Blog https://ten7.com/ A feed of all blog posts written by TEN7. en Ethan Marcotte: Using Web Design to Foster Conversations, Access and Meaning https://ten7.com/podcast/episode/ethan-marcotte-using-web-design-foster-conversations-access-and-meaning <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ethan Marcotte: Using Web Design to Foster Conversations, Access and Meaning</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Summary</h2> <p>Ethan Marcotte was the first to introduce the term “responsive web design” as he searched for ways to move away from static presentations toward sites that are more accessible and driven by user needs.</p> <h2>Highlights</h2> <ul> <li>Ethan was an English Major in college, but he credits his thesis advisor for giving him permission to explore and pursue other paths for his future.</li> <li>An essay by John Allsopp called <a href="https://alistapart.com/article/dao/">“A Dao of Web Design”</a> changed Ethan’s perspective on design and how the user, not the designer, should dictate the web experience.</li> <li>A visit by his wife to the Highline in New York City inspired him to coin the phrase “responsive web design,” thinking about places that react and respond to individual user needs.</li> <li>Ethan recently started a company called Autogram, to consult with clients about the best ways to manage their own content management or design systems.</li> </ul> <h2>Links</h2> <ul> <li><a href="https://autogram.is/">Autogram</a></li> <li>John Allsopp: <a href="https://alistapart.com/article/dao/">“A Dao of Web Design”</a></li> <li>The New York City <a href="https://www.thehighline.org/">Highline</a></li> <li><a href="https://ethanmarcotte.com/">Ethan Marcotte</a></li> </ul> <h2>Transcript</h2> <p><strong>IVAN STEGIC: </strong>Hey everyone, you're listening to The TEN7 Podcast where we get together every fortnight, and sometimes more often, to talk about technology, business and the humans in it. I'm your host, Ivan Stegic.</p> <p>My guest today is Ethan Marcotte, an independent web designer, writer, and speaker. He coined the term “responsive web design” in a talk given at <a href="https://aneventapart.com/">An Event Apart</a> in Seattle in April of 2010. And I'd argue the web has never been the same since then. Ethan says that “his practice involves helping companies make beautiful things that work everywhere.” And I just love that sentiment.</p> <p>Welcome to the show, Ethan. It's so nice to have you on the show.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN MARCOTTE: </strong>Ivan. Thank you for having me. It's a real pleasure to be here.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Let's start out by talking a little bit about where you are in the world right now. Where are you joining us from? What do you see outside your window?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Oh, okay, geographically. I’m thinking existentially or something.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Oh, we could talk about that, too if you’d like. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>[laughing] No. I'm based in Somerville, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. I've been here for, wow, about 20 years now. Right outside my window is the beautiful brown house that lives right next to mine. And the weather's been a little monsooney lately. It's been raining pretty hard. We had a tropical storm roll through a few days ago, and we're still dealing with some aftershocks from that. But otherwise, I can see some nice things out my window.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, you're in New England, which I know is where you went to college. Is that where you were born? Whereabout does your life start?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah, I was born in New England. I'm from Northern Vermont, originally, from a pretty rural part of a pretty rural state. I spent the first 18 years of my life there before going to school at Middlebury College in Vermont. I haven't been there in the last year and a half or so due to the circumstances, but it's someplace that I try to get back and visit with some frequency because it's just a really beautiful part of the country.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And that's, I’m assuming you went to the elementary and high school system in the city that you were growing up in?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. City is a very kind word for it. It was a very small town. It’s a very small town. The part of the country I come from is still very heavily farming focused. A lot of dairy farmers, my grandparents were dairy farmers. There's not a lot of industry up there. There's some logging. There's some grain farming. But I did go to the public school system there. Well, that's not quite true. My grade school was a small, small, little Catholic school. But then graduated from a high school of about 400 students.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Intimate.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Exactly. Well, it felt big at the time, but by everyone else's standards it was intimate. Definitely.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And what did you want to be while you were a child when you were growing up? What did you want to be when you grew up? Fireman?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. Well, sure. No, astronaut and at one point ghostbuster.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Ghostbuster. [laughing] I wanted to be that too.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Exactly.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> It was so awesome. Who didn't?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I know. I might have seen that movie a few too many times in the theater when it came out. No, I ran the gamut, I think of fairly stereotypical, young American boy, professions from astronaut. I'm sure I wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle at one point.</p> <p>But eventually I think the things that I gravitated more toward were writing, that was a big, important, lifeline for me when I was in high school, just having a place to write my own stories, to get ideas down that weren't constrained by assignments. I could have a place to process things and that was pretty important to me. So, going into high school, at least I had this pretty firm idea that I was going to grow up and be a writer, which is really everyone's favorite career path, I'm sure.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Did you keep a journal?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I kept a few different journals. Routines and I weren't necessarily the thing I was best at growing up. But at least when I first started doing it my parents had invested, and this is in the middle of the eighties, there were some of the first folks that I knew of at least where I was growing up who had personal computers.</p> <p>And so, a lot of the writing that I did was on these big, clunky, old desktop computers. So, there's probably some five and a quarter inch floppy disks in some drawer somewhere that are just filled with terrible, terrible teenage writing. So, most of my journaling was electronic back then.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah, I remember those big clunky computers and the five and a quarter inch, and three and a half inch floppies. Oh man.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN</strong>: Absolutely. And Daisy wheel printers.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Oh yeah. I think I used WordPerfect 5 and saved things to floppy disks. And I think there's a couple of floppy disks buried in a tin can in the house I grew up in in South Africa somewhere.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Amazing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah, that brings me way back. So you wanted to be a writer, then I guess, if you went and got a degree in English Lit at Middlebury? Did you go in thinking you were going to be a writer?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I did go in thinking I was going to be a writer. And I think I took exactly two creating writing courses, and then a few other, more literature-focused classes. And I think pretty early on, I just realized I really enjoyed reading, and finding my way through somebody else's work and trying to unravel why somebody wrote something a specific way or trying to understand the context that they were writing in, whether it's historical or political or artistic, finding out why certain authors maybe write something in response to things that they were experiencing.</p> <p>There was something about trying to understand the writer’s perspective, and the purpose of a text that, at least back then I thought, was really exciting. And so that's, that's sort of why the transition happened for me. I'm sure at the time as an 18 year old growing up in college who thinks he knows everything, I probably thought there was probably more of a chance of getting a job after school if I continued on with graduate studies and maybe thought about teaching.</p> <p>And for most of college that was kind of my plan, to finish up undergrad and get a degree and maybe get a doctorate somewhere, but at least at the time I didn't see following this path of trying to understand why certain things had been written in the way that they were. I didn't see that as necessarily being mutually exclusive with continuing to be a writer if I wanted to. And it was just something that was really exciting to me at the time, so I decided to run after it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And what was your first job out of college after you did graduate?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. So, [laughing] my first job out of college was working for a tiny little dot com just outside of New York City. The reason I did that was by the time I got to senior year, I was pretty burned out on academics. And I was starting to look ahead and start to think about, Okay, well, if I did want to treat this as a career, what does that look like? And I'd been getting more involved in the department at that time, and just realizing that there's not necessarily a promise of any kind of security that comes with this.</p> <p>There has to be real fire in you to really dedicate the rest of your life to that kind of study. My thesis advisor, who's this amazing woman named Marion Wells, really got me through that period. She said something that just really stuck with me which is, <em>Just take a year off from school. You don't have to make this decision right now. Put the books away for a year and see if you miss them. </em></p> <p>I'd never really been given the space to do something like that before.</p> <p>And I think that advice, moving away from a thing to see if there's any kind of signal there that you might actually be missing it, that's something I've come back to over and over again. So, yeah, I decided to put the books away for a year. Twenty plus years into putting the books away to see if I missed them, and I guess I haven't yet. So, I worked for little dot com, basically. I've been doing some web design on the side, got a copy of Photoshop somehow and I've been building web pages for some organizations, and for some tiny, tiny little clients in college, and I figured I’d see if I could try to get a job working on this internet thing I'd been hearing more and more about.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And so, Marion Wells gave you permission to put the books away, and you did, and then you became a lead designer. I think you were at Harvard for a long time. How does someone who goes from English Lit become a lead designer at a department at Harvard?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. So I was at Harvard for a few years. I did about a year outside of New York, and then I moved up to Boston for a studio job. And then this was about the time that in the early 2000s, there was a pretty significant industry crash, and the consulting studio that I was working for was basically starting to go through layoffs, and I was seeing more and more of my friends go away. I figured I might as well try a different industry and ended up getting a job at Harvard doing some web design for basically some educational products that were used at the university.</p> <p>I was there for a few years, and I was the lead designer on a couple software teams, partly by the merit of the fact that I was the only designer on those teams. I worked with some really wonderful folks there and getting a chance to work on some of the first honest to goodness “web applications” that I'd really ever used on a regular basis, was really kind of helpful for me as a designer, because working prior to that point on a lot of brochure, heavy sites, really relatively static sites, and fairly complicated, sizable ones, but having to deal with something that could think about different user states, the different ways in which people need to think about processing information. It was really educational in a lot of ways.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It feels like there was a period in the evolution of the web where, and right at the beginning, all we were really doing is listening to print designers say, <em>Take this brochure and put it on the web. We just need to make it digital.</em> It was okay of running a business to start, when you're trying to make ends meet, and when you're trying to build something. But you very quickly get to a point where, <em>Oh, man, I really wish it was some interactivity here, it was a little bit more complex.</em> And people were thinking about the user experience.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Totally, totally. Yeah.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Did you have that same experience early on? When did that happen for you?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I’m glad you said that Ivan. I remember one of the first small company clients I worked with out of college. I remember them writing something down on a post-it note. This was somebody, I think they might have been in construction or some trade, and this is for their business. I remember them writing something down on a post-it note and handing it to me and just asking me to put that on their home screen.</p> <p>It should be that easy, right? It should be something as simple as, <em>Okay, I have this idea and I want to put it on this internet thing I keep hearing about. </em>It’s sadly never been that easy, but I love that image of, <em>All right, we should be able to perfectly translate this and put it exactly in the spot.</em></p> <p>But I guess that transition you mentioned, I guess it happened in a couple different ways early on. One is, I mentioned that Harvard job, and that was the first time I'd worked on an application on an ongoing basis where communities, a community of learners or students who were working with us and reporting in ways in which the application was failing them. And, I’d worked on web applications before, I'd worked on large scale content sites before, but this is the first time I really had that feedback loop of, the decisions that we make on this product actually have some sort of impact on people and that design really, ultimately is a service job.</p> <p>And that was helpful for me. But I think the other part too, in my studio job shortly after we moved to Boston, was about the time that I came across <a href="https://alistapart.com/article/dao/">John Allsopp's A Dao of Web Design</a>. It’s one of those articles that if your listeners haven't read it, man, I know I can't give folks homework, but it's one of those things that I just recommend to everybody, because I think it’s still one of the most like relevant pieces of writing about the web as a design medium today, because he is talking about that division between the printed page and the web, and saying that these are effectively completely different media that we need to design for, and that, at least when he was writing, he was arguing that we were treating the web as a printed piece of paper. We would design some dimensions in a canvas in Photoshop, and then we'd fill that canvas with stuff, and then we go about perfectly translating that picture of a web page into HTML and CSS. Well, maybe not CSS back then.</p> <p>But he was basically saying that we need to think about this as a completely flexible medium, basically. That this is something that can learn from print, but shouldn't mimic it and that by treating it as the printed page, we're effectively limiting its capabilities and its strengths. And that just really resonated with me, because it just showed me that there's a completely different way of thinking about design for the web that not a lot of folks are practicing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I hear what you're saying, and I remember all the graphic designers that were trying to very quickly retool their skills, so that they could remain relevant to design for the web. And it was really tough to do that, especially if you had been doing graphic design for 20-30 years prior to that. And all that print work is drying up. I'm so glad you mentioned John Alsop, because I was just looking at his Twitter profile the other day, and I pulled it up again, and it says, great grandfather of RWD, and I couldn't figure out what that meant. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I saw he added that.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Let's take our listeners to what that actually means. You coined the phrase <em>responsive web design</em>, and we'll get to where that came from, in just a sec. But yeah, why does it say that in his profile?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. In a lot of ways, John is right, because the first talk that I did where I coined the term responsive web design was titled, <em>A Dow of Web Design</em>. As somebody who's a fan of John's article, I was trying to resonate with that title because what he's arguing is that the web has to be designed for adaptability. He's not talking about responsive design as such. He's not talking about flexible layouts necessarily, or media queries, because the tools that we had to design web pages back when John was writing were so limited, comparatively to what we have today.</p> <p>But that idea of thinking about treating the design of the web is something that ultimately is controlled by the people who are accessing it. And that could be the size of the screen, the kind of browser they use, the kind of assistive technology they use.</p> <p>That's such an inversion of the model of the graphic designer, as someone who dictates the experience to the user. And that, at least for me, is what's so revolutionary about John's piece, is that we need to let go of that control. And I think that in doing so we can basically leverage the strength of the web to be as accessible as possible, no matter wherever or wherever you happen to be, regardless of the screen you happen to be using to access my work.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It's so empowering of the user, and really focuses in on the user’s experience and so early on. His article that you referenced has been around for a while. And I love the idea that there's this complete inversion that, <em>The graphic designer isn't telling you what's cool, the graphic designer’s just putting out the content in a way that anyone can access it, whether it's a screen reader, or a modern browser.</em> That’s just great. Let's talk about that talk you gave at Event Apart in Seattle in 2010.</p> <p>That was before you published the blog post that basically started everything. And the talk was influenced by this article from John.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. And it was influenced by that article because my career had been influenced by that article. I'd been a fan of creating non-fixed width layouts, flexible layouts or I think fluid layouts we call them pretty much since I read that, because it seemed like an interesting technical challenge, it seemed like a really interesting design challenge, thinking about ways in which we can create designs that are more resilient and more adaptable.</p> <p>But that said, trying to do that in the early 2000s was pretty difficult because ultimately one of the many reasons that flexible layouts weren't super popular is that if you're on a very widescreen, things start to feel a little bit ropey or disconnected, if you're on a very tiny screen columns can feel a little bit cramped.</p> <p>And so, folks took a lot of comfort in that idea of creating a design that was always a specific width, in part because it afforded them some illusion of control, that they could basically say if you have this minimum screen resolution, then our design is going to look wonderful. But the problem is that eventually mobile devices came along and broke that in half.</p> <p>That is part of what went into that original talk, because I've been doing more and more work around that time, on sites that had a separate mobile website. And this is a fairly common pattern back then, right? Because clients would have the full website that they designed that was for the desktop web. But then they started to realize, <em>Oh no, more and more of my users are actually coming to this site on mobile devices and we haven't accounted for that. </em>We assumed everyone's going to have a fairly comfortably sized screen, and they're always going to be interacting with a mouse or something like that.</p> <p>Getting asked on more and more contracts to do a standalone mobile website, or more frequently in the contracts that would specify an iPhone website. Well on principle, it felt like a weird reversal of how universal the web was supposed to be. It’s like, why can't I access the same information or the same content on any device that I happen to use? I wasn't sure what the end game of that fragmentation was supposed to look like. Because what's the next device that we're going to have to start designing for? iPads didn't exist back then, but was I going to be doing a handspring-only website or blackberry- only website? If we thought about this as a flexible medium that could adapt more intelligently, that seems like a much more powerful and more sustainable approach, ultimately.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I agree. And do you remember before the m-dot sites there were wap sites, w-a-p sites?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Oh, my goodness. Yes.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It felt like m-dot was just a better version of a wap site? I don't think it was sustainable. I think maybe part of the irony is that the iPhone came out with mobile Safari, and could actually display a desktop site, and then you had to double tap to actually zoom in. I remember seeing that for the first time and thinking, holy cow, you can get the real web on a mobile phone now? Amazing.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Absolutely. I think in all fairness, there were really capable mobile browsers that predated the iPhone. The technology had been improving. But I think it took, especially Western markets, seeing the iPhone and seeing it load up the homepage of the New York Times. That was a splash of cold water in a lot of folks that were designing in our markets.</p> <p>I say this a lot, but I do remain surprised and humbled at the reception that the article got, because I really think that the reception that it did get just pointed to the fact that if I hadn't settled on the idea, I think somebody else would have. Because I think there was this broad understanding that the idea wasn't sustainable, that our current ways of working just weren't going to serve us well, for more than a few years of the mobile web or whatever came next.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Also, you gave it a name, you labeled it. And people understood what that was. What's the story behind the words you chose? Responsive web design. I know that there's a story, that it didn't just come to you. You must have toiled over this.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah, it was a bit of a process. I had agreed to write this talk for an Event Apart. I'd finished up a client project and that was the first time that I'd created these really complex, fluid, grid based layouts and I’d come up with sort of a unique technique for doing that. Around that time, I'd started learning about media queries, thanks to an article in lesser part, written by Craig Hockenberry. And that was the first time that I realized that these two things could actually go together, I could create really interesting, flexible layouts that didn't have an ideal width or ideal shape.</p> <p>But then I could still change them in useful ways, depending on certain conditions. And back then it was really just the width or height of the screen, but I could come up with something that was closer to what John was proposing back in <em>A Dow Web Design</em>. So that was roughly the technique, but I had no idea what to call it. And my wife Elizabeth gets a lot of credit for this because she was visiting some family down in New York City and visiting the Highline, which is a restored section of above ground train tracks that are beautifully landscaped and beautifully renovated and beautifully designed.</p> <p>There was some seating in certain sections of the Highline that basically sit on tracks. They almost look like small, little railway tracks. My imagination got really fired up about that, because it was this really cool model of creating a space and then inviting the users of that space to rewrite it in new ways that were useful for them. So, being able to literally move seating around in a public area was, I don't know, I hadn't really seen anything like that before.</p> <p>So, I started reading more about that, and then I started learning about this concept of responsive architecture. Well, actually it started with a book called <em><a href="https://papress.com/products/interactive-architecture-adaptive-world">Interactive Architecture</a></em> that I read, and it talked about this idea of the relationship between a space and a user of the space as a kind of conversation, where both of them inform each other in ways that are useful. And I started reading more about interactive architecture and then I started finding out that in some circles, it's called responsive architecture and I loved that because it really just reinforced that idea of a conversation.</p> <p>So, I can create a design that is delivered to you, Ivan, as a user, and it's going to respond to the changing shape of your browser window, or if your device's display, to present information in a way that's hopefully as usable and as meaningful to you as it can be, given the amount of space that it has to work with.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That's awesome. It all makes sense when you describe it like that. And I'm so glad your wife had that experience at the Highline.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I'm grateful to her for a lot of things. And that's definitely one of them.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, it wasn't just that this article was published, right? It was sort of the timing that you had, because it isn't enough for you to call it responsive web design. You sort of have to have all the other pieces in place. So, your labeling was one thing, but there are W3C standards that had to be in place, CSS 3 and media queries and that was very early on and still evolving. Browsers had to support it. Was there any particular event in the evolution where you could say, and maybe point to, that's what pushed this kind of design into mass adoption?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>That's a great question. I think it’s hard to point to just one thing. I wrote the article and then there was this flurry of activity around it that I really wasn't expecting. I firmly believe, I met a publishing deadline, and then everything that kind of happened after that was due to the credit of the community. One of the first responsive designs that I remember seeing that wasn't one of my early prototypes was <a href="https://hicks.design/">John Hicks</a>, who's a designer and illustrator in the UK. He designed the original Firefox logo, and he redesigned his personal website to be responsive, and it was beautiful work.</p> <p>John's a wonderful designer and his site was and is beautiful. But I think that once he did that, and there may have been others, but this is the one that I remember, but as these designers started getting excited about this idea and publishing responsive work, that built more excitement around the idea and it proved that it could be done. And more folks started experimenting with what could be done with this idea on their websites.</p> <p>But that didn't necessarily translate it to the next step, which is that mass adoption you mentioned. I think the next step, at least on that path was back in 2011 I worked on the responsive redesign at the Boston Globe. I think that was at the time, I believe, the first large scale responsive website. And I think that showed that no organization wants to be the first anything, right? Like, the first flash website, the first CSS-based redesign.</p> <p>Taking that first step, I think takes a lot of bravery and the Globe, at least, because it was a new website at the time, and the fact that a very significant portion of their readership was accessing their work on mobile devices, it made sense for them to launch this new site with responsive design. That also made it easier for a lot of other organizations of their size to be like, Oh, this actually works at scale. So, I think that definitely helped as well.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I don't even remember the web before responsive design, quite honestly.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah, it was a dark period, Ivan. You know? [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>[laughing] And there's this idea of Mobile First. That is about the same time or maybe later? It has to have been after responsive design became a thing, right? Where do you locate that?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah, Mobile First, as I encountered it, predates responsive design a little bit. I may not have encountered it until afterwards. But Luke Wroblewski, who's at Google now, wrote this blog entry, and I think it was back in 2009, where he coined the phrase Mobile First. Like John's article, I think it's still an incredibly impressing piece of writing about the web. And Luke's writing at a time when the iPhone is almost basically hot off the presses, and he's basically arguing that we can't keep treating mobile as an afterthought.</p> <p>So, we can't keep designing these desktop based products, and then think about what the mobile experience is going to be. He's basically arguing we need to invert that because mobile traffic is exploding, mobile devices have all these new capabilities and maybe most importantly, for me at least, we're designing for screens that are significantly smaller than what we're used to.</p> <p>So if we can start with mobile, and figure out what really matters to our interfaces, then that's going to improve the experience for everybody. So anyway, that predates responsive design slightly, but it may not have been until after I came out with the article that I came across it. I think it's still a critical piece of design thinking even today.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Could you say his last name again, because I have seen his name so many times, and have never tried to say it and I know exactly who you're talking about. He's got that green astronaut avatar that he uses.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>That’s right. Yeah, exactly. He's <a href="https://www.lukew.com/">lukew.com</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/LukeW">@lukew</a> on Twitter, but I believe his last name is pronounced Wroblewski. That's how I've said it and maybe he's been waiting 20 years to tell me how wrong I've been getting it? But Luke's an incredibly sharp and incisive designer, I’ve always really respected the way that he approaches complex problems. He wrote a fantastic book on form design, and his book <em><a href="https://www.lukew.com/resources/mobile_first.asp">Mobile First</a></em> I think, really fantastic.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yes. I might have to reach out to him and see if we can get them on the podcast.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Can strongly recommend.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> What would you change about responsive web design now that it might be too late?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>That’s a great question. I don't know. So, in the article, I just said that responsive design has three ingredients. It starts with a flexible, or fluid grid as its foundation. It has flexible images and media that work inside of those fluid layouts or flexible layouts. And then, there's media queries, that little bit of pixie dust that allows us to articulate how these things change and adapt. So it's really just a three-step process.</p> <p>The reason I did that is because I wanted the definition to be as broad as possible. I didn't want it to be super prescriptive and have 15 different steps you needed to follow to make a responsive design.</p> <p>I wanted to keep it as accessible as possible. But in part, because of that, there's a whole range of things you can do with that ingredient list. You can make anything but a mobile first responsive design. You can make something that's targeted primarily for wider screens, and then you still think about the mobile experience as an afterthought. You can make something that's completely inaccessible, you can make something that's much too heavy to be downloaded over somebody's data plan.</p> <p>But at least for me, that's not a distinction between what's responsive and what's not, that's a discussion around what constitutes good responsive design, versus what might need some improvement or refinement.</p> <p>So I don't know, recently, there's been some new tools that have come out, like container queries, is something that's being worked on actively right now that I've been clamoring for, for a long, long time. So rather than looking at the characteristics of the device or browser that's rendering your design and then adapting it accordingly with media queries, container queries are going to let us say, <em>Okay, how much space do I have to work with inside this part of my design, and then I can adapt elements inside that area accordingly?</em></p> <p>So basically, if this particular teaser component is going to be rendered at around 400 pixels, draw it this way. If it's going to be 200 pixels render it this way. And that, for me, at least, our designs have gotten more componenty and more modular. That's the kind of design I’ve been doing more of anyway, and this is a massive ergonomic improvement over the way that I do that kind of work.</p> <p>But, I wrote about this recently, I don't think if you created a responsive design that didn't use any media queries, but only used container queries, is that still a responsive design? I think so. Some of your listeners might have different approaches, but at the end of the day I think that definition still holds up pretty well. I might tack container queries onto it, but I like the fact that it's not prescriptive. It's prescriptive enough, I guess, that it’s three steps and then you're good to go.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I think I would agree with you. I go back to what you said about responsive architecture and the tenant that I think is underlying all of the switches, empowering the user by being responsive to the user. I think if you include container queries in there, I think that still fits the definition.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah. And there's so many wonderful tools out there now for listening to the user. There are queries that we can use in our CSS to detect whether or not the users asked us to disable animations, which can trigger certain motion sensitivities in our users. And I think that's an incredibly important thing to listen to. But I wouldn't necessarily include that, for example, in a definition of what constitutes a responsive design. Do I think that makes for a good responsive design? Absolutely. But I don't think that is necessarily table stakes. But I do think it's important.