Noshings #11

I love building things — especially in the scrappy stages when everything is DIY, imperfect and in spite of all the possibilities of failing, has a probability for success. What an exciting state be in! 

One of the things I find myself doing pretty often is logo creation. I usually start with something super simple that fits in a square and looks generally okay on most platforms. Radio.co has some other tips on how to design a logo for your radio station. 

This two-hour video tutorial on how to “plan, code and deploy your startup” is a great guide to use if you’re looking to set something up real quick. By the time you’ve finished watching the video and following along, you’ll have a minimum viable product ready. Although the tutorial is for a job aggregator, it could be tweaked to aggregate different things. 

Another way to get a simple app up really quickly is by using no-code tools. Although I often find these tools limited in some ways, they are good enough to get started with very low time or monetary investment. I recently read an article about no-code myths, which may help to dispel developer fears of no-code competition. 

If you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, and if you’re female, the Femstreet newsletter is a valuable resource.

If you’re an entrepreneur, and media is part of your company’s revenue model, A Media Operator has some amazing insights.

Noshings #10

I’ve always been attracted to minimalism and in the last couple of years, I’ve been working on reducing my possessions.  

In his article about minimalism in the real world, Tim Denning provides a guide on how to maintain a mindset of minimalism, without having to live out of a backpack. Although I probably won’t follow all of the guidelines, I like the idea of establishing what minimalism looks like to me. It’s about deciding what I value most in life. 

Which is why I really love this email auto-responder that Josh Spector shares in For the Interested. Although it’s an auto-response, it’s thoughtfully written and is a reminder that one doesn’t have to be “busy” to be successful.

When it comes to achieving goals, sometimes success isn’t because of external situations. Sometimes you may not just be trying hard enough. I thought the four questions in this article was a good way to examine myself and whether I’m trying hard enough to achieve my goals.

In this essay that was written in 1963, Isaac Bashevis Singer questions the need for literature. Even then, literary fiction had begun to compete for attention with radio, film, press and television. With how accessible all those things have become in 2019, it seems like there’s even less need for literary fiction. People who need it would be those with “strong interest in human character and individuality”, he wrote. Perhaps this applies even moreso today. 

On my to-do list for food projects is making these gel-encased cocktail capsules. My degree finally has some use. I finally get to use more of what I learned in Chemistry classes. 😂

Noshings #9

Some days, a part of me wishes that I could get a job that just involved heaps of reading and reading (preferably fiction), and writing. So it makes sense I guess, that I read a number of articles about reading and writing. 

Authors Publish’s article on How to Read Like a Published Author has some tips on how to stay abreast of what’s going on in the publishing industry, and how to read fiction as part of one’s research. Much like any other industry, working as an author means knowing what’s trending in the market, as well as understanding why someone is good or not. 

Sometimes when I’m exploring better ways to combine content and commerce, I come across articles like 5 Top Tips to Turn a Blog into a Six-Figure Business. Carol Tice’s “three-prong strategy” is something that many articles recommend using various other names. Finding the right niche, optimising for search, and looking for ways to increase readership are all important if a person wants to make money by blogging. 

When it comes to blogging, the other thing that’s important is having an editorial calendar. Coschedule has a great strategy for coming up with a blogging schedule that one can stick with.

I always look forward to Ryan Holiday’s monthly reading list email, which has book recommendations that range from obscure philosophy books to popular non-fiction. Holiday reads widely and I almost always find myself adding his recommendations to my to-read list.  

One of the things I do that helps me keep productive, while still having time for myself is to maintain a system of “untouchable hours”. These are time blocks that I add to my calendar, during which I am mostly unreachable and I use it to focus on the scheduled activity at hand. 

Noshings #8

Inspiration is everywhere. That’s what I think anyway. And over the last week, I came across an eclectic list of things that could potentially spark some ideas. 

A mobile game company (I think) turned to imgur for user feedback. What a scary thing to do! But that bravery granted them results and they tweaked their designs accordingly, then shared their edits and thought process. Also seems like a great way to get people to look forward to the game release! 

In this video on “Using Your Identity to Stay Fresh”, Mikael Moore shared some tips for music artists to use when developing concepts for their albums. You’d think being creative was enough, but there’s something very strategic about design. The advice applies to non-music artists as well, I think. 

