Friday, October 30, 2009

Cheap Customer Feedback (Gavin Newsom)

There's a researcher's goldmine in the comments of news articles. Here's a screen grab of the top comments in the Gavin Newsom story on SFgate.com. It's better than reading the article.


Monday, October 12, 2009

How Do You Answer The Passion Question?

Help me get the word Passion out of the office and back into the bedroom where it belongs!

Have you ever been in a job interview, which you thought was going great, only to get sidelined with the question, "What are you really passionate about?!" Perhaps it's because I'm a designer (I can't imagine an Doctor ever being asked this question) and people expect my brain to be overflowing with creativity. Or perhaps because I'm a designer people expect me to communicate in little sketches, who knows. One really stressful interview at a silicon valley giant, I was sidelined with the Passion Question right in the middle of talking about software design. I think I let it slip that I wasn't really that passionate about an email application I had worked on. (Please, nobody, nobody is ever passionate about email software design, let alone email, or especially software). I almost blurted out "money" in response to that question - I mean hello! interview!?! But instead of yelling out "money" (to a small group stock option lottery winners) I froze up.

I think the passion question is stupid because it's usually totally inappropriate. Does it make sense to ask a civil engineer if he's passionate about fixing sewers? Remember our friend the doctor? Nobody would ask her what she's passionate about because... a doctor is obviously all about curing the sick... so it goes without saying that I am passionate about design.

So let me ask the Blogger Community - How have you dealt with the Passion Question in your interviews? Do you think asking people this question is a good idea?

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Are You Doing? Looking at Your Data

I can tell how your website is doing. I can tell if this past year has been good for your site, or bad. Don't be offended, this info is freely available online. I'm talking about Alexa. With a little bit of analysis, I could make recommendations for fixing your site, or improving your web products, so that your business connects with more people and does better.

Massify.com vs. Cute Overload.com
Compare the past month of Alexa data for the blog Cute Overload with the professional networking site Massify.com*. What's interesting is Cute Overload is managed primarily by a single individual (a Designer) with a separate full time job. Massify is a small company and run by a team of professionals. Cute Overload had very little start-up costs and has very little overhead. Massify had a lot more start-up costs, and maintains much more overhead, more than a blog like Cute Overload. Still, Cute Overload is growing, and Massify is not.

Cute Overload.com

Massify.com

So what's going on here? Could it be that a simple blog is the way to go with a web business, something which can easily be maintained by an army of one? There could be a lot of explanations for the lower performing site... They could be suffering from; A fundamentally poor idea, over-complication, poor planning & implementation, poor customer support, or perhaps no clear design strategy. The good news is there is HOPE. Change is good and websites are good at reinventing themselves.