“Only a handful of people in the world that can tell the difference between you and me”

Here are 2 websites:

Website 1

Website 2

If we went and asked 100 random people which site they liked more, what do you think would be the “like” ratio between website 1 and website 2?

50/50? 60/40? 70/30?

Now, what if I told you that website 1 was developed by what I’m sure is a fantastic digital agency for approximately $25,000 and website 2 is a generic Themeforest theme that costs $13.

How would you feel?

Just like the clip from Good Will Hunting, one the greatest movies ever, there’s only a handful of people in the world that will really know the difference between the two sites.  Seriously.  But more importantly, if you’re not in the tech world, why would you even need to know?

Much like how IKEA dominates the furniture market with stuff that’s “good enough”, will cheap web development dominate  the future?  With sites like Themeforest and Odesk, you can get extremely low cost development done depending on how technically savvy you are, and how technically advanced your product is.

What value will the digital agencies of the future have to bring in order to stay alive when a pretty-damn-reasonable website theme costs less than a 20 piece McNugget meal from McDonalds?

 

 

 

My first paid gig

As inspired by the latest post by the always amazing Jason Fried from the Signal Vs Noise blog, I’ve decided to dig up my very first commercial gig that I’ve ever done.

A little back story.  To this day, I think the most profitable class I’ve ever taken at Simon Fraser was the one that taught me how to use Adobe InDesign (the course number somehow escapes me at this moment).  Without that course, I wouldn’t have gotten my internship at Blo, which turned into my job at Blo, which without that opportunity, I would be no where near where I am now.

Anyways, during my last year in university my friend Pooya had introduced me to a guy who needed a logo and business card designed for his new company.   It was supposed to be a very minimalist and “cool” logo for a door company.  After a couple of days of sketching and messing around in Adobe Illustrator (which to this day I still have no idea how to really use), I ended up with this:

modoorn

 

Total cost: 40 dollars. (Ca ching!)

 

 

The Death of the Company Blog

Imagine if you will, standing in the center of Penn Station (or your preferred hub of transportation) in the middle of the busiest time of the year.   A blur of people are zooming by, every single one rushing to get home to the comfort of their own home, to see their loved ones, or just relax from another long day at the office.  And for a split second, a face in the sea of hundreds from across the room catches your eye.  Just a flicker of light in your retina was all that needed to capture your attention, and it feels so familiar, even if you’ve only seen it for the first time.

Now imagine that was a blog headline (Ha! Gotcha!)

All dramatics aside, I seriously think that 37 Signals gets me.  Like, as a human being.  I randomly saw this article on their Signal Vs. Noise blog titled “When culture turns into policy” and their graphic hit me like Mike Tyson’s punch to the solar plexus.

1208-Culture-vs-Policy

I’ve been in multiple jobs where writing a blog was part of the description, and I have nothing against the concept of writing for a blog.  But what I do have a problem with is the churning process of “social media content”.  If you want to invest in having a blog, then great! But if a company literally says “hey, you got an hour – write a blog about x,y and z”, then the content is guaranteed to be awful.

It seems senseless to write a blog to make your company seem “cool” instead of actually just doing cool stuff.  Why force your coworkers to an after work gathering instead of just building the type of work environment where friendships would flourish any way?

Let’s just cut the bullshit.

 

#GIJENS is the best piece of marketing material ever

I think the best type of marketing is the type that doesn’t feel like it’s marketing at all.  Especially nowadays when we sort of live in a surreal world where everyone is a professional “brand” consultant.  I myself am guilty of looking at a marketing campaign and trying to tear it apart and critique it using a critical eye instead of just enjoying it.

Long story short, a photographer named Jens Lennartsson went on Alibaba and made a bunch of action figures of himself as promotional items to send off to potential clients to win their business.  The first thing I thought was, holy shit this is the coolest thing ever.  This guy jumped through 50 lazer beams and was able to access the dopamine receptors in my brain and turned them on.  I think it’s especially cool to me, because I’ve been studying a lot of portfolio sites (as research for my new site, which is going to be BAD ASS) and after a while they all became the same.