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Now, about a year ago you started a company in the middle of a pandemic.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>[laughing] Great timing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Great timing. [laughing] So you called it <a href="https://autogram.is/">Autogram</a>, and you started it with Karen McGrane and Jeff Eaton who I think left <a href="https://www.lullabot.com/">Lullabot</a> to start the company. And I love this description that I saw of Autogram. It says here, <em>You started it to work on big tangly problems involving content management and design systems.</em> That sounds like an awfully big problem to solve. But those are the best kind of problems, I think.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Working with Jeff and Karen, two people I've had a chance to work with a lot in the past. They're wonderful folks and I'm so glad I got the chance to sit in the slack room and talk about some of the stuff with them.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Tell me about how it all started. What's the origin story? What's the itch you and your two co-founders we're trying to scratch?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Yeah, so it probably goes back a few years now. So, in the last few years more and more of my work has been less about working on responsive redesigns, and more in helping teams and organizations do that work more effectively, internally. So basically, helping the folks that are doing the work, execute on that work a little bit better than they could before or helping them work through some organizational bottlenecks.</p> <p>But in super recent years, I'd say the last three or four years, as design systems have really come into prominence, that's been more and more of a focus in my work. I remember talking with Karen and Jeff in a Slack at the time, about some of the challenges that I was seeing on teams that were dealing with design systems and how it wasn't necessarily improving the way that they were working.</p> <p>It was making it in many ways a lot harder to collaborate with different parts of their team or different parts of their organization. It was kind of fractally increasing the complexity of some of the products that they were working on, just in terms of the technical infrastructure they needed to work with some of these systems. And how the ways in which some of these systems were structured was actually making it harder for some of these people to see the impact of the changes they were proposing in their products.</p> <p>So, trying to make a change to one specific component, without being able to see how that's going to ripple out through other brands that reference that component or other products that use variations on that component.</p> <p>And so, none of these are technical problems only. They really have to do a lot with how these teams are structured, how the organizations are structured, and how the design system itself might be amplifying some of those pain points or reinforcing them. And so, I was talking about this with Karen McGrane and Jeff Eaton who have been working in the content strategy space for so long and helping people think about the messages they’re trying to communicate. How to structure content effectively and to work with that content effectively. And basically, a lot of the problems that I was describing weren't new, and their problems that they've been dealing with at scale for quite some time.</p> <p>But because design systems are relatively new, it's kind of like a new silo, or a new manifestation, I guess, with some of these old, old issues. And so, because we were seeing so much overlap in the work that we were doing, we figured it might make sense to, <em>Hey, suggest that these are actually very united problems that design systems and content management systems actually need to be thought about as a holistic set of issues, </em>and talked about together.</p> <p>So that's kind of where Autogram started, is thinking about the ways in which people are approaching the publishing workflows, approaching their content management or design systems and trying to help them articulate ways in which they can help them do that work better.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Do you describe yourself as a design agency or a content strategy agency? Or consultancy?</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I would say a consultancy. Absolutely. Coming into a company and being hired to either advise them on a project, they might have something that's underway already, and they're looking for somebody who has perspective around content management or design systems, help them identify challenges they might face a little bit further down the road, give them some suggestions on things they might want to revisit. And think about some of the longer term impacts of some of the things they're thinking through.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Could I hire you as a company who might have landed a new client that we’re embarking on a new redesign with? Or would you want to be part of the original pitch to that project? I'm trying to understand where in the process Autogram fits in.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Well, we are less than a year into Autogram’s history, so we are in many ways, I think, figuring that out. I would say that we've been working with clients at different stages of the life cycle. We are working with companies that are trying to figure out how to select a content management system that's going to actually meet their needs. And so, working with them to build a map of their organization, and think about the ways in which they work currently, and figure out a set of requirements that they need to start thinking about, that they can then bring to a vendor to, to think about that.</p> <p>It could be a company that's got an existing design system, and they've identified some ways in which it's impeding their ability to shift changes, or to work across design and engineering, and coming in and recommending some ways to help them streamline those issues. I enjoy making a website as much as the next person. That's one of my favorite things to do. I would say that we've been doing less hands-on design work in the last year, but if the right client came along, I'm sure we’d definitely talk to them.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I might have to call you Ethan.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I will talk about design systems any day, and I will listen to Jeff and Karen talk about content strategy and content architecture, any old day of the week. So, we'd love to have that call.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Okay, awesome. I want to nerd out for a little bit and talk about the name you chose, Autogram. I'm going to read what an autogram is and then you can tell me how it applies. So, the definition of an audiogram is <em>a sentence that describes itself in the sense of providing an inventory of its own characters.</em></p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Right.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, how do you create a sentence that does that is what I want to know? [laughing] Because it's like recursive and you can't do it ahead of time. It's blowing my mind. Tell me about it.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>It’s perfect. Jeff Eaton is one of the smartest people I've ever met, and so is Karen McGrane. So, Jeff is the one who uncovered this idea of an autogram, and if your listeners look up what an audiogram is, you'll find a bunch of examples where it's basically a sentence that is describing its inventory, like you said. So, something like this sentence contains only three A's, three C's, two Ds, 25 E's, and so on, and so forth until it gets to the end. And by the time you get to the end of that sentence, you realize everything you've read perfectly encapsulates what you just read.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>[laughing] I love it.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Impossible to write right? And this is the thing that I think our clients who are in the middle of some of these big tangly systems related challenges, is they approach a lot of these problems as like, Well, I will create a design system to provide more consistency across my products, and that's going to help us do this product work more effectively. But when you're actually in the middle of creating that design system, or defining some sort of content architecture, it's hard for you to see the end. It's hard for you to actually see the full scope of what it is that you're creating. So, I think it's our goal, at least without Autogram, to provide that broader perspective and hopefully come up with a sentence that by the end of the project, at least better describes what's inside it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>What a great name for a company. Well done.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Thank you. I can take no credit. That's all Eaton. That’s one of my favorite things.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> It's awesome. As we wrap up, I wanted to ask you what are you reading right now? What are you looking forward to coming up? There's still some bits of the summer left. Would love to hear what your headspace is in right now.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>I've got a few books going. I've gotten into audiobooks in the last few years for when I'm out outside exercising and that's been nice. Right now, I'm listening to the <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43263680-ninth-house">Ninth House</a> by Leigh Bardugo. I'm about halfway through, I'm not sure what I think about it yet, but it's sort of like a grimy version of Harry Potter. It takes place at Yale. There's all sorts of occult things. It's interesting so far.</p> <p>And then I'm reading a book by Jane McAlevey, who's a labor and union scholar, and it's a fantastic book called <a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/products/a-collective-bargain-jane-mcalevey">A Collective Bargain</a>, sort of arguing how unions are kind of at the core of a healthy democracy. It's very well written, it's very short. That's probably the best thing I've read recently. And otherwise, I'm kind of waiting for the next entry in this trilogy called <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/series/229503-the-locked-tomb">The Locked Tomb</a>. Two of my favorite books are Getting the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth that I've kind of devoured and reread over the last few years. There's another one coming out early next year. I hope it's early next year, that I'm just really excited about called Alecto the Ninth. So I can't wait for that one.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Wonderful. Well, it's been glorious speaking with you. I feel like I could talk to you for the rest of the day.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Likewise.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>But we do have to end the episodes. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. It's just been awesome chatting with you.</p> <p><strong>ETHAN: </strong>Likewise, Ivan. This has been a real joy. Thanks for having me on the show.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>You bet. Ethan Marcotte is an independent web designer, writer and speaker and coined the term responsive web design. You can find him online at <a href="www.ethanmarcotte.com">www.ethanmarcotte.com</a> on Twitter as <a href="https://twitter.com/beep">@beep</a>. And do visit Autogram at <a href="https://autogram.is/">autogram.is</a>.</p> <p>You've been listening to the TEN7 podcast. Find us online at <a href="https://ten7.com/podcast">ten7.com/podcast</a>. And if you have a second do send us a message, we love hearing from you. Our email address is <a href="mailto:podcast@ten7.com">podcast@ten7.com</a>. Until next time, this is <a href="https://ivanstegic.com/">Ivan Stegic</a>. Thanks for listening.</p> <h2>Credits</h2> <p>This is Episode 123 of The TEN7 Podcast. It was recorded on July 14, 2021 and first published on July 21, 2021. Podcast length is 48 minutes. Transcription by <a href="http://www.rcdataentry.com/">Roxanne Chumacas</a>. Summary, highlights and editing by <a href="http://www.truevoicecommunications.com/">Brian Lucas</a>. Music by <a href="https://soundcloud.com/lexfunk">Lexfunk</a>. Produced by <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanifreed">Jonathan Freed</a>.</p> <p>Please rate our podcast! Doing so helps spread the word about the show. Just pull it up in the <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ten7-podcast/id1347158838">Podcasts app</a> and scroll all the way down, hit the stars and you're done! Thank you.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 07/20/2021 - 15:02</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-audiocast field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <h2><div class="audiofield"> <div class="audiofield-player"> <audio id="audiofield-audio-player-file-1305-sdrrpn4nlbyeilm4" preload="none" controls controlsList="nodownload" > <source src="https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/assets.ten7.com/ten7.com/files/2021-07/TEN7-Podcast-Ep-123-Ethan-Marcotte.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"> Your browser does not support the audio element. </audio> <label for="audiofield-audio-player-file-1305-sdrrpn4nlbyeilm4">TEN7-Podcast-Ep-123-Ethan-Marcotte.mp3</label> </div> </div> </h2> </div> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/gareth-van-onselen-vaccination-rates-and-political-chaos-comparing-experiences"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Gareth van Onselen: Vaccination Rates and Political Chaos - Comparing Experiences in South Africa and the United States</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; July 8, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/gareth-van-onselen-vaccination-rates-and-political-chaos-comparing-experiences" aria-label="Listen to Gareth van Onselen: Vaccination Rates and Political Chaos - Comparing Experiences in South Africa and the United States now." title="Listen to Gareth van Onselen: Vaccination Rates and Political Chaos - Comparing Experiences in South Africa and the United States now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/eric-meyer-changing-way-world-meets-web"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; June 23, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/eric-meyer-changing-way-world-meets-web" aria-label="Listen to Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web now." title="Listen to Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-07/CMS-TEN7-SlateGrey-WhiteBorder.png" width="1709" height="630" alt="TEN7 logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-podcast-number field--type-integer field--label-hidden field__item">123</div> Tue, 20 Jul 2021 20:02:02 +0000 jonathan 399 at https://ten7.com The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, Part 2: Metrics and Resource Tuning https://ten7.com/blog/post/next-generation-infrastructure-ten7-part-2-metrics-and-resource-tuning <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, Part 2: Metrics and Resource Tuning</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/next-generation-infrastructure-ten7-or-tng-infra-v5">In our last post</a>, we introduced the elements of our next generation infrastructure. Given the requirement of a local filesystem for Wordpress, we implemented <a href="https://rook.io/">Rook.io</a>, a Kubernetes (k8s) native file cluster based around Ceph.</p> <p>Rook has a number of advantages over using S3 storage. It supports Drupal and Wordpress sites transparently, and it reduces response time by avoiding network requests to an S3 provider. The internal architecture of <a href="https://docs.ceph.com/en/latest/">Ceph</a> -- around which Rook is built -- is flexible, scalable, and open source.</p> <p>Yet, none of that comes free.</p> <h2>Holy Memory Allocation, Batman!</h2> <p>Ceph works a bit like S3 under the covers. Instead of files and directories, it only has a concept of paths and objects. In order to store or retrieve a while, Ceph must calculate where in the cluster the object is located, and then write or read the contents. For websites, most operations are reads, and not writes. To improve performance, Ceph will cache file metadata and content in active memory. This greatly reduces the total time to retrieve precious static assets like images, videos and aggregated CSS/JS.</p> <p>When you install Rook using the Helm Chart, the default for this caching is a significant portion of the entire server (“node” as k8s calls it). In my implementation, that ended up being 4GB. To reduce intracluster network activity, it’s recommended to have a Rook storage controller, an “OSD”, present on the same node on which you run your workload. This creates an issue where Rook might allocate too much memory, push out production pods for your websites, or Out-of-Memory (OOM) the entire node.</p> <p>Kubernetes provides a <a href="https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/manage-resources-containers/">mechanism to control resource allocation</a> for pods like the OSDs. You can add a resource section to your pod definition and specify a minimum and maximum amount of resources:</p> <pre> <span class="inline-code">resources: limits: memory: 4000Mi cpu: 1000m requests: memory: 1400Mi cpu: 250m </span> </pre> <p>The above example specifies a minimum of 1400M of memory, and a maximum of 4000M. The CPU spec, however, is a little...odd. <a href="https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/configuration/manage-resources-containers/#meaning-of-cpu">K8s prefers to specify CPU in thousands of a percent of total allocation</a>, often called millicpu or “millicores”. The above requests a minimum of 25% of a single core (250 milicores) with a limit of 1 entire core (1000 milicores).</p> <p>While we could set this when setting up Rook, this creates a new problem.</p> <h2>No One Likes Evictions</h2> <p>When a pod exceeds the amount of CPU in it’s resource definition, k8s merely throttles what it can do. That can cause transient performance issues during a spike, but nothing more. When a pod exceeds memory allocation, however, k8s will kill the pod forcefully, shut it down and start up a new one. The dead pod is kept around in the <em>evicted</em> state, giving this mechanism its name: <a href="https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/scheduling-eviction/">pod eviction</a>.</p> <p>If a pod powering a website gets evicted, that may result in a few requests getting dropped before the other replicas take over. When it happens to an OSD however, the entire storage cluster has a problem, and now so do all of your sites which rely on it. For this reason, it’s best to only set a high limit on your OSD pods. High enough that under normal operating conditions, you’d never approach it. You only want an eviction to occur in the case of a malfunctioning OSD.</p> <p>Fortunately, Ceph has another mechanism to control memory allocation.</p> <h2>Stay On Target…</h2> <p>When you login to the Ceph control panel, you can navigate to <strong>Clusters &gt; Configuration</strong>. In the table of configurable options, you can search for “memory”. There, you can find two of the most important settings for tuning memory use.</p> <p><img alt="bars" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2858938a-a957-49c4-8c6f-ff2b36ecd61e" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202021-07-09%20at%2011-36-14%20Ceph.png" width="1800" height="880" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>The most important one is <strong>osd_memory_target</strong>. This specifies -- if you haven’t guessed -- the ideal amount of memory for the OSD to allocate. By default, it auto-detects the maximum amount of memory on the node. Thankfully, we can override this setting without rebooting the file cluster.</p> <p>In the above, I have the OSD configured to use around 1.5GB of memory. When applied, it <em>does</em> take effect immediately, but you will likely not see results for almost another hour. There’s a subtle balance in play here; less caching means more CPU and disk activity.</p> <p>A similar setting is the <strong>mon_memory_target</strong>. Ceph Monitors (“mons”) are a parallel architectural component to OSDs. While the OSD retains file contents, mons retain file <em>metadata</em>. By default, they allocate a quarter of the total memory allocation of the node. Fortunately, we can tune this as well to a smaller number and reap some more memory savings.</p> <h2>But How Do We Arrive at Those Numbers?</h2> <p>While the memory targets are easy to set, it does beg the question, how do we get at those numbers? Sure, we can start with a percentage of the total node memory and go from there. But is there a more scientific way to arrive at those values?</p> <p>One big problem with k8s is that you can’t easily get a pod’s resource allocation. You’d think you could use <span class="inline-code"><code>kubectl describe pod</code></span> for this information, but what you get back is the values set in the resources section of the pod spec. Useless. In desperation, you may kubectl exec into a pod, and use top or free to get the allocation, but that just gets even more confusing…</p> <pre> <span class="inline-code">$ kubectl --kubeconfig="path/to/my/kubeconfig.yaml" -n my-namespace exec -it some-pod-123456 -- free -m Defaulting container name to web. Use 'kubectl describe some-pod-123456 -n my-namespace' to see all of the containers in this pod. total used free shared buff/cache available Mem: 7978 4485 417 264 3075 3067 Swap: 0 0 0</span> </pre> <p>Wha…? The total memory available inside the pod is 8GB, the total available memory for this node. While that kinda makes sense, the used memory is over 4GB. Does that mean this individual pod is using 4GB? Nope! Due to the nature of how containers work, the output of tools like free is deceptive; it will show the total <em>node’s</em>.</p> <h2>Metrics To The Rescue</h2> <p>When researching this problem, the typical answers are to use <span class="inline-code"><code>kubectl top</code></span>, or install a monitoring solution like <a href="https://prometheus.io/">Prometheus</a> and <a href="https://grafana.com/grafana/">Grafana</a> to get pod-specific metrics. The latter is a significant effort, and clearly overkill when what we need is simple spot checking. If you run the former, however, kubectl will tell you there’s no metrics server installed. So, do we need to install Prometheus anyways?</p> <p>Thankfully no. The Kubernetes Special Interest Group (SIG) provides a <a href="https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/metrics-server">low-impact, open source metrics server</a>. It’s also surprisingly easy to install:</p> <pre> <span class="inline-code">kubectl --kubeconfig="path/to/my/kubeconfig.yaml" apply -f https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/metrics-server/releases/latest/download/components.yaml </span></pre> <p>Once installed, the metrics server will start up as a pod, and begin to gather usage information from the cluster. This can take a few minutes depending on load. Afterwards, you can use kubectl top to get basic usage information:</p> <pre> <span class="inline-code">$ kubectl --kubeconfig="path/to/my/kubeconfig.yaml" -n my-namespace top pods NAME CPU(cores) MEMORY(bytes) memcache-0 1m 63Mi memcache-1 1m 58Mi memcache-2 1m 61Mi web-1234567890-abcd 5m 278Mi web-1234567890-bcde 5m 258Mi web-1234567890-cdef 4m 270Mi </span> </pre> <p>With this, we can finally see the allocation of our pods, including our Rook-Ceph pods. Ideally, we would monitor the usage continuously, under both low and high loads, to get a sense of our tuning values for osd_memory_target and mon_memory_target. Running kubectl top can help, but an alternative like the <a href="https://k9scli.io/">k9s CLI</a> can provide a better user experience. Neither, of course, replaces a proper monitoring solution like Prometheus and Grafana, but it’s good enough for our needs here.</p> <h2>Wait, What About All Those Other Pods?</h2> <p>So far, our focus has been on tuning Rook-Ceph to keep our file cluster happy and healthy. Now that we have more information, however, what about all those other pods on our cluster?</p> <p>When implementing Kubernetes, many will either set the pod resources too high so as to avoid eviction, or not set them at all. This has some serious implications for how Kubernetes will provision pods. Without a resource spec, k8s will “round-robin” pod scheduling. That is, the first replica of any deployment or statefulset will land on the first node in the cluster. The second replica on the second node, the third the third, and so on.</p> <p>This is a sensible default, but consider if you have multiple deployments, some with a replica count of 3, some with 2, and 1 for others. The result is the first node in your cluster is constantly under the most load, while the other nodes are underutilized:</p> <p><img alt="bars 1" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="bf34fcd6-2969-4d0c-ab10-46d45d4b7ab3" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/bars1-2.png" width="1800" height="936" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>In the graphic, app A has three replicas, B has two, and C has one. Since we’re using round-robin scheduling, A is now on each node, B on nodes 1 and 2, and C only on node 1. As a result, node 2 and particularly 3 are not being used as fully as they could be.</p> <p>Setting the resources spec changes the behavior k8s. Now, it will attempt to fill up one node at a time:</p> <p><img alt="bars 2" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c6bfb8e8-d6d2-435d-b260-c8aa279f9b20" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/bars2-2.png" width="1800" height="942" loading="lazy" /></p> <p>Now All of app A is on node 1, B is split between nodes 1 and 2, C is only on 2, and node 3 is completely empty. We’ve actually made the problem worse!</p> <p>Is there any way out of this? Thankfully, yes.</p> <h2>Anti-affinities To The Rescue!</h2> <p>A key problem is that we have multiple replicas of the same application all on the same node. We’d rather avoid that, so that each node has a more balanced load. One way to achieve that is to use a Pod AntiAffinity.</p> <p><a href="https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/scheduling-eviction/assign-pod-node/">Affinities</a> are a replacement for Node Selectors. They allow you to specify a series of rules to control how and where to schedule a pod. A common use is to have several nodes in your cluster labeled by capability, and then schedule pods which require that capability only on those nodes:</p> <pre> <span class="inline-code">affinity: nodeAffinity: requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution: nodeSelectorTerms: - matchExpressions: - key: doks.digitalocean.com/node-pool operator: In values: - web-pool </span> </pre> <p>The above instructs k8s to schedule the pod only on nodes with the label <span class="inline-code"><code>doks.digitalocean.com/node-pool</code></span> and value <span class="inline-code"><code>web-pool</code></span>. That is, the node pool name on DigitalOcean Kubernetes.</p> <p>What we really want to do, however, is prevent two replicas from the same application to schedule on the same node. In this case, our application is labeled web. So how do we prevent it from scheduling more than one per node? We use an anti-affinity, combined with both the application label and the node hostname:</p> <pre> <span class="inline-code">affinity: podAntiAffinity: requiredDuringSchedulingIgnoredDuringExecution: - labelSelector: matchExpressions: - key: app operator: In values: - web TopologyKey: kubernetes.io/hostname</span> </pre> <p>This tells k8s not to schedule our replicas on the same node. This is not only useful for our production website nodes, but we can also apply it to our Rook OSDs and mons.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>It’s easy to add new technology to a cluster. But without some guidelines on how resource allocation is done, you’re prone to leaving your cluster open for over provisioning and outages. To make more informed choices on resource constraints, we need better data. Using a metrics server and existing command line utilities like kubectl top or k9s allows us to get that data.</p> <p>Once we know the approximate resource usage of each pod, we can bound its allocation by including a resources section in our pod spec. Furthermore, we can control how, where, and with whom our pods are provisioned so as to better balance the utilization of each node. And with better balance, comes better, consistent performance cluster-wide.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 07/15/2021 - 12:00</span> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/devops" hreflang="en">DevOps</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/operations" hreflang="en">Operations</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Tess Flynn</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">DevOps Engineer</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/tess.jpg?itok=g6-9T9H2" width="100" height="100" alt="Tess Flynn" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Tess is TEN7’s Swiss Army knife. She’s an ever-present force in Drupal and a frequent speaker at events, where she's known for comic book-style illustrations in her presentations. Her superpower is problem-solving—she’s always finding ways to improve a site’s infrastructure and efficiency, and she has the rare ability to look holistically at a situation through human requirements, not just those of technology and business. She also loves sleuthing out the source of hacks, especially the ugly and ingenious ones. Tess has encyclopedic knowledge of horror/sci-fi ranging from schlocky and campy to highbrow. She loves Star Trek, where the engineers use their skills to help people.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/tess-flynn">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/socketwench" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/socketwench" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/socketwench" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/tess.jpg?itok=g6-9T9H2" width="100" height="100" alt="Tess Flynn" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/development" hreflang="en">Development</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/next-generation-infrastructure-ten7-or-tng-infra-v5"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, or “TNG Infra V5”</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Tess Flynn &mdash; May 25, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/next-generation-infrastructure-ten7-or-tng-infra-v5" aria-label="Read The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, or “TNG Infra V5” now." title="Read The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, or “TNG Infra V5” now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/development" hreflang="en">Development</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/drupal" hreflang="en">Drupal</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/devops" hreflang="en">DevOps</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/our-drupal-site-live-kubernetes-and-why-thats-awesome-you"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Our Drupal Site is LIVE on Kubernetes (and Why That’s Awesome for You)</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; June 20, 2019</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/our-drupal-site-live-kubernetes-and-why-thats-awesome-you" aria-label="Read Our Drupal Site is LIVE on Kubernetes (and Why That’s Awesome for You) now." title="Read Our Drupal Site is LIVE on Kubernetes (and Why That’s Awesome for You) now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-07/T7-Slate-Grey-1200-social-media.png" width="1200" height="1200" alt="TEN7 logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> Thu, 15 Jul 2021 17:00:00 +0000 jonathan 398 at https://ten7.com Gareth van Onselen: Vaccination Rates and Political Chaos - Comparing Experiences in South Africa and the United States https://ten7.com/podcast/episode/gareth-van-onselen-vaccination-rates-and-political-chaos-comparing-experiences <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Gareth van Onselen: Vaccination Rates and Political Chaos - Comparing Experiences in South Africa and the United States</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Summary</h2> <p>While the U.S. moves toward normalcy, South Africa is struggling with low vaccine rates and a rise in the Delta variant, fanning the flames of an already contentious political landscape.</p> <h2>Guest</h2> <p>Gareth van Onselen, South African journalist, political analyst and author</p> <h2>Highlights</h2> <ul> <li>Failures in South Africa’s vaccination program have left the country facing further strict lockdowns as the Delta variant spreads.</li> <li>South Africa’s long history of government missteps around health has made parts of the population numb to how the pandemic response is costing lives.</li> <li>The political landscape in South Africa is in upheaval due to inadequate pandemic response and due to corruption charges against the former president, Jacob Zuma.</li> <li>Gareth sees parallels between Zuma and Donald Trump in the way they rose to power and in the chaos they left after departing office.</li> </ul> <h2>Links</h2> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/columnists/2021-06-23-gareth-van-onselen-how-many-people-has-the-anc-killed/">Gareth’s column about the ANC attitude toward death</a></li> <li>Follow Gareth on <a href="https://twitter.com/GvanOnselen?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Twitter</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.gov.za/">National Coronavirus Command Council</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57650517">South African Ex-President Zuma Sentenced</a></li> </ul> <h2>Transcript</h2> <p><strong>IVAN STEGIC</strong>: Hey Everyone! You’re listening to the TEN7 Podcast, where we get together every fortnight, and sometimes more often, to talk about technology, business, and the humans in it. I’m your host Ivan Stegic. My returning guest today is Gareth von Onselen, South African Journalist, political analyst and author, but also an old friend from high school in nineties post-Apartheid Johannesburg.</p> <p>Welcome back to the podcast Gareth. It’s nice to be speaking with you today.</p> <p><strong>GARETH VON ONSELEN</strong>: Yeah, it’s good to hear your voice again. I’m glad to be here.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: It’s lovely to have you on. Where are you joining us from today?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Today I'm in Johannesburg. We actually moved to a new house in Melville, which is kind of sort of old hippie like suburb but very nice. It’s a cold, but nice day in Joburg,</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: My gosh, I haven't heard Melville in a long time. That was certainly a hippie place in the nineties.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yes, it still is.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Is it really? Oh, that's wonderful to hear. Are you in a little house somewhere close to all the live bar action and the food and everything?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yeah, there are two main strips in Melville that are sort of populated by a lot of restaurants and bars and that kind of thing. And we are sort of in between them. So quite well situated, but not close enough to be loud or worrisome. pretty much perfect.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: I love it. And so, Johannesburg is in Gauteng, which is the main province in South Africa. It has 60% I think of the population in South Africa. And you guys are seeing sort of a dire status with the COVID pandemic right now. Everything that I've read says that you are on track to have your third wave of the virus comparable to the first wave approaching the second wave in sort of numbers. And the Delta variant is going nuts.