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Feb. 2nd, 2010

hand on head - b&w

Sitening stops providing services, focuses exclusively on Raven

The Ethical Dilemma of Providing Marketing Services and Tools « Internet Marketing Blog

It's been almost a year since Sitening and I parted ways, and it was clear even at that time that their hearts were wrapped up in Raven, not in providing consulting services. My understanding is that, since then, they've been whittling down the clients they were consulting to, but this post declares services entirely gone.

Kudos to Sitening/Raven for taking a bold, decisive step to eliminate the chance for conflict of interest, or even the appearance of it. And of course, if you get good leads for SEO work, you can always refer 'em to [meta]marketer. ;)

Sep. 4th, 2007

bananas, monkey, searchmonkey

Formulating a hypothesis

I just had a lovely lunch with two former co-workers. (Sorta. I worked there for such a short period of time that we barely count as co-workers.) And it got me to thinking.

I think maybe Digital Dog is to the Nashville web industry what Kevin Bacon is to Hollywood.

The analogy only goes so far, because I've never heard that Kevin Bacon drives the people that work with him crazy. But just as when you play a "six degrees" game, you can always join movie people through Kevin Bacon, I doubt there's a web professional in Nashville who's more than a few degrees away from Digital Dog.

In fact, I think it should be a drinking game. Who's in?

Jul. 20th, 2007

bananas, monkey, searchmonkey

Oh, the frustration of computers

In my day job life, I need Outlook. I live by Outlook. A few days ago, Outlook on my work laptop starting perpetually claiming to be "Disconnected" even when it had no good reason to claim that. As far as I could tell, though, none of my other apps were messed up.

So I took it to IT and asked for help, and it clearly had them stumped. For hours, the VP and director of IT worked on trying to get Outlook to behave normally. When I got my laptop back, Outlook worked, but a lot of other stuff was messed up. They'd performed some sort of broad-scale restore process that wiped out my system preferences, a good many installed applications (like Life Balance, which I use to manage my time and priorities), and all kinds of odds and ends like Firefox bookmarks and add-ons -- that sort of thing.

Believe me, I'm grateful that Outlook works again, but man, trying to get things back to some semblance of normalcy has been a real productivity killer and extremely frustrating. I don't even have a complete picture of what's not working -- I discover it as I go, like when I tried to sync my Treo just now and found out that all the Palm software was gone. Gah!

Again, I am grateful for what works -- I just wish I'd known there would be such far-reaching consequences to taking my laptop to IT. I would have backed everything up. I guess I'll know to do that next time.

Ah well. Back to the tedious process of restoring my programs.

Jun. 15th, 2007

hand on head - b&w

Cursed documents

The power just went out briefly at work. On a Friday at 4:20 PM, that means one thing: "early weekend!"

Well, it also meant that I ALMOST lost changes to some mockups I'd been working on. AGAIN. I made these same changes yesterday and then had to shut my force my laptop to shut down after it froze up, so I somehow lost those changes even though I'm sure I'd saved them - but the document was still open so it must have gotten horked.

And then I had just made the same changes again when the power went out. Luckily I'm on a laptop, so the battery was my backup power supply and I was able to save my work.

Maybe it's a sign that I'm not supposed to be redesigning this page.

And maybe I should heed that early weekend call after all.

Yeah. Sounds good. I'm out. Have a great weekend everybody!

Apr. 24th, 2007

hiding monkey

Missing Inaction

I've been chastised by multiple people in multiple circles within the past week for not posting enough. I think about it a lot, but I never seem to make the time. Part of it is I feel like I'm scrambling to keep up with my work responsibilities, and part of it, if I'm honest, is a increased feeling of restriction on my posting since I started this job. Not that anyone has given me reason to think I need to do that... well, other than letting me know that people at work know about this journal/blog. But whatever. I know I have options. I could always use friends-only posts, but at this point a good deal of my friends and readers are outside of LiveJournal and I don't want to ignore them. I could adopt a different persona, set up a different blog, and talk freely about whatever I want, but I've always enjoyed being myself online. I could talk about things in a veiled way, but there are always those who know what's being described and who's who and all that. I could just throw caution to the wind and write whatever I want, but I'm not sure I'm up for that.

