Category Archive for: product

rfp-robotRFP ROBOT: Website Request for Proposal Generator

The time has come for a new website (or website redesign), which means you need to write a website request for proposal or web RFP. A Google search produces a few examples, but they vary wildly and don’t seem to speak really to your goals for developing or redesigning a new website. You need to write a website RFP that will clearly articulate your needs and generate responses from the best website designers and developers out there. But how?

Have no fear, RFP Robot is here. He will walk you through a step-by-step process to help you work through the details of your project and create a PDF formatted website design RFP that will provide the information vendors need to write an accurate bid. RFP Robot will tell you what info you should include, point out pitfalls, and give examples.

Features as Apps

One of the most important things that I’ve learned when it comes to building technology products, especially at the super early-stage, is the reality that designing a real MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is incredibly difficult to do. I’ve already talked about this once or twice on this blog before… The challenge of keeping things MVP-ish is real and they mostly stem from these two issues / challenges: The availability of robust frameworks and APIs make it far too easy to (accidentally) scale a simple experiment based on a simple hypothesis into more than just a simple MVP. It is psychologically difficult to minimize, constrain, and limit our “vision” of what could be with what should be, especially with so many existing examples to compare to (and the availability of great tooling – see #1). Practice, a shit-ton of discipline, and a hyper-judicious pragmatic framework are necessary to stay trim, stay lean,…

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Common Connected Hardware Blunders

Over the last few years we’ve worked with a number of startups who have engaged with Viget for help designing or engineering some aspect of their connected product. Every product is unique, but it may surprise you how similar their challenges are. What is perhaps less surprising is the number of inventive ways we’ve seen solo-entrepreneurs, young startups, and even internal business units with firm foundations go about solving those challenges. I’ll take a moment to reflect on some of those challenges and specifically call attention to the missteps and follies we commonly see early-on in engagements. Building the wrong prototype Viget builds primarily two different kinds of product prototypes. A stakeholder prototype, which focuses on delivering desired functionality by leveraging as many pre-existing solutions as possible. And a functional prototype, which focuses on exploring production options by honing in on core mechanics and functionality. Both prototypes serve specific needs which…

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Article Performance Leaderboard

A clever idea from Michael Donohoe: pit websites against each other in a performance battle! Donohoe is a long-time newsroom guy, so this is specifically about article pages for major publications. Lets state the obvious, this is an imperfect and evolving measure and the goal is to foster discussion and rivalry in making our pages better, faster, and lighter. Bear in mind this was built as an internal tool at Hearst Newspapers to track changes as we rollout our new Article template on mobile for SFGate and eventually all sites (SF Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Times Union, etc). Developers, designers, and product need to talk more on how to achieve this. A 1,700 word article might weigh 10KB but by the time you load HTML, JS, CSS, images, 3rd-parties, and ads, it can range between 2MB to 8MB depending on the web site. Bear in mind, the first Harry Potter ebook…

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Web Design Advice

I have a segment on my YouTube channel, where people send me the things they’re working on and I give them random advice. 🙂 If you want your work featured on my YouTube channel and elsewhere please send your ideas along ([email protected]). And I’ll give constructive, fair advice that I hope won’t leave you sorry you asked.Brandon Wu sent me this awesome site called Markd. He’s received nice organic traction with it so far because it ranked well on Product Hunt.Brandon, you’ve gotten a ton further than a lot of people do by getting an idea out there into the world. Clearly people are using it and it fits a need people have. So a huge congratulations!These are just some things that I’d experiment with if it were my project.Social ProofOne of the first things that stands out to me about the site is “Where are the Testimonials!?” There are a bunch of people…

