If I had to pick one day in California to make others jealous of the weather, it’d be this morning. (Taken with instagram)
Friday Management Therapy
At a recent workshop, I walked the group through an exercise where we listed the characteristics of a bad manager.
Here’s the list. I’m wondering what’s missing.
- "They don’t know what I’m doing"
- "What the hell does he do all day?"
- Asking the impossible
- Bad listeners
- Bottom-line focus
- Buzz kills
- Not taking action
- Optimizing in their favor
- Paid more to do less
- Speaking in managementese
- Super Touchie Feelie
- Taking credit for my work
The First Three Bookmarks
It struck me that you could learn a lot from how folks prioritize and organize their bookmarks, so I asked Twitter about their first three bookmarks or bookmark groups. I graphed the responses with two or more results until an hour or so ago… Brief thoughts:
- While not surprisingly, Instapaper’s dominance is impressive.
- I’ve been considering Pinboard for a long time, looks like it’s time to commit.
- I’d never heard of Quix.
- The long tail of single items was 1.5xthe size of this list.
Questions for Designers from Engineers
- Mainly I’d suggest that they ask designers open-ended questions. Closed questions stifle creativity. neontapir
- Qs: 1. What is your communication style (tools, speed…)? 2. How best can I give input & collaborate on UX? jeffreypriebe
- “Can you tell me more about IxD and how it adds value to…?” Some devs aren’t quite sure of what we do and how we can help. katiejohnston
- “The engineer is always [ ] Right. [ ] Wrong.” danielpunkass
- When did you last redo a design because an engineer pointed out a problem with it? dirkstoop
- ask about recently learned things, if that’s only about visual dsgn, they never worked closely|well w/ engineers dirkstoop
- To be closely followed by the question: how do you approach an engineer whose implementation needs to change? chockenberry
- Q: How do you track & share assets? Bad: email. Better: shared drive with strict naming conventions. Best: source control. dsandler
- Perhaps: “How do you make sure your design is implemented correctly” looking for doubt re: *your* and *correctly* mfloryan
- also how they communicate their design and gather feedback and where they seek input into the initial design mfloryan
- “Have you worked in [XYZ platform/technology] before?” (Important to gauge understanding of platform limitations.) preed
- they need to recognize that both roles are necessary. A good engineer should understand how the design should ‘feel’ when used. jlongtine
- “Explain/justify to me why your website is the way it is”. darkhelmetlive
- how about “do you produce actual markup or are you useless?” zacharydanger
- Creativity test - Name a simple object (e.g. a brick), ask what uses they can think of for it. Test of lateral thinking. daveconcannon
- “What were you thinking?” hakmem
I’ve been trying on URL shortening services for the past year. The usual story has been: looks good, tell a friend, gets popular, and doesn’t scale. The end.
Bit.ly has just been getting better.
There’s an obfuscation argument to be made about URL shorteners. Yes, they’re hiding information behind their tiny URLs. Yes, meaning is lost, but there’s also fascinating data to be grabbed.
What you’re looking at URLs I shortened and published via Twitter for a two and a half week period in May/June. The yellow line represents the number of followers I have, the blue line represents how many folks clicked on my specific shortened link, and the green bar is total clicks on that link regardless of who shortened it.
While 2.5 weeks of data is statistically miniscule, what you’re seeing is roughly a 14% click-thru rate for the URLs that I shortened. You can argue that is artificially high because the shortened URL is obfuscated — you don’t actually know what content is behind the URL is until you’ve clicked on it — but in a world where 2% click-thru rates are pretty sweet, this is intriguing number.
I’m wondering what other folks are seeing…
The title of the next book is “Being Geek”. This title provides a continuity problem with other Rands writings. Many years ago I wrote an article called Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder. I went back and forth on the title: nerd or geek? It came down to the inevitable acronym: N.A.D.D. or G.A.D.D? Neither are great, but N.A.D.D. wasn’t horrific, so I picked nerd as my term to describe my species and stuck with it.
As titles were debated for the new book, “Being Geek” showed up out of no where and I loved it. Again, the problem is, I kind’a picked nerd as the term, but “Being Nerd” just… doesn’t work.
This topic needs to be addressed early in the book. Am I going to stick with one label or jump back and forth? As research, I asked Twitter which was more derogatory: nerd or geek? And why?
