The Other Direction
The newest episode of CoreInt brought up two interesting points in terms of Software Development. I’m paraphrasing a lot below:
Smaller feature set, but higher quality. Even if it means leaving some users out. A small operation can’t and shouldn’t compete with a larger one, so they need to focus on less but make it super high quality.
Daniel and Manton discussed the direction WordPress is moving, and what it might mean for their businesses and work. Seems wise to do the opposite of what Wordpress is doing.
I have heard the phrase “See what the others are doing and then do the opposite”. Or “See which way everyone in pointing and then go in the other direction”. As well as many variants of that advice.
As the smaller operation can’t compete with the larger one, it’s often wise to go the other direction.
I do have some side projects that I’m working on. These are mostly services around education as I really thrive when I’m helping people get past their technical or otherwise imposed obstacles.
This particular project I’m focusing on has been vexing me. How am I going to make the time to create all the content? Where do I put it (which website)? How do I build an audience? And many other questions.
Part of the answer is reducing the commitments I have, and letting other projects I’m interested in go. I’m saying no to:
- A niche t-shirt site
- A website review/building service for animators
- A niche job board
- A coaching service
- Agile consulting
- And some others that are buried in notebooks that I can’t think of right now
So I can say yes to this project.
I was going to spin up a website, blog, social media accounts, and all the rest for this effort. But I already have these. So all this is going on this site, and my micro.blog with a cross post to my existing twitter account.
It’s not that I have a giant following or “verification” from twitter, it’s the fact that this is the path of least resistance. Less to buy/renew/design/manage. It’s simpler. Am I leaving some features off the table? Maybe. Will this be easier for me? Certainly.
Reduce the feature set, focus on quality.
Instead of installing analytics/trackers on my site, and creating a newsletter to open the door to permission marketing, and determining conversion rates, and up-selling/cross selling I’m going to make content.
Of course I’d like to make some money from all this, and I will sell products. But I’m not collecting anything until then. I’ll even try to make purchases as in-intrusive as possible. But that’s down the road.
First it’s me creating three kinds of content. Two for the what and how, and one for the why.
- Short form, “micro-tutorials” with a duration of less than a minute. These will be video based.
- Longer form, more in-depth written tutorials. But not too long. I’ll try for 500 words max at first.
So that’s the what and how.
I’m following the micro movement and will make small bite size tutorials. The focus is on the little things that add up to saving people lots of time.
Let’s say you’re going to the menu to choose a particular option in an App on your Mac. It takes 2 seconds, and you do this 10 times a day, for example. Setting a hotkey to do that same action takes 2 minutes, up front. But then a fraction of a second each time. Let’s look at some back-of-the-napkin ROI
(wildly speculative, uses 20 work days/month and 200 work days/year. Certainly not exact science but used to express a point)
|| Up Front Costs (minutes) | Time to execute (seconds) | Number of times per day | Duration per month (minutes) | Duration per year (hours)| | :———— | :———–: | :———–: | :———–: | :———–: | :———–: | ——————-: | | Via Menu | 0 | 2 | 10 | 6.7 | 22.2| | Via Hotkey | 2 | .25 | 10 | .8 | 2.8|
This example illustrates around a twenty hour savings per year. That’s a lot more time doing something you want to do, just by taking two minutes to setup a hotkey. Multiply that over the course of a project or career, and it’s rather significant, imho.
Again, an example to illustrate the why. I worked in the animation and video game development industries for years before moving to Project Management full time. My work then was to save time and make creative people (I’m including developers here too) more efficient and effective. My PM role is similar.
That’s what my plan is here too. But I’m not going to write about the why. I’m going to talk about it. When this is ready to launch, I’ll set up a microcast. That’s where I’ll use frequent and short audio posts to discuss time savings, removing barriers and distractions, as well as efficiency and effectiveness for creative people.
Distractions are the enemy of creativity