17 March 2016

It’s gonna be Awesome. For sure.

How do we spot awesome? Regardless of whether we’re looking to invest, find a place to work or just trying to assess ourselves, how do we tell the difference between crap, mediocre, good and great?

Myriads of consultants, coaches and a few sorcerers with pretty titles try to lure us into trusting them with figuring those things out for us( and feed them our babies ) and to believe that they got it just right, but they usually don’t and here’s why:

Most of them are trying to package a product and selling it to you. And the product is them. They base their vision on that going really well. Not your success.

It kinda sucks when you think about it. So, what can you do about it? 

Go the extra mile to find and surround you with those people that measure themselves by your success. Then treat them well. They will help you spot, and be, awesome.

It’s really that simple.

14 March 2016

The da Vinci gap

Imagine a future guided by the principles found in the pre-computation era of science-fiction (everything prior to the 50s) — a culture that tackle the holistic challenges, where social changes are cherished and respected, — a culture in which innovators and leaders understand that vision, passion and creation are the backbone of progress of development. Imagine a world where we’re are led to fully explore the potential behind the promise of a better united life.

A world where we break thought fixation and shape our future.

The present evolution

Concepts dating from the 20th century and before are evolving, becoming more refined and, sometimes, useful. The 2016 package-as-a-reality-show-and-push-it-to-the-masses is all about super smart little things we never knew we needed. Big players promise artificial intelligence and virtual reality. And super-thin, big screens. 

Simply put, what sounded amazing but really turned out pretty crappy the last time around keeps coming back, improving with each iteration.

Heros without vision dragging us down

Traditionally the vision of the future was always strongest among those who weren’t afraid to explore their own imagination. They described a potential and took responsibility for creating a situation that can lead to it. 

Unfortunately, many leaders have dismissed their responsibility for the future and lost their appetite to think big. These heros without vision are busy analyzing and planning, while others (think Google) are building for immortality. These heros without vision, powered by siloed vision, are fragmenting our reality and building a new circle of ideological wars.

The rebels of futures past

Giving the power of new knowledge to people who aren’t really interested in possessing a particular kind of knowledge can be tedious and hard work, bordering to impossible. Steve Jobs(the head of some kind of fruit company) helped move us from the clumsy technology of central computing and code interfaces to the friendly environment of the Mac and the iPhone, mostly based on a few ideas and a firm belief.

Jule Verne, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert weren’t afraid to break the mould, imagining a future much unlike their current present. They didn’t tell stories. They made stories, shaping the ego of our self beliefs.

Reshaping the present, shaping the future

The future doesn't really exist. The feeling of time is a cognitive fiction (Gell-Mann) The future and nothing but the information processed by the individual and the collective - and the way we will process this information – will dictate our understanding of it.

Being an optimist is easier when you know how to isolate negative trends. Once free from them, we need to imagine what we want and then dare to experiment and think freely. We gain knowledge and wisdom when we try and fail. Even as we become aware of our weaknesses, we also become more vigilant and transformative.

Humanity proved this over and over again, even so our journey had just begun, we believe that as deeper we’ll look at the challenges we’re facing; as better the reality we will build.

We need to believe that the best solutions to a problem is not hitting it with everything we have, but by viewing it from all possible angles. If something does not work for it’s intended purpose, it might work for something completely different.


(r)Evolution can start with the simplest idea. We need to dream big dreams, and believe in at least one. Da Vinci did.


By Aric Dromi and Niclas Norgren

09 March 2016

Perfection.

Seeking for perfection is one of the most powerful human traits, and also one of the most destructive ones.
Sometimes, perfection is simple, like the impact of watching a child at sleep, unaware of anything and in absolute peace. Most times, a drive for perfection will keep you going ‘til late at night and then keep you sleepless because you still didn’t reach that final state of … yeah, exactly.
So, can perfection be achieved? Can it be captured and explained? Should it be an ultimate goal?
I’ve had some fortunate moments of perfection, but for a long time they had one thing in common; I had very little to do with them occurring.  
After years of trial and error, it seems the only reasonable thing is setting the stage for magic to happen, and then letting go. Because really, the sense of perfection is the random gratification for setting the stage each time and then doing your stuff really well. This goes for coding, leadership or planning a perfect date with the wife.
It’s really that simple.

03 March 2016

Dealing with what's next

It might be that we are actually on the brink of a new age. Perhaps we’re finally setting off on the greatest journey, the one that touches Mars and super-quantum-megadrive computers on the way to that other place, the place of unimaginable wisdom and enlightenment; the future.
Around 5 years ago, Nokia ( a company that used to own the cellphone market in the 20th century, look it up kids ) and a few other companies, saw what was coming and started promoting their visions. That is, their prediction of what their phone could do, in the future, maybe. Before that, claiming that you “owned” something that had no substance whatsoever except being a prediction of what you might end up producing if the stars were aligned in your favor, was called bs. Or at the very least reserved for startups looking for investors.
Today, there seems to be no limit to the amount of groundbreaking discoveries that will ultimately change what we know, about everything. It might of course be that we are on the brink of a new age, but we always are, that’s kind of a given. But something has changed; the actual concept of focusing on great things that will/might be and how incredibly unpredictable the future is along with all the cool future stuff that is maybe/already/soon available in a store near you is, ***drumroll***, a trend.
Let it sink in.
A trend. Like using an SUV to drive your kids to school or growing your own veggies in the middle of a city or growing a big, handlebar moustache all while being a master at cupcake decoration. A trend.
( Unless, of course, you’re the son of a baker pirate with a greenhouse in your backyard who just happen to be vegetarian and that SUV you actually won in a lottery 10 years ago ).
So, does that mean it is of no value?
Of course not. It might actually, to some extent, help bring some extra traction to innovation, creativity and development of new, smart ways to do your stuff.
Now, if your stuff is all about herding sheep, you might enjoy your smart assistant that will help you optimise movement of the herd in conjunction with forecasted nutritional value of grass on a certain hills versus just the right amount of physical activity to produce tasty and tender lamb chops. You’ll love the drone that does the actual work for you and doubles by fetching you a perfect espresso macchiato from the nearest delivery point just seconds before you realize you want it. You will likely miss the dog though.
But why are large corporations spending time and money telling you about this? It’s because they have nothing interesting to say. And they are scared to death of going silent.
Why is that?
  1. Companies fear the future. They fear it because they heard of Uber and their likes and they wonder when they are going to be made obsolete by something brand new.
  2. Companies believe they should try to be the next Facebook. Or Uber. Or Tesla.
  3. Companies believe they need to keep you engaged and interested, all the time, or they will lose.
  4. Few companies realise that they need to focus on keeping you happy and satisfied in any interaction with them and continue to make awesome products to make you stay with them and likely buy from them again(and again).
  5. Almost no companies realise that you don’t know what you will love, one product development cycle from now, so there is no point in asking you. That is, unless they are those smart people that live off the long tail and just do stuff cheaper and better.

