Interviews with Dan Rubin & Keir Whitaker

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

I was lucky enough not only to be invited to FOWD through my recent placement at Carsonified (both of which were awesome, of course), but also to be able to hunt down both Keir and Dan for some interview questions.

On Industry:

Firstly, what’s the best way to market/get known as a newcomer to the industry?

Keir:

  • Go to local networking events outside of the web world, i.e. local business groups and become known as the local “go to” web guy/expert
  • Go to web meetups and networking events, the more you go to the more people will know you
  • Write regularly on your own site and other sites
  • Discover your niche, be it CSS3, working with clients, HTML5, WordPress and shout about it. It’s amazing how quickly people will associate that niche with you (Think Andy Clarke, Jeremy Keith etc)
  • Comment on other people’s blogs and in forums
  • Tweet interesting links
  • Put on your own free local web meetup
  • Write to people you admire and ask to meet them, it’s amazing how often it works and what you can learn

Dan: Participation in the community — people can tell the difference between selfish and selfless behavior, so contributing information and examples of high quality and value without expecting anything in return is the best way to get your name recognized for good things. The same goes for Twitter, etc.

If anything at all, what’s the one thing you would go back and change in your career?

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Venturing Into The Funky World of Threadless

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

T-ShirtSubmitting my first tee design to Threadless’ competition t-shirts, please, please vote me up, if I win, they’ll pay me $2,500 =)

(By the way, if you’re not in any way design-y, and are wondering what it means, it’s a play on ‘CMYK’, the abbreviation for the colours used in printing [Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Key Black] – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMYK)

The Road to Becoming a Morning Person Again

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I seem to be getting quite into networking now, not that I’m not finding it daunting, believe me, I am. But I’m managing to kick myself out of bed early in the morning (very, early in the morning yesterday) to get myself out there.

Yesterday was my first BforB event at Thornbury Castle, which at 7am, coming from Bath, required a certain willpower to get out of bed – long gone are the days I used to get up at a ludicrous hour for my job in media distribution (I was a paperboy). In spite of this, I got there a little early, had a discussion with the organisers I was invited by, and settled for a tasty Full English (now that’s my idea of an event) once the rest of the group arrived. It was quite a busy morning with lots of non-member guests as well as myself, all of us were invited to spend a minute introducing ourselves – which I seem to have got better at with every event I’ve been to – and put a few of our business cards into an organiser which was handed round as the introductions were taking place. I was pleasantly surprised to find once it was passed back round to me that most of my cards were no longer there, so hello if you happen to have taken one, and stumbled upon my blog ;-)

There was a short presentation on growing one’s business, which I’m not really thinking too much about at the moment, but it was good to know the options for expansion in the future, should everything miraculously explode into dizzy heights.

During my email exchange with Rodger Scott (owner/organiser for BforB Bristol) I found they are apparently looking to set up a Bath group, which I expressed my interest in – I need to get along to the GWE Business West Bath Business Show, where they’ll have a stand to find out more.

Must dash, I have a meeting with Keir from Carsonified in a very short while about arranging a work placement. Funnily enough it’s at Starbucks, which should further enhance my being a morning person again.

Group Interview: Expert Advice For Students and Young Web Designers

Monday, March 15th, 2010

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/17/group-interview-advice-for-students-and-new-designers/

Fantastic interview with:

  • Henry Jones (Web Design Ledger)
  • Wolfgang Bartelme (Bartelme.at)
  • Chris Coyier (CSS-Tricks)
  • Chris Spooner (SpoonGraphics, Line25)
  • Soh Tanaka
  • Jon Philips (Spyre Studios)
  • Paul Boag (Boagworld, Headscape)
  • David Leggett (Tutorial9, UX Booth)
  • Jacob Gube (Six Revisions)
  • Elliot Jay Stocks
  • Brian Hoff (The Design Cubicle)
  • Darren Hoyt
  • Walter Apai (Webdesigner Depot)
  • Jacob Cass (Just Creative Design)
  • Zach Dunn (One Mighty Roar and Build Internet)
  • Paul Andrew (Speckyboy Design Magazine)

Giving some insight into industry, and as the title suggests, expert advice for design students and young web designers.

BRAVE ‘Let’s Talk Starting in Business’ Seminars

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

So yesterday and Monday I ventured out to Bristol, for two seminars hosted by Justin Ricks of BRAVE, supported by Barclays bank. Over the two days I gained some really useful information, and met a few new contacts in the networking opportunities (hello if you’re reading!). I now have a much much clearer picture of what I need to get sorted to get myself setup and off the ground as a registered sole trader, and as I’ve recently started invoicing, I need to get onto Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs pretty sharpish, else I have no doubt the taxman will come-a-knocking. Best keep everything above board right from the start really. Good news is, I have up to three months to register once I’ve begun properly trading.

I’ve been in contact with Lloyds, the local SME manager should be getting back to me after a training course she’s on over this week, and I should be able to get a business bank account setup through there – I’ve been told it’s very easy as I’m already with them and have a stellar account history… *adjusts and polishes halo*

Speaking of banks, I don’t intentionally publicly go about slating anyone (honestly, I don’t), but I know Lloyds also has a really good online banking service from experience, unlike other services I’ve signed up for of late who have two very long ID strings and eight pieces of memorable information to remember. *cough, pause for clarity* Nationwide *pause for clarity, cough*.

