Today in Joe Corr’s class we were asked to pick 3 examples of people who have our dream jobs. I chose:
Chris Coyier – because he’s an expert (or at least considered by many to be an expert) but he’s also an innovator. Over the past 4 years I have been following his site and community as he created it. As Chris learned our community of avid standards based coders learned as well. I chose Chris because he’s managed to transcend a boundary between “really really good” at something and “innovator” or “leader in the field” status. Not that I necessarily want to work with CSS all day or design for that matter, but simply, I would like to become a leader in the field of my choosing, whatever that happens to be.
The guys/gals at Sparkfun. Again I don’t necessarily want to work with just hardware all day. I feel a variety of different technologies mixed with a little strategy would be a good fit for me…but these guys have it good. For one, they work at a small company (that also happens to be very financially stable). Second, some of these people get to play everyday! They come up with cool projects to either build or test and then do it! Who wouldn’t want to go to work everyday and get into something and not notice that they’ve passed by lunch and it’s already the end of the day?
Tim Ferriss. He experiements with what he calls “life design”. Basically he’s just really good at cutting out the bullshit. As a result, he’s amazingly successful at different activities and hobbies he takes on in a relatively short amounts of time. If I had his job, I would be spending most of my time (the other 36 hours/week) innovating in different areas of technology and social entrepreneurship. Specifically, I would help entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs make companies in developing countries. I happen to believe, despite popular belief, that the entrepreneur is the central driving engine in building stable economies and by association lifting the poor out of poverty.
Recently Joe Corr showed us an example of the facebook api he’d been playing with. It allowed users to login via the facebook login button, then grab interesting information with the return data. In class we were playing around with several ideas:
What if facebook could predict who you’ll be hooking up with after you break up with someone?
What if facebook could predict who you’re most likely cheating with?
What if we could predict how has a crush on you?
I came up with an idea to simply take the numbers that represent you i.e. your birthdate, facebook id, age etc. and run them through the Wolfram API to see what interesting information we might extract.
As it turns out, some of the most interesting information has nothing to do with numbers but rather information regarding your name.
I tweaked WordPress a bit and built a custom theme for John, a writer, who required a very intuitive backend interface. John’s goals were to crowdsource a novel and needed something more than a simple website/blog. He had a social media plan but also needed users to be able to submit their portions of a story that would be later published as a crowd sourced novel.
His target market are current/aspiring writers age 55 and up. He wanted a space where he could give advice, blog about writing/storytelling and allow other writers to submit their short stories. Among other things, he also wanted to promote his books on amazon.
I made this site for my girlfriend to blog about gluten free living. She about everything from gluten free restaurant reviews and products to recipes and even health related products like skin care. She loves the site and the design works quite well with the overall tone.
I was delighted when my good friend Alice asked me to do her wedding website. Of course I did it for free (what are friends for?). I chose a simple design to draw attention to these two lovebirds. The colors are more traditional Hawaiian (Since Alice is a native) and the font was chosen to convey a simple and fun aura. It was also a great learning experience.
I found out quickly that not building a backend content management system was a bad idea. Since launch, I have spent many hours doing back end maintenance to the site that could easily be done by the wedding party. In the future, I will remember to build a backend interface so I don’t have to manage content.
I also used this site to experiment with a bunch of jQuery plugins like sliders, lightboxes and timers. I feel all the technology I used were pertinent and add functionality rather than adding superfluous design elements and interaction. Additionally, all the information on the site exists in a single page served by several backend php functions, so it has wonderful SEO!
My girlfriend belongs to a local gardening club and they wanted to have a website for newsletters, information, blog posts about their gardens and bylaws. However, they didn’t have a budget for the website and didn’t know anyone who would make it and host it for free. I offered to make them a website as a way to help give back to the community.
The site is fairly straight forward and took minimal theme alteration to allow the garden club members to modify and update their site.