‘The Silent Subcontractor’

Laura Kalbag in her column on A List Apart:

For the last four years I’ve had this daft rule: I don’t work with agencies.

Why was I doing this? I was really just attributing a few dodgy practices to all agencies—and minimizing my potential to work with great people. By a basic definition, an agency is just a collective that produces work for clients. If I worked with one more person, I could be an agency. Now I’m feeling a bit silly for discriminating for so long.

Great advice for independent contractors. Laura’s perspective has definitely changed the way I look at the issue.

‘The Top 10 Worst Albums of the Year’

Henry Monteiro:

As I’ve said before, 2013 was one of the best years in music I’ve seen personally.But still, even with such great music being released, there had to be some crap. Here are the 10 worst I’ve heard.

I love Henry’s honest and blunt critique. He’s spot on too.

Looking Forward

It’s 2014. I can’t believe I’m writing that. It seems like yesterday that I published this post.

2013 was an interesting year. It was riddled with both success and failure. Thankfully, the year ended on a high note. This was the first year that I accomplished all of my goals, except one.1

My goals for 2013 were:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Pay Attention to the Relationships that Matter
  3. Speak on Design
  4. Work Less
  5. Travel More

This is quite an accomplishment! I spoke at two events last year: MinneBar, and Blend Conf. I talked about the benefit of side projects, and people seemed to enjoy the talk.

In May, I quit my job at Rocket Lift, and decided to do Anythin’ Goes full-time. This has been really good for me. I’ve had the opportunity of working with some great clients, and the flexibility of managing my own schedule. I’ve also tried spending less time in front of my desk, and more time with family, friends, or other activities.2

This year, I travelled a little too. I went to New York City in the summer and the fall. I had the chance to walk Central Park the second time, which was absolutely beautiful, and the weather was perfect. I went to Charlotte, North Carolina to speak, and San Diego, California to visit my folks.

So what do I want to accomplish in 2014? Here are my goals for this year:

  1. Lose Weight
    I know this is a repeat, but I seriously want to tackle this. I know things that are bad for me, but I don’t really know what I should be eating. I want to dedicate a bit more time into planning my menu every week, which I think will allow me to grocery shop effectively, and help me learn how to cook new dishes.

  2. Learn Rails
    I know I can’t possibly learn Rails in one year, but I want to get very comfortable with it. At the moment, I can build a simple application with Rails, but I’d love to get into more complex things, and start implementing best practices like tests.

  3. Collaborate with Friends
    Adam Clark and I have been talking about working together on something for the longest time. I’d love to finally take a project where we can work on it together. I’d also love to work with other people. 2013 was full of projects that I worked on alone, I’d like to be in a position to assemble teams for projects this year.

  4. Mentor a Student
    Similar to Laura Kalbag, I’d like to guide a student through a project. I’m at a point where I can teach someone how to manage a project, and I should do my part in paying that knowledge forward.

  5. Take Work-cations
    Running my own business allows me to work from anywhere. There is no need for me to work from my studio 80 percent of the year. I need to start taking advantage of the flexibility I have.

Those are my five goals for 2014. What do you want to accomplish?

  1. Didn’t lose weight. Damn. 

  2. So many activities

Version 2.0

With a fresh year, comes a fresh design. I had some serious issues with the previous version’s typography, which I’ve mostly addressed with this redesign. It still needs refinement, but this is a good starting point for the year.

If you normally read in your RSS reader, take a look at the site today. I’d love to hear what you think.

A List Apart Issue 387

Nick Cox writes an excellent article in the last A List Apart issue of the year. In “A Moment to Breathe”, he tells the story of how he realized he was working too much, and what he forced himself to do, to correct it.

What I find so fascinating about stories like this, is that because we’re all so passionate about our work, it can be difficult to listen when our body is telling us we need a break. But story after story (Nick’s included), we see that the world won’t end if we step back, work less, and sleep eight hours.

Stay Organized with Bartender

Stephen Hackett writes a concise review of Bartender, and why it’s The Sweet Setup’s best app for keeping the menu bar organized.

I’m a huge fan of Bartender. Because I normally prefer menu bar apps, things can get cluttered pretty easily, and as Stephen points out, there are some that you don’t need to monitor 24/7.

Newsstand Isn’t the Problem

Ben Brooks on The Brooks Review:

[A post on PandoDaily] blames the Newsstand icon and design on faltering sales. Perceived lack of attention from Apple, and lack of icon badging (I assume, because it is never explicitly said) were other ‘excuses’ mentioned.

Okay, fair point. The fact that you can completely hide Newsstand can’t be good for publishers. He goes on to say:

I have a lot of respect for people making a go of digital publishing like this, and for Fleishman specifically. BUT, it seems to me that if subscribers are dwindling and people are “forgetting” about your publication, then your problem is rather straightforward: content.

Agreed. I’ve been very disappointed with the subscriptions I have in Newsstand. Blaming Apple is easy, and people just don’t “forget” about your publication.