But I think the latter is closest to what I'm going to have to do. We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, by way of update:

  • I've been at the "new" job almost 3 months now and it's very cool but very demanding.

  • I haven't really had time to think about songwriting since I started here, but I'm still holding out hope that that'll change.

  • The staircase and front porch have been gone for several weeks now but we still don't have a new staircase yet, which looks really funny.

  • My mom got elected to office at the local level last week. She's now a politician. That's weird.

  • I was part of an amazing gathering of women bloggers over the weekend, and was very humbled to have been invited.

And by way of apologizing for my lack of recent activity, I give you a picture of a robin.

There. Isn't that better?

Apr. 7th, 2007

bananas, monkey, searchmonkey

And after all, I only do it to pay for all the cat food...

A former coworker just directed me to a picture he has up on flickr, and I noticed he had a bunch of coworker pictures -- he's always taking pictures, so he catches some interesting moments. So anyway, that got me exploring to see what other pics he had sitting around. I found two from October of last year that he took of me in the office (I kind of remember that, but clearly I was engrossed in conversation) and they made me do a double-take. People, I look SO pissed off in these pictures. And of course, I can't remember why. I mean I have a vague idea, because I remember some of what was going on at that time, but as far as what specifically made me so mad, I have no clue.

Dude. That is one humorless, pissed off chick.

Two lessons from that:

1 - As much as I loved the people at the former workplace (and I did -- and still do -- adore them to pieces), the day-to-day work stuff got pretty intense sometimes.

2 - Is my job really worth getting that upset about? You know what I mean? Because, as a passionate person with a solid work ethic, and because at the end of the day I really want to have contributed something worthwhile to a meaningful project, I sometimes get really caught up in the little dramas and minutiae of my work. But seriously, it's not like I'm curing cancer or defusing bombs. I could probably stand to take my work -- and myself -- a little more lightly.

You know. More like this.

Apr. 3rd, 2007

hiding monkey

My (apparently) atypical Netflix experience and my typically messed-up mind (apparently)

Have you seen the news stories about Netflix having a flexible vacation policy? I've been seeing them everywhere for the last week or two, and have been avoiding reading them. Yesterday I finally read one, and I'm sorry I did because of quotes like this:

"I've never terminated a salaried employee for being tardy or being absent," [Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord] said. "There have been issues when people didn't come to work -- but the issue is the work, it's not the time off." [...]
"You're not measuring my daily hours, so why are you measuring the number of days I work?" [an employee] asked. [...]
And the culture allows the company to hire independent, creative types like Director of Product Management Todd Yellin, who spent much of his first several months on the job traveling to Los Angeles to complete work on an independent film.

Why does this bug me? This is exactly the way I've always managed. And I work hard and have always felt like I should be managed that way, too, when it can be arranged.

See, my tenure at Netflix was perfect posh and wonderful except for one thingCollapse )


In other news, I stayed home sick from work today. My body is horribly achy, I have miserable cold-like symptoms (a fever, a cough, head congestion), and I feel run-down and totally worn out. Both Karsten and my boss have stated their suspicions that it's a mind-body connection thing, which is probably true, but that doesn't help me feel any less physically miserable.

I had a bit of a breakdown last weekCollapse )

It's funny how I sometimes think I'm so good, but I'm really just learning such basic things. Life has a funny way of smacking us down sometimes, doesn't it?

Jan. 26th, 2007

hand on head - b&w

One ends, another begins

I've finished up with the music technology gig. I was thinking about staying on in a full-time permanent job, but decided against it.

I now have a job lined up at an e-commerce company in Cool Springs (any local tech people reading this probably already know the company in question by that description, but I'm opting for search engine anonymity) and I start Monday. Some of my friends probably remember me talking about this company back in October when I was first approached for the job. It's been a long road to making this decision, but now I'm psyched about getting back into e-commerce directly, and dealing with fun concepts again like navigation, conversion, web analytics, etc.