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yes. So South Africa has been curious in the way in which it's, it's experienced COVID-19 in terms of where it's taken off, and where it hasn't taken off. We've got nine provinces in South Africa. And as you say, Gauteng is the most populous, the most densely populated. And the first two waves actually took off elsewhere first. They did eventually get to Gauteng, and it was a problem. But it wasn't the epicenter for wave one and two. But this time around, it is some distance ahead of the other provinces and is really spiking, I mean, the graphs almost going vertical on the new cases every day.</p> <p>And the scientists tell us that it's the Delta variant that's causing all the damage. So, we've been put into adjusted level four, which is the sort of, we've got five levels, so South Africa five being a kind of total lockdown, and four is pretty close to that, and pretty serious. And, yeah, it's going to be like this for two weeks, and then we'll see where we stand.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And what are the parameters of Delta level four? What can you do? What’s closed? What’s open?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, keeping track of, of everything that the government bans and unbans, there’ll be several, several volumes of work and trying to document it all. But this time around, what's banned is alcohol for alcohol sales for two weeks. All restaurants and bars have been closed. The curfews been moved to 9 PM. Restaurants can serve takeaways, but that's as good as it gets. Retail stores are still open. I think all gatherings have been banned, except for funerals where you can have 50 people or more. And just generally everyone's advised to stay at home and not go out.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And it's winter down in South Africa as well. Right?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yeah, it is winter. And for the first time there seems to be some symmetry between the cold weather and the spike. Because our first wave was experienced over winter, it broke just before winter last year, and the speculation was that because it was just in the months leading into winter, by the time the cold got here, it was going to really go through the roof, and that never happened. But this time, yeah, it seems to be well timed with winter as a season and that's obviously not good. A lot of people huddled up close together, small areas, because South Africa is deeply impoverished, and then a lot of people simply don’t have the kind of space that’s necessary to avoid this kind of thing. You’re cramped into small tight areas and it’s just a recipe for stuff to spread.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: What about schools? Are schools and universities in session?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: So, schools, they've effectively shut them down. But they've done that by bringing forward the winter holidays. So technically, they're not going to lose too many days, so long as those peaks before holiday period runs out. But effectively, yes, schools are closed.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Did South Africa go through sort of the hybrid and online learning phenomenon that we had here in the United States? I have no idea what happened there.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: No, I mean, big time. Almost every institution, I think, as is the case the world overs has sort of been forced to adopt some kind of online presence and online hybrid way of manufacturing or maintaining a kind of corporate culture with 100 individuals in their private homes or wherever it is that they meet. I mean, people were starting to go back to work before the third wave. There was a lot of hesitancy, there were people returning to head offices and that kind of thing, and certainly restaurants and bars. But I mean, this has put an end to all that. But everyone's pretty well versed in how things work in the lockdown now. We were effectively under lockdown for six months or so the first time around. So yeah, lots been learned, and people sort of know what to do now.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And how is the infrastructure in South Africa handling that?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, [laughing] here's where things are very complicated. So, we've got a series of fundamental infrastructure problems. The biggest by far is our electricity supply, which is, it's a long story as to how we got to the stage. But effectively, there was poor long term planning, and so we've reached a stage where demand far outstrips supply. And because of the pressure on the infrastructure system, proper maintenance has not been done, because stuffs being forced to run longer than it should. And things are breaking down on a routine basis.</p> <p>And in order to come to this and while they're trying to upsize the distribution supply of electricity, they've introduced something called load shedding, where they effectively shut off the supply of electricity to certain parts of the country on a kind of audit timetable basis in order to manage supply. And we go in and out to these periods of load shedding. It’s been like this for almost 10 years, now. It comes and goes and it's worse in winter when there's real demand on the electricity infrastructure. But yeah, we've had a period of load shedding two or three weeks ago, that was pretty serious. And it's hugely disruptive, especially when you're reliant on a kind of online presence to keep your businesses going.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And has the internet access been problematic as well as a result of not having electricity or has bandwidth improved, even despite the load shedding?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yeah, bandwidth has improved, but it's a very slow and painful process. We don't get speeds anything like Europe or America here. We do have 5G in some areas. In fact, I've got 5G at home here. But we don't have the kind of hard infrastructure to capitalize on 5G, so you never really get the speeds that you need. And they’re rolling it out so slowly that the small network of 5G that is available is under intense bandwidth pressure, because the number of people using it is so high and you don't get value for money, but it is getting better slowly.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Now, you've been under lockdown in the past for extended periods of time. And I've read about the vaccine distribution in South Africa. We're lucky here in the United States that the Biden administration was able to implement the deployment of vaccines as successfully as it was able to thus far and now, we're dealing with conspiracy theories and hoaxes and vaccine hesitancy. So those are sort of the problems we're dealing with. From the data I've looked at it doesn't look like there has been a great deal of vaccination in South Africa. Primarily it looked like you had the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and I believe the Pfizer vaccine is now starting to pick up as well. But it feels like you're a little bit behind the curve then you should be. What do you think the fundamental reasons are for that?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, that's very politely put. People at home here have far harsher descriptions for the government's vaccination program. Look, from my perspective, I think it really is dire. I think they've really messed us up on a serious level. The problems are many and various. On the one hand they were very slow of the mark to order supplies and make sure that they have sufficient stock to be able to run a vaccination program. On the other hand, our public health care system, much like the rest of the Civil Services, is very mediocre when it comes to delivery, both in terms of capacity and in terms of the kind of spirit that underpins the public service. It's just not that outcomes orientated.</p> <p>The result has been we vaccinated I think it's around 2 million people now. We've got up to about 100,000 vaccinations a day on a good day. But I mean, it's taken two months to get up to that. And if we carry on this way, it's going to take sort of five years to vaccinate everyone. And it's a real problem. I mean, underpinned by things like public health care workers won't work on the weekend because they're not being paid overtime, which is insane given the extent of the crisis. And there is money for it. It's not like we're bankrupt or anything, it's just huge inefficiencies and a lack of forward planning. And the result is people are really the hellion. Because everyone, as you can imagine, as this thing is spiking, is relying more and more on a vaccination to feel safe.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Have you been vaccinated? Have you been lucky enough to have that done?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: [laughing] Well, let me put it this way. My brother who's in LA has been vaccinated. That was about almost two months ago now. My sister who is in Brighton in the UK has been vaccinated, both vaccinations, my brother got a single jab, my sister got both. My father falls into the over 60 category, and so he’s one of the first to get vaccinated, has had one of two shots, he’ll get his second one on the eighth of July. They've only just announced that they're going to consider opening the vaccination program to over fifties and above, halfway through July.</p> <p>I can't see me coming onto the radar for at least another two or three months. And in between, there are a whole lot of kind of ad hoc emergencies, so they suddenly decided all teachers needed to be vaccinated. So they were pushed to the front of the queue, only to shut down all the schools which made that a bit redundant in the face of al. the other demands on vaccinations. So, I think it's going to be a while before I see one.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And is there the demand for vaccinations right now? Or are people hesitant to get it?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: I don't know what the scientific answer to that question is. South Africa is a land that rife with conspiracies so you can be sure there is a section of the population that that harbors the same kind of thoughts. I'm sure the narratives are different to those that exist in the US and elsewhere. But you hear stories about a small number of healthcare workers who were the first in line, obviously, to get vaccinations and you hear a steady stream of stories of people who declined it for various different reasons.</p> <p>But I don't get the sense that it's a fundamental problem. There seems to be a reasonable demand for it. That said, the uptake is also slow amongst over sixties to date. There’s talk of vaccination sites being half empty at this stage, but it's hard to tell whether that's the bureaucracy that's causing a slowdown or poor uptake from people.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: If you could change anything in the current vaccine delivery system, what do you think would be an effective change to improve the rate at which you can vaccinate the South African population?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, I think that the easiest and most fundamental change is to get the stuff done over weekends. I mean, that's two days a week you’re losing. At this rate 200,000 possible vaccinations, even though that's a low number a week, I would find the money for that in double quick time and then make sure that there's a seven day workweek for healthcare workers. That would make a quick and immediate difference. The other problems are kind of not really solved with a sort of instantaneous solution.</p> <p>You can drive people harder and push for better and more outcomes. But the fundamental problem is the supply of vaccines. And, because we've been slow in ordering and booking them, they're slow to arrive, and you needed to fix that problem six months ago, or at least three or four months ago, not now. And it's hard to overcome.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: It feels like there's an emergency going on. And some people are simply complacent about the fact that that's happening, and that that's working against you.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, I wrote a column the other day, about our government's attitude towards death. South Africa has had a tough time of it of the last 20 or 30 years, and there’ve been some very serious problems that have cost a lot of lives, most notoriously was the government sort of dilly dallying over whether HIV caused AIDS about 10 years ago, and that cost a lot of lives. The hesitancy to provide antiretroviral drugs, because of some big pharma conspiracy. And there's a kind of fatalism that accompanies this is such a horrific history and there's so much death in the present that people are kind of blasé on the level about death.</p> <p>And so, there's not really the kind of outrage I would expect to the vaccination program, because I think there's not a direct link, but there will be people who are dying in South Africa because they didn't get a vaccine in time, and they could have. I don't know how many there are, it's probably not the bulk of the population. But there are people out there and it just doesn't seem to generate the kind of outrage you might find in other democracies.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: This was the column you wrote about how many deaths is the ANC responsible for? Wat that the one?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yes. And that's an exercise that a lot of people in a lot of different countries try to do. It's not scientific in the sense that you can definitively prove X number of people. But you would have thought given the kind of problems we've had, HIV AIDS problems, there’ve been a number of more localized disasters and tragedies and massacres, which can be directly put at the government's doorstep that some kind of calculation as to how many lives have been lost under this administration, and no one has really tried to do that. And I would really like a serious academic to put their mind to it, because I think it's a significant number and it’s worth knowing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: I agree. And the president of South Africa, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_Ramaphosa">Cyril Ramaphosa</a>, had a family meeting on Sunday, I saw. [laughing] And I thought that was a really interesting choice of words, for a President of a democratic nation to choose for, essentially a public address to the citizens of a country announcing a lockdown. And that sort of ideology is almost the antithesis of democracy, isn’t it?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, I'm not sure I’d use the word ideology, I think it's more a consequence of culture than ideology. It's no less problematic than how you describe it. I agree that it's a problem for democracy, I'd be quite interested to know where the phrase first appeared and who initiated it. It's one of those things that just kind of happened in South Africa, and it's now been used for a good year or so informally. But it started to be used formally by newspapers and so forth, which is a real problem.</p> <p>The problem being that this idea that citizens are effectively part of a family, and the President is by implication, the father of the family, whereas you serve all citizens equally, whether they voted for you or not, and certainly a large chunk of people don't regard you as their father figure. And in a society that is patriarchal as ours, it's really problematic the idea of the father figure because it comes with a whole lot of behavior that's often the antithesis of democratic free choice, certainly in private families around South Africa. On the one case, it's very marginal and you feel a bit foolish making too much out of it, but it does speak to a kind of patriarchal attitude on the part of government, which I think is problematic and sends the wrong message.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And not just patriarchal, but misogynistic as well. I mean, there's a whole lot of other problems that come with this use of the language the way that he's been using it.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yeah, sure. I mean, I don't know if that's such a big problem with the ANC. I think if we had a woman as President, they'd be quite happy to call her the mother of the nations. It wouldn't stand the same kind of impulse. I think they'd be quite equal in their fronts. But it's the underlying implications that are the problem, I think.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And there's this national Coronavirus command council as well that's been set up to sort of deal with the pandemic. And I read one of the threads that you had on online and you made a very good point about how these are two different ideas that kind of go together: a Command Council in an emergency. You sort of have to pick between one or the other. Could you explain that so I can completely understand it?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Sure. It’s another interesting sort of language quirk that's kind of particular to South Africa in many ways, but also revealing and tells you something about the way in which power is structured in South Africa. One of the things that I think is a byproduct of any government that sees itself as primary in the way that post liberation movements tend to do but is also suffering the consequences of massive inadequacies over a long period of time and feeling quite insecure, is that they tend to bolster their language with these kind of extreme, militaristic terms.</p> <p>The ANC is passed master at this kind of thing. If there's any problem in South Africa, the first thing that's established is a warrior moment. We must have a warrior moment on every single problem under the sun. We then have this Command Council, which is sort of a militaristic idea in charge of the Coronavirus response.</p> <p>But the problem is these terms which imply very powerful formal control, and if you're in a war situation, or you want to extend that metaphor, to the military and to military action, it's the kind of place where you forward plan, strategically think out maneuver your enemy, get all your tactics in place to win the war. But in our case, they're constantly undermined by reality, so you have emergency command council meetings, which sort of implies you're on the back foot and responsive and not really in control of the battle at all. And [laughing] you have these kind of language contradictions that flow through a lot of government jargon. On the one hand, it's very funny. On the other hand, it's very revealing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Does the Democratic Alliance fall into the same sort of jargon and the same sort of traps as the ruling ANC does? Or is the rhetoric from the opposition different?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: I think their rhetoric is quite bland, to be honest. I don't think it has a distinctive lexicon that you could describe in a certain kind of way. It's different from the ANC in that they avoid a lot that kind of militaristic, revolutionary talk and innuendo. They are more grounded in a kind of modern traditional democratic lexicon. But they're very politically correct and sensitive. And so, they do come across sometimes as quite jargonistic. But for the most part it's pretty much what you'd get anywhere in the world, I think.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Do you think there's a chance that the opposition might take a bigger foothold in politics as a result of the pandemic crisis? Is it going to affect politics in South Africa at all?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: There’s so many variables at play in response to that question that at the end, and there is no reliable polling or data at the moment on this question, so it's very difficult to say. Let me set out some of the variables at play. So on the one hand we have the possibility which was relatively distinct about three or four weeks ago, but is now far more realistic that the elections are postponed unless this current spike is brought under control. The IC is now saying it's not closed off to that possibility, it’s kind of in a wait and see mode, but that option wasn't really on the table about three or four weeks ago. If that happens, that'll be a unique development, we've never had that before, and quite how it plays out in terms of both enthusiasm or apathy is difficult to say.</p> <p>Outside of that, voter apathy is very low for local government elections in South Africa as it is as a kind of matter of course and the virus, I'm sure, will affect that. Who it affects more, whether it impacts on ANC voters which tend to be largely rural, or on opposition voters who tend to be largely urban, in disproportionate ways, I'm not sure and it's difficult to say but it's a very important variable that you'd need to look into, to get a proper sense for how things are going to play out? And then you have the national political scene in which the ANC is under siege on a wide variety of fronts.</p> <p>Foremost in everyone's mind is its response to the virus, which is not good, it has received bad press from cover to cover over the last three or four months. Going back even further, still, I think even six months or so. It is mired in a whole lot of corruption scandals, and its trajectory over time has been downward. That's the one factor. On the other hand, you have the opposition, which has been having problems of its own, not just the DA but other small opposition parties as well haven't been able traditionally to capitalize on the ANC decline in the way that you feel they should. I'm not saying that 51% is ever on the table, but you feel they should be doing a bit better than they are.</p> <p>It's a great unknown as to how all these things are going to come together. It could be quite possible that we have a kind of neutral result in the sense that it more or less mirrors what happens in 2019 where the ANC gets a kind of mid-fifties majority, the opposition win those places where they've really got a stronghold and sort of hold their own, but there's no big developments either way. On the other hand, you could see some big metros fall. Gauteng being one of the most prominent and I think it's definitely on the table for these elections if the opposition is able to capitalize on ANC’s failures.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: And when are the elections scheduled?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Oh, you're going to embarrass me now? I think it's about two months’ time, I think. I'm not sure I'd have to check. It's a while though. It's down the line a bit.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Okay, so it's further closer to the end of the year and if they have to get postponed, it could potentially move into the next year even?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Well, I actually don't know what it would involve to postpone the elections. It's never happened before. Constitutionally, we're required to have an election every five years. And there's a certain window in which you can have that I think it's sort of three months either side of the five year cycle. If there was a national emergency, like a pandemic or something, and you had to move it out, I don't actually know what the law says about that. What your options are, in terms of moving it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: It just brings up so many different constitutional and legal questions that we've never even had to consider in the past.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yeah. Look, that's the one thing about South Africa [laughing], we're kind of a frontier state and you’re always discovering something new and fundamental, which is quite exciting.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: It is. It's exciting and just keeps everybody on their toes. There was some interesting news that came out today about former president Zuma<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Zuma"> </a>being sentenced to 15 months in prison. I saw it described as a scathing judgment. He now has to turn himself over to the police. He has I think, five days to do that. Could you talk us through what happened? It feels like it's related to the corruption and all the allegations that were made against him in the past, but I also think it might be a technicality. I guess, I don't know what the details are.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Yeah, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Zuma">Jacob Zuma</a> who is our former president, his particular legal woes are very complex indeed, so let me set them out for you in broad terms. Essentially, he has, let's just refer to it as a sort of primary corruption case against him, which involves his relationship with a former businessperson that was accused of bribing him and a company involved in the arms deal from the early nineties, a big arms procurement program that also bribed him. He has managed to sort of evade that case for well, up until today, well over a decade.</p> <p>But it seems to finally be coming to head and he is going to be appearing in court soon on that particular issue and that case is going to push ahead after a really long battle to get to this stage. Outside of that, there is a Commission of Inquiry currently looking into the extent that corruption got out of control in Jacob Zuma’s administration sort of a period of around eight years that he was in charge. There was huge corruption. It's been epitomized by the phrase “state capture” where the feeling is that a number of very prominent private sector individuals basically got their hands into all sorts of different departments and procurement processes and upturned the way things should be done and bribed and corrupted a whole lot of people.</p> <p>As President, and this is where his current predicament comes into play. As president, he was required or requested to appear before that Commission to testify obviously, because a lot of the stuff that happened in the executive had implications for him whether he knew or didn't know, or sanctioned or was involved in, to any degree, he made a superficial appearance before the Commission, but then refused to reappear.</p> <p>And the Commission went to court and said, “We're actually summonsing you. You’re obliged to appear now.” He still refused and the Constitutional Court ruled that he has to appear before the Commission. He then refused to comply with the Constitutional Court itself and so today, after a long deliberation, it found him in contempt of court and sentenced him to 15 months in jail. Now, the thing that's ironic for a lot of South Africans about this is, the background is that primary corruption case, which has been going on forever and a day and people are under the impression that he will never be prosecuted for the stuff that he was involved in, in the arms deal, and he's used every legal trick in the book to obfuscate, to delay, to undermine, to change, to misdirect that inquiry, for as I say, over 10 years.</p> <p>This particular contempt of court case is entirely of his own. He cooked this up over a period of about 10 months, flagrantly abused the Constitutional Court in a whole lot of public statements saying it was biased and trying to manipulate him and manipulate South African politics and managed to, in a matter of no time at all get himself [laughing] 15 months in jail. So, on the one hand, you've got this great legal trickster who's manipulated an entire legal system. On the other hand, you've got what appears to be a total fool who in no time at all managed to get the Constitutional Court, which has never actually prosecuted anyone in South Africa. The Constitutional Court typically just tells you whether something is constitutional or not, it acts like the Supreme Court. But in this case, he actually managed to get prosecuted by the Constitutional Court, and it's just a triumph of idiocy on a grand scale, I think.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Do you think he’ll actually end up in jail for those 15 months? Do you think he'll turn himself in as requested and demanded by the courts?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Look, my personal feeling as a gut feeling is yes, but I suspect I'm a minority amongst a lot of people who, for one just can't believe it's actually come to pass that he has received a sentence and now has to go to prison. On the other hand, there is a kind of untested narrative that there is a huge groundswell of support for the former president, and in circumstances such as this, the threat of an uprising will cause the powers that be to quash this or pardon or get around this prison sentence someway. I don't think that's going to happen. I think his time has come and gone and people are over him. And I think there'll be a kind of flash in the pan and some acolytes will be upset, but I don't think it's enough to stop him going to jail. And I think he will end up in prison.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: For at least the 15 months. And then, does he still get himself out of the 10 year long thing he's been able to avoid?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: No, that will go ahead, and he'll be required to appear in court on those charges as well, presumably from prison, he'll be released to appear in court. No, that'll absolutely go ahead as well. And that does not look good for him either. There’s a lot of evidence, very powerful, compelling evidence. For one, being that the other party in the bribery scandal has already been found guilty of corruption and of bribing the president. So, kind of half the case has been proven already. So, things aren't looking good for the former president.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Yeah. I'm reminded of what Martin Luther King said, which is <em>That the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice</em>. And it feels like that's something that's sort of coming to fruition now with former President Zuma. And the parallels and the striking resemblance of the United States and what we've had going on here with the former president is mind blowing. There are all these accusations with Trump as well. And you wonder if you guys are just in South Africa a little bit in the future compared to where we are right now when it comes to our former dictator, I mean, president?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: [laughing] Yeah, we spoke about this before. I think they're fascinating parallels between Jacob Zuma and Donald Trump on a wide variety of fronts. They're hard parallels, you can draw in the kind of warning signs that were there before they were elected, and the extent to which they were ignored or explained away or downplayed. And then there's softer parallels to do with the way in which their terms played out. There was a kind of grand criminal indictment of both of them lurking in the background for much of their administrations, which they did a lot to avoid as best they could, but sort of ground forward.</p> <p>And the kind of realization at some point, particularly by those people who supported either our President Jacob Zuma, or Donald Trump, in the form of a number of sort of center leaning Republicans that that this was a big mistake, and this guy was not all that he was cracked up to be and a kind of reawakening. I think there's many parallels to be drawn between the two.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Do you have any thoughts and opinions on how the election turned out and what happened in the United States in the months after November 4? I remember the last time we talked; it was just before the election. We were both wondering what was going to happen. The events were quite significant. Any thoughts and observations? [laughing]</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: I haven't followed American politics that closely since the election but that's not insignificant in and of itself. From an outsider's perspective, America used to dominate social media streams and Donald Trump and the degree to which it has vanished off the radar is significant. You just have the impression from a distance that stuff is taking over far more quietly and systematically there than it was before. There's no great upheaval, and no great kind of nuclear war between two sides that are at each other's throats all the time. I'm sure that's still going on on some level, but from an international perspective, it feels less intense.</p> <p>As for Biden, himself and his performance, I followed the vaccination rollout which I think has been very impressive. I think America has done great on that front. But it's always been excellent at that kind of thing, world class attitude to delivery. And the one problem I am aware of is that the amount of money that's being pumped into the system through all these relief funds, there’s going to be an inflation problem in America at some point. And I think people are getting seriously worried about that now. I don't know enough to know when or if it will manifest, but certainly it's a reasonable concern for a lot of people and not without good reason.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: I agree. I think there is the risk that there is going to be an inflation problem, and I'm worried about a number of different bubbles popping up as well, as a result of all the money that's been circulating. The housing market is insanely hot right now. I've heard of friends and colleagues who have put their houses on the market for 10, 20% more than the value of their house and they are still getting offers on their houses. And some of the offers are $40,000 to $50,000 more than the asking price, which is already inflated, and I just can't see how this continues to go on.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: So that's fascinating. Why is that?</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: I think part of the reason is that interest rates are so low and so it's easier to get a cheaper mortgage. And then the values of houses, for some reason are going up. I can't explain that it, it doesn't make any sense. It's absolutely mind boggling. For example, our next door neighbor, they were looking at buying a house in Wisconsin, which is across the river from where we live. It was going to be a house that was going to be close to the river, sort of a cabin away from the city and the house went on the market on a Friday afternoon, at I believe one o'clock, it listed for, I think it was $800,000, they had 45 offers before the end of the day. Some of them sight unseen. Many of them foregoing inspections. And the next door neighbors made an offer on the house as well, that was part of the offer. It was I think, $40,000 more than the asking price. And they didn't get the house. The house sold for close to a million dollars. I don't understand it. I don't understand it.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Let's face it, I'm going to have to have a look at this.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Yes, please do. And let me know what you think because there's obviously something wrong in the system here.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Right.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Well, on that note, [laughing] I think that we've exhausted all of the things we could talk about for this time. But please join me again, and we'll see how you guys are doing in six or 12 months. Hopefully, you've got a vaccine rollout that's a little more successful, and I hope you get yours very soon. Do you know which one you're planning on getting?</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: I don't think we have that much choice here. The two that are offered are the Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer vaccine. I think the Pfizer vaccine is the best one out there, so I'll take that one if I can get it. But that is two jabs instead of one, so there's a bit of a way to get both of them.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: That's okay. It's all science, and it's all working for us. And, gosh, I hope you can get that very soon.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Thanks, man.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Thanks for joining me on the podcast. It's been really awesome talking to you.</p> <p><strong>GARETH</strong>: Brilliant. I look forward to doing it again.