I watched Hanna last night an was left with the pressing need to immediately watch something else, as if to remove a bitter taste from my mouth after eating bad food! The story was engaging but the characters were creepy – all of them. I found that I didn’t care what happened to anyone because they were all so uncomfortable. Maybe if another director took a crack at it, one that had a normal childhood or something, I’d like it better, but as it is I didn’t care for it.
2 stars out of 5.
Years ago while working at a young start up it dawned on me, like hundreds others, that I needed a name for our particular brand of agile software development. Ours was a different style, unique, personal, successful – not like all the others, right? But I wanted it to last because I loved it. I wanted it to last forever, but it didn’t. And since then I have always tried to replicate that success to varying degrees of success. Here are some of the key aspects:
- Where Agile focuses on the need to move quickly and change easily, Nimbile emphasizes the ability to do such, but not necessary the need to. Point being: too frequent or unnecessary change is unhelpful at best and at worst crippling.
- Positive, fun and productive work environment. Yes all those things are necessary. I do not believe that the ends justify the means, I believe that the end, however cast is a product of the means and carries with it the essence of those who made it.
- Believe that what you are doing is good for your customers, the company, the employees and in any small degree, the world.
- Do the right thing at the right time. Don’t wait to change when you need to and stick to what is working.
- Dream, test, measure, execute. Then repeat. If you didn’t know what you were doing and if you don’t know that it’s working then you’re just wandering. That’s nice, but I need to run a business here.
- Almost everything else good that is Agile and nothing of the bad of all the other methods(tm). That’s right. That makes this an airtight claim to being _the best_ methodology ever!
I want to take time to flush this out more, and in particular share experiences from each of the subsequent companies that I’ve worked for. Hopefully this will allow me to refine the definition of Nimbile and show how it works and what you need to make it work.
We took the boys caving at Nutty Putty cave the other night. 45 minutes around the lake, another 30 minutes down a bumpy dirt road and then a 10 minute hike up a hill – this got us to the proximity of the cave. Our guide couldn’t find it right off, we had to spread out and look for it. When we did we all piled in, but I was the only one that came back out. The initial opening was alright, but the opening at the bottom of that opening was tiny. Tiny, like for badgers
So I’ve been watching a lot of new shows lately. I found Hulu.com and like a new shiny toy I’ve been giving it a lot of undeserved attention. One of my favorite shows is Stargate Atlantis and I’ve watched every episode on the site. After that I started watching Kings, which I might continue to after they make some more episodes. I dabbled in Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, the Dresden Files, the Legend of the Seeker and sister-show Stargate SG-1.
I found a real gem in Firefly, which only had 14 episodes before it was cancelled. It took me one and a half episodes to figure out that it was supposed to be sci-fi show in a western motif.
What I’m finding is that I’m having a hard time finding new good shows to watch. And the ones that I have found seem to have been cancelled or had just a limited run. Why is that? Are my tastes so rare that
Today, I’m watching Eureka, which is about a town of geniuses. If this doesn’t work, then I’m pitching a new idea to the big wigs at the TV studios… are you ready? Check this out:
So you know all the sci-fi shows where they run into alien technology or they all the sudden have a great new technology: ships, guns, transporters? Think of all the stuff in the Star Trek series, the Stargate series, the X-files, right? Where do they take that stuff? That’s what my show would be about – the geeks in the basement labs that get to play with the new tech and make major jumps in innovation and invention.
Sound good? I’ll let you know how it goes.
A co-worker of mine just warmed some Hungarian goulash in the microwave for lunch. I stopped moving and played a little movie in my head, hand still on the cupboard door. It went a little something like this:
“Mom, I have to do a presentation in class on Hungary. Is Hungary in our encyclopedias or was that after they were printed?”
“I don’t know much about Hungary, but I can make Hungarian goulash…”
“That’d be great, Mom! You can bring it to my class and give everyone a bowl. I wanted to give a report on Germany – East or West, but some other kid got it! So I had to go with Hungary… speaking of, when’s that soup gonna be ready?!”
Little did I realize then that a bowl of goulash for all thirty kids in my 5th grade class was a tall order. I think I even had the audacity to ask for bread sticks – you know, the Hungarian kind. I also didn’t think through the fact that my mom had a job, and would have to tote our giant Crockpot to work to keep it warm for the morning before bringing it to my class at some unusual time, say 1:26 PM. Then there was the spill. I can imagine now the frustration of spilling a tomato-based soup in the car! She was running late and the heavy pot slipped out of her fingers! What a mess that must have been! But my Mom did it, and it’s a testament to her love, dedication and motherly-ness. It’s time to thank her now, because I am sure that I didn’t then. Thanks Mom, and happy Mother’s Day!
Offering a new perspective on design, which I extended my product management work, Ted Boren muses on giving your design “tough love.”
We all know that the majority of the copy we write for the web goes unread and unappreciated. To some extent that’s our own fault – it’s bad, boring or it’s in the wrong place. People read quickly, and most know right away if they are interested – so what can you do to make your copy more interesting?
Enter the headline.
I have collected some thoughts from a few articles I just read that should shed some light on the importance of a good headline.
CopyBlogger.com quotes an approach from American Writers & Artist, re-quote below, which is dubbed the 4 U’s approach to writing headlines:
1. Be USEFUL to the reader,
2. Provide him with a sense of URGENCY,
3. Convey the idea that the main benefit is somehow UNIQUE; and
4. Do all of the above in an ULTRA-SPECIFIC way.
These approaches map rather closely to the Four Great Laws of Copywriting, from the American Writers & Artists Golden Thread publication:
1. Reach and influence, at the lowest logical cost, the most people who can and will respond.
2. In this Age of Skepticism, cleverness for the sake of cleverness may well be a liability rather than an asset.
3. E2 = 0 (When you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.)
4. Tell the reader/viewer/listener what to do.
In short, your headlines need to tell the reader why they should continue reading, and this can be done with a number of techniques. If you can’t convey interest, you may want to reconsider writing anything at all.
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I pulled this page up from a website I was working on. I was suprised to see that the Church is advertising with general market banner ads. I wonder which of the two ads on the page is getting a better click-through rate?
The book explores the seemingly small factors that can create epidemics both good and bad. It was interesting to be run through several examples of things that changed because of factors that we would often overlook. I recommend it on audio book, played double speed.
There’s a good synopsis of the book at Notes of Intelligence.
Oddly enough, the sum of tips from the following articles is the answer to life, the universe and everything. How can you not check out these articles from Smashing Magazine about optimizing the design of your website?
- 8 Tips to Help Your Website Convert
- 10 Useful Web Application Interface Techniques
- 9 Common Usability Mistakes in Web Design
- 10 Principles of Effective Web Design
- Five More Principles of Effect Web Design
Thanks to Michael Sanders for the tip. I think I’ll be reading Smashing Magazine more often now.