Category: Recommendations

Tuxera NTFS for Mac: a limited time offer!

Tuxera NTFS drivers for Mac OS X, on aktually.comAs a Mac user, I often find that I hook into Windows drives very frequently at work. Having NTFS compatibility is really important for sneaker-net-ing files, and otherwise making life easier for me. It is a shame that this sort of thing isn’t built into OS X, but the Tuxera drivers help a lot!

So for folks who work in a Mac/Win mixed environment, you can get 20% off the normal price. I received this offer in a newsletter email campaign, and I have had a great experience so far! The offer lasts until midnight on Wednesday, June 12th. Happy interoperability!

Discipline and the minimum viable product

With all due respect to Seth Godin, while he may be a marketing guru, his post about minimum viable product makes me think that he hasn’t participated in the product development process in a very long time, considering that his definition of minimum viable product is pretty coarse (and likely why it doesn’t work!).

As a product guy, minimum viable product is one important method with which to organize product development efforts, and to maximize the amount of benefit derived from scarce engineering, development, and management resources. In agile development circles, Product Owners work with the team to consciously choose to release “MVPs” frequently, or release a bunch of them together in an integrated package or manner. My take is that “minimum viable product” is the set of features that satisfy the core needs of your target champion audience and provides the team with the greatest return in both actionable feedback and revenue/revenue potential. More than one can go live at a time!

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Pride and Work

As a product guy in a software company, my day-to-day is abstract, communication-focused, and fast-paced. Yet when I’m at home, cooking a meal for my wife, for my friends, for my family, I feel a wellspring of pride that infuses everything I do.

There’s nothing like making something come to life, whether it’s a recipe, or a fine spirit, or a knife. As Made by Hand illustrates with these beautiful videos, there’s a value to one’s handmade work that isn’t just linked to a salary and health benefits. There is something more that’s been lost for nearly a generation of Americans, a sense of pride in their work. When someone else holds your results in their hands, savors the sensation and utility and beauty that only you could give it, that becomes another kind of benefit that we’ve lost in this age of knowledge work.

Go out and make something for someone, particularly this holiday season. I guarantee that you’ll find yourself fretting over the details, sweating the steps, and experiencing a smile on the other person’s face that’s uniquely, beautifully, and pridefully connected to your work.

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This is a fantastic innovation for such an everyday concept! We have so many different Web services and products at our disposal. And with the advent of smartphone devices, we can access these great Web services and products almost any time we need! Now it comes down to who plugs together the sensible connection of various components that make these tools indispensable to one’s personal workflow. It’s a fine example of product development: take a problem, connect existing and right pieces together, and offer value that’s greater than the sum of its parts!

Tethering Saved My Sanity

Picture courtesy of newbbie.com

A recent WSJ article (may require registration) brings more attention to a lesser-known capability of cellphones: connecting your phone to a computer as a USB modem to gain access to the Internet, a.k.a. tethering.  This feature was critical to me in a fairly common setting in the consulting life: having spotty or no Internet access on the road or at the client’s office.  And I’m arguing now that wireless carriers should include this value-add service in all of their wireless data plans for free, not to charge a monthly fee for it separately.

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What’s Wolfram Alpha for?

wolfram_alpha_logoThe other day, I was preparing a quickie assessment of the biggest office suppliers in the US, and I thought “Instead of trying Google or Wikipedia, I’ll use this newfangled Wolfram Alpha thingy that’s out now.” And after approaching that query, along with some other spur-of-the-moment questions, I’ve finally realized what Wolfram Alpha is.

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Refereeing the Holy Trinity: Creative, Business, and Technical Folks

timeoutWhen it comes to the classic “iron triangle” project management model of time, scope, and cost, the three key stakeholder groups which directly influence and work on a typical interactive project are in constant conflict based on their perspectives. I’ve been asked many times in the past: “What’s your approach to handling this kind of situation? How do you resolve the differences between the creative, business, and technical teams?”

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Did You Get the Status Report? – Project Management Tools and Communication Capabilities

projectmanagementcycleOne of the key elements (perhaps arguably the key element) of effective project management is proactive and compendious (my little word of the day) communication with all stakeholders involved.  I have been in many situations where I was in charge of multiple streams of work for multiple clients and initiatives.  Keeping things straight in a high intensity environment with multiple klaxons going off makes it difficult to keep issues and stakeholders lined up to be resolved or simply informed.  I came across the following article recently about a project management tool that was supposed to emphasize usability, but there was no mention of integration with diagrammatic (eg. Visio, MindManager) or communication (eg. Outlook, Lotus Notes, Gmail) tools.  Why hasn’t someone come up with this?

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Poking O’s in the FDA

cheerios-box-front-2007In many organizations that I’ve worked with in the past, product and marketing development have had a business process to guide the development of marketing copy and product claims to ensure that a legally compliant but flexible approach is taken to communicate with the consumer. That’s why this recent article at WSJ.com (may require registration) caught my attention. I’m nearly certain that General Mills and their marketing agencies have negotiated the language time and again with all manner of experts to ensure accuracy. Instead, my focus is on the group that’s supposed to protect us: the FDA!

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