</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Gareth Van Onselen is a South African journalist, political analyst and author. He lives in South Africa, in Johannesburg, and you can find him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/GvanOnselen">@gvanonselen</a>.</p> <p>You've been listening to that TEN7 podcast. Find us online at <a href="https://ten7.com/podcast">ten7.com/podcast</a>. And if you have a second to send us a message, we love hearing from you. Our email address is podcast@ten7.com. Until next time, this is <a href="https://ivanstegic.com/">Ivan Stegic</a>. Thanks for listening.</p> <h2>Credits</h2> <p>This is Episode 122 of The TEN7 Podcast. It was recorded on June 29, 2021 and first published on July 7, 2021. Podcast length is 41 minutes. Transcription by <a href="http://www.rcdataentry.com/">Roxanne Chumucas</a>. Summary, highlights and editing by <a href="http://www.truevoicecommunications.com/">Brian Lucas</a>. Music by <a href="https://soundcloud.com/lexfunk">Lexfunk</a>. Produced by <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanifreed">Jonathan Freed</a>.</p> <p>Please rate our podcast! Doing so helps spread the word about the show. Just pull it up in the <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ten7-podcast/id1347158838">Podcasts app</a> and scroll all the way down, hit the stars and you're done! Thank you.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 07/08/2021 - 08:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-audiocast field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <h2><div class="audiofield"> <div class="audiofield-player"> <audio id="audiofield-audio-player-file-1298-oyoscex6fjycapxe" preload="none" controls controlsList="nodownload" > <source src="https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/assets.ten7.com/ten7.com/files/2021-07/TEN7-Podcast-Ep-122-Vaccination-Rates-and-Political-Chaos.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"> Your browser does not support the audio element. </audio> <label for="audiofield-audio-player-file-1298-oyoscex6fjycapxe">TEN7-Podcast-Ep-122-Vaccination-Rates-and-Political-Chaos.mp3</label> </div> </div> </h2> </div> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/eric-meyer-changing-way-world-meets-web"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; June 23, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/eric-meyer-changing-way-world-meets-web" aria-label="Listen to Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web now." title="Listen to Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/ernesto-morales-design-discovery-and-delight"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; June 9, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/ernesto-morales-design-discovery-and-delight" aria-label="Listen to Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight now." title="Listen to Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-07/TEN7-Podcast-1220_0.png" width="1220" height="1220" alt="TEN7 Podcast" loading="lazy" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-podcast-number field--type-integer field--label-hidden field__item">122</div> Thu, 08 Jul 2021 13:00:00 +0000 jonathan 397 at https://ten7.com Behind the Scenes: The Power of Infrastructure, Open Source and Making Technology Accessible to Everyone https://ten7.com/blog/post/behind-scenes-power-infrastructure-open-source-and-making-technology-accessible-everyone <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Behind the Scenes: The Power of Infrastructure, Open Source and Making Technology Accessible to Everyone</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>This post is part of a series of segments we are calling, TEN7 - Behind the Scenes. They provide a peek behind the curtain of the work we do, showcasing the technical and creative energy that is the “secret sauce” of TEN7. These posts allow our team to showcase their passion, lessons they have learned, and some of the tips and tricks that only come from dedication to their craft. </em></p> <p><em>We hope this series will help you understand the makeup of our team, what it’s like to work with us, and how we might be able to help you! <a href="https://ten7.com/contact-us">Call us.</a></em></p> <p> </p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="800" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WGhCAUP0Ryg?controls=0" width="800"></iframe></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Hello. My name is Tess Flynn, and I am a DevOps Engineer at TEN7. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>I derive an immense amount of satisfaction knowing that the engine by which something needs to get done is being maintained and operating correctly. And for that reason, I really do like infrastructure, because infrastructure by itself is that engine, and it powers organizations and companies, and most importantly, it powers people. That's the part that I really enjoy.</p> <p>It's a bit like being the bass player in a rock band, you don't really notice the bass player, when they're there, you're listening to the melodic guitarist and the singer, you're not listening to the bass player. But remove the bass guitar, and it's like the bottom drops out of the whole band, and it sounds tinny and hollow. And that's kind of the aesthetic that I get from infrastructure as well. You're there, you're at the bottom, you're not necessarily the focus, but everyone notices your absence.</p> <p>I always liked computers. And I have liked them since I was very, very little, and programming basic on the television set in a computer that looked like a giant keyboard, which will tell you how old I am. The problem is that as much as I liked computers and I liked technology, I never really liked programming all that much, because it just wasn't that interesting.</p> <p>And then sometime in high school, I ran across, <em>Wait, there are other programming languages</em>? And suddenly, I spent a whole summer teaching myself C and C++, and suddenly code had structure. It wasn't just hundreds of 1000s of lines, one right after another after another. They had structure, they had levels, they had layers, they had hierarchies. They had ways of dividing things and combining things. And it became really, really enjoyable to play with those structures, to imagine those structures or manipulate those structures.</p> <p>And that was where I was completely hooked by programming by itself. It was just like in a joyful canvas, where I could imagine any kind of automated machine that I'd like and enact it, without having to constantly go back to the store and buying new materials and buying new tools to build new tools and so on. It was all right there. All I had to do was turn the computer on and open a text editor.</p> <p>When I was a lot smaller, I always felt limited, because the knowledge was behind locked doors, the tools were behind locked doors. And in order to unlock that you had to insert a money-shaped key. And it was very, very frustrating, because in order to get that knowledge, you either had to wait a long time and hope someone would take pity on you and answer a question. Or that you would magically find some bit of knowledge that was within your realm of accessibility, that otherwise wouldn't have been there.</p> <p>When I actually start understanding things, I don't feel like I want to be the expert. I kind of scoff at the concept of being an expert. It sounds good when I put it on a resume, or if I need to put it on an introductory slide. But I always feel a little embarrassed by it. Because it's like to me, that doesn't matter.</p> <p>In my perspective, when it comes to technical knowledge, it's more important for me to convey that knowledge to others. And another skill that I have is I actually know how to explain technology to people, because I've had to spend so much time educating myself. And then if I want to tell somebody else what I'm doing and why I'm working on something so heavily, I have to explain that to them as well. And that's an interesting exercise, because everyone has different perspectives and different understandings and a different way that they can internalize things.</p> <p>I find that I would rather be able to communicate to someone who might be like I was when I was younger, and not understand how this stuff works and feel like all the knowledge behind locked doors. If they could just find one way to understand it, then they would be able to utilize it and they would be able to take advantage of it. And they would be able to empower themselves with it.</p> <p>There's certainly a visceral thrill in seeing the light come on in somebody's eyes when they finally understand something, they finally get it. And when they get it that’s just an amazing feeling, because suddenly they're like, <em>Oh, wow, I actually get this, I can do this. I can understand how this works. Tell me more.</em> And I really, really enjoy that because often those people who finally get it can turn around and tell somebody else how to do it. And that means more people get this knowledge, more people are empowered. And that is much more important to me than I, myself, ever am.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 06/30/2021 - 08:20</span> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/development" hreflang="en">Development</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/devops" hreflang="en">DevOps</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/drupal" hreflang="en">Drupal</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Tess Flynn</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">DevOps Engineer</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/tess.jpg?itok=g6-9T9H2" width="100" height="100" alt="Tess Flynn" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Tess is TEN7’s Swiss Army knife. She’s an ever-present force in Drupal and a frequent speaker at events, where she's known for comic book-style illustrations in her presentations. Her superpower is problem-solving—she’s always finding ways to improve a site’s infrastructure and efficiency, and she has the rare ability to look holistically at a situation through human requirements, not just those of technology and business. She also loves sleuthing out the source of hacks, especially the ugly and ingenious ones. Tess has encyclopedic knowledge of horror/sci-fi ranging from schlocky and campy to highbrow. She loves Star Trek, where the engineers use their skills to help people.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/tess-flynn">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/socketwench" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/socketwench" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/socketwench" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/chris.jpg?itok=oBJJ_zbV" width="100" height="100" alt="Chris Dart" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/development" hreflang="en">Development</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/content-strategy" hreflang="en">Content Strategy</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/user-experience" hreflang="en">User Experience</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/behind-scenes-creating-tool-helps-students-and-teachers-achieve-their-goals"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Behind the Scenes: Creating a Tool That Helps Students and Teachers Achieve Their Goals</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Chris Dart &mdash; March 29, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/behind-scenes-creating-tool-helps-students-and-teachers-achieve-their-goals" aria-label="Read Behind the Scenes: Creating a Tool That Helps Students and Teachers Achieve Their Goals now." title="Read Behind the Scenes: Creating a Tool That Helps Students and Teachers Achieve Their Goals now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/tess.jpg?itok=g6-9T9H2" width="100" height="100" alt="Tess Flynn" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/development" hreflang="en">Development</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/next-generation-infrastructure-ten7-or-tng-infra-v5"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, or “TNG Infra V5”</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Tess Flynn &mdash; May 25, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/next-generation-infrastructure-ten7-or-tng-infra-v5" aria-label="Read The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, or “TNG Infra V5” now." title="Read The Next Generation of Infrastructure at TEN7, or “TNG Infra V5” now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/T7-Slate-Grey-1200-social-media_1.png" width="1200" height="1200" alt="TEN7 logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> Wed, 30 Jun 2021 13:20:42 +0000 jonathan 396 at https://ten7.com Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web https://ten7.com/podcast/episode/eric-meyer-changing-way-world-meets-web <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Eric Meyer: Changing the Way the World Meets the Web</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Summary</h2> <p>A presentation at a conference in Paris led Eric Meyer into a new world as he dove into the early days of CSS and helped transform the way we interact with the web.</p> <h2>Guest</h2> <p>Eric Meyer, CSS pioneer and author</p> <h2>Highlights</h2> <ul> <li>Eric started as a “hypermedia systems specialist” at Case Western Reserve University, essentially going to departments, explaining what the “web” is, and offering to hook them up with FTP sites.</li> <li>While presenting a paper at a conference in Paris, Eric got his first exposure to CSS and he knew right away he had to be a part of it.</li> <li>Eric developed a series of test pages that led to an invitation to join the CSS working group.</li> <li>The teamwork and open ethic of the working group was inspiring to Eric, who was determined to do great work and also to reach a hand out to others to help them build on the work to move it forward.</li> </ul> <h2>Links</h2> <ul> <li><a href="https://meyerweb.com/">Meyerweb</a></li> <li><a href="https://aneventapart.com/">An Event Apart </a></li> <li><a href="https://www.css-discuss.org/">CSS Discuss </a></li> <li><a href="https://medium.com/@valgaze/the-hidden-purple-memorial-in-your-web-browser-7d84813bb416">Rebecca Purple</a></li> </ul> <h2>Transcript</h2> <p><strong>IVAN STEGIC:</strong> Hey, everyone, you're listening to the TEN7 Podcast where we get together every fortnight, and sometimes more often, to talk about technology, business, and the humans in it. I'm your host, Ivan Stegic. My guest today is Eric Meyer, an author, developer and web consultant. He is a pioneer in using and thinking about <a href="https://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/Overview.en.html">Cascading Style Sheets</a>, or CSS, which is the way all browsers control how web pages look on your screen. He co-founded an <a href="https://aneventapart.com/">Event Apart</a>, he co-authored <a href="https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/css-the-definitive/9781449325053/">CSS, The Definitive Guide</a>, he created the <a href="https://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/css/reset/">CSS Reset</a> and has participated as a champion of web standards for decades. He also has really good dad jokes on Twitter, so you should follow him there if you see that. I'm really excited to be talking with him today. Eric, welcome to the show. Hello. It's so nice to have you on.</p> <p><strong>ERIC MEYER:</strong> It's really nice to be here. Thanks for having me on.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Your Twitter profile, Corduroys and Headlines (laughing). I love it.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yes. Yes. So you've heard about corduroy pillows?</p> <p><strong>IVAN</strong>: Yes, I have.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>They are making headlines. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It’s awesome. Thanks for being on the show. I was so glad to see the email from you agreeing to be on the show. It's just awesome to have you here.</p> <p><strong>ERIC</strong>: Yeah. Well, thank you.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, I'd love to start with where you are in the world today, where you're joining us for the show. And then we kind of talk about where you started out. </p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Well, where I am today is in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, which is an inner ring suburb on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. And I've been working from home for a long time. I was remote working from way before it was cool. But yeah, so I got a house, a yard and a family and all that stuff is where I am now.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And have you always been in Ohio? Is that where you were born?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>No, actually. I've just been in Ohio for a very long time. I was actually born in Massachusetts. My family at that time, I'm the oldest child, so I was at that point an only child and my parents were very mobile at that point. So, I lived in a number of states that I don't even remember. Basically, my first memories are of Ohio, various places in Ohio. When I was five, we moved to a suburb of Chicago. And then when I was six, we moved to Lexington, Ohio, and stopped moving like that. My parents were just done. They were done. We lived on the edge of Lexington for several years and then moved to the woods south of Lexington after that time, and that house still stands, and I came to Cleveland for college and never left.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And you went to high school just in Lexington then?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I did. So, Lexington, Ohio, for any listeners who are NASCAR fans, they already know where Lexington is because the mid-Ohio race car course is just outside of Lexington, Ohio. So on race weekends you could hear the cars, you could hear the engines. The house where we moved to just south of Lexington was actually a little closer to mid-Ohio. Not that wasn't the reason we moved there. But that turned out to be the case. We were close enough that we would hear the engines and be like, <em>Oh, it must be a motorcycle racing weekend</em>, because you could tell from the pitch of the engines.</p> <p>I don't mind racing, but I don't follow it, and that sort of thing. It just was part of the landscape pretty much. For those who aren't NASCAR fans, Lexington, Ohio is just south of Mansfield, Ohio, which is almost precisely halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. So, it's North Central Ohio.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Okay, got it. And you went to Lexington High School. What was your high school experience like? Were you kind of prepping to be an English major in college or was it something different?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>No. It was something very different. high school was all right. I did not have nearly as horrible a time of it as some people I know had in high school. That was junior high for me, junior high was just a terrible, terrible experience for me. But high school was okay. Actually, a few years later, when I was talking to some high school friends, I think I realized why. Because one of them said, <em>The thing that always amazed me about you was that you just didn't care if you were popular or not. Like it just didn't even occur to you to car</em>e. And I realized that's probably why I didn't have a bad time in high school because I wasn't all invested in what as adults, we would call high school drama. Am I popular? Who likes me? Who doesn't? It was just like I have my friends, I'm learning and that's fine. And I don't care about the rest of it. I don't have some major life epiphany wisdom to impart to say, this thing happened and that's why I didn't care. Just for whatever reason, I didn't.</p> <p>It did seem to work out. I'm sure that there are people who can be like that, and High School is still a completely horrible experience for them. I don't want to causate there. It's correlation. For me, it worked out, for whatever reason.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>What did you want to be while you were in high school? What did you want to be when you grew up?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I wanted to be an astronaut.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Seriously?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I did. Yes. Like most kids. But I actually had a plan that did not involve becoming a fighter pilot. So, here's the thing, at the time, and we're talking when I was in high school, this was the eighties. I was in high school when the Challenger exploded. 1986. I clearly remember that moment, though, when I found out. I was literally walking down the hallway of the high school when someone told me, and I didn't believe them at first. But anyway, I wanted to be an astronaut, but at the time, basically, there were two ways to become an astronaut. It was to be a fighter pilot, or a scientist. And I like science so I decided that I would be an astrophysicist and I would make my way onto a shuttle mission by doing orbital astrophysics. That was my plan.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That’s awesome. I kind of landed on studying physics in college. I did not have a plan. But having a plan is so much better. So that explains why you studied astronomy at Case Western Reserve University, and English and AI.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, and it also explains why I went to Case Western Reserve University. So, I was looking for a science college, one where I could study physics. Because you start in physics, and then eventually, at least the way most people do it is you study physics and undergrad and then you graduate and you choose a type of physics, like astrophysics. I actually did apply to Williams College where they had an undergraduate astrophysics program, but they rejected me. But I also applied to a few other schools, one of which was Case Western Reserve University, which had a strong physics program. So, I went to Case. They accepted me and I went. I was in the physics program for my freshman year and at the end of that year, I said, <em>This has been enjoyable, and I do not want to do physics for the rest of my life.</em> I just can't see myself doing this for the rest of my life.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Well, how did AI form part of that decision?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>So, I knocked around through a few programs in my sophomore year, and maybe a little bit my junior year. And I took undergraduate astronomy, just because I still enjoyed astronomy. I didn't mind studying it in college, I just was like, I don't want to do this for the rest of my life. So, literally because of my physics studies, my freshman year, all I had to do was take a two semester sequence of astronomy classes and I had an astronomy minor. Great. I knocked through the computer science department and took some programming classes. And then because of that, all I had to do was take a couple of AI courses and then I could have a minor in artificial intelligence, which I chose actually the philosophy of artificial intelligence. There was still some programming, but it's a philosophy of AI minor.</p> <p>And I ended up in the history department. So, I actually have a degree in history. The English is a minor. It's one class short of being a double major in English and History, but the only way I could have gotten that extra class would be to take a whole other semester of classes. I was like, <em>No, I got my degree in four years. I'm out of here</em>. So, I took history with a very strong minor in English and the AI and astronomy were there. And I actually did do some graduate work towards a degree in English, but I never finished the degree.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Wow, what an interesting evolution in college going in thinking you're going to be an astronaut and coming out with a degree in history, and then working in computer science.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah. So immediately upon graduating, I got myself hired as a part timer by a department of the University where my friend Jim Nower had been a classmate was working, and they needed somebody to do some hardware work. I'd been into computers since I was seven. I was really lucky that way, because for me, seven is like the late seventies.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I was going to say seven is pretty late in the seventies or early eighties. So what computer was it?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I'm pretty sure the first one was a PDP11 mainframe, and it happened through a summer computer camp kind of thing. And I happened to be in a place where I mean, you wouldn't think in Mansfield, Ohio that nobody's ever heard of, they’re like, T<em>hey had mainframes? </em>And yeah they did. Yeah. There was a computer camp, and they had a mainframe and I got to do a little basic and then the school that I was in had like a TRS80 model, one or three or something. And the high school had Apple 2’s, and I was enough into it that my parents got a TRS80 color computer when I was about nine or 10, I think. And within a couple of years, I had completely exceeded the capabilities of that system and convinced them to buy a Commodore 64. And then before college, I picked up an IBM PC 8086. But I got the 80286 processor upgrade card before I went to college. So I had an 8286.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Was that a math coprocessor?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>No, I don't think so.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That came later.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>No, it was just this is a better CPU so your computer will go faster. If I remember correctly. I mean, this is a long time ago. So someone out there might be going, <em>Yes, it was a math coprocessor. What's wrong with you</em>? And what's wrong with me is that I am old, and my memory is faulty. But yeah, I think it was just basically a CPU bypass with a better CPU.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And so, you essentially got a job at the place you were studying. So, were you working and doing that English graduate studies at the same time?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yes. I should also say I had been a computer lab monitor while I was an undergraduate throughout my program in that same department. So the department that hired me, I had been working for them part time as a student and then once I'd graduated, they hired me part time as sort of a part-time/full-time. It's like, <em>Well, you'll work 40 hours a week, but you won't have any actual benefits</em>.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>[laughing] Because they could do that back then.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>But, they can do it now. I don't want to say that Case does that now, but people do that. At least it was a paid internship basically. It wasn’t a lot, but they were paying me. But I got hired full time and at that point, tuition benefits kicked in, I could take a certain number of credit hours free per semester. And so, I started doing graduate work in the English Program.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Now the title you had or have on your LinkedIn profile for your work at Case Western is hypermedia systems specialist. That sounds amazing. I want that job. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Doesn’t that sound great? [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That sounds great. What was it?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I was a webmaster. That's what it was. I was a webmaster. And so, when I was first hired, I didn't remember if I had a title. When I was first hired full time, I was like, systems analyst one. I don't even remember. It was some very generic thing. Early to mid-1993 is when I got hired full time, like actual full time with benefits. And then it was later that same year that I first encountered the web, again, thanks to my friend Jim Nower, who at that point we were co-workers in the same department. He showed me an early beta of mosaic and I was just captivated.</p> <p>I had already come into contact with <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext">hypertext</a>. I had was doing DOS based hypertext of the Ohio revised code, which is the complete set of laws for the state of Ohio. I worked for a legal publisher in Cleveland that had the entire thing on a C-ROM, the entire Ohio Revised Code on CD ROM in a text format for DOS computers. But there was hypertext, like you could drop codes in so that when one law referred to another law, the reference would be a hyperlink, you would hit the spacebar and it would load that other thing, right? I had read about hypertext. I had an analog science fiction magazine, but they had some fact columns, and one of them was about hypermedia, about hypertext.</p> <p>So, I've been familiar with it, and I saw mosaic and was like, <em>Yes this, this. This is awesome. </em>So I very quickly started doing web stuff and became the webmaster. And so, we were like, <em>Okay, but the university is never going to let you put that on a business card</em>. It's not going to let you just say, webmaster. That sounds like you made it up. So, we made up a different title that sounded more official and hypermedia system specialist was it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That's amazing. [laughing] Was your email address webmaster?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>No. We may have had it as an alias. We had this habit of giving our projects code names, sort of like the military and the government do, so we call it the Aurora project, because the supposed successor to the SR71 was supposed to be called the Aurora. So, in the same way that the web was a success for the Gopher, the Aurora is the successor to SR71. Anyway, we called it the Aurora project. So the email address was actually auroraatcwru.edu.</p> <p>And the design and the maintenance of the website, which was all static pages at that point, there was no CMS. Part of my drive, and part of how I got to that position and that title was that we were setting up a web server, not just for the university, but for the departments of the university. We went to every department of the university, and said, <em>Hey, so there's this web thing,</em> okay, and then we explained what the web is, we have a server, and you can have space on it. You don't have to manage the server. We're already managing the server. We’ll give you an FTP login, you can upload files, the only thing that we require is that you put a common header and footer on all of your pages that's common to the entire university. Between those two, you can pretty much do whatever you want, as long as it doesn't violate any laws.</p> <p>And so that was a lot of my job, it was not answering email, although that was certainly part of it, but it was helping departments. And, a lot of times departments would say, <em>You know what, we don't want to manage it. You can, you can set up some pages for us. That's fine.</em> So we would do that.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, you were responsible for basically version one of the website for the whole university?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah. Maybe version two. There was a version one website. Let me backup to Gopher. Some of you may not remember Gopher if you're listening to this. Gopher is prior to the web. It’s sort of like the web, except everything was text and if there was an image, it would link to the image, and you would have to load the image separately. Which, to be fair, that's what the web was like originally too, embedded images didn't actually come along for three years.</p> <p>So Gopher was very much like a sort of a text mode browser, or a BBS bulletin board system. So, it had this concept of things linking to things. And for a while a lot of people who had Gopher servers would set up a web sort of portal/interface, so it took those Gopher pages and turned them into web pages. So, there was a version of that since the university had a Gopher server. The person who ran the Gopher server set up this web front end to it. And so that was sort of version one of the of the website. When I took over responsibility for it, we didn't do that. We let Gopher be Gopher and web be web, from version two onwards let’s say.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And the Gopher protocol is from the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Golden Gophers. That's why it was called that, it was invented there.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>That's why it's called that. Yes. And Gopher is still running, I should point out. There are still Gopher sites.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Are there really?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>There really are.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Oh wow. I think I just found out what I'm doing for the rest of the afternoon. Going down that deep rabbit hole.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Going down the Gopher hole.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Going down the Gopher hole. [laughing] There you go. Thank you.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Glad I could help.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It was all tables back then, right? There was no CSS in what you were working on at first.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Right. When I started there was no CSS. Everything presentational was baked into the markup. So, if you wanted to do like a grid layout, then yes, you were almost certainly using tables. I mean, when I started, we didn't even have float or align. You couldn't even align images to the side using the align attribute that Netscape introduced in '94, I think. I didn't actually use tables for layout. I resisted, because it didn't feel right. It felt icky and terrible, and clumsy and gross. But I don't know how long I could have resisted that if CSS hadn't come along.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah. You wrote about how tables felt wrong to you. I think this was in the post about the 25th anniversary of working in CSS. Can you tell me about your first experience with CSS when you saw it at this conference and you were basically mesmerized, I would say, by it?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, pretty much. I had gone to the second International World Wide Web Conference, because it was held in Chicago, and my friend, again, Jim Nower, and co-worker, had family in Chicago. So we drove to Chicago, which Cleveland to Chicago is six and a half, seven hours depending on the traffic, which, to any European listeners will sound like, <em>Oh, my God, you went to another country</em>, but in America, we call that, I went to the next state over it wasn't that big a drive, right? I live in a part of the US where if it's under a seven hour drive, then you drive instead of fly. That is just how it is.</p> <p>So we drove to Chicago, crashed with his parents, and attended the conference and then the fourth International Conference had been in Boston, we actually flew to that one, a few of us. But the fifth International World Wide Web Conference was being held in Paris. I'd never been to Europe, let alone Paris and I really wanted to go. So I figured if I get a paper accepted, the university will pay for my plane flight and my hotel and send me to Europe, and I get to see Paris. And it worked somehow. [laughing] I submitted a paper, the paper got accepted.</p> <p>I figured I'm going to sit in on the W3C track, just find out what's coming next. And one of the presentations was, so there's this new thing that we're working on called CSS, and it's going to be in browsers, and here are some examples. And one of the examples I remember it vividly, which is weird, because I'm actually <a href="https://aphantasia.com/discussion-question/how-did-you-first-discover-you-were-aphantastic/">aphantasic</a> so I don't have visual memory. There was this example where there was just a browser window with a white background, and I want people to remember at the time, the browser background default was actually light gray, not white. There was this white background, and a line of text and then one of the words in the line of text was this huge blue text. So like if the normal line of text was 18 point, this was 108 point, which nobody would design a website like that. Right? It's a recreation of a print ad.