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Forever I’ve used the macOS Command-Shift-4 screenshot utility to measure things. Pressing it gets you a little crosshairs cursor which you can click-and-drag to take a screenshot but, crucially, has little numbers that tell you the width/height of the selection in pixels. It’s crude, but ever so useful. See those teeny-tiny numbers in the bottom-right? So useful, even if they are tough to read. PixelSnap is one of those apps that, once you see it, you’re like OMG that’s the best idea ever. It’s the same kind of interaction (key command, then mouse around), but it’s drawing lines between obvious measurement points in any window at all. Plus it has this drag around and area and snap to edges thing that’s just as brilliant. Instant purchase for me. The Product Hunt newsletter said: Two teenage makers launched PixelSnap, a powerful design tool to measure every pixel on your screen. Hit…

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3 Steps to Getting the Most Value from Your Digital Experience Platform (Part One)

From healthcare to high tech, organizations have named the customer experience as their top strategic performance measure. Proven to increase customer loyalty, drive revenue and boost customer lifetime value, customer experience has become the competitive battleground for business and is predicted to overtake price and product by the year 2020. Source:

3 Steps to Getting the Most Value from Your Digital Experience Platform

From healthcare to high tech, organizations have named the customer experience as their top strategic performance measure. Proven to increase customer loyalty, drive revenue and boost customer lifetime value, customer experience has become the competitive battleground for business and is predicted to overtake price and product by the year 2020. Source:

Why You Can’t Afford to Skip Retargeting

The first time you discover a brand or product, are you ready to pull out the credit card and commit? Probably not. When customers first visit your website, they likely aren’t ready to make a purchase. A recent study found that an enormous 92% of website visitors might only be there for comparison shopping or preliminary Read more Source:

Never Over-Optimize

An infographic listing the top 20 reasons why startups fail: I can understand most of these but, to be honest, there are so many overlapping circles about these things so it’s never just one thing… except team. Another way to think about this is essentially the fact that despite great market and a great product, the team can end up destroying all that good fortune by simply not working well together. It’s just that simple. If you’ve been around long enough you’ve seen exceptionally talented individuals totally blow it because they can’t get their relational shit straight. Happens more often then we talk about. I think about team performance and effectiveness more than really anything else when it comes to building a product and a company. It’s the thing that I can never over-optimize on. In fact, team dynamics directly influence most of the things on that top 20 list.…

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The world needs more modest, linear growth companies. Please make some.

14 years of linear growth at Basecamp.Exponential growth gets all the glory. Every startup story that lands on the cover of a magazine has a hockey-stick chart to flaunt. Yes, disruption is driven by such violent expansion, and the world needs some disruption some of the time. But for the other 360 days out of the year, what it also needs is some modest, linear growth.Linear growth is what happens in domains that aren’t animated by network effects (and when no artificial growth hormones are injected!). It’s the simplicity of good products sold at reasonable prices that find happy customers. These customers talk to friends and colleagues in other businesses, and over time that word of mouth spreads the good vibes, which turns the business up.But the limelight has no patience with such simple, slow methods as word of mouth. It’s not infectious enough. Not exponential enough. That’s a shame.Because the world is…

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On Startup Integrity

When my brother and I first started putting things together for a new project we didn’t sit down and make any grand mission or vision statement(s)… we didn’t right down any value systems or anything that you could print out on paper and hang on a wall. We didn’t do any of that… instead, we just started building. Along the way we began to build out systems and processes and workflows that mirrored the what we each brought to the table. These include both our strengths and our weaknesses, naturally. The beautiful thing about super early-stage is that you both know what you’re doing and you also understand that, at the exact same time, one does not really have any idea around what one is doing. All you know is that you need to survive the experiments through sheer force of will, execution, and patience. The results will illumine themselves in time and…

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A few weeks ago, I took my daughter to the Art Institute here in Chicago. She’s three.So as you can imagine it wasn’t a tremendous success of actually seeing a ton of art. We had a lot of fun though doing crafts they had set up for kids and eating lunch.My proudest moment was when she yelled out “I really like that picture!” It was Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom. It’s my favorite too.There’s an interesting exercise you can do at the Art Institute or other major art museums. Go find some Picassos and note how old he was when he made them. Now find some Cézannes and do the same.It’s possible you spot something like Economics Professor at the University of Chicago, David Galenson did.Picasso’s most valuable work, based on prices paid at auction, peaked when he was 25.Cézanne at 65.Some artists peak young. Others get better over time.Galenson saw this over and over with writers and…

