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Tag: Work

3 Business Models

Business Model #1:  Enterprise This is when your product costs over 100k.  Maybe even in the millions.  The sales cycle is pretty long.  It requires lots of documents to make the sale and build the product.  RFI, RFP, MRD, PRD, Roadmap, the list goes on and on.  This is a tough business to be in.  If you are good at it, then you could get very big like Seibel or Oracle or any other big expensive product suppliers.  If you are a startup, you have to get VERY lucky.  Remend tried this and was not lucky.  They got caught in…

The UX of positive feedback

A nice review of Marketo.  I really feel like Marketo is starting to gain momentum in a serious way.  Articles like this make me feel all warm inside that I was able to have a positive impact on a company and on the people who use the product. This raises an important thought for me.  Positive feedback is critical to making someone feel good about their work and feel committed to the organization.  Without positive feedback, you just don’t know if you are making a difference or having an impact. In a large organization this is harder, but certainly not…

Management of Expectations

Managing expectations is always hard.  Lots of angles, lots of risk.  Who is right?  Should you track all of your hours?  Should you pad your hours?  In my experience, people want predictability in an unpredictable world.  They want to hear, “This is exactly what we can do at maximum efficiency.” with the follow-up later of “We delivered everything we said, on time and under budget.” Personally, I don’t think that creates the best experience of working with someone.  People need stretch goals.  They also need to take risk into account.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes things go wrong.  And when…

Live demos of my UX work

I’ve been pretty excited about the work I have been doing at Marketo. The marketing automation platform we built has alot of really unique models. The way segmentation works is just beautiful. I am really proud of it. Additionally, the stuff coming out in the next few months is making it even better, faster, stronger. If you would like to see how it works, the marketing guys do a 1 hour demo every week. Click the link and sign up for the date you want. It’s pretty easy to understand and anyone can signup to watch. Even my loving relatives.…

P-CAMP Unconference for Product Managers

I went to a conference today at Yahoo.  Nice campus.  It was P-CAMP Unconference for Product Managers. I took alot away from it.  Some learnings: There is a huge chasm between what serious Agile practitioners proscribe and what most companies who say they are doing agile actually do.  One guy said, “You just have to find the companies that are doing it right.”  I laughed.  I just can’t suspend my skepticism that it just doesn’t exist beyond the 1% of companies.  I am very happy to be proven wrong, but so far, I haven’t met anyone on a personal level…

The UX of Time Tracking

Project management is hard work.  I feel for anyone who has to do it in the software industry.  The problem is simple.  To do any kind of prediction in project management, you need to be able to guess how long something will take.  Let’s say you want to build a web page.  How long will it take?  Over the last decade of doing just that, I know that a page takes about 1-2 days to produce from a JPEG or PSD.  I know I can make a Marketo landing page template in about 1-2 hours.  I can make a home…

Growing pains

I can hardly remember the growing pains from Koko.  We had 30 people at the peak.  I remember agonizing over organizational charts.  I remember thinking about communications lines.  I remember how hard it was to get engineering leaders to communicate effectively (at all) to account managers.  I remember isolated incidents, but I really don’t remember massive pain.  Maybe I am remembering it with rose-colored glasses? At work, we are growing because of success on the marketing automation platform we built. I am very proud of the job we all did and the response that the market is giving us is…

Marketing

The last two years has been a major education for me in Marketing.  First at Intuit, where I felt the entire organization is run by the Marketing Department.  I felt that the main goal of marketing was to project (micro)manage incremental changes in high volume processes.  In other words, there was a marketing person in charge of the shopping cart.  Another marketing person in charge of the download process.  Another one for Quicken.  Etc etc. I resented alot of their efforts because they did not let the designers help the process.  Rather they assumed that design was subjective and their…

Too Many hats!

Marketo is starting to launch into beta, bringing on a few customers at a time.  It’s a stressful time for all as there is so much left to do and so many details.  I really appreciate how good Katie was at this sort of thing.  Keeping track of a million details.  She kicks ass.  Meanwhile, I am wearing alot of hats and trying to keep my head on straight. Christmas is right around the corner.  We have no tree, no presents, no decorations, no nothing.  We are way behind.  We were thinking about the Wii for the kids, but they…

A funny joke

User Experience Architect: “So guys, I am going to go to the user and try the product.  Does the basic use case work?” Engineer: “Yes, it works.” Quality Assurance: “Yes, it works.” User after trying it: “No, it doesn’t work.” Engineer: “Must be user error.” Which part of the joke is funny?  It doesn’t really seem all that funny to me.  More sad and pathetic kind of joke. Dedication: For all the people who have to sit with the user when this happens, “I feel your pain.” *Note:  This joke could use a cartoon-like graphic, couldn’t it?