</p> <p>But it was a recreation of a print ad, right. So far beyond anything that we could do, and I had ever seen. And once again, I was like, <em>Yes, this is what we've been waiting for. This is how we can do layout.</em> I was maybe a little premature in that conclusion. But it's at that sort of mesmerizing moment, like you said, just that moment of certainty that I have seen something important, and I want to be part of it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And then what led out of that conference? [laughing] It’s a bit of a loaded question.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>No, it’s fine. So again, I didn't do any CSS testing there because I didn't have a laptop because this is 1996. Laptops were huge, bulky and didn't last very long, and heavy, and annoying to carry around. And so, I didn't have one. I literally took paper notes. In fact, because I was scanning the notebook sitting here next to me. So, when I got home from Europe, [laughing] and took a day to recover from the lack of sleep and all that and got it back into the office I was like, <em>I have to try this.</em> So, I tried it, and nothing seemed to work. I had a copy of the specifications and was like, <em>Okay, it says, if I do this, this will happen. I did this, that didn't happen. Is it me? Like am I not understanding? Or are the browser's just not where I think they are</em>?</p> <p>It turned out mostly to be the second one. To be clear, when I start learning a programming language, nothing works and it's completely because I don't understand. But this was one of those moments in time where something was so new, that it was actually more the tools were failing than I was failing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It was theory, right?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah. There were implementations, but there were a lot of bugs. There were a lot of gaps. There were a lot of holes. And I didn't know where the holes were. And I was like, <em>Okay, if I'm going to use this, I need to know what works</em>. So I started building these little test pages, just a page that says, here's an element, and I put padding on it, and did the layout the way I think it should. And okay, that didn't quite work the way I thought it would. So let me expand that page so that this element just has top padding, and this element just has bottom and this one has just right and this one has just left. And then I'm going to try the various ways of shorthand padding values and see if it's all consistent. Because for all I knew, padding was fine, except there was a bug in the bottom and that was throwing things off.</p> <p>Before I built the test I didn't know. So I started building these tests, when I tried to do something, I would almost inevitably either need tests to figure out if I was doing it wrong, or the browser was doing it wrong. Or I would just be like, you know what, I'm just going to build a test page before I even try to use this, because if I try to use absolute positioning, and it turns out there's no absolute positioning, then all I'm going to do is spend a morning beating my head against the monitor before I realize, <em>Oh, it's just that the browser is ignoring me</em>. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Right. [laughing] So you end up having a whole suite of these tests.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, I ended up with a whole set of test pages. I was on the WWW style mailing list, which is where the working group members hung out, the browser makers and people who are interested in CSS, and that sort of thing. And so, I emailed the chair of the working group, Chris Willey. The session in Paris, where I had presented my paper, he actually happened to be the chair of that session. Because each session actually had three papers that were presented one after another. So, in an hour each person would get 20 minutes or 15 minutes, or whatever it was. I sort of knew him, like we had met in person, and he was also the chair of the working group, and I was really interested in this thing and I had these tests. So, I emailed him, and I said, <em>Hey, I don't know, maybe something like this already exists, or whatever, but I put together these tests, and I didn't know if maybe the working group would be interested. </em></p> <p>And he said, <em>Do you mind if I share this with the browser makers?</em> And I said, <em>No, not at all.</em> [laughing] Because it turned out nothing like that existed really well. Maybe there was some stuff internally, maybe the people at Netscape had a few things they'd put together and the people at Microsoft had a few things they put together, but there was no shared common resource. Test suites weren't a thing at that point, the W3C had never made one apparently had not even really ever considered one, people weren't publishing them, it just wasn't a thing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And who were the major browser manufacturers at the time? Because it's a very different landscape than it is right now.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I would say Microsoft and Netscape at that junction. And at that moment in time, Netscape had more of a market dominance than I think Internet Explorer ever achieved. Netscape was literally like 95% of the browser market, a much smaller market to be clear. There were way fewer people on the web at that point. But Internet Explorer was this scrappy little edge case upstart that most snooty webmasters were like, <em>Oh, Internet Explorer</em>. <em>Here's a quarter kid, download yourself a real browser</em>. Which is sort of ironic because that's the attitude that Chrome users came to have years and years later. It's like, what is Internet Explorer good for? Downloading chrome. I've heard that joke more than once. They’re like, the only reason Microsoft installs Internet Explorer on, anyway, it’s the extra step to getting Chrome. Not really true but there was that same attitude. I mean there was also mosaic still kicking around, but it was fading because it wasn't keeping up.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>My first browser was Emissary. Do you remember that browser?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I’m not sure if I do.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It was really tiny, really niche. It was the only thing we could get in South Africa. It was like I don't know why that's what everybody had. And I think it basically died because something happened with Internet Explorer ,and there was a lawsuit or not exactly sure what happened, but it died and then I switched to Netscape Navigator, I think 4.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, very, very likely 4. Four was the big one. My first version of Netscape Navigator was actually Mosaic Navigator, because they weren't originally Netscape Communications, they were the Mosaic Communications Corporation. And once again, there was at least the threat of a lawsuit. And so, they had to change their name to something else. They changed it to Netscape. That was like 0.8, I think. But anyway, Netscape 4 is when Netscape was at the height of its market dominance.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah. So you share the test suites with the group and then they invite you to be part of the group?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, it's not an exact thing. It was a big part of the reason why I was eventually invited. I mean, I was invited to join the working group as an invited expert on wwwstyle, the mailing list, I made some sort of offhand, slightly snarky comment about how only the cool kids in the working group could answer certain questions or knew about certain plans or whatever, and that wasn't me, or whatever. And then Chris Lloyd got in touch and said, <em>So we have these things called invited experts and you could be one. Would you like to be one?</em> I was like, <em>Yeah, yeah, I'd like to be one. Thank you.</em></p> <p>That wasn't what I was going for because I didn't even know that was a thing. When I made the comment I thought, the only way that I could ever make that happen would be to get the university to become a W3C member. And becoming a W3C member is not cheap. It is a fairly substantial investment. Even for a university, at least at the time. I haven't looked recently, but it was tens of thousands of dollars per year. I was like, <em>I don't think the university’s going to go for that. We don't do enough. I'm really the only person who's doing any W3C type stuff here</em>. Maybe I should have tried, and maybe I did, and I was quickly shot down and I've forgotten, but whatever, I wasn't a member. And so, I didn't even know that there was a way for me to be in, I was just being sort of offhanded about it. But, yeah, Chris was like, <em>Man, would you like to be a member of the working group as an invited expert?</em> I said, <em>Yes.</em></p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I would argue that the pioneering work you've done, shaped the internet, shaped the web, shaped the layout work that people are doing in browsers and how we think about the web and how we think about design across the globe. How does that make you feel?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I feel gratified. But I also feel that that's a little bit of an overstatement. Yes, I contributed, but I was one of many.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Indeed. But you were there.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I was there. I contributed. Yes. I created a test suite and that hopefully helped browsers get better faster. And I evangelized CSS and made it easier to understand and hopefully that helped more people understand it, but I wasn't the only one. There were people who had even been there before me. And there were people who were doing similar work at that time, pretty much all the members of this <a href="https://archive.webstandards.org/css/members.html">CSS Samurai</a>, my good friend Molly Holzschlag was an early advocate. Jennifer, who was then Jennifer Needers, now Jennifer Robbins, but the author of <a href="https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/web-design-in/0596009879/"><em>Web Design In A Nutshell</em></a> for O'Reilly.</p> <p>We could take the rest of the podcast with me coming up with names, and I would still forget someone and feel bad about it afterwards. But that's the beginning of a sampling. Oh, Laura LeMay was also writing about HTML and CSS and stuff like that around the same time.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I didn't realize the very many connections you have. That's amazing. I grew up in South Africa, watching the web, from what I felt like was the outside and seeing the working groups and seeing the participants and seeing all these names for so long, it just used to feel so unattainable and far away. And once I decided that I wanted to work in this industry and make a living out of it, it kind of broke down all those barriers, I kind of feel like, <em>Wow, these are just all people that all contributed to the shared goal, to the shared vision</em>, <em>and what a wonderful thing we can do as humans when we put our minds together.</em></p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I mean, we're all just folks pretty much. Even at the time, some of the email that I was getting to my personal address would be people who would say things like, <em>How do I do what you're doing</em>? And I'd be like, <em>Do it</em>!</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I don't know! Just do it!</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>There's no society to get a membership card. You just published stuff, and it’s the web you can do that. And, yes, there are barriers certainly.</p> <p>If you're in a situation where you have low bandwidth, sipping through a cocktail straw as we used to say.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Awful. I can identify with that.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: T</strong>hat could be a problem. And you had to be able to get your stuff onto a web server, which either meant you needed to set one up, or you needed to have access to one. If you wanted a domain name, like in the late nineties, domain names, like dot com are way more expensive than they are now, a few hundred dollars at least. Once you account for inflation, you're talking mid hundreds in today's figures.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And you can only get it at one place, right? There's not a vast amount of people you can buy it from.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, maybe one or two. In today's dollars getting a dot com address might be four or five hundred dollars, whatever the figure was at the time. So there certainly were barriers, don't get me wrong, but at the same time, if you had a friend who worked at a hosting company, or you had a hosting company near you, that you could connect with and get some space. <a href="https://wiki.archiveteam.org/index.php/GeoCities">GeoCities</a> came along later, a lot of people used places like Angel Fire and GeoCities.</p> <p>Were basically doing it on a commercial level and at a commercial scale. What I was doing at the university is basically saying, <em>Here's your FTP account that has this many megabytes of space, and you can put whatever you want in it</em>. But if you could do that, then just do it, view source. Here the specifications that I read to figure out HTML and CSS and read those, that’s literally what I did.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Wonderful.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>And it was always <em>Everyone to the table! Come on, everyone is allowed in this pool!</em> That ethic. I wasn't around for the sixties and seventies Unix hacker ethic, but I feel like there are at least some similarities. There was definitely, at least for me, and I think for most of the people that I can remember, because they're the people who I connected with, there was this real strong ethic of we stand on the shoulders of giants, and it's our duty to provide our shoulders for the next people. The people that came before us shared what they knew, and we learned from that and so now it's our turn to share what we know, so that people can learn from that, and then they can share what they know.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And we can keep doing that.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah, keep doing that. The goal was always to advance the whole, not to advance the individual. I mean, sure, a lot of us were very successful in various ways. I know several people who went to work for startups and got cashouts and they only work because they want to, at this point, I was not one of those people, sadly. Well, not sadly, I still like working and I would still work even if I literally didn't have to. But there was still that, you give the information away basically. You share it.</p> <p>Still, I'm still doing that. I mean, yes. I write books and the books cost money. I also write a lot of articles from my own site or for other sites that don't have payrolls. And, create tools and throw stuff out into the world, just in case anyone's interested in using them. It’s part of that same ethic. And a lot of the Unix command line utilities, somebody just wrote the program and then it became part of Unix. And so, there's sort of an ethos of if you write a command line tool that you find super useful, offer it up to the world and maybe a bunch of other people will make it useful. Same thing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, after that fateful conference, you were back at Case Western, and you got involved in the web standards project, and you'd mentioned CSS Samurai a few moments ago. Tell me about that. Who founded that?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>That was <a href="https://johnfallsopp.com/">John Allsop</a>, a software developer in Australia, who's still very active. So, the web standards project was launched, and I very quickly joined up because I had the same sort of problems. I had been writing these test suites to figure out why browsers didn't agree. And then I had started publishing compatibility information to let other people know when you try to use this property, and it doesn't work in two of the five browsers at your university, this is why, or wherever you are.</p> <p>I was totally on board with the yes, browsers should all agree. I wanted to be out of that job. The testing browsers and documenting what they supported and what they didn’t in CSS, I didn't want to have to do that job anymore, I wanted it to just all work and nobody would need a compatibility table.</p> <p>But the steering committee or whatever it was called, the people who basically formed and launched the Web Standards Project, started creating action committees. So, there was a Dreamweaver accessibility task force at one point. There was also a CSS Action Committee, which John Allsop was asked to head. So John reached out to some people, and we eventually ended up with seven people in the Action Committee, so Seven Samurai. We called ourselves the CSS Samurai.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Nice. And how long were you with the group?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>I never really left. My active involvement was pretty much from right after it launched until right around 2000, I think. The CSS Action Committee basically fulfilled its mandate, and at some point, called it a day. We didn’t feel like we had anything more to say at that point, so we stopped. And the Web Standards Project eventually sort of came to the same place.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And would you say that CSS still has a ways to go in terms of standardization across browsers? Or do you think that we're in a good place now?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Both. So as compared to when I started, we're in paradise basically. There's so much consistency. And yes, I'm not here to say that all browsers are perfectly in concordance, and everything works exactly the way you think it should, at all times, in all situations. These are highly complex systems. There are always going to be bugs. But the bugs get fixed quickly, relatively usually, and things like the web platform tests, which are in some ways a descendant of the CSS test suite, although they're much more than that.</p> <p>Those things help the browser's stay very much in alignment. Generally these days if you have a problem with something in CSS not working cross browser, it's generally because whichever browser is not doing the right thing, it just hasn't implemented that feature yet.</p> <p>So, there was a time where if you tried to use <a href="https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/a-guide-to-flexbox/">Flexbox</a>, it only worked in a couple of browsers and other browsers just hadn't started. But <a href="https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/complete-guide-grid/">Grid</a> is a better example. Grid basically dropped in all the major browsers in the space of a month, which still astonishes me. April 2017, basically. It was just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And that was in part because of the web platform test, and it was in part because the schedules managed to align together. But whatever the reason, those all dropped basically together. And sure, there are bugs, but the bugs that get reported in Grid layout get fixed. Right now, the situation is if you try to use a <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/CSS_Grid_Layout/Subgrid">Subgrid</a>, which is super cool, it’ll work great in Firefox, which has implemented a Subgrid, Chromium hasn’t yet. They’re close but they haven’t done it yet.</p> <p>You can use the Subgrid progressive enhancement way, but you can't use it and every browser will act the same way. You have to take that progressive enhancement spirit, which I'm 100% for, but that's required, it has to be a, I'm going to use Subgrid so that our browsers understand Subgrid, this will be a little bit better. And it'll be nicer and more reliable and more sort of robust. And browsers that don't understand Subgrid, it’ll be okay. It won't break the page.</p> <p>So, Subgrid's supposedly coming soon. I can make no promises. So don't make investment decisions based on that or whatever. But that's what I'm told. And Subgrid and Chromium, more to the point is what I hear, but I'm not part of the Chromium development team. I don't work at Google. So I cannot speak officially for that.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Of course. I wanted to ask about the CSS color <a href="https://css-tricks.com/rebbeccapurple-663399/">663399</a>. It's in the standard. Why is Rebecca Purple, which is the name of that color so special to you?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>It’s named for my daughter. Specifically, my late daughter. My daughter Rebecca was diagnosed with what turned out to be aggressive brain cancer when she was five and a quarter. And I chronicled some of that journey through my blog, through my website, <a href="https://meyerweb.com/">meyerweb.com</a>. She died June 7, 2014, which was also her sixth birthday. I shared that too, because I had been sharing the journey. So, what happened was, when we put up the obituary, and we said the service will be this Thursday, June 12, people who attend are encouraged to wear purple, or other favorite color, because purple was Rebecca's favorite color. And she loved color. She just loved bright colors. She loved wearing bright colored dresses, and all that sort of thing. We didn’t want people to think they had to show up all in black. It was like, show up, wear purple in her honor or wear your favorite color. So that was the whole reason.</p> <p>But Matt Robin, I believe, said we should all turn our avatars purple, the 12<sup>th</sup>. He might have suggested 663399 as a color to use so that there was some sort of commonality. But that quickly snowballed into people saying there should be a CSS named color called Rebecca Purple. Well, people are saying a CSS named color called Becca Purple, because Becca was what most people called her. I was the only one who ever just used her full name all the time. And it quickly snowballed. It became a #663399Becca and I guess it happened. People did it. I was at the funeral, so I wasn't super online that day. Then it was proposed to the W3C the CSS Working Group as 663399 should be called Becca Purple. The working group got in touch with me and asked me if this was okay, and I said it's okay. I can understand why people might object on process grounds or on the grounds that this is not a thing we've ever done before or whatever. If it happens, that's fine. If it doesn't happen, that's also fine. But if it does happen, Rebecca told us when she turned six, she wanted everyone to call her Rebecca because Becca is a little baby name. So I said, if this happens it has to be Rebecca Purple. That's the only condition I have. And I'm fine with it either way, if it happens, if it doesn't happen, just if it happens, it has to be this name. And it happened really fast. It was added to browsers practically before June was over. And now people find out about it because in browser dev consoles, when you type color, and then you start to type red, the re...</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Oh, it’s reb.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Because Rebecca, Reb comes before red. So Rebecca Purple is the first thing on that list before you type the d for red. And so, people find it and occasionally people will wonder where that name came from. So they'll start searching, and they'll find out about it. And then occasionally, I'd get email, and more often I'll see things on Twitter, people saying I just learned this story.</p> <p>Even to this day, I don't know what to say about any of it really, in some sense. I can talk about it at length and yet, when people say there are no words they’re right. There are no words. And when people say I can't understand it, I tell them I don't understand it either, and I lived it. It’s just some things that can't be understood. They just have to be survived in some cases.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah. Thank you for sharing, Eric. And thank you for telling the story, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I watched it online and you have an effect on people when you talk about it. And I think it's a positive effect. I very much appreciate you sharing. I'm grateful that you were able to do that in whatever capacity you've been able to do that. And I'm sorry for your loss.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Thank you. I appreciate you asking. And I do have to say, as much as I would wish that Rebecca Purple never had to be a thing, it's an amazing moment of community. When I think about it, it reminds me that this is a community. It's not just an industry, it is a community. And communities are made of people. Industries are made up of people too, right. But it's a community made up of people and people decided to do this. And some people objected. And if any of them are listening now I bear absolutely no ill will. The objections were grounded in rational grounds. I get it. And if the working group had said, <em>You know what, no, the CSS specification is not a place to honor people. There are other places to honor people,</em> I would have 100% accepted that. I still would have the same feeling, that the community organized to do a thing and that's how almost all of this happens. It's not a case of us in the community waiting for the W3C and browser makers to bestow their gifts upon us. That's not how this works. It’s the community.</p> <p>And sometimes it can take a long time, don't get me wrong. People have said for 20 years, CSS is a presentation language, but it's not a layout language. We use it for layout, but it doesn't have a way to describe layout. And we need layout, it took 20 years for Grid to answer that. But it happened and it wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for the community saying over and over and over again, we actually want a layout language, not just a presentation language. That's where we got. And like I say, it took forever. It doesn't always take that long but sometimes it can.</p> <p>For that matter, the community around preprocessors, LESS and SASS and those sorts of things, people create mix-ins and extensions and do stuff using the programming features that are built into those preprocessors. And then a working group sometimes, when a thing becomes popular enough will standardize it.</p> <p>CSS variables are an example. Color functions. The working group is working on color function. So you can do things like tint or shade or otherwise, modify a color without having to supply a raw color. You could say, take this red and make it 40% lighter using the color function. That's been a LESS, SASS whatever for quite a while now. And popular enough that the working group said, <em>Yes, we should do that thing. That should be built into the language.</em></p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It’s amazing when the community comes together and functions like that. It’s just so wonderful to see. One final question before we wrap up. What's keeping you busy these days? What's interesting? What are you looking forward to?</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>What I'm looking forward to is the work I'm doing at <a href="https://www.igalia.com/">Igalia</a>, which is an open source software consultancy based in Spain. Most people are probably unfamiliar with that name. But remember, when I was talking about how CSS Grid dropped in a bunch of browsers at once, Igalia completely wrote the Grid layout for Chromium. They are a big part of the reason why that happened. Because Bloomberg, the financial business, wanted a Grid layout. And there were Grid specifications, but it needed to be implemented. And so, Bloomberg hired Igalia to do that because Bloomberg couldn't hire Google. Bloomberg has a lot of money, but not that much. [laughing]. So they hired Igalia and people at Igalia worked on that, and helped make that happen. I started working for them in mid-February. I'm doing a lot of documentation. A lot of standards work. I just rejoined the working group. Thanks to Igalia being a W3C member, they appointed me to the working group.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yay.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yay, I'm back. I'm going to do testing again.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>[laughing] What a nice circle. What a wonderful full circle.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Time is a flat circle. What are you going to do?</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That’s awesome. So you're looking forward to being part of the working group again, then you're doing this wonderful work with Igalia. That's awesome.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yeah. And I'm looking forward to college tours with my soon to be senior high school teenage daughter. We're doing that this summer. Looking forward to our youngest, who is going into fifth grade, that sort of thing. There’s a lot going on. And I'm looking forward to looking forward to summer.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah, I am too. No masks. The pandemic's winding up. It's hopeful.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Hopefully it’ll cool down a little bit for you. It’s been super-hot I hear.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yes, it has. Minneapolis has been insanely hot for the last week or so. Just crazy.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>Yikes. It’s not a million degrees and full of cicadas. So there's that.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>[laughing] Right. Thank you. Thank you so much for your time today Eric. It's been so amazing talking to you.</p> <p><strong>ERIC: </strong>It's been great talking to you. Thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Eric Meyer is an author, developer, web consultant and champion of web standards. You can find him online at <a href="https://www.meyerweb.com/">meyerweb.com</a> which has been around in one form or another since the nineties.</p> <p>You've been listening to the TEN7 Podcast. Find us online at <a href="https://ten7.com/podcast">ten7.com/podcast</a>. And if you have a second, do send us a message, we love hearing from you. Our email address is podcast@ten7.com. Until next time, this is <a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic">Ivan Stegic</a>. Thank you for listening.</p> <h2>Credits</h2> <p>This is Episode 121 of The TEN7 Podcast. It was recorded on June 11, 2021 and first published on June 23, 2021. Podcast length is 54 minutes. Transcription by <a href="http://www.rcdataentry.com/">Roxanne Chumacas</a>. Summary, highlights and editing by <a href="http://www.truevoicecommunications.com/">Brian Lucas</a>. Music by <a href="https://soundcloud.com/lexfunk">Lexfunk</a>. Produced by <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanifreed">Jonathan Freed</a>.</p> <p>Please rate our podcast! Doing so helps spread the word about the show. Just pull it up in the <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ten7-podcast/id1347158838">Podcasts app</a> and scroll all the way down, hit the stars and you're done! Thank you.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 06/23/2021 - 19:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-audiocast field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <h2><div class="audiofield"> <div class="audiofield-player"> <audio id="audiofield-audio-player-file-1287-lqkn0jxyuez6rbit" preload="none" controls controlsList="nodownload" > <source src="https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/assets.ten7.com/ten7.com/files/2021-06/TEN7-Podcast-Ep-121-Eric-Meyer_2.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"> Your browser does not support the audio element. </audio> <label for="audiofield-audio-player-file-1287-lqkn0jxyuez6rbit">TEN7-Podcast-Ep-121-Eric-Meyer_2.mp3</label> </div> </div> </h2> </div> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/ernesto-morales-design-discovery-and-delight"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; June 9, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/ernesto-morales-design-discovery-and-delight" aria-label="Listen to Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight now." title="Listen to Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/matt-martin-power-time-precious-commodity"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; May 26, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/matt-martin-power-time-precious-commodity" aria-label="Listen to Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity now." title="Listen to Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/TEN7-Podcast-1220_1.png" width="1220" height="1220" alt="TEN7 Podcast" loading="lazy" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-podcast-number field--type-integer field--label-hidden field__item">121</div> Thu, 24 Jun 2021 00:10:24 +0000 jonathan 394 at https://ten7.com The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 5 https://ten7.com/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-5 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 5</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Course Correction and Trusting Your Gut</h2> <p>In the <a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-4">last update</a> about our journey to a new TEN7 website, I talked about trusting the process and being confident the ingredients we’re assembling will come together in the right way. Then, suddenly, I had a moment of doubt. Despite all the pre-work and check-ins along the way, something didn’t feel right when I started to see the designs taking life. That’s when I realized trusting the process doesn’t mean you’re just going with the flow. The process requires constant engagement to be sure we’re correcting course and staying true to the <a href="http://ten7.com/mission">mission and values</a> that remain our North Star.</p> <p>We were just entering an exciting phase of web design, when the grayscale wireframes were starting to merge with the color palette and typography we selected. I was on a zoom call with our designers at <a href="http://studiomalagon.com">Studio Malagón</a> and they were presenting beautiful concepts. Then, after the meeting as I looked more closely, I felt my energy start to wane. Suddenly the colors we selected were starting to veer more cold, when the essence of our brand is open and warm. I had signed off on these colors but now the way they were being used just didn’t feel right. Was this cold feet or natural discomfort with change? Or was this a feeling I should listen to?</p> <p>I decided the best course of action was to put these new questions before the team. After all, this group had earned my trust and had shown an understanding of what makes TEN7 unique. As soon as I raised my concerns, I knew it was the right thing to do.</p> <p>They immediately understood where I was coming from. We didn’t go back to the drawing board altogether because the foundation of the work was solid. Instead, we had another working session, playing around with shades and how the different colors will play out with different elements of the pages. Suddenly the cold gave way to warmth. Some elements that seemed a little trendy and not true to TEN7 were removed. The more we experimented and shifted things around, the more I felt my energy returning. To revisit our analogy from last month, the recipe was still sound, we just needed to adjust some of the spices to fit our palette.</p> <p>Seeing this process through the lens of the “client” reminded me of a few things.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Let the Brand Be Your Guide</strong><br /> As we’ve moved through this process we’ve often talked about staying true to the TEN7 brand, which is why we did so much <a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-2">work at the beginning</a><span> to refine our mission and values. What’s been interesting is to watch as the brand has started to take on its own personality. Certain elements that seemed spot on in the early stages suddenly felt a little off the mark as our understanding of the brand has matured. We need to keep our minds open to stay on target.