I'm not psyched about the long commute to shopping mall central. I plan for me and Karsten to test-drive a Prius and maybe some of 2007's other hybrid models, and if we take the plunge on that, it'll definitely be an extra expense we don't really need, but I'd just feel much less bad about the environmental impact of the commute that way.

So now I'm spending the day with a big stack o' library books refreshing my mind on e-commerce concepts and getting ready to hit the ground running on Monday.

Heck, I don't even know yet what the zip code there is to use for my location tag. So much to do!

Jan. 14th, 2007

hand on head - b&w

Gettin' it all done

I'm a relatively organized, efficient person, but I can definitely stand to improve. So a few days into 2007 I thought I'd take a closer look at the whole "Getting Things Done" methodology, and revisit Life Balance from Llamagraphics. GTD is practically a cult, and I'm not interested in going overboard with it, but there's certainly some sound project management and time management wisdom there. But the real kicker is that, in the week or so I've been using Life Balance, I've been having amazing improvements in my productivity.

I tried Life Balance once before, a few years ago. I remember liking it somewhat, but thinking it a bit heavy and clunky for what I felt I needed at the time. Too bad, because if I'd invested the time and effort to learn it then, I'd probably be a billionaire today. OK, maybe not. But I almost surely would've been more effective at both my day job and my songwriting "job," not to mention the other areas I pay attention to.

See, here's the thing. You know the big rocks analogy? That's basically the way Life Balance can work. You set it up with your high-level goals and then iterate them into achievable tasks, which you cross-reference with "places" or contexts. And behind the scenes, the software is keeping track of the importance you assigned to each task and the lead time you specified in order to present you with a viable dynamic to do list. It also presents you with a dynamic picture of how well you're meeting your balance goals by showing you a nifty pie chart of where you're spending your time.

Anyway, I'm using it now and I love it. It's expensive as hell, but I'm thinking I really am going to plunk down the money when the trial is up. Here's my testimonial: this past week and a half at my day job has been incredibly crazy, and I've had to manage my already-full task list and add a whole bunch of extra stuff that just came up. Yet somehow I managed to get it all done AND get songs written and pitched AND keep up with household chores AND make progress on my organization projects around the house AND maintain a reasonable social life. I mean, maybe that doesn't sound like as much as it is: we're talking about insane levels of productivity here. I just don't know if it would have been feasible without using Life Balance to keep me focused on what needed doing next.

I don't know if that makes me sound like a cult member, but whatever. I'm pretty well convinced. I'm getting things crossed off my to do list that have languished there for months, without sacrificing timely response to the current stuff.

Nov. 30th, 2006

epiphone, guitar, no strings

NaSoWriMo: Time's up! 13 songs drafted, none really completed, but still a success.

It's the last day of November, in case you hadn't noticed, and that means all November writing projects are pretty much at their end. In my case, that signals the end of my 30-songs-in-30-days "NaSoWriMo" challenge, which I have once again failed to complete. But I don't really care. All I'm really shooting for when I set about to do these things is to make myself write fast and get some ideas down, and I did do that.

I managed to draft 13 songs. I can't say I really finished even one. But that's OK. Because this was also a crazy-ass month. At work, we had a major scramble with a deadline of 11/30 (yep, that, too, is today!), and my weekly average number of hours shot way up. I've also been sick twice this month, including right now, which is why I'm not expecting to be able to churn out any more than I already have before tomorrow. And my current tummy troubles have me in a really bad mood and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything. So yeah, not the best conditions for creative writing.

So it's over, and the count is 13 songs in 30 days, sort of. There might even be a few ideas worth going back and polishing up, which is a bonus because I was really just thinking of this as an exercise. Maybe I'll try the challenge again in a few months when it's not looking to be a crazy month at the day job and I've loaded up on multivitamins and echinacea.

In the meantime, the month of December is usually a wash for songwriting. Too many weekend activities, too much commotion, not even time to sit idly with my laptop, my guitar, and a cup of coffee and mull over an idea until I find just the right thing to say. So this is probably pretty much it until January. But I'm pretty satisfied with where things stand, so I'll be happy to take a break and then get back into it come the new year.

Hope everyone else who participated in a writing challenge this month got something good out of it!

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hand on head - b&w

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