So, as a company, what can you do?
  • Create awesome products.
  • Expose your products to the risk of being sold. ( Cut the crap and make it ridiculously simple to buy your stuff )
  • Be vigilant about customer experience ( not the cheesy “look at this cool thing”, but the actual experience of buying and using the product and interacting with you, when natural )

It’s really that simple!

...
But hey, what about the future and all that? — Awesome products and taking amazing care of your customers is the future ;)

08 December 2015

Spreading the word is the easy part

30 years ago, I created an ad and sent it to publishing. The people in our local magazine cheered and congratulated me on the clear and powerful message. We were all convinced this was the right way to do advertising and the campaign was going to be a smash hit. And of course it was.
The thing is, the campaign was obvious to be successful since it was about good stuff at a great price and the ad was crystal clear on what the deal was.
It was so good, people told their friends about it. Simply put, it went viral in the stone age (before social media). And, I repeated a similar success several times.
To be honest, I also used massive resources on not so successful attempts.
Through the years, a sense of failure stuck with me. Why didn’t I just tell people about the really good deals, and save money on the not so great ones? The thing is, I didn’t know when it was going to be a massive success and when it was not. Or rather, I didn’t think I knew.
Actually, when the good ideas came along, it was always obvious.
So, did I learn anything? Yes, and it’s really simple; focus on finding or creating the deal that you customer will really like or even love. Spreading the word is the easy part.

09 March 2013

Leveraging jQuery knowledge, mixing it up with Google Closure and making it sing and dance with Plovr

While adapting to working in a digital agency, coming back from a long visit in software engineering and product development, I obviously want to make the most of it, learning what I need and contributing where I can. One thing that stood out to me is that it turns out that using JavaScript in in the digital agency world basically means using


 jQuery.


Using jQuery has 2 main benefits:
  1. A lot of people use it
  2. A lot of people use it
Which gives that the cross browser support for selectors, events, AJAX and other little things is reasonably up to date and a lot of people are familiar with the API.  This is not at all exclusive to jQuery, but the library is becoming a de facto standard, so why not use it, right?

jQuery is great for small, quick things and it looks like it could be the browser abstraction tool of choice for any project. But, as you might know if you worked in a really large scale project using jQuery, it has a way of infecting syntax and design choices in a way that eventually grows into, let’s call it, soup. Even though I’m sure someone has a different experience, for now, let’s assume


it’s good, but not the answer to everything.


For anyone who had the pleasure to work with large teams the obvious answer to how NOT to end up with soup is spelled OOP and MVC. (Yea, i know, everything is MUCH better with MVP, MVVM, ABC 123, whatever...)

There is an interesting framework that goes in the MVC et al direction;


Closure Library, with


it’s accompanying tools which I used for years and really like(kind of). Closure has crazy amounts of good, smart implementations of things you never even knew you needed, but compared to jQuery the Control-based structure of how you create a GUI is about as smooth and flexible as a wooden horse(not at all).  It’s certainly not like you would want to tell your fellow web-hacking buddies:
– Hey! look at your new shiny horse!

They’ll just tell you it’s not a horse... Anyway, maybe what’s really beautiful, sexy and shiny about Closure is the

Closure Compiler,


which gives you AMAZING code compression and smart replacement of common code patterns. Even though it’s beautiful to work with once you get accustomed to it, it

is not for the restless.


To the rescue, there is a little packaged thingie that actually takes away much of the hassle, forgives you when you do mistakes, and bitch-slaps you when you make boo boo’s.

Plovr,


which is a Java runtime that provides a small web server that includes the Closure Library, some tools and automagic dependency loading(Yes!). It:
  • runs each request through the Closure Compiler
  • allows decent file/folder structure
  • provides for jsUnit testing and use of soy templates
  • loads only what’s required
  • outputs any compiler warnings or errors in the top of the web page
And, it does this more or less out of the box. Put simply, it


saves the day.


Now all we need is a way to make use of it all...


To sum it up,

  • jQuery is good for DOM abstraction
  • Closure Library can bring some amazing parts
  • Closure Compiler brings code checking, magic(almost at least) minification
  • Plovr brings it all together.
OOP, MVC, Observer Pattern, Pseudo-Classical inheritance (look, it just popped in there without even mentioning it before) are proven, solid tools of trade when working on large projects, in large teams, over long periods of time. 


Let’s use the good parts!


Of course, there might be several bright, lean, efficient solutions. Let’s do something that actually works in a an environment of multiple stakeholders, working with all kinds of competences and fitting into given environments that are not always the preferred choice.

Stay tuned ;)