This Is 2016 Not 2012

Her eyebrows knot themselves. A pencil grates back and forth on her legal pad. Scratch. Scratch. My back itches; a tiny incessant itch that demands more attention with each passing second. Should I itch it? 

Better wait. 

I can hear the sound of a clock ticking somewhere else in the office. Tick. Tick. Tick. I’m still wondering whether I should scratch my back.

“Can you describe any relevant background experience you have for the position?” Her eyebrows unknot themselves expectantly.

“Well, I’ve been programming since I was 10 years old,” I start. Continue Reading

21 Apr 2012, 2:32pm | 34 comments

Getting Started With SEO: Build A Base

“I’m completely lost. Where do I start with this stuff?” I asked apprehensively.

“In the beginning, doing SEO is all about building a solid base for yourself. You build the foundation and then everything follows naturally from that,” Scott started his voice low and distorted over Skype.

I desperately wanted to learn how to start doing SEO work for my startup Airtime for Email. The goal was to build a sustainable sales funnel of people hitting our site every day. Unfortunately I didn’t know the first thing about how to do this. And so I was Skyping with a friend of mine, Scott McLeod, freelance web dev and SEO extraordinaire.

After about an hour on Skype I knew enough to start building my base. And now a few weeks later Airtime is ranking on the first page for a few of our target keywords. Below I’ll go through a few of the strategies I used to identify keywords and then attack them for better rankings. Continue Reading

18 Apr 2012, 5:40pm | 6 comments

I’m Sure It Will Only Take You A Few Days To Code

“So the site’s pretty simple, all it needs to do is X, Y and Z. You seem like a good programmer so I’m sure it will only take you a few days to put it together.”

I get emails like this from time to time. The people that write them are almost invariably not technical and working on their first product. At first I got pretty annoyed when people talked like this. Who are they to go around estimating development times? But then I realized, even I am terrible at estimating how long my own projects are going to take. How can I get mad at them if I can’t do it either?

The real reason I’m annoyed is not that their estimate is wrong. It’s that they assume that they can even make an estimate. That’s because as developers we unconsciously realize that the way a layperson naturally estimates complexity breaks down when it comes to software.

That’s not an excuse for being annoyed. But it brings up another more interesting question: why does the way we naturally measure complexity stop working when we apply it to programming?  Continue Reading

3 Apr 2012, 11:18pm | 64 comments


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