Freelance Friday 062 - July 19

This Monday was my first Monday off in a long time, at least as a regular practice. Going forward, I'll be heading on adventures most Monday's. Climbing mountains and such because, who says you have to work Monday?

Accordingly, I've adjusted the numbers in my budget so that I understand how many billable hours I need on the other 4 days of the week to make my budget work.

Have you ever taken the time to work out how many hours you need to work every day to make your budget work? If not, why not?

If you’ve found my content helpful then new in 2019 I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

I Shipped

On Monday I took a look at the books I've read that mattered in 2019. More of them came later in the year than the beginning. I'm hoping that's not a bias to what I'm reading more recently, and a reflection that I'm following my interests better.

Tuesday, I shared my big run from the day before. As I write this on Thursday, my climbing legs are still feeling tired, but I may head back up that same run with my wife on Saturday for a 20km version with about 1200m of vertical gain. Not quite as hard, but hard still.

Friday Five

1. Advice from Tarzan

From Derek Sivers.

Remember how Tarzan swings through the jungle? He doesn’t let go of the previous vine until the next vine is supporting his weight.

Good advice to keep in mind at any point in your working career.

2. Why people write iPad "in the real world" work pieces

Inspired by this post and specifically this quote:

Ask yourself: if the iPad really was that good, wouldn’t that be a rather self-evident fact then? Would you need an article (or several dozen actually, published over the course of nine years) that tried to convince you of the merits of such a device? Or change perspective and ask yourself another question: did you ever need convincing about how the iPhone (or any other post-iPhone smartphone) has advantages "in the real world"? Of course not. And yet, many of the people who write about the iPad, can’t seem to stop creating pieces with titles like "the best uses for the iPad", "six reasons to buy an iPad" or "why an iPad is worth it" – all while rummaging in their box of adjectives for expressions like "great", "life-changing" and "fantastic" to describe it².

One of the reasons you see people, including me, write about getting "real" work done on an iPad is that it's made computing fun again. It's fun to write about working around some of the limitations of iOS with stuff like Shortcuts.

Secondly, the iPhone was a paradigm shift in the same way the OP says the 1984 Macintosh was. It was a total revolution on the way we did calling and was a big step towards mobile computing for the masses. In the years prior to the iPhone mobile computing was for those that wanted BBM or were going to dive deep into Palm and all the hacks it took to make those devices useful.

I don't think that the iPad has been a paradigm shift in the same way, it's computing power that's growing slowly on us. It's something that you can appreciate after a bit of time, instead of a head slapping advancement that leaves you wondering why you ever thought previous options were worthwhile at all.

The OP also asks us to name a single piece of software that has had as big an impact as early Macintosh software like MacPaint, MacWrite, Aldus PageMaker...

I'm not sure how we gauge that in truth, but we went from many hundreds of dollars for a truly good video editor to LumaFusion for 27.99. We're not talking iMovie good, but an app that's poised to be as good as almost any other video editor out there running on hardware (the iPad Pro) that's as fast as the fastest MacBook Pro's that Apple has to offer.

So, I'm happy to keep writing about iPad software and how to do work with an iPad as your main computer. I'm also in agreement with the OP that I don't want Apple to continue to dumb down macOS as continue to remove "developer" features like creating software RAID in Disk Utility.

HT: [mattbirchler](HT: https://twitter.com/mattbirchler/status/1134436348616761344) for pointing me to this post

3. Scott on Why Products Fail

Great post from Scott on his new product blog. I particularly liked these parts.

We only hear about the successes, and the founders make up some narrative about why they made it that is full of survivorship bias. Reading about why Facebook succeeded is not that helpful to someone starting out today. Almost all of the variables you will face are different than those faced by Mark Zuckerberg.

And

The problem is that successful products are almost always taken out of context. We don’t see how hard it was to get there, and we don’t see how many times they failed. Some unicorns made it big on their first try, and then we wonder why we can’t be like them.

I had the same thoughts as I read It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work and wrote about them today[^That post will be up in about 20 minutes at 8am Pacific]. It always seems so easy for a successful company to tell you what they do now, but how on earth did they get there? Why did that method work in the time they were starting? What can we take away from it to gain some success now?

Those questions are always so much harder to answer and are almost always entirely suited to a specific place and time.

Take a read through the rest of Scott’s post to learn more about product failure.

4. Effort is not accomplishment

Out of this excellent post on hard work by DHH this was my favourite quote.

Effort is not accomplishment. If you repeat the same lesson a hundred times over, you’ll be left behind on the path to insight by the person who advances through a hundred different lessons.

5. On the lie of Adtech

Adtech Sucks:

Bunch of great quotes here on Adtech and the push to inflate your resume with “budgets” instead of the cost of conversions.

I think a key motivation for many workers is their resume. Nowhere is this truer than in marketing. So ask yourself, what campaigns look good on a front-line campaign manager’s resume? Keep in mind that the cost to acquire someone can vary from medium to medium, and segment to segment. Would you prefer to say how efficient your spend was, or perhaps how large the budget you had was? I personally have found that the latter tends to win out, while the former is vague, and sometimes extremely context dependent.

On reducing ad spend:

These companies have a certain cachet of cool. When - as a marketer - you get invited to a Google office, you see all the geniuses, you get the free lunches, and the account folk smile as they shake your hand, you can be forgiven for thinking you’re part of something greater. You have access to some hidden secrets, some special exalted tech. You might think you’re working on something to make ads better, to target customers more precisely, and at speed. But, you should always be asking yourself one question:

Why, oh why, would a company built on ad revenue want to reduce ad spend?

Good question.

HT: @teaneedz