Itâ€™s one thing to have a lot of customers, but itâ€™s an amazing accomplishment to have so many customers who are rabid fans of the product â€” like everyone I know who uses Mint.
It’s a rainy day in Kansas City, and I spent part of my afternoon drinking some coffee and reading my own archives. I thought I’d share some of the articles that I enjoyed today.
Personally Reinventing the Weblog Publishing Stereotype – On August 9, 2007 I posted about what was important to me as the writer of my own weblog. “I think we all need to re-discover the nobility and power of hitting that publish button.”
NetNewsWire: Just What You Wanted – On December 9, 2007 I posted my first epic review (whereby “epic” I mean “more than 3,000 words”). There was a new type of feel I wanted to get in my writing. I wanted to give more than just information – I wanted to tell a story that the reader could relate to. My NNW post signified a big breakthrough for my writing on this weblog, and got me into a rhythm to write a few more epic reviews.
John Gruber: A Mix of the Technical, the Artful, the Thoughtful, and the Absurd – Two little-known facts: (1) it took us 7 months to complete the interview, and (2) the burning question I had all along but never did ask was just how many feeds he’s subscribed to.
Michael Mistretta on the scope of iTunes’ Genius. Dan Philibin sums it up in the comments:
Genius is only possible because of the amount of people that use iTunes, something thatâ€™s taken years to improve and perfect. Congrats, Apple.
A couple days ago I was at a prayer meeting. I was sitting in a blue chair, and had strategically reserved an empty chair on my left and one on my right so I could have my space. There was live music and I wanted to read.
My iPhone buzzed, and I pulled it out to read, and then reply, to a text message. A few minutes later it buzzed again. Reply. Buzz. Reply.
By the third text, a 30-something Asian lady, sitting two chairs over (and who I’m nearly positive had never seen an iPhone before), asks me what sort of phone I have. In very broken English. In a room with live music. Two seats over from me.
At first, she asked me to show her how it worked. I held it out and used my thumb to slide back and forth between splash screens, and I pulled up the contacts app and showed her the keypad for the phone.
After my 10-second demo she asked if she could check her email really quick (which I knew was surely just an excuse to fiddle with the phone). I put it back in my pocket and told her that only my email works on it, because you have to set it up.
But her eyes had already been lit up, and I knew for sure she had never seen one before, because she pulled out her Fat ‘Lil Notebook and asked me to write down what it was and what it does.
I wasn’t quite sure how to fulfill her request, so I took a pen and wrote:
- Make calls
- Get text messages
- Check email
She then asked me to write down where she could go get one. So I cleverly wrote:
- Apple Store
If anyone was watching us it must have been a hilarious sight. I was clearly in an awkward situation, and this lady was oblivious to it. She was enthralled and apparently had no pre-conceived notions about social boundaries.
As I hand her notebook back she finally works up her confidence and flat-out asks me to hold the thing.
I very much wanted to say ‘no’, but I like to think of myself as a nice guy; sharing is caring, you know? I slowly pull it out of my pocket and as I’m hesitantly passing it over the empty chair my first thought was, “Is she going to steal it?”
But my second thought was, “If she does try to run I could totally take her.”
I pass it off, and she plays with it for (not kidding) 30 minutes. Every couple minutes she leans over and asks me how to “get back to that one screen,” or “make the things stop wiggling,” or “open up Google”.
Once I was settled that she was innocent and harmless I relaxed a bit. At the 25 minute mark I leaned over and ask if she was done with it.
“Umm… No, not yet.” She replied.
Finally I just had to ask for it back.
The awkwardness was totally worth the great story I got out of it. Plus, it was a hoot to watch someone discover the iPhone for the first time.
Usually, when someone who hasn’t had a hands-on experience with an iPhone asks me to look at it, they will unlock it, stare at the home screen, maybe click on Safari and then hand it back. But this woman was dedicated; she was determined to fiddle until she was done.
And finally, to top it off, today I opened up Mobile Safari to see what sort of web-browsing she did. The four new browser windows she loaded?
Now, you too can be in the know regarding the global ramifications of Dr. Evan’s experiment.
Cliff Kushier’s way to spell words on any touch-input devices (phones, tablets, and more) by tracing over the letters in a “connect the dots path”.
I was one of the original inventors of T9, which ended up being installed on about two-and-a-half billion mobile phones.
He’s smart and he’s honest.
When you publish your own weblog there can be a ton of pressure to produce and please and give in to peer-pressure. Sometimes it’s real pressure, and sometimes it’s just perceived. Then, every once in a while, readers get to witness someone break free from the rut.
You know what I mean? You finally publish the post announcing your new understanding and resolve, and it’s chalked full of conviction, and every word is dripping with fresh life? I’ve written a couple of those posts, too.
What’s bizarre about renewed passion is that there is always the fear that when you hit Publish all your readers will leave. But what reader, their right mind, would stop reading right when you find fresh passion?
I’m at the same point of desired breakthrough again for my own writing, and I need to remind myself that this is when things get interesting, worthwhile and juicy.
When I first started this site it was for that very purpose: to write about what was important to me, Shawn Blanc. All my favorite posts were, like yours, letters to myself. And as I wrote about the things I loved, they got more attention than I thought they would, and I started liking the attention more than the publishing.
In the past year life has changed. Now, the things I am deeply involved with everyday have shifted from topics like awesome software and freelance designing, to issues of creativity, communication and leadership.
Now I feel stuck…
I am passionate about leadership and creativity, but I feel like I ought to write about software instead because that’s what I did well once.
Thank you Merlin, for reminding me to put energy behind what’s important to me. I love what you said:
This is my site. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
43 Folders is now, once again, about what I have to say about things, and I want that to be the sole reason that the idea of a visit here either attracts or repels you.
And also, welcome to the comment-free crowd.
Dr. Evans is going to turn on his particle accelerator and people are afraid it will create a few black holes in the center of the earth.
A brilliantly clever resource for web typography.
Compare how web-standard fonts will render on a Mac or Windows machine and sort them by typeface, size or style. If you find a heading, body-text or something else you like just click “Get CSS”, and (un-surprisingly) you get the styling code.