But back on topic.

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Software for Smooth Operation

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

This week’s guest speaker was Imogen Woodford, who came to give us advice on software and general tips to help managing a business, which really got me thinking about things.

Planning and Organisation

Something I really really should concentrate a lot harder on is general time management. Imogen suggested an application I’d previously heard mentioned; Remember the Milk. Something worth looking into due to it’s notification and syncing features, I currently use Appigo Todo, but haven’t really got the syncing with iCal set up to my satisfaction. It sort of works, as I use it mainly on my custom iPhone lockscreen (to be featured in a future post), but it sure would be nice to have a little more ‘push’ assistance to really nag me to get things done. MobileMe gets all my calendars (Work, Freelance, Uni and Personal) synced nicely across my devices, and I’ve recently started really pushing myself to use it for every little thing, I need to rule over myself a bit more to dedicate time to doing certain things, else I just won’t get them done when the work (hopefully) starts to mount up more.

Finances

This is something I mainly have under control due to Billings being absolutely fantastic. Again, I need to get round to setting the database up on the iDisk, as at the moment it’s a bit of a pain to use it on the MacBook when I’m out and about, then export all the slips back to the iMac, it sure would be nice to have it centralised in the Cloud, then I’d be much more tempted to work on the move, for the simplicity of billing my time. I can’t recommend Billings enough, especially with its minimal pricetag, the stress it’s saved me from the times I was using Office for Mac, and seeing my Excel invoices disintegrate before my eyes due to corrupted files is worth the price, and then some. In terms of separating out personal finances, I really, really, really need to get a business bank account setup now, that’s right at the top of priorities.

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PCG Networking Event

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Hooray! My first networking event. And jolly enjoyable and informative it was too.

First of all, let me say that for a considerable amount of time one of my pet hates has been standing around at parties making small talk with people I apparently have nothing in common with. I considered it a general waste of my life, breath and energy. Networking is something I dreaded the thought of. Among friends and even slightly outside my comfort zone, I have no problem expressing my opinion (I’m sure someone anyone who knows me will testify to that), but with someone I’m meeting for the first time, I’m somewhat surprisingly reserved and bashful.

Held at the Mercure Holland House Hotel in Bristol for both newcomers and existing PCG members, the event gave a great introduction to the way networking works, how it can help freelancers, and tips on how to go about it. Featuring presentations from Kevin Brown of Business Networking International and Colin Butcher of XDelta, the speakers were easy to listen and relate to, covered a wide range of topics.

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Mini(ish) catchup post.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Just a quick post to keep up to date on current projects, there’ll be a more detailed blog sometime this week most likely. The site I was helping out Toni with, I had to sort of take over and finish off, as the client wanted it done, presented it last Friday, all is well, he’s asked me to review and give examples of what I can do with another of his sites, and is also sending over a brief for a video project I’ll be asking another colleague (Laurie) to come in on if all takes off.

Busy Christmas, but did have the time to meet Graham, another Management-Training-Consultant-area-person who’d like his website to be overhauled. The other project for Horsham Council is well underway, proofs have been sent over, adjustments made, and coding has started. More on all happenings later, I’m busy doodling away at the moment.

Blog into Christmas

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Just a quick blog to revive the brief mention I gave to one of my existing clients’ interest in bringing me on board for another project. I’ve just received some more in-depth details for this, and have been given the go-ahead to start templating and wireframing ASAP. This should be another great project to develop to be a part of the portfolio.

I also met with the food-based venture, for which I’ve been asked not to disclose any specific details of for the time being, but this is also all go, need to get back to them with three mood boards by the end of January.

Have sent a two quotes for the PHP-based system for myself and Toni’s projected time spent, based on a basic layout and more in-depth (dependent on accessibility to the existing system’s code), we’re waiting to hear back for a go-code.

No rest for the wicked.

Humbug.

Festive <nobr> time.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Catherine has informed us we’re not allowed to do any work whatsoever over the Christmas period. So that’s nice, but it won’t happen as I’m busy as ever. No speaker this week, there’ll be a review of all my colleagues’ blogs on here in the near to distant imminent future, I will of course be very nice so as not to have tomatoes thrown at me, and with a bit of luck will give me some inspiration of even more to ramble about. I’m near the middle-ish end bit of drafting an article on the progressive uses of typography from the dawn of the webpage, which will also be posted for anyone who’s interested in that kind of gumph. *tumbleweed ensues*

Business cards need printing ready for my new-year-networking-resolution, the usual projects will of course continue, along with all the uni assignments due in January, and in addition I’ve just been called in by one colleague to assist with styling a part PHP-based system, and another to do final tweaks and complete coding for a band called The Hovercraft Pirates. I also have a meeting this friday for a corporate branding job for the launch of a mysterious new food-based venture. Sometime in the new year I shall hopefully be spending some time with the visual marketing team at O2, so that should be something to look forward to as well – apparently my area manager is always keen to help employees advance to different sectors within the business, so that’s some potential financial security options when branching out on my own come the end of this year.

That’s a non-breaking-space tag in the title, by the way. The first rule of design club, is you do not talk about design club. The second rule of design club, is no smoking (unless you hang your head out of the window).

Merry non-breaking Christmas.