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47 things I did this past year

List of things I did in the last year:

  1. built a bunch of websites in many FOSS technologies,
  2. developed e-commerce websites,
  3. wrangled domain names,
  4. worked with website hosts globally,
  5. developed multiple language websites,
  6. provided seo numbers and basic analysis to my clients,
  7. copied/reworked trademarked branding assets,
  8. designed: logos, labels, banners, corp identity, web house-style, full color flyers, business cards, websites, intranet portals, and business forms,
  9. wrote original text in website, blog, and twitter,
  10. photography in many forms and situations,
  11. managed email marketing campaigns,
  12. product development feedback,
  13. business development and feedback,
  14. hit personally all reachable local employment agencies,
  15. discovered local neighborhoods,
  16. managed small live show at grote markt,
  17. researched local media artists,
  18. began to work with social networks more,
  19. programmed in Python to process a csv database from who knows where,
  20. visit “family” and stay engaged,
  21. entertained guests, showed my work,
  22. paid attention to relevant political issues,
  23. met business associates in cafes,
  24. stayed in contact with a few old friends,
  25. went to the beach a few times,
  26. used skype to do international business,
  27. used paypal for money transfers,
  28. remained in contact with service suppliers globally,
  29. researched reforestation and other green subjects,
  30. allegedly partner in reforestation company,
  31. attended big-shot technical meeting,
  32. job fairs – “moooo” I hate’em,
  33. tracked currency and other markets to minimize loss,
  34. trained,
  35. looked at other languages and history,
  36. helped my friends the best I could,
  37. saw my niece get married on streaming video from 5000 miles away,
  38. discussed research and information on company formation, IP,
  39. feedback and management of several labels, products, and brands,
  40. programmed email servers, email auto-responders, and set up branded email systems,
  41. added twitter feeds to my client’s websites,
  42. made aggregator websites using automatic content creation software,
  43. made websites in 4, 5, or more languages,
  44. used more sophisticated tools like teleseminars, mp3 recordings, and video,
  45. went to networking events in the city,
  46. worked with ventures, financing, and business planning,
  47. mundane backups (desktop, databases, websites, cloud.), administration, and emergency preparation.

calling superman

I see companies everyday that are in technical peril. Their systems are bloated, complicated, and fragile.  How do I know? – I look at their Help Wanted pages.

When a company is looking for a web developer, they have to ask for specific qualities and competencies such as the ability to program in specific languages (PHP, SQL, Java, C#, etc.), the use of specific development tools (version control, system administration, networking tools, SDKs, etc.), platforms, (Windows, Linux, Unix), and various ways of structuring, working with, and presenting data (databases, SQL, html, flash, etc.).  From these details, one can figure out the technology and structure of their online information system.  It is common sense to see that many companies are a disaster waiting to happen.

When you look at web developer job posting, it looks like an alphabet soup.  PHP, MySQL, html, xml, javascript, Flash, and so forth.  When you look at a vacancy, count the number of acronyms, languages and systems they ask for.  Often, the number is 9 to 15 or more.  That means the person that is fitted for that job must have competency in 9 to 15 subject matters.  In my part of the world, they want this person to be a polyglot as well (here, the want pretty fluent Dutch and English).

This is a system that is so complicated, it is begging to fail, and eventually, the person that takes that job is being set up for failure.  Even if you can keep up with the technological demands, due diligence from competitors offshore will render your efforts futile (to the extent that these technical competencies are standardized, they become a commodity on the international markets). Superman can’t help, and giving up is no option.

Solution: Restore sanity! These businesses need to rethink their technology plan.  While handling day to day operation of the websites and social nets, effort needs to be made to refactor the software system and/or redesign the technology and business process so that it’s simpler as well as more flexible and fault tolerant.  This is more “sustainable” as well.

That means, stakeholders need look at their business from a wider perspective (a global perspective for example, or coordinating better with your value chain).  Look at the how your business fits in with what’s happening now (not what was happening when you started the business “x” years ago).  How can you eliminate complication?  Keep in mind that learning doesn’t stop – you may have to learn new skills, languages, systems,  in the process.

Finally, I don’t think there are any “quick fixes“.  If that is what they are looking for from me, I’m not that kind of superman.

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∆ i like to play with words ∆

The tag words in the block above are movable! You can make little sentences by clicking on the words and dragging them around. That's what I call wordplay!

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