Posts Tagged:energy

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.


How to influence culture when you’re not the CEO

“Culture starts from the top,” it’s often said.But is that really true?Surely, it is easier to influence company culture when you’re at the top. As a CEO, founder, or business owner, people are already looking to you for example and guidance around what’s important within the team. (I wrote a bit about how you can influence culture as a leader here.)However, being a leader in the company is not required to influence company culture. If you’re an employee or a middle manager and you’re frustrated with the status quo in your company, all is not lost.Culture has nothing to do with what your job title on your business card says. It has everything to do with your beliefs, words, and actions as an individual.Culture is made up of people after all — people who decide what artifacts, espoused values and beliefs, and basic underlying assumptions are true for a team. Any one person can influence culture,…

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How to Be Good at Being New

Starting a new job is hard. You have to get to know new people, follow new processes, and learn new tools all within an unfamiliar environment. You have to learn what is expected of you, how expectations are communicated, and how to gauge your progress. On top of all the other stress, there is the challenge of navigating the dynamic of simply being new. I’ve noticed some people are more comfortable than others in this dynamic. I think it’s a skillset worth considering more closely. Being good at being new isn’t the same as being a great teammate, or being great at your specific discipline.  If you’re good at being new, you can accelerate the pace at which you build trust and connect to the team. You bring positive, inspiring energy to the people around you (which we love). You solidify your reputation faster and, by extension, get to ditch…

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Emotional Debt

We all know about debt. In fact, most of us have a lot of it. And I’m not talking about financial debt which I’m sure a bunch of us have as well. What I’m talking about are all the other types of debt that we’ve managed to collect and accrue over time, some of which has been outside of our control. In fact, much of the debt that we carry has been laid upon us without consent and without any decision-making power. Emotional debt is like this. As we move through life we collect experiences, both good and the bad. We meet folks who add value to our lives and make us happy and who help us advance and progress and grow. And then we also meet folks who steal and rob energy and precious time and who end up hurting us badly. This costs us, in the moment but for…

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Decision Making: Earlier, Faster, and with More Conviction

A recent Harvard study called The CEO Genome Project was conducted which attempted to understand what made successful CEOs so… well, successful, and what characteristics and behaviors really set them apart. The too-long, didn’t-read top-line are listed out as these four findings and critical observations: Successful CEOs have been found to: Decide with Conviction and Speed Practice Relentless Reliability Are Relationship Masters Are Proactive in Adapting to Changing Circumstances You can read more specifics via the HBR article here. I can confirm that the most successful CEOs that I personally know exhibit most if not all of these characteristics. Now, it’s worth mentioning that most of the CEOs that I know run early-stage startups and are new and seasoned entrepreneurs; I just don’t know that many Fortune 5,000 CEOs in my personal rolodex. The CEO (and the founding team) in the context of an early-stage startup are the sources of energy and truth for…

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Lazy creative

James Van Der Beek stars in an episode of Room 104 on HBO. The series is in the middle of its first season, but it’s already done so well that HBO’s renewed it for a second season.It’s a curious show, as it takes place in a single hotel room every episode. The same hotel room over and over and over again. The room itself is also extremely uninteresting. When the design team went to Mark Duplass, the creator of the show, with tons of ideas on what the room should look like, Mark shot them all down.No, I want the room to be as bland as possible.So how did Mark Duplass create such an interesting and succesful show with this limited pallette?Our brains are lazy. Well, that’s not exactly fair. Our brains are great at conserving energy.They’ve evolved to reserve the juice necessary to deal with things in our environment that are…

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Knock out a quick win

The smallest action as a leader can have the biggest impact.“I had no idea it mattered so much.”A CEO said this to me about a year ago. I’d run into him at a conference. As we sat down at lunch together, he shared something that had happened to him recently…A few months prior, he had asked his team a question through Know Your Company (they’re a happy customer!). The question was:“Would you like a new office chair?”The CEO initially thought the question was a little silly, to be frank. Did office chairs really matter? He doubted anything meaningful would come of the question, but he decided to ask it anyway.Turns out, every single person in the office (they’re about a 14-person company) responded with, “Yes, I’d like a new office chair.”Not only that, but many of them wrote lengthy, in-depth responses about how unhappy their chairs were making them — how it hurt their lower backs, how it…

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Where Do New Jobs Come From?