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PHP Web Developer – International Commerce & Marketing Corp. – Milwaukee, WI

Our product lines run over 2 million items.We are currently seeking a Web Developer and Programmer. Should have worked on any of the PHP frameworks Zend /…From International Commerce & Marketing Corp. – Fri, 02 Feb 2018 18:08:34 GMT – View all Milwaukee, WI jobs Source:

5 Tools to Improve Your Copywriting That The Pros Love

Copywriting and content marketing are both a combination of creativity and science. You need to choose the exact right words to have a strong-sounding cadence and an immediate appeal to readers, or else they might gloss over it. Using just the right adjectives can make a difference. Is your product “glamorous” or “sleek,” for example? Read more Source:

Things are going so well we’re doing a hiring freeze

Business has never been better at Basecamp. Despite all the competition, all the noise, and all the changes since we launched 14 years ago, 2017 was the year we earned the most revenue ever.While that alone is cause for some celebration, it’s hardly the most important thing for Jason and I, as the business owners. Sure, it’s nice to see numbers tick ever higher, but we passed enough many years ago. What matters far more than big numbers for us today is how the business feels.And it’s really never felt better, in almost all the ways. Basecamp the product is the best its ever been. Tens of thousands of new businesses and teams continue to sign up every month. We keep hearing from customers about the profound changes to their organization, productivity, communication, and even sanity that Basecamp helps them realize. It’s deeply rewarding.We’ve also kept up with our founding mission to…

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Making It Personal

When I discovered a piece of wood in my food at the hospital. I guess it’s the safest place to be eating wood fragments.A question I get asked a lot is: “Why do you put so much personal information into the things you write and vlog about?”I’ll share moments with my crying toddler, or scenes from the hospital with my sick dad. Why don’t I just stick to business?The reason is the reason I do all of the things I do, the reason I work on Highrise, the reason I started Draft.I want to build things I want to see in the world.I look at all these other “business” videos on YouTube, posts on Medium, podcasts, and I see a great deal of people sharing success stories and the tactics they cherry picked which got them there. What I don’t see is them opening up about some of the difficulties of actually running…

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Building a Good Download… Button?

The semantics inherent in HTML elements tell us what we’re supposed to use them for. Need a heading? You’ll want a heading element. Want a paragraph? Our trusty friend <p> is here, loyal as ever. Want a download? Well, you’re going to want… hmm. What best describes a download? Is it a triggered action, and therefore should be in the domain of the <button> element? Or is it a destination, and therefore best described using an <a> element? Buttons Do Things, Links Go Places There seems to be a lot of confusion over when to use buttons and when to use links. Much like tabs versus spaces or pullover hoodies versus zip-ups, this debate might rage without end. However, the W3C provides us with an important clue as to who is right: the download attribute. The What Now? The internet as we know it couldn’t exist without links. They form…

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Boilerform: A Follow-Up

When Chris wrote his idea for a Boilerform, I had already been thinking about starting a new project. I’d just decided to put my front-end boilerplate to bed, and wanted something new to think about. Chris’ idea struck a chord with me immediately, so I got enthusiastically involved in the comments like an excitable puppy. That excitement led me to go ahead and build out the initial version of Boilerform, which you can check out here. The reason for my initial excitement was that I have a guilty pleasure for forms. In various jobs, I’ve worked with forms at a pretty intense level and have learned a lot about them. This has ranged from building dynamic form builders to high-level spam protection for a Harley-Davidson® website platform. Each different project has given me a look at the front-end and back-end of the process. Each of these projects has also picked…

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