</span><br />  </li> <li><strong>Re-Thinking Doesn’t Mean Re-Starting</strong><br /> Part of my hesitancy to speak up about my concerns was that the team was producing great work, and I didn’t want to stop the momentum just because something didn’t “feel right.” What I realized, once I did speak up, was that my comments didn’t cause the team to miss a beat. If anything, the discussion about the color palette spurred even better work and got us all re-energized to push forward.<br />  </li> <li><strong>A Good Team Isn’t Afraid to Make Adjustments</strong><br /> It’s a testament to the team we have working on the site that nobody got defensive when I raised these questions. The designs were beautiful, they just didn’t feel quite right. Nobody took it personally. Instead, we worked together to get it right. This is testament to living our value, “<a href="http://ten7.com/mission">Be a Team</a><span>,” where, by opting for openness first, we encourage collaboration in all things.</span></li> </ul> <p>This is a magical time in the process as the pages start to take shape, so it’s easy to get carried away. You need to walk the line between course-correction, fine-tuning and nit-picking on the little things. (No, I don’t really need the tiny heart graphic to change colors as I scroll down the page). In the end, I had to trust my gut, and I was happy to have a team that was willing to listen and take things where they needed to go.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 06/22/2021 - 14:31</span> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/culture" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/content-strategy" hreflang="en">Content Strategy</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/strategy-design" hreflang="en">Strategy &amp; Design</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-4"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 4</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; May 27, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-4" aria-label="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 4 now." title="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 4 now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/culture" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-3"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 3</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; April 27, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-3" aria-label="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 3 now." title="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 3 now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/T7-Slate-Grey-1200-social-media_0.png" width="1200" height="1200" alt="TEN7 logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> Tue, 22 Jun 2021 19:31:55 +0000 jonathan 395 at https://ten7.com Why We Moved to Notion https://ten7.com/blog/post/why-we-moved-notion <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Why We Moved to Notion </span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>I can’t say enough raving, wonderful things about <a href="https://www.notion.so">Notion</a>. I use it to organize my work life and my personal life, and at this point I’d be lost without it.</p> <p>So why Notion? Sure, it was great for me personally, but how would it work for TEN7?</p> <p>I first brought Notion to our CEO <a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic">Ivan's</a> attention when I started working with TEN7 a couple of years ago. But at that time, it didn’t feel necessary. TEN7’s organizational system was (mostly) working.</p> <p>For many years, we used Confluence as our tool for company notes and documentation. As longtime Jira users, it seemed like it made the most sense. It connected with Jira in convenient ways, and there wasn’t a strong impetus for changing that.</p> <p>But as the team grew, so did our needs. Confluence was glitchy, and the UI unpleasant. So we started the first migration process — moving all of our Confluence docs to Google Drive. Immediately we realized that wasn’t going to work great for everyone — particularly for our development team. They needed easy access to all of our clients’ technical documentation, rather than having to sludge through a bunch of Google docs. So we broke off our technical documentation to <a href="https://about.gitlab.com/">GitLab</a> — because, well, our team was already in there working on code. It was the most logical and accessible solution.</p> <p>Still, Google Drive wasn’t totally cutting it for anyone. It required too many clicks and not enough visuals. And in classic TEN7 fashion, we kept our eyes open for something that would serve us better.</p> <p>One day, Ivan brought up Notion again. His daughter had started using it and loved it, and he was interested in trying it out. We’re big fans of trying things, experimenting, and doing some trial and error to ultimately get to the best possible solution.</p> <p>It didn’t take long before we were hooked on Notion. We saw the endless potential in its features, and the UI was incredible.</p> <p>With Notion, we can do things like…</p> <ol> <li>Keep all of our internal documentation neatly organized and easily accessible (we still keep our client technical documentation in GitLab, where the devs can always find it).<br /> <img alt="Internal Documentation" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9ed7262f-35b7-4311-8b2f-304543c52c9f" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/internal-process.png" width="1800" height="1800" loading="lazy" /></li> <li>Add emojis to everything. I’m a big fan of this. I think it visually signals to your brain what you’re looking at, and as a bonus, it’s pretty cute.</li> <li>Create a main database of tasks and filter those tasks for individual purposes and projects. For example, I can create a filtered view of our main task list that only shows me tasks assigned to me or only tasks that are tagged with a specific client or project.<br /> <img alt="Command Center" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1b28e9b5-a0d1-4bb2-a00b-2d48493e3bd6" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/command-center.png" width="1800" height="1800" loading="lazy" /></li> <li>Customize all the things. This is one of Notion’s greatest assets. There are so many different ways you can set it up and display pages — based on your preferences. You’re not locked into a specific view or setup.</li> <li>Build presentations with a fun, engaging interface that’s easily shareable and doesn’t require email attachments.</li> <li>Provide a go-to resource for our team to reference anything they could possibly need about our company.<br /> <img alt="Company home" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="cd5f2d1e-a1f6-4d81-8d7c-63f11a20790d" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/company-home.png" width="1800" height="1800" loading="lazy" /></li> </ol> <p>So far, Notion has given us a lot to think about, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do for us. We continue to learn and refine our setup and will share more as we discover it.</p> <p>If you haven’t seen Notion in action, we highly recommend checking it out. It’s free to create a personal account and start digging in. You might find that it doesn’t take much effort at all to start streamlining your business operations.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Tue, 06/15/2021 - 13:03</span> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/operations" hreflang="en">Operations</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Dani Adelman</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">Director of Operations</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/dani.jpg?itok=BGt_xaZd" width="100" height="100" alt="Dani Adelman" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Dani has enjoyed making other people's lives easier and happier for decades. And that's why being our Director of Operations suits her perfectly. Her unique background in the realms of publishing (as a writer/editor) and creative agencies (as a multi-media producer) help her keep an eye on clients' greater vision while also being able to coordinate details and keep "the trains running on time." When she's not reviewing budgets and timelines, she's probably either meditating or at the movies. Or both.</p></div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/dani.jpg?itok=BGt_xaZd" width="100" height="100" alt="Dani Adelman" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/operations" hreflang="en">Operations</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/were-now-parallax-users-and-it-has-changed-our-lives"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">We’re now Parallax Users, and It Has Changed Our Lives</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Dani Adelman &mdash; May 17, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/were-now-parallax-users-and-it-has-changed-our-lives" aria-label="Read We’re now Parallax Users, and It Has Changed Our Lives now." title="Read We’re now Parallax Users, and It Has Changed Our Lives now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/dani.jpg?itok=BGt_xaZd" width="100" height="100" alt="Dani Adelman" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/operations" hreflang="en">Operations</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/ten7s-tech-stack"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">TEN7’s Tech Stack</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Dani Adelman &mdash; September 9, 2020</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/ten7s-tech-stack" aria-label="Read TEN7’s Tech Stack now." title="Read TEN7’s Tech Stack now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/T7-Slate-Grey-1200-social-media.png" width="1200" height="1200" alt="TEN7 logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> Tue, 15 Jun 2021 18:03:47 +0000 jonathan 393 at https://ten7.com Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight https://ten7.com/podcast/episode/ernesto-morales-design-discovery-and-delight <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ernesto Morales: Design for Discovery and Delight</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Summary</h2> <p>Ernesto Morales discusses how his past and his passions came together to create Studio Malagón, and how design can be a catalyst for creativity and community.</p> <h2>Guest</h2> <p>Ernesto Morales, founder and creative director of Studio Malagón</p> <h2>Highlights</h2> <ul> <li>Ernesto studied communications in college, but he was always focused on applying those skills to his true passion for design.</li> <li><a href="https://malagon.studio/">Studio Malagón</a> draws its name from another one of Ernesto’s passions: music. He used to DJ under the name “DJ Malagón.”</li> <li>Ernesto found inspiration for his studio while living in Mexico City, where his family is from. He used to walk the streets and take photos of small details, objects and colors that helped inspire his designs.</li> <li>Ernesto is driven to use design to foster connection and to support people who are thought leaders, working to make a difference in the world.</li> </ul> <h2>Links</h2> <ul> <li><a href="https://malagon.studio/">Studio Malagón</a></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Cheese-Monkeys/Chip-Kidd/9780743217552">The Cheese Monkeys</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://www.paulrand.design/">Paul Rand</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.objectsolutions.net/">Object Solutions</a></li> </ul> <h2>Transcript</h2> <p><strong>IVAN STEGIC: </strong>Hey everyone, you're listening to the TEN7 podcast where we get together every fortnight, and sometimes more often, to talk about technology business and the humans in it. I'm your host Ivan Stegic. My guest today is <a href="https://twitter.com/ernestodmorales">Ernesto Morales</a>, the founder and creative director of <a href="https://malagon.studio/">Studio Malagón</a>, a graphic design agency that creates moments of connection in Austin, Texas. Ernesto leads a creative team that we are currently collaborating with on the new TEN7 site, and I am so excited to be talking with him today.</p> <p>Ernesto, it's my great pleasure to welcome you to the podcast.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO MORALES:</strong> Yes, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to speak with you.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Are you joining me from Austin today, like I said you were based in?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, I am. I'm in my backyard studio.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> And do you have a wonderful view of the warm green outsides of Austin?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> Yeah, it's true. Summer is something that people dread here, and it creeps up on you and suddenly it's just here, baking you. So that's what I'm seeing right now is the sun's coming up after a week of rain.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> And it's May, so I imagine it's going to get much hotter there pretty soon. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> [laughing] Yeah, it's a bit of reverse of cold weather places like Minneapolis where summer is the dreaded season.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] Yeah, Isn't that, right? So, you didn't grow up in Austin, did you? Where did you grow up?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> I grew up in Houston, just a stone's throw away, actually on a street called Skipping Stone Lane. [laughing] My parents are from Mexico City and they moved to Houston right before I was born and raised me and my sister Sylvia there, and we’re still very well connected with Mexico. There they have a lot of extended family that we would go visit once or twice every year growing up. And so, we grew up in the suburbs of Houston, an area that's very international, in Jersey Village High School in northwest Houston, and we're still so connected to our Mexican family and roots there. So, a little bit of a multicultural upbringing.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> And you mentioned that you went to high school there. What era was that? When did you go to high school and what did it look like around culturally and from a pop culture perspective for you?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> It’s funny, I think just immediately of technology, right? Like, the way that I was communicating with friends was always on AOL Instant Messenger, and it was getting, sneaking access to the family computer and eventually taking over the family computer for my just friend conversations. So, I grew up with a lot of creative introverts and chat was our way of talking and we were kind of an alternative rock kind of crowd. I was in an alternative rock band as a drummer.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Oh, you were?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> Yeah, yeah, I was.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Well, let's hear about that. What was the name of the band?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> Long, long ago, it was called “The Shrieks” and from what I remember, our lead singer, lead writer, Nick Norris was interested in finding something that was SEO friendly in a way, like “The Shrieks” is just a thing that is memorable as like, a band name, in the very early days of searching for things on Google, I think. He was very advanced. We were following a lot of the garage rock movements of the time and he was really a genius songwriter, and all of the people in the band were more adept at musicianship than I was. I was just there to kind of beat on the drums [laughing] and never really leveled up my skills, but I was just having fun with the band.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Did you want to be a musician when you grew up? Or was it kind of design early on?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> It was design early on. So, when we were graduating from high school, I threw a final summer party at our house, and I did this very nerdy thing of having a sort of guestbook, where people could write their names as well as their future careers that they had in mind. We were all going on different paths, right. And I think I still have that thing somewhere; I wrote “graphic designer.”</p> <p>I had run into this book at a bookstore that really made me fall in love with design, made it all click for me. It was called <em><a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Cheese-Monkeys/Chip-Kidd/9780743217552">The Cheese Monkeys</a></em> by Chip Kid and Chip Kid is a graphic designer and this book was about a graphic designer going to graphic design school, so it's very specific. Also the book itself, the experience of being in bookstores, was where I fell in love with just the intimate connections, these moments of connection that you mentioned at the top, and how design can create those and create this very personal experience of something that you hold in your hand, or you interact with, a lens through which you see the world. And so, I was very attracted to that energy, that power, and in just exploring where my creativity could lead in that direction.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> What year was that?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> It was in 2004 that I graduated high school, and I graduated college in 2008. There was a lot of, feels like bygone traditional graphic design where there was a common canon of traditional graphic designers, <a href="https://www.paulrand.design/">Paul Rand</a> was at the top, and there were other white men to follow or kind of like from a European tradition, Swiss design. There was a lot of still classic standards that folks held on to and it was the early days of web and digital design. There just weren't any real disciplines around that yet.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> And you couldn't even implement any of the designs really online either, right? Helvetica became a web font so much later, like the best you could work with was Arial, and maybe Times New Roman.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Exactly. So a lot of limitations, a lot of links just as blue as they could be and red when they were clicked on. So yeah, that was a very different era. That was when I really fell in love with design through the sort of traditional print lens. And I fell in love with the more experimental folks of the eighties and nineties, M &amp; Co., Stefan Sagmeister, people who created not just again, a book design, but a beautiful package with a sleeve insert, and there's this deep concept, and when you open up there's a hidden message here and there. That whole just layers of meaning and concepts that just make you connect more with a thing, that was always what drew me.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> So, after that summer party that you threw, you made your way out to Boston to Boston University, and you knew you were going to be a graphic designer at that point.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> I did, but I grew up with my dad being a business manager, the kind of role that is in a big corporation; he worked for HP. The kind of role that I still really could not explain to you in a sentence.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] I have a friend who I can't explain his job either, so I totally get it.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> [laughing] Yeah, I feel embarrassed by it. But I grew up in sort of this kind of pressure to have a career that had more clarity around it and graphic design, at least the folks that I was following were more in this kind of artistic leaning and didn't fill as much of a clear career path, and so I deviated a bit, and I think that that deviation helped because it wasn't that much of a deviation, I studied communications at the College of Communication at Boston University and that was a lot of breadth. It was a lot of writing. Your first course was writing 50 profiles of famous people in 100 words each. We would do script writing and PR writing and then we would do other projects like advertising and video production.</p> <p>And it was a lot of just broad based thinking about communication, what is the true meaning and message we're getting out? What is the audience? How are we defining them? Who are the competitors or other people in the space? It was just this broad and strategic way of thinking. Then I came in and applied to graphic design.</p> <p>I took an elective that was graphic design in a different school, and then I took a few advertising courses where I tried to hone my design skills. I was interested in that part.</p> <p>But it was not like a design curriculum that I took, I ended up just amassing a portfolio of enough design things that I then took into some internships that I then grew into the next internship. And so, my career was just slowly pieced together through a lot of just working on doing the extra work to try to “oomph” my design, without having a formal design instructor to tell me, these are the standards you should follow.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>How amazing that your communications career would become so fundamental to the work you do today.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>There were times when I didn't want to bring that up, because I didn't want to bring up that I was self-taught in graphic design, because that could look like I had something missing. And now just looking back, I realized the breadth has really helped.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah. So what was your first design role then out of college? And how did you land it?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, out of college. So I had done in college, a few internships and had a little bit of a working resume and a little bit of a working portfolio. And I had this friend, Ava Roski, who worked for the <a href="https://www.icaboston.org/">Institute of Contemporary Art</a> in Boston, which was then around 2008, was like a relatively new building, very big landmark, new architecture, and they had a big landmark, new brand to go with it. So, she introduced me to the designer, who had the ICA on retainer, and his name was Jose Nieto, based in Salem, Massachusetts, and I went up there on the commuter rail with my little portfolio, and I very shyly presented my work, and he was very detail oriented.</p> <p>I remember him commenting on certain things that he would have done differently or was suggesting that I could learn from, and I came back from that just thinking <em>Oh, boy, I got a lot of work to do.</em> But then it turned out, he called me back and wanted me to be his intern. We had connected on some level, and he was really eager to teach me and to have someone to teach. He was so passionate about design.</p> <p>He was the one who introduced me to these groundbreaking thinkers like Sagmeister, and I would always just ask a question, and he would stop what he was doing and pull out a book and show me how he might respond to that question and we would drive around, go check on the print production for something, and on the whole drive, he would just answer my questions. It was just such a generous mentorship that was just the day in and day out of being an intern with him, because it was just the two of us most days.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>What do you think he's doing now? Are you still in touch with him?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> Yeah, I checked in with him a few years ago. He's sort of a creative director position at a place called Argus. I tried to check in with him, but it was through LinkedIn, because that's all I had of his anymore, and LinkedIn messages sometimes people respond a month later, because I’m not used to it, [laughing] so we missed the coffee date.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Oh, that's too bad. Those early influencers and mentors can make such a big difference in one's career and one's life.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about reaching out to those early mentors and just giving that sense of gratitude and that check in.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Yeah, that would be amazing. And so, then you were interning in Salem, and I know you've been all over the US and also working in Mexico City. So, you grew up in Houston, went to college in Boston, first job was out in Salem. What was the impetus to move to Mexico City and work there? What were the circumstances around that?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Sure. So my parents being from Mexico City I had always visited as a child, but had always been just kind of wrapped up in the bubble of family like we were just literally breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we had appointments with family all day, or else we were stuck in the house. There was not a lot even into my 20s, not a lot of go off on your own. And part of it was just my parents being cautious. They had grown up in Mexico City and didn't want their kids just kind of “out in the wild” and the unknowns and the sort of unwritten codes.</p> <p>You know it's just like any other big city, there are unwritten codes that you have to follow and understand. Actually I was attracted to it because I became a DJ, so I followed the musician thread a little bit into adulthood. And I was very focused on this kind of Latin American electronified sound that was going on in the 2012 era. There were genres like Moombahton, and Digital Cumbia that people were just releasing bootlegs of this stuff. And I was just curious, this is my roots, I'm playing this music up in Boston, but I'm from Mexico, and I feel like I don't really understand the culture on my own terms, and I just wanted to go down there.</p> <p>I went down with my DJ partner Sarah Skolnick, who now goes by <a href="http://www.riobamba-dj.net/about">Riobamba</a>. We went down to what she arranged, because she was always just making engagements for us, she arranged as a travel diary of us as DJs in Mexico City that I would design for our websites, that we would take video for it, so again, my communications background, kind of turning this whole thing into a package. And at the same time, we were touring. Then, I just met somebody who was hiring a graphic designer, and I stayed. It was kind of like, total serendipity moment, but born from trying to connect with my cultural roots.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> You probably heard me laughing about the fact that you said you were a DJ, and that was not insulting at all. Mostly, because your middle name is David, and your initials are EDM. And I think that's just another genre of music that's electronic that you could be DJing. And so, I thought that the connection there was quite amusing and funny.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, it's true. I've owned that in different times, too. So yeah, EDM, I sign off my emails now as EDM.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>How have the different cities you've lived in influenced the way that you design and the way that you think about the creative process?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> So, I've been lucky to just be in communities that are very entrepreneurial and self-starting. I graduated in 2008 in Boston where the recession was hitting, and I wanted to work at small design studios, but the opportunities just weren't there. I was working at Square Zero in Salem for a little bit, but then that dried up, and I decided, let me move closer to home, a lot of my Houston friends have migrated to Austin, let me go see what's going on in Austin. And Austin had a lot of dry opportunities as well, I was kind of just piecing together this freelance career.</p> <p>But at the same time, in the many places that I've been, I have just been, again, lucky to meet people who are self-starters, and entrepreneurial, and in more recent years, when I was in Mexico City, I was amazed by how many people that I would meet, were running multiple different endeavors with multiple different creative partners, and they had like very established brands and websites for just the event series that they were doing, or the music series or the design studio.</p> <p>So many different people just making their business and their simple marketing materials to put their name out there. So, when I was in Mexico City it was really the inspiration to think<em> </em>this could really be my studio<em>.</em> I've been freelancing now on and off trying to just piece together the gaps in my education, trying to piece together my income, but what if I sort of leveled up and treated this as a studio and took on that, that whole name?</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And so, Studio Malagón was born in Mexico City is what I think you're saying?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>It was. And originally, actually Malagón was my DJ name.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> I see, so DJ Riobamba and DJ Malagón?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah. And we were together as a duo, we were Pajaritos, which means “little birds.” But Malagón and Riobamba actually, both of those are place names, but we kind of found them through our own channels. And Malagón was this story that's very connected to my parents being cautious about me exploring Mexico City on my own. I was going to meet a friend of mine who also was half Mexican and living in Mexico at the time. I was going to go meet her in the broad daylight afternoon, in the center of downtown, my mom was telling me to be cautious about what kind of cab you get into. Be cautious about this and that.</p> <p>And so, mid 20s, completely uncautious, I would just walk into the first cab that I see, and the driver is 18 maybe and the ID on the window was clearly someone else, clearly like a father or an uncle [laughing], someone in their 50s, 60s, very faded ID and yet the ID had the name Malagón on it. And so, I got off and met my friend, Samantha Catan and just kind of went on with my day but that stuck with me, because I was struck by this idea of this person holding on to this other person's identity and I was at the same time doing this sort of identity search. I literally had a sort of deadline on when I had to put my DJ name out there.</p> <p>But I was just trying to figure out my life and career, that concept of sort of flexing a new identity and like putting on a persona was something that resonated with me then as a DJ, and then I sort of thought well, you know, there's DJ Malagón, why can't my design practice be Studio Malagón? Now I have this channel that's just our sort of playlists called Radio Malagón, and it just feels like this extension of that identity that was kind of borrowed and then I took it on.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Wow, what a cool origin story. One of the only things I know about Mexico City is that the <a href="https://www.museofridakahlo.org.mx/en/the-blue-house/">Frida Kahlo Museum</a> is there. Is that close to where you were by any chance? Did you spend any time at that museum?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>No, it's funny. The Frida Kahlo Museum, my wife, Sandy Russom, has been with me to Mexico so many times. We met while I was living there, and yet, we've never been able to go there because it's far, it’s like an hour's distance. It’s actually in this place called Coyoacán which was not Mexico City, it was a different town that got eaten up and incorporated into Mexico City. And the time that we went there, most recently, we saw a line that basically was two, three hours long of, you know, nice day, lots of travelers trying to get into the museum, buses dropping people off, and we were like, <em>Okay, well, maybe another time</em>.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Maybe another time you’re going to have to go back and do that soon.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Mexico City is so inspiring. To me, Mexico City is so inspiring on every corner in every nook and cranny. There's such a mix of new and old and traditional and contemporary and rich and poor. And, you know, there are a lot of complexities to that disparity, but there's a lot of just rich exploration and I ended up realizing I really am a foreigner here. My family's from Mexico, I speak fluent Spanish, I appear Mexican, but people would always ask me, as soon as I speak a few words, where are you from? [laughing] I just couldn't quite blend in, but I think that as an outsider, I just got such a rich experience of trying to piece together this idea of what is the ghost of me that would have grown up here, if not for that one job opportunity that my dad had.</p> <p>I was staying in the house where eventually five generations of my family set foot in and just kind of making a new life for myself there and understanding what is my relationship to the city and this culture and literally if I had to go somewhere, I would plan to walk as much as possible from A to point B, and just go down streets I hadn't gone down to, and I just took out my phone and photographed so many little details and used Instagram for the first time and found this whole community of people just capturing little moments that are just sort of serendipitous relationships between objects, this bright colored chair leaned against the wall and the sunlight catching it in this way. It doesn't have a deep, rich story but it has this moment of connection and beauty in the day.</p> <p>And I have been thinking about how little I walk lately, during COVID times and walking is ultimately [laughing] the way that I get inspiration and the big reason for it, I think, is just because I don't know what's going to happen. My mind is emptier. I'm not sitting around solving a problem, I'm just out there kind of observing quietly, my surroundings and so many things can come of that.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And how poetic that the name and the genesis of your studio is in the same place where generations of your family have been. That’s a beautiful connection between the beginning of your studio and your past.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, it's really nice. My family really made a very intentional effort to keep us connected with our extended family in Mexico. And they wanted to stay connected to us, of course, but just taking us there and making sure that we always had face time, like I mentioned breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings with folks in our family to connect with them once a year, every two years and just feel like that was an important side of our life.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Do you think you had a mission when you first started the studio? And if you did, how does it compare to what your mission is now?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>When I first started, I was lucky to be really right away, introduced to the kinds of industries that I'm still attracted to which were art, culture and media. My first internship at Square Zero I was working with the ICA in Boston. We worked with Mass Art, and we worked with Contemporary Theatre. We worked with the American Repertory Theatre, based in Cambridge. And so, we were doing cover design for theatrical productions, we were doing promotional brochures for art exhibitions.</p> <p>And to a degree that was just my early understanding of what my mission was, was that I wanted to work for people who produced art and culture and media. And that has stuck as a thread. I've ventured into side projects, whether it's the DJing, or other projects that are generating my own art, culture and media, and then designing that. And that's just the area that I feel most richly connected to is, we have now kind of landed on this working tagline of “Design for the delight of discovery” and trying to create the designs that are going to introduce people or be that first cover image or that first introductory design that people see when they're engaging with this piece of media, this piece of art entering this experience. And so, that is something that I always want to lean into, is just working with people who, now the vision is coming together.