is why we see so many products that only get evolutionary upgrades, instead of revolutionary ones. People are stuck on what already exists, instead of being willing to throw it all out and start anew.

This reminds me of the ClearRX medicine bottle redesign. Pill bottles have looked basically the same for as long as I can remember. Now someone has come along and turned it on it’s ear. None of the changes required new technology to be invented, it just needed someone to think about the problem differently.

Ruby on Rails is much the same. Everything in there had been done before, but someone came along and said “let’s look at this problem differently.” And it’s turned the web development world on it’s ear. Even if Rails were gone tomorrow, it’s impact would live on for years to come.

What else is due for an overhaul?

Here’s my short list, off the top of my head:

  • PDAs
  • IDEs
  • Email
  • CRM
  • Cars

What’s missing?

Finding Inspiration

As I meander through the internet, I often find sites that inspire the wannabe designer in me. I’ve started collecting them, so that when it comes time to develop applications, I have a collection to go to for inspiration. In the event that I’m working with a designer, it gives me something to send them and say “I like stuff like this”.

Here are a few recent favorites:

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

KEXP

KEXP is an amazing radio station out of Seattle, that simulcasts online. They don’t play much in the way of mainstream stuff, but if your tastes run more towards the eclectic/alternative, you’ll enjoy it. They also have an impressive collection of live performances, and now even have a podcast that highlights artists you may not have heard of.

Check it out, you won’t regret it.

Speed Up Firefox

Firefox has seemed sluggish on my Ubuntu installation, which I attributed to my aging 1.1Ghz PIII, and rather limited memory (512MB). In a fit of frustration, I googled for “speed up Firefox” and came up with some good tweaks to the config that made a huge difference. If you are a Firefox user, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Link 1 - This is a good start, and if you do nothing else, make these changes.

Link 2 - This is a little more in-depth. It contains the same basic tweaks as the first article, plus several others. It also has the tweaks grouped by whether you have a fast/slow computer and a fast/slow connection.

Hope this helps.