The response was fascinating. A collection is listed below along with some of my thoughts. Statistically, almost 50% said nerd was more derogatory. 15% nominated geek. 33% picked neither or abstained. 5% nominated dork.
This is good news for the title, but does little to settle issue regarding picking a name and sticking with it. You be the judge:
- "Neither they are different things. geek think fandom. nerd think science." (sceptre1067)
- "Gerd, because non-musical mashups are always in poor taste." (Elebertus)
- "nerd because they have no style or social skills." (rdubulous)
- "Nerd is more derogatory to me. I definitely use "geeky" as a compliment and point of connection when I describe people to each other." (lrprice)
- "Geek was more often used derogatively towards theatre types in high school. Though that doesn’t stop me from identifying as one." (rosko)
- "Nerd is more derogatory because it is more broad. Geek refers to someone technical in some way." (billread)
- "I find "nerd" and "geek" acceptable. "Dork," however, I feel is the insulting term." (kiyoshimartinez)
- "my think is thus. Nerds = intelligent. Geeks = antisocial." (stupidbob307)
- "nerd: seems to connotate a lack of self and other-awareness. Geeks are smart, but temper intellectualism when society requires it, IMHO" (jlongtine)
- "nerds don’t bite the heads off live chickens … but that doesn’t answer the question" (fortawesomer)
- "nerd is way worse than geek. Geeks are useful, and occasionally cute." (alice_at_night)
- "geek sheik. nerd terd. Id prefer to be called a geek." (PlutoniumX)
- "Nerd. Nobody has ever called me a geek while punching me." (thunderpete)
- "I’ve always thought that Nerd is about passion while Geek is about skill. But then, as a Tri-Lamb, I would think that, wouldn’t I?" (lonelysandwich)
- "nerd, definitely, to me a nerd is more trainspottery than a geek, geeks can be anoraks, but nerds are always anoraks (it is a UKism)" (jamesk) (ed: wtf?)
- "I had a friend that always said that a nerd was a geek with good grades" (gooddoug)
- "neither. im a proud geek/nerd" (adambronte)
- "“Geek” always seemed to me somewhat cooler. And not necessarily connected with computers." (riddle)
- "Over here, both are pretty bad. Nerd probably a little more so. "Boffin" is still considered kinder. Slightly." (muirium) (ed: boffin?)
- "nerd is def more derogatory. To me It has a more socially inept connotation." (hacintosh)
- "You praise the geek who built your website and laugh at the nerd waiting in line for Star Trek." (PatrickTulskie) (ed: this is spot on)
- "Who says they’re derogatory? Nerd is more specific to science fiction/gaming fans and geek is tech related. They overlap though." (zRows)
- "Geek is more derogatory because being a nerd is about lifelong learning; a geek obsesses about minutiae." (jbwebb)
- "In modern use, nerds are smart, and geeks are passionate-or at least well-read. Neither is derogatory. Nerd is the bigger compliment." (bmf)
- "whatever. nerd/geek differences seem regional/sub-cultural. like pop vs soda or trekkie vs trekker" (freiheit)
- "Nerd is academic interests > geek is hobby interests > dork is socially stunted." (SelfishIdol)
- "Geek. Nerd implies more academic or intellectual hobbies, geeks are into "odd" or unpopular things." (jmlane)
- "Nerd does not relate to a skill. Geek adds value." (papagarzio) (ed: interesting)
- "I think Nerd, it seems to imply a certain social awkwardness, Geek is more like ‘overabundance of knowledge in an esoteric topic’ - For instance, being a "Food Geek" would not necessarily make you "Nerdy"" (ZacHarmany)
- "Both aren’t derogatory for me. Geek - other cool stuff = Nerd. A geek knows his stuff, a nerd knows only that." (amaragrawal)
- "Neither, but "geek" implies more social skills" (thisisroot)
- "Nerd… I consider myself a geek and have no problems with that moniker." (maniacnl)
- "Some actually don’t mind receiving either title, but to me Geeks are usually thought of as socially inept, while Nerds are not." (waakeupcall)
- "Calling someone a dork seems more playful and flirty. You’re right….geeks are great at something and nerds love something, LOL!" (Handy_Randy)
- "I’ve always thought that geeks were nerds who also had some sort of social life, so I’d say "nerd" is more derogatory." (cassarani)