</p> <p>I literally woke up at 5:00 AM this morning, and couldn't sleep with the positioning statement for the studio that was kind of coming into place. And that positioning statement is pretty well linked to my early ideas of working in art and culture and media. We do visual design for ideas, stories and experiences, not products. That's the working idea. I never wanted to work for products or emphasize product benefits, I've always wanted to work with people who are putting big ideas out there, who are working in publishing, generating podcasts, and creating the whole designed experience around what media they're creating.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That's a great segue into talking about how we've been working together, and the work that we've been doing since the beginning of the year on the new TEN7 website. I think you and your whole team have brought an incredible amount of insight and knowledge and experience to working together. And I'm really excited to start to share with the world what we're actually doing. And I'm really looking forward to the next phase of the work that we've been doing together.</p> <p>What I wanted to ask about was your process, and your process with us. I struggle to say us because I don't treat you and I don't feel like you're a vendor. I feel like we're working together on this thing that we're building and this thing that we're creating, but I do realize that there is this service relationship, and that you have a process, and that you've used this process before. And what I'm curious about is, how has your process changed? How has it been different? Where have you needed to flex in your work with the project that we are collaborating on?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>I really appreciate, first of all, just the trust and the sort of at level partnership that you treat my studio with. Ultimately the big key to us collaborating so well is just that we're partners in this and that feels like it just opens up a lot of trust. My senior designer, Melissa Brimer, we have been working on a handful of brand and website packages, and we have honed a sort of basic process around it.</p> <p>The process is generally kind of an industry standard, but the part that I love about working with TEN7 is that you have this comfort in opening up under the hood and seeing the inner workings of our design directions and the early drafts. I remember when I first was giving my art direction to Melissa, which is just a screen recording video of me talking through, “Here's a bunch of inspiration, here's a bunch of tactical tools that we can look at, in this mood board. Here's a bunch of type and color thoughts,”<em> </em>and<em> </em>I offered to record that for you as well, you were excited for that and that I think just is a really nice opportunity to bring you in, again, not really as the feeling as a client, but as a team member and to be able to get into the sort of messy design process while things are still like, “Oh I’m getting this emotional reaction from this thing. Not sure if it's a thread to follow”. I think that being able to get collaborative in a messy way and just kind of throwing ideas out there, that really brings the best creative.</p> <p>I try to bring my clients to that level as well. What I appreciate about TEN7 is that you have this vision that you have been formulating into words at the same time as we were kicking off the visual design aspect of your brand and website. And I think you being in the headspace of envisioning, that is a perfect handoff for us creating visuals around that vision. And so, we try to tease that out in our clients to sort of go beyond providing us the content and the specs for a thing. Like, dig into what is the vision? What is the deep meaning and value that you're trying to create, that you want this audience to feel? We really appreciate those clients who can be in those blurry conversations as the vision and visuals are both coming together because again, it just brings better creative.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I agree, I think that it's hard to trust someone that is responsible for the future of your brand. Right? You can't just hire someone and trust them immediately, there has to be some sort of connection, there has to be some trust in the relationship, there has to be in some cases, data and evidence as well. And I'm just so glad that we've been able to collaborate the way we have, and this podcast will publish but we still won't have launched anything publicly from a visual perspective. But boy, watch out, because something amazing is coming out soon.</p> <p>What has been hard? What has been difficult for the team? What has surprised you or delighted you about the project?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>It’s really hard to come up with difficulties in this. I'm not just saying that to be overly positive. The would be difficulties, oftentimes in the design process, there's just a lack of communication, or lack of clarity around what your vision really is, or how you might respond to this or that, what's your underlying emotions behind things. But we've had the pleasure of breaking through that, we have very open communication, and we have very open critique of what's working and what's not, and that sort of vulnerability is really treasured. That's something that I'm actually learning that I can apply to other clients, is just not being afraid to be vulnerable, and to ask questions that might clarify a major facet of what we're working on. So just having that open pathway and bringing in your strategist Lynn into the wireframe reviews, and there's a lot of just the open critique and open conversation that breaks through what is typically the challenge.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I think that's a glowing compliment. And I wasn't looking for one, but I appreciate everything you said. [laughing] So I was looking at your LinkedIn profile as part of the research I was doing for this episode and I remember seeing this the last time I looked at the profile back before we started working together, and there was this company called Object Solutions. On the outside and at the outset, you take a peek at it, and it looks like a real company, feels like a real company but there's just this really weird, dystopian future edge that it has, almost like Black Mirror, that show about all those weird futuristic things, right? And then I kind of clicked on it and I looked at the website and I spent time watching all four videos that were there, and the Sleep Achievement Medal really was something that stuck out at me. And then I looked at when Object Solutions was created, and it was created, I think, early in 2013, or 2014, something like that. So it wasn't recent. And it's really a project by you, right? It's one of your projects and it's dark satire. How did you come up with this idea? What were the influences? What was your thought pattern around creating Object Solutions?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong><a href="https://www.objectsolutions.net/">Object Solutions</a>, I really appreciate the lens that you have on it, because that's exactly what I tried to create in the design, was something that could pass for a real company, but you just see between the lines and this dark future they're presenting. And I've always been interested in futurism and future forecasting.</p> <p>And in college, this is sort of 2006, my friend <a href="https://www.chrismaggio.biz/">Chris Maggio</a> and I would always talk about these topics, just sort of what if scenarios that were absurdist, about what if robots were integrated into every single thing we touch that kind of thing. And we created this thing at the time called the Institute of Future Impactful Thought, it was like a rough prototype for this. And I just kept going with that thread. It was a school project that kind of died and I was just like, “I really still want to make this thing that could house all these absurdist inventions that I come up with all day”. And the invention that really kicked it off was the magnifying spoon.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] Yeah, that was a good one. I'm sorry, listeners to be interrupting but you have to watch the magic spoon video on objectsolutions.net. Sorry to interrupt you. Keep going. Keep going. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> So, the magnifying spoon was born literally to solve a problem that I had, which was I was working in downtown Boston at a design studio, went to grab my lunch, brought it back and it was a burrito bowl without a crunch, but I felt a crunch. [laughing] I investigated the crunch, there was a small piece of glass in my burrito bowl.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Oh no!</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> And so rather than just get super angry and everything, I just always carried my ideas notebook around and I just thought, “Wouldn't it be funny if I had this obsessive tool that I could use to magnify my meal, and thus I would have caught the errant object before I bit in.” And so, I'm already getting into that voice just describing it, just this highly technical and overly optimistic tone of like, what if you had this most amazing object that's going to solve all your troubles.</p> <p>That was the sort of voice that came out of it and I would just take my lunch walks and have a little notebook and be writing on the column of the restaurant where I was waiting for my takeout sandwich, I would just be writing the scripts. I was so fortunate to meet up with these folks, Juan Pablo Vietnine and Carlos Maldonado in Mexico City that I just described the magnifying spoon to them, their industrial designers, and they said, “You have to make that. We know where you can make that.” And Mexico City downtown has, from indigenous times, has a very sort of specialized block by block zoning of what kind of products you can buy in that one block, and so you can go down to “the lens block” and get your custom lens done by a custom lens maker who can carve it out like a spoon for you. Then you walk over to “the jewelry block” and you can have a custom jewelry maker replicate a spoon handle that you brought and take the lens and figure out how exactly to clamp them together. And then pretty soon you have this bright gleaming object that you can use in film production.</p> <p>So, I went to New York with my friends, Chris Maggio and John Wilson. They are very enmeshed in the film network there, so we had a green screen space their friend Brad rented us, and we just created this stark, dramatic product demo video around the magnifying spoon, around the full body moist towel. There was one called the ergonomic pants, which didn't make it to light. And they sort of let me drive the creative direction even though I had never done this before. I was kind of trying to partner with them on the vision, but they were like, “Well, it’s your vision. What do you want?”</p> <p>And I just pieced together this entire world. You know I was just following the inspiration without having a deep vision for the purpose or the final outcome. It was just that I wanted this thing to look like a company, to have product demo videos on the website and to make a statement about how we rely on technology, how we turn to technology whenever something fails us, or whenever something is difficult to manage on our own terms. So it was really just this whole world built around the inquisitiveness around what is our relationship with technology and where do we want it to go?</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>What's striking to me is that this was produced years ago, eight years ago, which in internet times is like five eras or something. But when you think about what you're saying, and what you've produced as possible future, are these products really that ridiculous when you think about them now? Especially the Sleep Achievement Medal, we have to talk about that, because eight years ago, no one would be caught dead carrying something around their neck that had a flashing amount of hours that I slept last night. I don't know that anyone would want to do that now, but I feel like we're closer to wanting to do that now than we were eight or 10 years ago. I wonder what ridiculous thing we can think of now that will just be normal 10 years from now?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Exactly. The Sleep Achievement Medal was this little glowing digital emblem that you would wear on your chest that just displayed how many hours you slept last night. I think that's maybe a feature in the Apple Watch now? I don't know. But at the time, it was just something that I found in Mexico City that you could program the LED to do any pixel pattern that you wanted, so I designed all the pixel patterns for one hour of sleep versus 14 hours of sleep, and how those would look different.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I saw the 14 hours of sleep, I thought, <em>Really</em>? [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> Hey, that’s the ultimate achievement. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I guess.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, actually, my friend John and I in between shots we were wearing a one hour of sleep and 14 hours of sleep medal. We walked into a coffee shop to get coffee for the crew, and I think I was wearing the one hour, and the baristas just gave me a free double espresso. They were feeling bad for me. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> You’re kidding? Really? [laughing]</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO:</strong> Yeah, so, a real test that actually worked.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Wow. That’s amazing. For our listeners <a href="http://objectsolutions.net">objectsolutions.net</a>, you should check that out and look at this wonderful fake company that could be real that Ernesto created. And also, what a great portfolio piece for Studio Malagón. Right? This is something that shows up when you do research into you and your studio. And this is an additional display of the thought process and the creative process that you have.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>This is really what I want to keep digging into. The kind of thing that I want to do with Studio Malagón that's the bigger vision is we want to work with folks who work in art, culture and media and want to produce art, culture and media ourselves and have this perspective that we generate.</p> <p>The vision for Object Solutions has always been a little bit difficult because the future moves faster than you can make fun of. [laughing] It was always a means to sort of look 10 steps into the future and create this absurdist view of the dark future we could lead toward if we don't do some critiquing around our relationship with technology.</p> <p>And there's like a humor to it, but it's like a real serious message that it’s trying to inspire. There's design fiction or speculative design, a lot of disciplines that have emerged and flourished that in the time I had just found a handful to model off of.</p> <p>So we just want to keep participating in that conversation, and yet to visualize the future, I have found that I think audio is a good way to more broadly, imagine the what ifs, because you don't have to spend your time creating a prototype of something and then the next day, it's on Kickstarter in a different version that someone is trying to put out there.</p> <p>There's a little bit more, I want to think beyond the future that I could personally manufacture and kind of imagine fictional scenarios and imagine how we would turn to those with this corporation Object Solutions as this corporate caretaker who is taking care of all your concerns, and you can outsource all your problems to and have them handle them for you.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So you've kind of described the future through this company Object Solutions and sort of a big brother aspect. What's the future of Studio Malagón? And what do you envision for your agency moving forward?</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, I have been digging into this myself and trying to answer those big questions, trying to work on the business, when I get the chance. We have this goal of honing more into working with art, culture, media, working with people doing visual design for ideas, stories and experiences. And just to participate as thought leaders on our own, in generating ideas, stories and experiences from our own lens, whether it's this critical, dark satire of the future, whether it's creating musical experiences, or just generating dialogues about design, as an industry, as a tool.</p> <p>That's the next realm. It’s a little bit like the direction that you've taken TEN7 in where you are an agency that provides services, but you also have a strong perspective that you put out through your blog and podcast, and then that brings the kinds of clients and team members that are interested in the passions that you have and the perspectives you have.</p> <p>And so that's kind of like the circle we're trying to create in the coming years, is, put ourselves more out as thought leaders, establish really more of a honed vision of what our perspectives are in the world of design and technology and beyond, and to have that be the way that we meet the people that we partner with.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It's been glorious to speak with you and to listen to you speak. And I just have so much fun talking to you and working with you. And I'm just appreciative of the time you've spent with me today and for sharing your thoughts on the podcast with us.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yeah, absolutely. I am so grateful for you inviting me on and for you to trust us as your partners in working on this new vision for you. I'm excited for the world to see it as well.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I am excited too and thank you very much for your time today.</p> <p><strong>ERNESTO: </strong>Yes, thank you.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Ernesto Morales is the founder and creative director of Studio Malagón, a graphic design agency that creates moments of connection in Austin, Texas. You can find them online at <a href="https://malagon.studio/">studiomalagon.com</a>.</p> <p>You've been listening to the TEN7 podcast. Find us online at <a href="https://ten7.com/podcast">ten7.com/podcast</a>. And if you have a second do send us a message, we love hearing from you. Our email address is podcast@ten7.com. Until next time, this is <a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic?lang=en">Ivan Stegic</a>. Thank you for listening.</p> <h2>Credits</h2> <p>This is Episode 120 of The TEN7 Podcast. It was recorded on May 21, 2021 and first published on June 9, 2021. Podcast length is 50 minutes. Transcription by <a href="http://www.rcdataentry.com/">Roxanne Chumacas</a>. Summary, highlights and editing by <a href="http://www.truevoicecommunications.com/">Brian Lucas</a>. Music by <a href="https://soundcloud.com/lexfunk">Lexfunk</a>. Produced by <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanifreed">Jonathan Freed</a>.</p> <p>Please rate our podcast! Doing so helps spread the word about the show. Just pull it up in the <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ten7-podcast/id1347158838">Podcasts app</a> and scroll all the way down, hit the stars and you're done! Thank you.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 06/09/2021 - 08:28</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-audiocast field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <h2><div class="audiofield"> <div class="audiofield-player"> <audio id="audiofield-audio-player-file-1273-b7yjvsbixcp3a2ac" preload="none" controls controlsList="nodownload" > <source src="https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/assets.ten7.com/ten7.com/files/2021-06/TEN7-Podcast-Ep-120-Ernesto-Morales_3.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"> Your browser does not support the audio element. </audio> <label for="audiofield-audio-player-file-1273-b7yjvsbixcp3a2ac">TEN7-Podcast-Ep-120-Ernesto-Morales_3.mp3</label> </div> </div> </h2> </div> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/matt-martin-power-time-precious-commodity"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; May 26, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/matt-martin-power-time-precious-commodity" aria-label="Listen to Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity now." title="Listen to Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/meeting-moment-part-5-hopeful-signs-decarceration-and-social-justice"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Meeting the Moment Part 5: Hopeful Signs For Decarceration and Social Justice</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; May 12, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/meeting-moment-part-5-hopeful-signs-decarceration-and-social-justice" aria-label="Listen to Meeting the Moment Part 5: Hopeful Signs For Decarceration and Social Justice now." title="Listen to Meeting the Moment Part 5: Hopeful Signs For Decarceration and Social Justice now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/TEN7-Podcast-1220.png" width="1220" height="1220" alt="The TEN7 Podcast logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-podcast-number field--type-integer field--label-hidden field__item">120</div> Wed, 09 Jun 2021 13:28:03 +0000 jonathan 392 at https://ten7.com The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 4 https://ten7.com/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-4 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 4</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Assembling Ingredients and Trusting the Recipe</h2> <p><a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-3">Last month I wrote</a> about the amazing team we’ve assembled on our journey to create a new website for TEN7. Over the last several weeks I’ve had an opportunity to see the team in action, putting together the ingredients that will soon come together to create the site.</p> <p>For those of you who don’t know, I love to cook! I’m not great, but I do love the process (I can spend hours watching <a href="https://ten7.com/podcast/episode/j-kenji-lopez-alt-life-fortunate-accidents">J. Kenji López-Alt’s</a> Point of View <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/kenjialt">cooking videos</a>). That’s probably why I’ve been so energized by the way our new website design has been progressing. It’s like watching talented sous-chefs selecting fresh ingredients and starting to turn them into something delicious! Here’s what’s been happening in the TEN7 kitchen over the last weeks:</p> <ul> <li>Our strategist, Lynn Winter, completed her strategic brief, analyzing the content, navigation and features of our current site and suggesting the best ways to focus the new site on the needs of our key audiences: potential clients and potential team members. This work built upon our mission to <a href="https://ten7.com/mission">Make Things That Matter</a> and it is guided by the values that drive us every day.</li> <li>Our design and branding partner, <a href="http://studiomalagon.com">Studio Malagón</a>, presented options for typography, color schemes and logo treatments. Then they started creating “high fidelity wireframes” to explore how the pages will come together. These wireframes are designed in a way that uses shades of gray to lay out site elements and hierarchies of content in a clear and compelling way.</li> <li>All the while, our Director of Operations, Dani Adelman, has been playing the role of head chef, making sure all the ingredients are being assembled on time and in the right order to start bringing it all together.</li> </ul> <p>In my role as the “client” in this process, I have had the opportunity to see website development from a new perspective and I have really enjoyed the process. I provide input and evidence and then I get to see our strategy, values, and brand personality reflected in the array of options that are placed in front of me.</p> <p>Perhaps nothing over the last month tapped into this excitement more than when Ernesto and Melissa from Studio Malagón presented options for typography and color schemes. At the beginning of that meeting I was admittedly a little nervous, wondering what was going to happen if I just didn’t like any of the options. Quickly the nerves gave way to confidence, and I lost myself in the new possibilities that were being laid out before me.</p> <p>As usual, being on the client side of this effort has yielded valuable lessons.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Trust the Process</strong><br /> As a scientist, this lesson should come easily to me, but it never hurts to be reminded. When you have a good system in place and you are using data and evidence, you can trust that you’re going to get great results. The team isn’t guessing which ingredients I will like, they are using input I’ve provided to create something that is likely to match my taste.<br />  </li> <li><strong>Reinforce What Makes You Unique</strong><br /> As we develop this site, we’re trying to resist the temptation of creating flashy features simply for the sake of uniqueness. Instead, we’re trying to develop authentic touches to reveal more about who we are and what we are like to work with. For example, we’re emphasizing audio clips where people can hear directly from our team members and our clients to learn what makes TEN7 special. This is how we represent the <a href="https://ten7.com/mission">values</a> that drive us.<br />  </li> <li><strong>Collaboration is More Important than Polish</strong><br /> It’s often tempting to try to put an extra coat of polish (or, maybe to keep our food metaphor going, an extra round of glaze) on presentations for clients. Speaking as the client, however, I have learned to appreciate when the team is willing to share work without worrying about perfection. In some ways seeing things in progress encourages more collaboration and helps bring us to a better place.</li> </ul> <p>At this point in the process, the team has whetted my appetite, and I am more eager than ever to see the ingredients come together. In the coming weeks we’ll dive into the website content needs and we’ll start to see how the various elements look and feel when they are combined together. Just like when you’re cooking, there is magic when things are combined in just the right way. The oven is preheating. I can’t wait to sample what’s next!</p> <p>As always, if you need some help, I’m just <a href="mailto:hi@ten7.com">an email away</a>.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 05/27/2021 - 14:00</span> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/strategy-design" hreflang="en">Strategy &amp; Design</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/culture" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/people-ops" hreflang="en">People Ops</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/project-management" hreflang="en">Project Management</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-3"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 3</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; April 27, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-3" aria-label="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 3 now." title="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 3 now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-blog-entry node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/culture" hreflang="en">Culture</a></li> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/content-strategy" hreflang="en">Content Strategy</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-2"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 2</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; March 26, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/blog/post/ten7-website-journey-part-2" aria-label="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 2 now." title="Read The TEN7 Website Journey - Part 2 now.">Read now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-05/T7-Slate-Grey-1200-social-media_2.png" width="1200" height="1200" alt="TEN7 logo" loading="lazy" /> </div> Thu, 27 May 2021 19:00:43 +0000 jonathan 390 at https://ten7.com Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity https://ten7.com/podcast/episode/matt-martin-power-time-precious-commodity <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Matt Martin: The Power of Time as a Precious Commodity</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2>Summary</h2> <p>Matt Martin discusses his winding career path and what he has learned about taking chances and valuing the commodity of time.</p> <h2>Guest</h2> <p>Matt Martin, co-founder and CEO of Clockwise</p> <h2>Highlights</h2> <ul> <li>Despite early interest, Matt didn’t initially pursue a career in computer software because he didn’t have any role models for that path.</li> <li>An interest in politics led Matt to start a successful blog, MN Publius, giving him first-hand experience with the power of the internet as an information sharing platform.</li> <li>Initially, Matt’s diverse career path was a barrier to getting his first job in software engineering, but once he got his foot in the door that experience proved to be a benefit.</li> <li>Clockwise was born out of the idea that time is a rare commodity, so it’s important to protect and enhance your use of time in your work and life.</li> </ul> <h2>Links</h2> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.getclockwise.com/">Clockwise</a></li> <li><a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/using-contract-hire-build-effective-team">TEN7 Contract to Hire</a></li> </ul> <h2>Transcript</h2> <p><strong>IVAN STEGIC:</strong> Hey Everyone! You're listening to the TEN7 Podcast where we get together every fortnight and sometimes more often, to talk about technology, business and the humans in it. I'm your host, Ivan Stegic.</p> <p>My guest today is <a href="https://twitter.com/getclockwise">Matt Martin</a>, who is the co-founder and CEO of Clockwise, a service that manages your calendar for you so that you have more dedicated focus time in your life. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Matt is also an attorney, and a Minnesotan, who has provided political analysis for various publications. Hello, and welcome to the podcast, Matt. It's so nice to be talking to you.</p> <p><strong>MATT MARTIN: </strong>It is fantastic to be talking to you, Ivan. And it's really fun to be on a Minnesota centered podcast. This takes me back and I am excited to be here.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It's lovely to have you on. Tell me about how amazing the weather is in California would you? Because you're out there.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>It is a very typical San Francisco day, which means that the fog has rolled in and it's just slightly chilly. It's kind of like light sweater weather, which is about par for the course over here.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, I found out something that I didn't realize was a thing this week. Gray May and Gloom June, I think. Do you know about this? Is this California terminology for May and June?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I actually have not heard about that Ivan. Although having lived here for a number of years now I can definitely pattern match off of both those statements being true.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] I didn't know it was a thing. I just thought it was always sunny out in California.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>It is not always summer, and it is not always warm. The kind of apocryphal quote is “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. Much debated about whether Mark Twain actually said that. But it is true. It is remarkable how August can be the coldest month of the year here just the way that the fog can play.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Okay, clearly, people like Mark Twain have never spent 30 degrees below in Minnesota in the winter [laughing] if that's the coldest they ever got.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>We both know that's not even close to true, but it's a nice quote. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> That's awesome. Well, let's go back a little to where you grew up, which I understand is somewhere in Minnesota, and where you went to school. So tell me about that.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I was born at the Fairview Hospital, around Southdale in Edina. My first home was in Bloomington. So, I grew up in Bloomington until I was five. Both my parents are from the Twin Cities and my dad actually grew up not too far from that home. We moved out to the western suburbs, when I was around five years old, moved out to Medina, Minnesota, on the edge of Plymouth and that is where I grew up all through elementary school, middle school, and my parents still live there today. I moved out to the east coast when I went to college, but I also came back to Minnesota after college.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And you went to one school for your whole education before you went to college. A school called the Blake School.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That is correct. Yep, I am, for better or worse, and I'm sure that there are many opinions out there in the audience on the Blake school, but I do have to say I feel lucky to have gone there and really enjoyed my education there, enjoyed my time there and spent all the way from first grade to 12th grade at the Blake school.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, you're what they call a lifer. Right?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That’s right. Well, now Ivan, this is actually much debated. Funny enough, I didn't go to kindergarten at Blake. Here’s my argument, I didn't go to kindergarten anywhere. I went to Blake and they put me into first grade. So I think I'm a lifer. But the hardcore among us might disagree.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Okay, I totally can see that. Yes, I think I would agree with your logic. If you didn't go to school anywhere, and you started at Blake as your first and you didn't need to go to kindergarten, then I would qualify you as a lifer.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That's right. And my wife reminds me all the time that I really missed out on kindergarten because I never learned how to share and that haunts me to this day.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] So apart from not learning how to share at the Blake school, how do you think it actually did prepare you for college and for your life now and what you're doing now?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I think that one of the things is that I really truly find myself to be lucky in life in myriad ways, but as it comes to Blake, I had excellent teachers. It's not without exception. There are some areas of Blake's overall academic portfolio that I think are not as strong as others. But the teachers that I had there were really pretty amazing. I'll go all the way back to my first grade computer teacher. We had a computer lab in first grade.</p> <p>For me, this was in 1991, so I mean not a tremendous time ago, but at that time, not all elementary schools had computers available to them, but we did. I had a computer teacher called Miss Kelly, and she really saw that I liked computers, that I gravitated towards it and really took me under her wing. I spent first through fifth grade with her, and I loved to go into the computer room. I loved picking up HyperCard. HyperCard, I still remember it. A light bulb lit up in my head what you could do there, and I actually ended up working for her over a summer, working with her in the computer lab. She headed up IT overall in Blake eventually.</p> <p>So that was a big influence on me. I think the second part of it I would note is, really great teachers know how to get their students excited, they know how to pull them in to not just the subject, but the curiosity to learn about what their world is like to learning about how they can apply their interests to the world around them. As trite as it is, it is kind of a trite phrase, it really does start a lifelong process of learning.