Each position has its own origin story. Some roles existed when Viget first came to be, but many broke off from other positions as the internet industry evolved and specialization increased — like Front-End Developers and UX Designers (whose responsibilities were, long ago, rolled up into the Designer role). Just recently, we started recruiting for the new-to-us Digital Content Producer position, not in response to the industry evolving as much as Viget evolving. I thought I’d share the background and context out of which this new role came to be. The position arose from conversations about wanting to do more with our abundant treasure chest of awesome client work, admirable company traditions, beautiful office spaces, and talented employees. We have great content and fertile ground for more great content, but we needed to address some gaps and answer some questions. Here are some of the conversations we were having: For…

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You Know It When You See It

Just 15 days ago I shared a new Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency community site that my brother was putting together and it’s been an insane 15 days. The first day that the site was live it saw a grand total of 796 pageviews – not bad, not bad, right? I was impressed but I wasn’t even remotely prepared for what was to come. You see, the next day the site didn’t see double the number of pageviews or even triple. It didn’t see 5 or even 10X. The very next day the community site clocked in nearly 60,000 pageviews (59,575 to be exact). And it didn’t stop. In fact, in just a few days the community site will cross one 1,000,000 pageviews… … … … one… freakin’… million… pageviews… Now, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of many online communities and have built a few of them myself and I have…

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How the Department of Energy is Changing the Digital Government Game

Government websites face specific challenges when it comes to engaging their users, including diverse audiences, heavy content requirements, and, often, sluggish communication between departments which impacts site efficiency. These challenges can be eased with innovative design and UX practices. Source: https://www.phase2technology.com/feed/

Killing Caffeine

I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time but I’m finally at a place where I think I can go for it. And now that I’ve made a commitment to make my final day of coffee and caffeine this Friday, August 25th, I’ve started to wonder why it’s been such a hard decision in the first place. A blog post that I read recently really helped me crystallize a number of personal issues that I’ve had with the idea of removing caffeine from my life and also reminded me of the very real benefits if I’m able to do it. Specifically, the idea of having a consistent energy level without the need of a stimulant and drug is very appealing. My body hasn’t ever responded well to drugs in the past but to keep putting this one in my body daily for decades never really crossed my mind as the same…

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Triple Threat: The Challenger, The Catalyst, & The Finisher

The “triple threat” is a concept that has fascinated me ever since I was a kid. I heard it used to describe either an athlete or an entertainer who had mastered a combination of three disciplines that together made him or her exceptional. For the basketball player, it was someone who was a great shooter, rebounder, and defender (think Lebron James). For the entertainer, it was someone who was a great actor, singer, and dancer (think Beyonce). This led me to a curious thought recently: What combination of disciplines in our field would make a person a “triple threat.” My thinking ranged from hard-skill to soft-skill disciplines, and here’s the trio—more on the soft side—that rose to the top for me. The Challenger As designers and thinkers, we’re meant to challenge habituation or problems and do something about them. Tony Fadell, designer of the iPod and the Nest, shares that…

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The Warglaives of Azzinoth: A 10 Year Grind ⚔️

Okay, so, this isn’t what you may think it is. In fact, it’s probably the very last thing that you might expect to read after reviewing the title of this blog post. But, it is what it is. Today, finally, after 10+ years… I have completed the two-part set of the legendary Twin Blades of Azzinoth, consisting of a Main-Hand and Off-Hand sword. Achievement Unlocked! As you can see, I’ve gotten the rare achievement on this day, August 12th of 2017. The thing is, as I mentioned, I started trying to obtain these weapons since January of 2007. Yes, 10 years. Every single week when the dungeon locks reset I’d find a team (or later solo the raid) and battle my way through 9 epic bosses and tons of mob trash for a chance that either one would drop. Apparently the drop rate % is around 5% which I find surprisingly high. In…

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On being a bad manager

A fellow I admire just asked me why it’s so easy to be a bad manager. Goddamn, that’s a fantastic question. I made some bonehead moves myself yesterday, so I’m in the perfect position to answer this one.Because I didn’t want to overthink my answer, I told him I’d write something up this afternoon and send him a link.Here goes, stream of consciousness, unedited, and quick…We’re bad at most things by default. The only way to overcome the deficit is with the right kind of practice.We can practice badly and get over small humps, but if really want to break through from bad to good — or to great — we have to put in deliberate, focused practice. And plenty of reps.With some things this is straightforward. Want to get better at a sport? There are clearly documented methods and approaches to practice. Want to get better at playing guitar, the drums, or the sax? Same thing.But with those,…