- "neither? I typically identify myself as a nerd who tends to geek out over certain topics. nerd is constant with periodic geekery?" (bryanjswift)
- "I don’t take either to be particularly derogatory unless specific tones are in play." (zacharydanger)
- "Nerd and geek have both lost their edge. Dork is the insult of choice." (sheepeeh) (ed: I agree)
- "a geek is a nerd w/ some degree of social skills. a nerd is just a nerd." (wobbet)
- "Both can be equally derogatory. It just depends on how they are said." (lazataz)
- "Nerd. "Geek" implies skills. "Nerd" implies lack of skills." (mischakrilov)
- "Nerd, because it also implies a lack of social skills and such" (danellis)
- "Nerd is far more derogatory because IMO it’s farther down the rabbit hole. Geeks are obsessive but not cripplingly so." (theghostofzandr)
- "Geeks bite heads off of chickens in circus sideshows. Nerds are interested in topics despite risks of being socially ostracized." (hellbox)
- "Depends entirely on the context. I would rather call myself a nerd (surprise…)- the wikipedia entry definitely sounds better…" (somerandomnerd)
- "both are anything but negative in my book, almost Awesome. Today I use Dweeb and Schmo the way we used Nerd and Geek ten years ago." (randalltodd)
- ""Geek" is worse than "nerd": I don’t bite heads off chickens (cf circus geek)." (catenate)
- "I always thought geek was nicer than nerd. Geek implies employability and intellectual curiosity. Nerd implies playing WOW all day." (robertpalmer)
- "neither are derogatory. Both are merely silly." (robertbrook)
- "My feeling is that people self-identify as "geek" and get *called* nerd, but that is in no way empirical." (clockworksimon) (ed: you, sir, are a geek)
- "It’s highly regional, from my informal research. Therefore I have chosen to take both as equal compliments :)" (nevyn)
- "def nerd; prob because of Revenge of the Nerds, etc. geek seems to have been owned more by our people. personally, I embrace both…" (joshuajabbour)
- "People seem to willingly call themselves both, but Geek, as a sound, is less attractive." (robertjosiah)
- "I don’t find either to be derogatory and might introduce myself as either one." (rhacer)
- ""Geek" is more synonymous with hacker while "nerds" get beat up and do homework for jocks. At least that’s what I tell myself." (Timchi)
- "Geek. It has implications of being unusual and strange in a negative way." (mzarra)
- "Nerd. Tainted by the movies documenting their revenge." (longbored)
- "A geek watches Star Trek. A nerd owns a Star Trek uniform. I class myself as Geek for this reason." (Kosh42EFG) (ed: timely and relevant)
- "neither (or both, depending on who’s saying it). Call myself both at various times, more likely to self-identify as nerd." (darkuncle)
- "Geek just implies an interest in Technology. Nerd implies an unhealthy obsession with anything. Also Geek is now Chic." (sh1mmer)
- "Neither are. I pride myself in being an all out Geek. ; )" (MikeGrace)
- "nerd is more derogatory. geek is a badge of honour!" (sirvivian)
- "Definitely geek. Geeks are socially awkward, and not necessarily smart - nerds are smart and just WAY too psyched by arcane topics." (ljharb)
The Scrub List
While I valiantly attempt to regularly use RSS readers, my standard means of mass information consumption remains the bookmark group. I have three: News, Mac, and Scrub.
Scrub is an ever evolving set of news aggregators that hit three to five times a day. They are:
The Rules of Men When They Are Angry (Incomplete)
1. We believe we have it all figured out and when data arrives that reminds us that we do not, we get angry.
2. During this angry period, we are jerks.
3. We are never wrong.
4. Don’t get in the way. We’ll take it out on you. Doesn’t matter who you are.
5. There is likely no conversation you can have with us which is going to make us feel better. We need to move from boiling over to simmer to gone.
6. Gone will show up when you’re not looking.
7. You need to understand the basic reason we’re pissed, but even if you get us to talk, we’re not telling you the basic reason.
In a comfort food battle between mashed potatoes and mac’n’cheese, I’m not sure who would win.