louisgray.com: The Burning Drive to Never Settle: Refuse to Compromise

The best companies and people in business and technology refuse to compromise, even in the face of incredible challenges. The ones that are revered do not concede the battle for product quality, scale, reach or speed.

Couple of product management examples of setting HAGs (Hairy Audacious Goals) to drive results.

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Facebook, Privacy and Coding

Rumpus: So tell me about the engineers.

Employee: They’re weird, and smart as balls. For example, this guy right now is single-handedly rewriting, essentially, the entire site. Our site is coded, I’d say, 90% in PHP. All the front end — everything you see — is generated via a language called PHP. He is creating HPHP, Hyper-PHP, which means he’s literally rewriting the entire language. There’s this distinction in coding between a scripted language and a compiled language. PHP is an example of a scripted language. The computer or browser reads the program like a script, from top to bottom, and executes it in that order: anything you declare at the bottom cannot be referenced at the top. But with a compiled language, the program you write is compiled into an executable file. It doesn’t have to read the program from beginning to end in order to execute commands. It’s much faster that way. So this engineer is converting the site from one that runs on a scripted language to one that runs on a compiled language. However, if you went to go talk to him about basketball, you would probably have the most awkward conversation you’d have with a human being in your entire life. You just can’t talk to these people on a normal level. If you wanted to talk about basketball, talk about graph theory. Then he’d get it. And there’s a lot of people like that. But by golly, they can do their jobs.

Perceived speed continues to be king for user experience.

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Pinboard Blog

Our technical goals are to never lose data, be very fast, and favor boring and faded technologies where possible. A rule of thumb that has worked well for me is that if I’m excited to play around with something, it probably doesn’t belong in production.

Part of a description of technical underpinnings of bookmarking app Pinboard.

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We Should All Get It Wrong Like Apple | The Big Money

Third, engaging with your customers via the real-time Web is not, in fact, mandatory. A recent post on the influential TechCrunch blog criticizes Apple for “doing it wrong” when it comes to new media, but it’s hard to understand what that means. Business success has objective measures, and Apple is enjoying enormous success. If Apple is doing it wrong, I’d like my business to be doing it wrong, too.

Latest and greatest is not always the best. Just because social media is hot, it is not always the best tool for the job at hand. This is not to say that Apple will avoid social media for long, just that they have done quite well pushing product without it, so far.

No secret I am a big Apple fan, not necessarily because of the branding or marketing, but because the products are simply superior. Yes, the company has some negatives, and the closed loop software frustrates some people (c’mon, their street address is One Infinite Loop), but nobody is perfect, everything has some amount of tradeoffs. I like the tradeoffs Apple has decided on, because the result has been products that I love to use and recommend.

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Lite as a Feather: Why Simplicity Is Hot

The Lite trend also acknowledges the inherent value of simplicity in reducing friction, both in terms of cognitive processing and in literal page load times. It’s a busy world, and sometimes saving those few seconds can make a big difference in our perception of productivity and faster workflow.

It takes longer to make something “Simple” to use. It also requires understanding your users.

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Less is Better | UX Magazine

We have a slightly different perception of what designers are at 37signals. It is not so much about making things pretty as it is about figuring out what things should be and how they should work. That requires looking at the things themselves and not at the frame, or other elements that will fall into place naturally later. Once you have a really good message design, creating the rest in some ways is trivial.

Interview with David Heinemeier Hansson of 37Signals. Discussion on Ruby on Rails, simplicity, UI design, software development (no func specs!) and iterative product development. I liked the concept of the “epicenter design” when laying out an element, work outward from the core of the matter.

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MediaShift . Condé Nast, Hachette Magazines Push into iPhone Apps | PBS

Condé Nast’s GQ magazine app, which was released two weeks ago, has ventured into entirely new territory. It’s what Sarah Chubb, president of Condé Nast Digital, called a “replica” iPhone app because it qualifies with the Audit Bureau of Circulations as a digital edition of the magazine. That means app sales are included in circulation figures as “digital single copy sales.” The app presents the content of the entire December 2009 issue, reformatted and packaged with some exclusive extras, for $2.99 — less than the print edition’s cover price.

Appropriate for any weekly niche publication. Using the mobile capabilities to enhance the core content.

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Twelve (12) emerging best practice for adding user experience work to agile software development

  1. Drive: UX practitioners are part of the customer or product owner team
  2. Research, model, and design up front – but only just enough
  3. Chunk your design work
  4. Use parallel track development to work ahead, and follow behind
  5. Buy design time with complex engineering stories
  6. Cultivate a user validation group for use for continuous user validation
  7. Schedule continuous user research in a separate track from development
  8. Leverage user time for multiple activities
  9. Use RITE to iterate UI before development
  10. Prototype in low fidelity
  11. Treat prototype as specification
  12. Become a design facilitator

I also liked some Agile quotes they had on successful software development:
1. Start sooner
2. Build less software

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What stage of social media mgmt is your company at?

Passive organizations are in observation mode. You’re getting the lay of the land. Listening, paying attention, absorbing what’s happening around you. The goals here are to learn what conversations are happening around your company, competition, and industry, where they’re happening and how often, and start laying out your approach in line with what you learn.

Responsive companies are taking the first step in engagement online. They’re still listening, but they’re also making forays into responding to the active dialogue. Usually, that means basic responses to company or brand mentions, but it can also mean contributing to industry conversations on social networks that are of interest and strategic focus.

At this point, your company is ready to not just participate in existing conversations, but to start a few of your own. That can be anything from starting a blog to foster home-grown dialogue, to initiating conversations on your community or social networks like Ning, Twitter, or a Facebook page. The point here is that you’re leading the conversation, not just following where it goes.

Creation is a step beyond engagement. It’s more than just conversation. It’s the generation of meaty, useful and valuable content for your community and potential community. Blog posts are the beginning, but here we’re looking at a full content marketing strategy that includes development of independent content designed to be distributed and shared for the purpose of establishing a thought leadership position in your industry.

From a very informative series of articles by Amber Naslund, Community Manager of Radian6, a social media monitoring and metrics software company.

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Amex OPEN keeps ‘pulse’ on B2B with social media

One company, American Express, has a division called OPEN that is exclusively dedicated to the success of small business owners and their companies. The growth of these businesses in turn means that OPEN will succeed, and the company has realized that social media has become a priority for small business owners

The forums initially grew as an extension of live events, face to face networking extended online.

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