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Truly Simple Systems

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to build fundamentally simple systems, especially as it relates to software products. I think this is one of the best times for me to be thinking about them because I’ve got a startup and a team that’s building a massive and intelligent software solution for technology companies, especially for those at scale. And when I mean by “scale” I mean that some of our early customers are some of the biggest companies on the planet. I feel fortunate and grateful to have them as clients, that’s for sure. But it means that their environments and infrastructure and the organizational culture and systems within their businesses are equally as complex and difficult to understand. “Simple” simply isn’t an option or even a possibility at the scale at which these organizations work. And that’s not a bad thing, it means that our efforts to create…

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Training Grit

I’m thoroughly enjoying this book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, and I’m about half-way done in just a few days. It resonates with me for a handful of reasons but there are a few that really have stuck out for me. The first is how relatable it is for me personally as I take a look at my strange and different and winding career path. I have tried a handful of things, failed at a ton, but I have kept going, moving one foot in front of the other and I have worked hard to do as much good as I can in those particular seasons. Grit, apparently, is much more about perseverance in the face of adversity than most things and I have encountered many successful people in my field (and beyond) that have exhibited nothing more than a decision to simply not quit. Their motives may differ,…

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Crash Course: VR Design for N00bs

We have a tradition at Viget of experimenting with our own ideas, independent of client work. But, honestly, it’s been too long since we built something pointless. Today, we’re debuting our latest experiment in virtual reality—a WebVR adaptation of the classic circuit-board puzzle Lights Out. It’s a one-player game, with the objective of turning all the “lights” in the grid off. Sure, the final product is neat, but how did we get there? Jumping into the VR metaverse is overwhelming. I was disappointed to find there are tons of libraries for developers—but very few centralized resources for designers. As creatives, we pride ourselves on our ability to apply design thinking to everything. So, where are all the thought leaders in VR design? There’s little to no consensus around even the most basic design standards—like typography or accessibility. Basically, VR design is a wild west free-for-all. However, instead of seeing this as…

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Hey, Let’s Build an App.

I’m doing a bit of a new series on my vlog which I think could be either pretty interesting or entirely boring. I’m going to be sharing a little bit of how to build an app. It’s going to be a bit cluttered as one of my goals of this sort of documentation is to not do much planning with it (document, don’t create!). This is a bit atypical for me as I like to format these types of things in a structured way (you can see my blog series that I’ve done in the past as a perfect example). But, in this series via the vlog I’m just going to chat candidly about the things that I think about as I’m thinking about them. Today I’ll most likely talk a little more about this: So, that’s that. Hope you subscribe or follow along. I can’t promise that it’ll be…

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Daniel Craig— Flip flopper

In celebrity news this week, Daniel Craig will be back as 007 in the next James Bond film slated to be in theaters Nov 8, 2019. (My birthday by the way. Thanks MGM)But his return is quite the surprise for us interested in the movie franchise. When Time Out asked Daniel about returning for the next Bond movie after Specter in 2015, Daniel let us know:I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists.Daniel Craig is a giant flip flopper…As many families do, after a long week, my wife and I don’t feel like cooking on Friday night, so we look to eat out. We are terrible however with the decision about where to go.We simply don’t care enough. I’m not a picky eater. I don’t feel strongly about most restaurants we can choose. We hem and haw about going to this place or that place. I remember nights where we would eventually just give…

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How we pay people at Basecamp

It’s just better business to pay people fairlyThere are no negotiated salaries or raises at Basecamp. Everyone in the same role at the same level is paid the same. Equal work, equal pay.We assess new hires on a scale that goes from junior programmer, to programmer, to senior programmer, to lead programmer, to principal programmer (or designer or customer support or ops…) We use the same scale to assess when someone is in line for a promotion.Raises happen automatically, once per year, when we review market rates. Our target is to pay everyone at the company in the 95th percentile, or top 5%, of the market, regardless of their role. So whether you work in customer support or ops or programming or design, you’ll be paid in the top 5% for that position.If someone is below that target, they get a raise large enough to match the target. If someone is already…

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