Breaking through the screen is sometimes the best thing you can do in digital.

 

If you want your computer to be louder for no reason, try mining Bitcoins!

bitcoin-logo

This post isn’t about whether or not Bitcoins are a valid currency.  I’m sure there are much smarter people in the world who can answer that question (and they’ll most likely say no).  This post is about mining for Bitcoins on your computer, which structurally speaking is kind of dumb.  Bitcoin will automatically change the release rate of a single Bitcoin based on how many people are trying to trying to mine it.  As you can imagine, it’s currently overflowing with people trying to cash in on this recent surge in price.

Anyway, I decided to throw my hat into it using my Nvidia GTX 550Ti graphics card which can be described as “generally okay for playing some games but not the best games anymore” to see what will happen.  As expected, my video card fan is now humming at full speed all the time.  Certainly this level of intensity must mean something awesome is happening right?!

After some more digging around, I found a website that would calculate the expected return based on how strong my graphics card is and here are the results:

mining for bitcoins is dumb

 

I think the moral of the story is I should have bought in when Bitcoin was at 2 dollars.

 

How to fix the “stuck on loading screen” bug after OTA update to 4.4 Android Kit Kat

nexus4

It seems like a lot of people are having issues with their phone after doing OTA patch to Android 4.4 Kit Kat.  I think I read somewhere that these issues are partially due to the fact that I have a rooted phone.  However, it is extremely annoying to have your phone soft brick on you, especially due to the fact that I wasn’t doing anything with untested roms or kernels.  Anyway, on to the guide:

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My latest project: “Run Your City”

work in progress

 

I’ve been getting really in to sports lately and the main reason is because sports is one of the last thing in the world where narratives aren’t constructed. Take TMZ for example – TMZ is basically one giant factory of narrative. Every TMZ story is essentially as follows: “This happened and you should care about it”. After a while, everyone hits that realization and thinks “why am I reading this”?

Sports are different. Every single game has a protagonist and an antagonist and it all depends on your preconceptions, based on a multitude of factors (geographical location, perception of players, bandwagonism, etc.) and the objectives are clear. You want your team to fuck over the other person’s team in a the most brutal and soul crushing way possible. The narrative is built in because there will be a winner and a loser.

But what about running? In my last post, I talked about the website that I had made for my friend Aimee about her running club The Night Terrors which is a group of people that run together. The website I built was designed to build some unity through a shared experience and showcase that unity to the world.

So now we need an antagonist.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Warriors” you’ll immediately get this concept, but if you haven’t, this it it in a nutshell:

  • You have your crew.
  • You go around town claiming territory.
  • Anyone that takes your territory is toast.
  • That’s it.

The team concept is easy enough. But territory is a little harder. I started brainstorming about what possible way you could apply the concept of territory to this activity, and what came out was the idea of using the APIs of running trackers (Nike+ will be the first one that we’ll be using) and mapping it out on Google Maps. This concept of plotting your run isn’t new or revolutionary, but what is unique is merging your running data with a “team” and mapping that data against other teams.

The final product will be something like this:

Step 1. You log in to the site using Nike+, which will then take your running GPS data.
Step 2. Your data will be pooled into your team.
Step 3. Your team’s data will be plotted in a certain colour over google maps. The other team’s data will do the same.
Step 4. The overlapping streets on a map will be a mixture of colours and the only way to claim that street back is to run over it more. Or alternatively you can choose to roam on the uncontested territory and get a larger piece of the street.

My friend Benji and I have been slowly hacking away at this thing using javascript (and python in the future) and we’re at the stage where we’re able to plot points on a Google Map, so it’s sort of coming together. I hope that in a few months when it comes together, you’ll really enjoy what we’ve built.