Management sins

What are the worst management sins?  Here is my short list. Micromanagment. I really hate it when a boss says, “I want you to be responsible for this, but I am going to dictate how you do it.”  This is the thing that made me want to leave Intuit.  If you delegate then, let the person do their job.  You can give them feedback and guidance, but don’t dictate.  I know this sin happens when the shit hits the fan.  People think that they need to clamp down and have more process, but it never works.  See chart.  This is…

Remend closes and lessons learned

The first company I worked as an interaction designer, Remend has officially closed it doors.  Here are some lessons learned for dot-coms building a product: A dollar spent in architecture is 10 dollars saved in maintenance.  Never hard code anything if you can help it.  The lesson is that things change.  Details change. You have to roll with the punches.  It is alot easier to change something flexible than something rigid.  Architecture is the key.  You don’t get alot of chances to start over.  This is exactly the opposite of what Extreme Programming states with YAGNI (You Aint Gonna Need…

Marketo.com Launched

Marketo.com (The comapny I work for as UX Architect) is launching their flagship product and public site this week.  Uses a bunch of jQuery, Tabs Plugin, Validation Plugin and Scrolling Promo Effect.  Design was by (upon request).  HTML Production was done by NetKitchen and myself.  Overall, I think it’s a solid looking site. One thing I have started doing is using more PNG files with transparency.  You have to be careful in terms of filesize, but the transparency effect is quite nice. I feel good about it.  Specifically the black background which I think makes the whole page pop!

Exciting News

Exciting news: The book publisher has green lit my book. I am starting to write it now. It is about jQuery and how it empowers designers. I will give a better summary after I work on it for a little while. I get an advance and everything. The book will be made of physical paper that you can touch and feel. Exciting! AjaxExperience 2007 has accepted my proposal to be a speaker at the conference in July. The presentation will be about jQuery and how it empowers designers. (Sound familiar?) I will give a better summary after I work on…

TurboTax rap

David Foltz over at Turbotax pointed me at this video.  I think it’s brilliant.  Apparently they are having a content for the best Turbotax rap.  Now that is some inspired marketing.  They should put this on TV.  Their regular commercials are boring and stale. The work I did with Turbotax last year has been tested this season.  Although some of the tests did well, unfortunately, none became the control.  I can take some solace in the fact that my original concepts were changed and the tests I proposed never saw the light of day, but still, I hoped for some more success.  It…

TurboTax Tests

Some of the UX Designs I made for TurboTax are going live.   I HAD temporary links.  Some people at Intuit who shall remain nameless have objected to showing them. So I am going to make local copies and host them myself.  The test is also delayed, so I will wait a little bit to put them up. Personal note:  These are websites people.  We are not solving world hunger.  Let’s not make a big deal about triffles.  The world is not going to end. They are both pretty good.  I think they both have a good chance of beating the control.  But…

What does it stand for?

What is e.g.?An abbreviation for "exempli gratia,"Latin for "for example." What is n.b.?abbreviation for nota bene: used to mark something as particularly important. What is i.e.?abbreviation for "id est," Latin for "that is"; also means, "in other words." it is followed by an explanation, specific list or a paraphrase.

Change of pace

I had gotten so used to being reactive at Intuit.  The phone would ring, the email would arrive, the meetings would be scheduled.  I only had time to "work" in between these hectic moments.  So much so, that I had to avoid some meetings (Like the dreaded PELT) to actually get some work done.  Now, things have changed.  No more meetings, no more phone!  I have to be proactive instead of reactive.  I am still in decompression, getting used to it. Also, I miss my friends at Intuit.  Although Katie said, "You missed Steve when you joined Intuit and you…

Bread / First Day

Yesterday, I went to get some bread.  I said, "A two and a half pound sourdough, sliced please."  Matthew was in my arms and pointed out his index finger high in the air and yelled, "SCUSE ME ONE MINUTE! SCUSE ME ON MINUTE!"The lady smiled at him and said, "Yes?  Matt perked up and said, "YOU GOT BREAD?!"  His shoulders went up in the universal question posture.She mock saluted and said, "Yes sir!"  Matt smiled and said, "Oh!  THNAK YOU!" — Today is my first day as UX Architect at Marketo.  I am excited and a little daunted.  I have never…

The Deal

I made a deal with one of the most talented designers I know. He asked that his name be changed, to protect the innocent.  We shall call him Kedalsen Sirhc. (aka CBOT) The Deal: Whoever makes 20 million first has to give the other 1 million dollars. Can’t use the money on hookers in Vegas.  I am excited for this deal.  I might want to expand the list of people I make this deal with!  It could be like a Ponzi scheme or something!

