A List Apart returns to its roots.

We have no beef with networks like Twitter or Facebook, or with companies like Apple and Google that currently dominate our communal digital space. We just think diversity is about expanding and speaking up—not consolidating and homogenizing.

Source: New A List Apart wants you! · An A List Apart Article

I’ve been a casual reader of A List Apart for the last decade, give or take. I’m excited to see that they’re bucking advertising in favour of returning to their roots as a community-driven publication for web professionals.

They’re covering their costs through Patreon, which I tend to think of as a nifty hybrid of subscription service / pay-what-you-can donations / premium membership.

The best part about selling a product…

A super-thoughtful Sunday Dispatch newsletter from Paul Jarvis (as always) including this bit which really stood out to me:

“Possibly the best part about selling a product is hearing from folks who’ve bought it and then gained something from it.”

One of my favourite responsibilities at GoDaddy is working on the customer stories that appear in our company blog, the GoDaddy Garage.

It’s incredibly motivating to learn how these small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world use GoDaddy products, whether it’s domains or hosting or email marketing or GoCentral.

And that’s just the tech. We also get to learn how they’re overcoming other challenges, their wins and their losses, their observations and their perspectives.

So if you have the privilege of serving customers, reach out and listen to the stories they have to tell. And if they’re up for it, see if they’re willing to let you share their story with others.

Our era is defined by polarization.

Our era is defined by polarization, warring ideological gangs that yield no ground. Division, however, isn’t the root cause of our unworkable system. There are many causes, but a primary problem is conformism. Facebook has nurtured two hive minds, each residing in an informational ecosystem that yields head-nodding agreement and penalizes dissenting views.

Source: How Silicon Valley is erasing your individuality

Developers and startups are pushed to create viral habit-forming loops that reinforce the echo chamber. Everything in pursuit of the almighty DAU, impressions, engagement. This is the result.

Every comment thread devolves into a two-sided argument. There’s no middle ground. How do we fix that?

Photo by CloudVisual on Unsplash

“It was just me blogging.”

I think it all stemmed from me not wanting to create a course. I didn’t even know that was a thing. It was just me blogging and creating YouTube videos about things that I had learned or questions that people have asked me, and then I went and wrote a blog post about it or I went up and created a YouTube video.

Source: How Wes Bos Teaches 100,000 Programmers as a One-Man Operation – The Indie Hackers Podcast

I wrote a post a few days ago about providing value before asking for something in return. Wes is a great example of someone who was providing value for the sake of providing value, then built on top of that.

Now he has a business teaching others how to code via online courses.

Aside: I was introduced to Wes through Ladies Learning Code. It was their first WordPress workshop, hosted at CSI Annex near Bathurst & Bloor. Wes was lead instructor and I was one of the mentors.

Five things I’ve learned from publishing my first YouTube video.

I’ve been itching to do more with video this year. And through the summer I dabbled with it, posting some videos on Twitter, some videos on Instagram, and some videos on Facebook. But none of it was hefty or consistent – definitely nothing that I felt comfortable posting on YouTube.

But if you’re gonna get serious with video, you need to get on YouTube.

So back in August I decided to shoot a series of impromptu Q&A sessions with web pros at WordCamp Montreal.

To make it extra scrappy, I chose to only use my phone. No fancy camera, no special audio equipment.

Now, about a month later, after spending several hours cobbling together the footage, I’ve uploaded my first YouTube video.

It’s nothing special, but it’s a start. And that’s the important thing. I’ve started something here. And through that process of starting something I’ve already learned a few new things that I can apply on my next video.

Specifically…

1. Use a tripod.

My phone isn’t heavy, but after holding my arms at an awkward angle for an extended period of time, I started feeling the shakes. Since my interviewees (“talent”?) were seated, the slight shifting was noticeable, even with the stabilization from my phone.

2. Use a mic.

My goal for the WordCamp Montreal experiment was to just use the phone. Nothing else. And it worked pretty well. But some of my interviewees are soft-spoken individuals. I’ve since picked up a cheap-but-good-enough lavalier (lapel) mic to use for future videos.

3. Give myself a deadline.

I could’ve spent a lot more time on the video, but then the video would’ve taken longer to finish. So I made a decision on Thursday to upload the video by EOD regardless of the condition it was in. That forced me to push my list of things to try off to the next video. Which, in turn, is encouragement to get started on the next video.

4. Learn my tools by working on a project.

I was looking up keyboard shortcuts and best practices for Premiere while having a project on the go. I feel like I learned more through that approach because I was simultaneously applying those lessons and takeaways to an actual project I cared about.

5. The Pixel XL is pretty friggin’ great for this.

The Pixel has a fantastic camera. Plus: The free, unlimited Google Photos storage that comes with the Pixel means all my HD footage automatically syncs when I’m on wifi. I don’t need to deal with manual file transfers. I just grab the files off Google Drive once they’re sync’d, and then import them into Premiere when I start my edit.

So if you’re like me and keen on doing more with video, here’s my TL;DR:

  1. Grab your phone.
  2. Find a few friendly folks and ask them some questions.
  3. Start messing with a video editor.
  4. Upload your imperfect-but-completed video to YouTube.

Then take what you learned through that process and iterate on it. 🙂

Featured in this compilation from WordCamp Montreal 2017:

Thanks to Antti Luode for providing an amazing library of music under the CC 3.0 license.