As the year is almost coming to a close, I’ve been looking at the things I’ve accomplished this year. I’m also thinking about what I want to achieve next year. This article in The Freelance Hustle on “end of year goal assessment and achievement” was a good guide to follow. Can also be applied to non-freelancers!

I have a love for browsing through designs and this compilation of science and tech ads from the 50s and 60s was a joy to look through. One thing that crossed my mind when I was scrolling through was: Hmmm, the editorials of today look a lot like the ads of yesteryear. What does that say about editorials today? 

We use a lot of icons in design and although they’re so ubiquitous, it seems like icons (and emojis) aren’t always inclusive. “If you search the web for images of “boss,” “entrepreneur” or “leader” the majority of results are images of men,” goes an article in The Noun Project. Apparently, this can have real world repercussions. 

Noshings #7

The goal this month was to get my Medium account up and running (I’m on, but inactive) — I’m behind, but I’ll catch up. But as part of getting inspired, I’ve been reading quite a number of article on writing and/or really getting into the habit. 

I loved this piece by Ali Mese, which encourages writers to “write to express, not to impress”. I love listening to long words that flow beautifully, but when it comes to writing, I believe in simplicity. The point is to get a message from one mind to another. 

This post from Tom Kuegler about how to create quality blog posts was a little kick I needed. It’s easy to get writer’s paralysis when you think too much about the quality of your writing (it’s never good enough!). But if you focus on quantity, you’re able to ship more often. And perhaps, there’ll be something in that mass of quantity that you can polish even further to achieve quality. 

Having data is always a good thing, as long as you use it. Harrison Jansma analysed a million articles on Medium to see which topics got the most claps (one of the measures of engagement). The data provides a good indication of how to measure your performance on Medium. 

Alex Danco has five writing tips to share. Besides focusing on quantity, he also suggests establishing a routine. “Ship something every week,” he writes, adding that an email newsletter is a good way to get started. 

It can be hard to stay organised as a writer with multiple ongoing projects. Praxis has a method for organising digital information. The system is called PARA and can be implemented with the project management tool(s) of your choice!

Noshings #6

I spend most of the day looking at a screen and while I do try to take breaks that involve more movement, I also have short breaks where I just do something fun on my laptop. For a while it was Piano Genie, followed by Learning Music

Lately, it’s been Perfect Circle on volewtf. It works exactly how it sounds — you try to draw a perfect circle using your mouse / touchpad and the game grades how perfect your circle is. (If you try it out, let me know what your high score is! Mine was 91.7%)

I also sometimes like to browse cool website designs and Bruno Simon’s portfolio website was also a nice break from work. Besides showing off what he can do as a developer, it’s also a fun way to check out his profile and work done. 

Twitter is always a nice distraction, especially when people do long tweet threads. This post about what tools one would use to make a simple self-hosted website and blog in 2019 had useful responses. My default is usually WordPress, but there are so many other options these days. 

This thread about simplicity in design was also insightful. I especially liked this part: “…you don’t achieve simplicity by making things simple. You achieve simplicity by making things understood.”

If you know how to do some simple coding and like “building images with images”, check out Tiler. I foresee myself spending a lot of time on this, so am holding off until a later date (hopefully December). 

Noshings #5

I’m a big proponent of experimenting with businesses — testing quickly (and cheaply) and possibly failing at some. I also believe in taking care of one’s team.

This is probably why I found Justin Jackson’s post about his journey with Transistor inspiring and insightful. Jackson took the business from 0 to $30k monthly recurring revenue in just under a year. What I really liked was that each month, half the revenue went to paying the co-founders.

No-code tools these days make it really easy to get a minimum viable product up. Some people compare writing code to using a pro DSLR camera, while no-code is like using a smartphone camera. When it comes to taking photos, I know which one I prefer. 

Lego has some really cool ideas for the innovation process. They’ve even created a stage called “pretotypes” which comes before prototypes. They’re super low fidelity, as well as quick to develop and test. 

After finding something that works and is generating some kind of revenue, further planning is required for growth. There are ways to plan effectively. This article has some learnings from Eventbrite and Airbnb

If you want to get something attractive up quickly (and cheaply), Open Doodles is a cool resource for illustrations to snazz up your landing pages. Created by Pablo Stanley, who was also behind Humaaans.