Omission

In my previous ‘2 weeks’ post, I neglected to mention Eric Yeh and Steve Lam.  I probably forgot them because I am still emotionally scarred from them making fun of my clothes, hair and gut. However, I just want to let them know, I liked working with them better than I liked working with Vasu.  Merry Christmas guys! Quick UX thing.  This effect kicks butt!

2 weeks

I gave notice to Intuit yesterday.  It is a sad moment for me.  There are some people there that I will miss terribly.  There have been a few people throughout my career that I have just loved working with.Ben Nadel, Tom Quaile, Sean Zimmerman, Florence Tang, Bill Mirbach, Chris Nesladek. These are people I consider ultra-talented.  I wish I could work with them every day. The last 4 names are reasons why I would stay at Intuit. Reasons I would leave: Micromanagement is the norm.  In general, the powers that be don’t trust UX experts.  Everyone wants to be in…

Prognosticating

Quicken just launched their new site.  I had nothing to do with it.  Sapient did pretty much all the work.  As an optimist, I wanted them to succeed, but looking at the site, I have trouble getting over some significant issues.  Task completion was definetely not a major part of the thought process.  The amount of text (not Sapient’s fault, I think) is entirely too long.  And the page sizes, my goodness.  The main Quicken product page is 380k.  That is insane!  The CSS is almost 4000 lines long.  How the heck did that happen?  My predictions on the site are…

Intuit.com Account Management

Some of my work launched today on Intuit.com.  All of the account management features have had an overhaul.  Some improvements: New design makes a frame around account management to clearly identify it Dynamic error messaging/field validation. Better Credit Card Info Management. Order Status/History page redesign. Email template enhancements. Better workflow. Bigger buttons! We eliminated a ton of useless text. Go create an account on one of Intuit’s websites.  You will see it in action.  I don’t think it’s perfect at all, but it is a significant improvement.

Bad Week

Having a bad week.  My HTML/CSS is looking ragged.  My head is distracted.  Lots of negative interactions.  It has been hard to keep my head up.  The beard has grown back, which is a good thing, I think.  (Tangent – Remember in The Tick, when the mustache attached itself to the Tick and spoke in Spanish, but the Tick thought it was some crazy moon language.  That was funny.) Here is an interesting question.  Let’s say you have two people.  The first person, who is about my height, goes through a project and interacts with people.  Of the people he…

Business Writing

There was this award at work. Everyone had to nominate another person and say why they thought that person embodied the corporate values. The Intuit values are actually pretty interesting. I did not win the award, but rather, my nomination was the winning one. Everyone mentioned the quality of the writing as an important factor. It wasn’t good grammar, but rather good storytelling. I think being able to tell a good story is an important business skill. A good analogy is critical to explaining complex ideas. A good story of what someone else did or did not do can be…

Work Update and Peeing

Work has been really frenetic. So many different projects and so much to do. I got approval to hire and manage a web developer to free up some of my time to work more on Information Architecture and UI Design. The guy we hired was offered alot of money from his previous employer to stay, but he said no. It has always been important to me to look out for the professional development of everyone I work with. It always comes back to you. I remember the Mission Statement for Kokopelli. (Is this right?) Effective Solutions for every Customer, Professional…

Work News

Normally, I try to post as little content about work as possible. Although this blog is designed for my kids to read when they are older, it is still accessible by the public and therefore I believe saying little about work is prudent. You never know how information persists. With that said… Today is my last day working for Remend. I have been here about 1.5 years and have learned much about myself and others. I have become much stronger in JavaScript and knowledgeable about J2EE and a host of other technologies. On Monday, I start working as a UI…

Memory Lane in the Web Archive

A trip down memory lane. Our first Grainger UI. This the famous “first” global/local navigation site for a big company. Original Commadot.com The infamous Vagina site for Vday. And my personal favorite Flash intro with “Do Right” audio. Silly Koko thank you. GE Medical Systems. The template that saved the day. Christmas for Reader’s Digest. How two Jewish New Yorkers designed Christmas for America. Well, not quite. the Game still works! Wow. Our old homepage. I love Web Archive. We should have saved copies of everything. What were the URLs of our Holiday cards? Anyone remember?

Business Trip Again

Once again, I find myself in Las Vegas waiting to board a flight to Dallas. Being away from the family stinks. Jared’s tummy still hurts. I miss them already and the week has barely begun. I am on hold on my cell phone, trying to type with one hand. I do not want to be a “road warrior”. Katie’s birthday was yesterday. We went to Muir woods and saw the new Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The woods were nice but cold. The movie blew chunks. Bad acting. Bad writing. Two thumbs down, way down. Dumbledoor is so…