</p> <p>For me, I'm a very curious person, I love to learn, I still love to learn today, and it brought me through a couple twists and turns in my career so far, but I love starting a company partially because so much of my job is learning new things and learning how to function in new areas that I've never had exposure to. So I think that that process started early with me and I'm really grateful for it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Do you feel like you thought you would be in computers when you first had that first grade class with Miss Kelly? Did you know, that's what you wanted to pursue or did you want to be something else when you grew up?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I did not. And I'm curious Ivan what this was like for you because for me at that age, in Minnesota, the role models that I had weren't computer centric. Computers felt to me like a fun toy almost. It felt like something that I would go to that was just really cool and was a side interest. I never saw the career path. I had no software engineers in my life. I had no creators.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I think I feel the same way. I didn't have any role models, either, but grant it I was programming computers a little sooner than you were, maybe five or six years. It was the early to mid-80s when I got started. Obviously no internet, small Zedex Spectrum 48K. I also saw it as a hobby, I think. There weren't any software engineers. I did not study any software engineering, or any computer science classes in school or in college. Everything that I've learned has been for my own benefit, because I was interested in it. It'd be interesting to know how that compares with now because there's so many courses right now, and as early as kindergarten.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I think for me, I've always been a pretty ambitious person, for better or worse and there are real downsides to this. And so, I don't think that I had the courage when I was in high school or even college to pursue something just because I was interested in it and pulled into it or I might have had a different career path. It was for me, the lack of understanding and the lack of connection between that interest and a career path that I could grow into. So, I think these days again, for better or worse there are a lot of examples of people who have really had very interesting, compelling careers in computer science, in building software, that pattern matching today I think I probably would have gone into software much earlier.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah, I<strong> </strong>think I would have to. But, you spent the standard number of what, two, three years at Blake in the high school doing some college counseling, and I'm sure you had a number of schools that you were applying to. But you ended up going to Dartmouth, you ended up studying government. Tell me about how that happened, how you ended up in government studies?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That one is interesting. I wouldn't say that it was deliberate. I like so many other people who go to college, you go to college, and then you're expected to make a choice about what your major is, and I had no clue. I was actually debating a little bit about computer science, about economics, and that one for me was really just an interest level. I've always been fascinated about how people organize themselves, and the capacity for large social level change through systems of government, which for me is really about collective action. How do we get together as a group of people, and choose how we're going to shape our society and how we're going to shape the rules in society? I find that endlessly interesting. It's an intersection between history and public policy and kind of our aspirations as a people. So I just find the narratives and the stories and the history there to be so rich and interesting that it pulled me in.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Did you know what your career path would be?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>No, I did not. Another thing that happened at a similar point in time is that in high school I had gotten very interested in Minnesota politics. For me at the time, and this has changed a little bit, and we could probably spend a whole podcast series on this, but Minnesota had always had this very kind of pragmatic, progressive strain of politics. I wouldn't call it highly liberal, although there are certainly strands of that. I mean, there are strands of everything, it’s a large state.</p> <p>But it was centered around, we can get together, and we can get stuff done. Like if we put our heads together, we can make this better for everyone. I think it is rooted in a little bit of a Scandinavian tradition, so you see weird things like the Democratic Farmer Labor Party and the DFL instead of the standard Democratic Party, and I love that. I love coming together to make things better for everyone. You know, Paul Wealdstone, saying, <em>We all do better when we all do better, </em>and that spirit of being able to come together and make things better for everyone, it motivated me and inspired me.</p> <p>So when I went to college, I did find that in some ways leaving Minnesota crystalized for me, the exceptional parts of that tradition, and how that felt so functional in contrast to some of the things I saw in other states, and the comparative studies of how different state systems evolve was really interesting.</p> <p>This is fun because most people aren't interested in this stuff and most people won't have the reference points, but your audience and you do, which is at the time I interned for Senator Dayton. I went to Washington, DC, and I spent a term in his office with him.</p> <p>It was a great experience. I was talking to his chief of staff at the end of my internship, and I was saying, <em>You know, this is great. I really love this. I love Minnesota politics. How can I stay involved?</em> I'm in New Hampshire. I'm out in Hanover. How can I stay involved in Minnesota politics? And he said, and this is a good bridge to something else that we can talk about, but he said, <em>You should start a blog.</em></p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>[laughing] So you took his advice.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I took his advice. It was such a funny piece of advice and it just hit all of the notes for me, because, you know, as we're picking these threads together, I had built websites, I love building websites. It was still a hobby for me at that time, but I loved it. It sounded so fun for me to get in. I like writing. I was really interested in staying connected. And so, while I was in college, I did start a website that was a blog. At the time it was Minnesota, mnpublius.blogspot.com, and then we eventually bought the dot com to just make it MN Publius, but that was a really fun experience.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Tell me why you called it mnpublius.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>So super nerdy, government major reference. The authors of the Federalist Papers when they were published, Alexander Hamilton who wrote most of them, John Jay and James Madison, they published them under the pseudonym Publius, so they did not individually sign the papers, they signed them all from Publius. I used Publius as a reference to actually a Roman citizen, but I used Publius and framed this as Minnesota Publius. At the time there was this website called Minnesota Democrats Exposed.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I remember that actually. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>Yeah, and who we now know to be <a href="https://twitter.com/mbrodkorb?lang=en">Michael Brodkorb</a>, who actually I know personally; interesting guy. I actually have to profess I like him a great deal, he's an interesting guy. But at the time he was publishing that completely anonymously, so I thought, hey, you know, it'd be like, I want this to be a little bit more highbrow, like, I want to, I want to engage on policy, I don't want to just take people down. But I do want to write this anonymously, because I don't know where it's gonna go. And you know, Michael kind of carved the course for the right leaning side of it being anonymous and so I thought, <em>Oh, what a clever reference Matt</em>. [laughing] I was like, I’m going to use the pseudonym that they published the Federalist Papers on but it's going to be Minnesota.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Well, this is a great piece of information. I have to be honest and say I did not learn that from listening to Hamilton many, many, many times as a musical. [laughing] But I did know that Hamilton wrote most of the Federalist Papers, so at least there's that. [laughing] So what do you think you were trying to accomplish? You started this in around 2005. It lasted through the great recession and Obama's first term. You faced a great deal of challenges. It ran for how long? How long did it last? And what were you trying to accomplish through these years?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I was super actively involved from 2005 to about 2010, and by super actively, I mean, for a period I was the sole writer, and then I was kind of the person who was managing it a little bit, and then writing among several other people. Then when I went to law school, I'll come back a little bit to why and what changed over that time period, but just getting to the chronology of it. When I went to law school, I wanted to break from it. It felt like a new chapter in my life, and I didn't want to carry it forward by myself, so some other folks picked up the day to day writing, and I kind of stepped back involvement from 2009 or so. Then I can't recall honestly when we finally shut the doors completely, but I wasn't involved at that point and there just weren't writers left. I think that was probably around 2012, 2013 or so.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And was it revenue neutral? Or was it a money hole? How did it fund itself? Was there even a business model around it if you were doing it for yourself at the beginning?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>At the beginning there was none at all, I was just doing it for myself. The initial motivation behind it was really the chief of staff in Mark’s office having inspired me to kind of think this would be a good way to stay involved, and it was, it was great. I find that writing is so important for clarifying your thoughts and also by writing you engage yourself in the issue at a deeper level than just talking about it. It’s really easy to have a back and forth about it at a high level but when you write you have to get into the nitty gritty of it. And so, for me initially, that's what it was, but then started to get some traction.</p> <p>It was a very small community at that time and still is really. When you think about a state legislature, there’s not a lot of coverage of that, especially with the collapse of local news, even more so today there’s not a lot of coverage of it. And at the time I found pretty quickly I was getting an audience among kind of the Politico's inside Minnesota, so not really at a national stage but at a local stage, and that is, for a government major holed up in New Hampshire, that is catnip. It was so cool to be able to write something and see people who might be able to actually have an impact read it.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Then talk about it.</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> Yeah. It was really, really interesting and how the web enables that in order to have that platform of your own creation, really interesting. So, it sort of gained more and more of a following and we found that when it came around election cycles, we would just get a spike of traffic. So, the business model, we did find that we could eventually sell ads, it was never self-sustaining. It was literally like Zach Stevenson, who's now a state legislator, out of Coon Rapids, he's in the house, and a wonderful person, he and I would write, and we would get, like pocket money. It was nothing or like, maybe, Zach, and I would buy a round of beers, but it was fun. We were getting this audience and we could talk to a lot of folks who were interested in talking too.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah, and very different times then times right now. So, I want to ask one more question here and then we'll move on because I have so much more to ask about. When you were doing this blog and selling a few ads to by yourself and your friends some beer, you had a certain number of issues that you were dealing with, a very different ecosystem of blogs and news and local news in 2005, compared to right now. If you had started this blog today, those challenges would be very different. Would you be discouraged doing it?</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> I still believe very strongly in the web as a platform, I think especially the open web. Being able to spin up a website and put words on a page that you can distribute to as many people as have internet connections is truly an amazing thing. I feel really lucky that I was born in a time where I have access to that, so I still have a lot of respect for that. I think one of the things that is tricky and, I don't know how I would react, to be honest, I'd like to think that I'd be above it. But I was 20, 21, 22, I was still pretty immature and that feedback loop that I had at the time of writing something interesting and seeing people who can make an impact read is a positive form. It had negative parts and I'm happy to talk about that. It's a positive form of the same sort of feedback loop that can happen on Facebook or Twitter, where you're trying to get an audience.</p> <p>But the feedback loops now incentivized pretty bad behavior and so to get above the din of the regular conversation, you're incentivized to take a more extreme stance, to break through, to aggravate people so that you get a response to create conflict in order to entice somebody who maybe has an elevated platform to pull you in. And there was a little bit of that at the time.</p> <p>One of the ways that we built our audience, I would go through the comments on other people's blogs that had a larger audience, and I would comment, but for me, personally, sometimes it was about picking a fight, and I want to embrace that. I did do that. But it was usually in the spirited way of picking a political battle instead of a personal fight. But I could easily see in this environment, how that could take a very negative turn. I would like to think that I would resist that, but I don't know. It's a different environment.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Yeah, it's been sensationalized in this day and age. I feel like the fights you would have picked would have been over ideas and over political constructs and I don't see you as going ad hominem which I think is way too prevalent in our discourse today. If you don't agree with me, then we just go ad hominem and like that basically shuts the whole conversation down.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>And<strong> </strong>this is something that I look back on and I'm proud of. There was a little ecosystem of more liberal bloggers, and we had a pretty big audience in that crowd. I think that in some ways we're a leader in some ways we were kind of the young kids that were like, <em>Oh, these little guys, you know, why do they have more viewers</em>?</p> <p>But, uh, I get together with them periodically, and I liked a lot of those folks, but they viewed Michael Brodkorb as just the devil. Michael was sensational. I mean, he picked a few battles that I think we’re a little bit beyond the pale, but I would also go out and grab beers with Michael because we were in the same field, he really loved politics, and we found the internet interesting. I disagreed with him on almost everything, but he’s made some bad choices in his life, both inside and outside the blogosphere, but I consider him to be a good person at the core.</p> <p>I think I would have resisted the kind of sensationalized ad hominem attacks that you see now. But you never know, those feedback loops are really strong, and it's really intoxicating, especially when you're young.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Those endorphins are strong. [laughing] They really are. So you spent college working on your government degree, and then you went to law school. While you were in law school, I believe it was when you founded Inbode, which is how we met. What was Inbode? And why did you start another company?</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> There’s the part of me again going back to where we started a little bit is that long term just love of learning. I just can't put my hands down. So law school is very busy and I enjoyed it for the same reasons that we talked about with the government degree. I really enjoyed kind of the historical intersection of how people organize themselves, which is really what the law is all about, and researching that, and getting to know and getting to understand it. But I love creating and my very close friend, he’s still a close friend, his family is in kind of the mid-market of apartment rental management, and there's very clearly a hole in the market between tools that might help an individual kind of investment landlord or somebody who just has a couple of units, and a really large scale institutional landlord, of which there are many in the country.</p> <p>And, after talking to a few people and doing some research it felt like a really interesting space. Now, that’s a little bit of hindsight 20-20 on the problem, because I think that if we had articulated the problem that way, we would have ended up in a different space. For myself and my friend at the time and coming to you, Ivan, we were kids who were in our early 20s. What we experienced was how difficult it was to find an apartment, and so we were trying to find this angle where yes, we saw that enabling the midmarket, rental owners would be a good business, we really wanted to solve the problem of how to find an apartment. And I think there is an intersection there, but I think that it was too diffuse of a problem to address.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> It was a really interesting problem. I remember when I saw you guys, and we talked about how you wanted to fix it, it made perfect sense that this would be something that would absolutely be a success in the market. And it was great to work with you then. We sort of lost touch after that project, and you ended up moving out to California and getting another job and working for a whole bunch of different companies before starting yet another company. So, tell me about why you moved out to California? And what led you to starting Clockwise?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I hesitate a little bit because there were multiple reasons that we moved out to California. The story that I'd like to tell you is that I was inspired, that I really wanted to get back into software, and that is true, but there’s a legal term, the “but for reason”, it means like but for this we would not have moved to California is that my wife was finishing medical school and she was looking at matching and the match process is really interesting. You rank where you want to go, and then you just get matched, and you go. And, if you don't go you basically have to take a year off. So, it's kind of this weird national matching system and she was debating whether or not to rank University of Minnesota one or to rank Children's Hospital of Oakland number one.</p> <p>And I didn't love being a lawyer. I did like it, and we can talk about that, but it wasn't my life's calling and that was clear. I really loved my time that I spent with you and Charlie on Inbode, and I wanted to get back to creating and so when the opportunity presented for Ashley to just nudge that match ever so slightly to put Children's Hospital of Oakland number one and the University of Minnesota Children's System number two and roll the dice to see if maybe she gets her number one pick, I wanted to jump on that and she felt comfortable doing that too, and she matched here and we moved.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Wow, that’s serendipity is what it is. Kind of little bit of influence from the things you can control, the levers you can control and, and out you went to Oakland.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That's right. The interesting thing about that serendipity is that it could have easily been Minnesota. I could easily be still an attorney at a large law \firm at, now I think Faegre, Drinker, Biddle. The name has changed several times. [laughing] But we moved out to California, and it was an opportunity for me to make a clean cut with law. I could just move, I had a clear reason for leaving, I had a clear reason for changing careers.</p> <p>And one of the things that came out of Inbode was I did have some, not incredibly deep, but I had some domain knowledge in the apartment rental space. So, I went out to California and there’s this company called Lovely. It was at livelovely.com and doesn't exist anymore, but they were doing this better version of what Inbode hoped to be. It was a great portal for searching for apartments. The big innovation at the time, which is what Charlie and I wanted to do with Inbode, if you remember Ivan, is, at that point, and this might be crazy to some of the audience, nobody put the listings on a map.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Right. [laughing] That was the feature that was Inbode, right?</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> Yes, that's right.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Like the apartment search using a map.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That's right. And it sounds so basic, but it was like, nobody put it on a map. And in fact, it wouldn't be years until Craigslist had a map view. That’s what Lovely did, they put it on a map. They took a different approach than we were taking Inbode, but they had some venture capital funding, and I convinced them to take me on, talked my way into position there, and was off to the races.</p> <p>Looking back, it was [laughing], you know, I don't know how they took the risk on me, but they saw something they liked and so they brought me in, and I got to do a little bit of business development, a little bit of product development, and then more and more software engineering, and bounced around a few different startups building out my software engineering credentials.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, there's an interesting perspective here because you talk about how you don't know what they saw in you, right? And you talked your way into it, and they let you do some business development. But you're a CEO of a startup company now that's gone through $18 million of Series B funding, right? You're on the other end of that coin now. So, I'm sure you can think back from the perspective of the CEO who was hiring you or the business manager that was hiring you and think about, <em>Oh, this guy, he's got so much potential, we totally need someone who can figure things out</em>. Right?</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> Yeah, and that’s absolutely well stated. There's a lot of imposter syndrome I think, in general, and in our industry specifically, and definitely in me where I feel like I have gotten lucky to have the opportunities that I've had, and I look back on them with a great deal of respect and admiration for the people who took some risks on me. But yes, I am in a position now where you look at that decision and it does seem rational. Here’s somebody who's hungry. Here's somebody who has an interest in the space. Here's somebody who can problem solve, who's tried it before. We<em> </em>don't know quite what to do with him but let's give him a spin. And we do that at Clockwise as well.</p> <p>I love just whenever I have a platform or just talking about that transition, for those out there who really find software engineering interesting but don't have a traditional degree, that was a really tough transition for me. I have a lot of respect for the folks who do that. I want people to know that there's a path, but it is hard, and it takes some perseverance.</p> <p>So, after that apartment rental site, I went to a legal startup, another person took a chance on me. But there's this difference that happened Ivan where when I was starting out in the Bay Area I looked like this kind of weirdo, like a lawyer who was really interested, high potential, would hustle, would take any offer they could find. But you could look at my resume and you knew that you were taking a bet on me versus when I got out the other side of the legal startup, I was a software engineer, I was a front end software engineer, but I had no traditional training, I didn't have a CS degree, so I got evaluated as a software engineer. And that transition was really difficult.</p> <p>I almost went back to law, because I kept on striking out. First it was hard to get people to take my resume up at all, because I didn't have a traditional CS degree, it was hard for me to show that I had potential as a software engineer, and then you'd hit the traditional software engineering interview process. And I'm not trained in algorithms. [laughing] I taught myself JavaScript through <a href="https://jquery.com/">jQuery</a> and reverse engineering the <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Document_Object_Model/Introduction">DOM</a>.</p> <p>So, I would just fail a lot of those interviews. The thing that I would isolate for those who are kind of in this process and searching for themselves is, once you get your foot in the door somewhere, that's the toughest thing. I got a job at this company called RelateIQ, they took a risk on me, and then I was off to the races, because now I'm a software engineer. And so, perseverance, trying to find that first job through your network, trying to focus in on places that you really like and just beat down the door.</p> <p>I found that a good way was maybe trying to de-risk yourself for the company by saying, Hey, let me contract. Let me work on a project with you before you take me on full time. I encourage those who really do want to get into software engineering, it's a great career. I love software engineering. You get paid to problem solve, and to troubleshoot on your own time with a keyboard. It’s great. Just grit, perseverance, it took me a while, and it was really hard to break through. I almost got lost in the wilderness and I was lucky to come out the other side with a career I'm really proud of. But it is tough.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>I wholeheartedly agree with the way you describe de-risking yourself for others. That's sort of what the process is to engage with TEN7. If we're going to hire someone, we have a <a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/using-contract-hire-build-effective-team">contract to hire model</a>. And we want to contract with you so that you know what it's like to work with us, but also so we know what it's like to work with you. When we do that on real projects a little bit at a time, we can either scale up or scale down depending on how it's working out. So that's attractive to me as an owner and as a company leader. So, I think that's a good piece of advice.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I would also say that for people who find companies like TEN7 and leaders like yourself, Ivan, if you see that contract to hire, I would jump on it, because what that represents is that somebody is willing to take the time to engage with understanding your skill set, and it’s actually quite valuable from the other perspective from the employee as well, because you might think, Okay, I'm on a contract, there's still a lot of risk here. I'm not full time. But there's a dual sided investment there that I think is really great. Whereas if you manage to get a full time position somewhere, full time software engineering position, that can be great, I'm not gonna say don't go for that. But you can also get lost a little bit, you can get thrown into the thick of it, and nobody's really checking in or taking the time to engage with you, at companies that don't know how to do this well. And so those <a href="https://ten7.com/blog/post/using-contract-hire-build-effective-team">contract for hire</a> positions, those are just wonderful opportunities for folks who are trying to break through.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And perseverance as well. If you don't get that first contract to hire, keep doing it, keep persevering to follow the desire that you have and learn and read and implement as much as you can.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>Okay, Clockwise. [laughing]</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Clockwise. [laughing] So you RelateIQ, I think is what you said. And then you were at another company before Clockwise, and so tell me about that nugget. Tell me what got you started thinking about a new company.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>So, a couple things. The company that I was at was acquired by <a href="https://www.salesforce.com/">Salesforce</a>, and I actually worked my way up to Engineering management, and then managing managers. Another thing that I would note related to our last topic is that once you do break through, you'll find that your ceiling is higher because you have a diverse set of experiences.</p> <p>And so, I found that entering a company, my weird past experience as an attorney and having formal training and having managed people before was a real asset. So, I end up in software engineering management, and two observations Ivan. One of them I think is relatively unique and the other is not unique. [laughing] The first kind of non-unique, non-insightful one is just inside of a monitor organization like Salesforce, it is so damn difficult to get time for your priorities. You just kind of play whack a mole with your schedule, people are trying to get time with you all the time, it's hard to find time to be proactive, it's hard to find time to sit down with somebody on a code review or think about next quarter strategy.</p> <p>The schedule really kind of conspires against you. You have to take active steps to make that time for yourself. I'm a nerd on this stuff, I’m a nerd in a lot of ways, [laughing] but on productivity, I would try to coach people up on time blocking and different processes for making sure that you're blocking off time and you're auditing your calendar to make sure that you get time for those priorities that you want to set aside. And those are great, those are important; personal discipline, getting a process that works for you, I would counsel anybody to do that.</p> <p>But, as personal as time is, when you're inside a large organization, or even a medium sized organization these days, you hit the wall of the organization’s schedule. You can be a master at getting things done. You can have a black belt and time blocking, and when your boss's boss schedules a three PM meeting with you, you're going to go. It doesn’t matter.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Right, there’s no choice.</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> There’s no choice, yeah. So the cadence of the organization around you, the PMs that are taking time from you, the other folks that you're trying to collaborate with, the flow of Slack messages, the flow of JIRA tickets, all of this stuff comes together and creates an environment where, what I found, and this is the second insight is, time has really become a shared asset. As personal as it is, it is something that we are collaborating on. It is the core building block of how we orient ourselves inside of companies is having a shared asset of this is the time we have together and we're not treating it like a shared asset.</p> <p>And what happens here, and this goes a little bit back to my government training is, it looks like a classic, there’s both a public policy and an econ concept of a tragedy of the commons, and a tragedy of the commons is both a real observed phenomenon, but also kind of an economic construct where back in the 1700s or 1800s, you'd have a central commons in the center of town, and it was usually used for grazing before these were turned into parks. It’s a shared resource for the whole town and if you don't regulate it, if you don't state who gets to use it when, you end up grazing all down to nothing.</p> <p>The tragedy of the commons is that when you have a shared resource that's highly valuable, and it's not regulated, it ends up getting consumed by whoever can consume it fastest, or whoever can run it down the quickest, and then incentives are all off. It’s a classic scenario where you need regulation or government. Now in an organization, time has become a tragedy of the commons, everybody's taking from it because it's scarce. There are only so many hours in the day, you need to meet with folks to move your projects forward.</p> <p>You need time in order to get your job done. And everybody's vying for it, but there's no coordination and there's no regulation, because we haven't embraced that as a shared asset. So stating it in a completely non wonky way and more basic is if we want more time in our day for what matters, we have to coordinate better. Inside of an office environment where you have tens, hundreds, thousands of people working together, that's a network problem. It's a network problem across those individuals, and for a network problem where you're trying to coordinate software's a really good tool. So that is the inception of Clockwise.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>And how do you make a business out of a Chrome extension? Because that's what the product is, right?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>Yeah. So, it took us a while to slow it down. A couple of things here. I'm a front end engineer, I love building product. There's a part of me, Ivan, it pains me in my heart that we're a Chrome extension. [laughing] Pushing ourselves into this sidebar alongside somebody else's screen real estate, we initially were thinking of being a calendar and that's all to say that (a) that's not where Clockwise starts, but (b) it’s also a hard one, strategic choice, which is Clockwise is about building out that platform for coordination. We need to access people's time inside the organization.</p> <p>We need to connect to calendars, connect to Slack, eventually connect to Asana or JIRA, to understand what your priorities are, what the flow of your day is, to get you onboard and understand how you want to manage your time. So the platform is really what's essential, and we found that the lowest friction way and the fastest way to gain adoption is, let's not reinvent the wheel, let's not build a calendar because people have a calendar they're comfortable with, let's just augment it and the best way to augment it is with the Chrome extension.</p> <p>And that distribution methodology has really paid dividends because we don't have to convince somebody to switch, we just have to convince them to augment. And so, what happens in terms of business model is we get really broad based distribution. Clockwise is pretty viral. It is pretty viral inside of an organization, and we get a lot of users and we start to drive real productive time back to the calendar. We make people's days better. It turns out when you make people's days better, they're willing to pay you.</p> <p>And so, we have a subscription model that is per user per month. It’s entirely a business tool, so this isn't something we ask individuals or consumers to pay for this out of pocket. The bill is usually footed by the team or the department or the organization as a whole and Clockwise is then implemented across the team or across the department or across the organization to help everybody coordinate better, and ultimately get a better schedule.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>It sounds like exactly what I need at TEN7, and I'm very excited to try it out in the next couple of weeks here. I know we are having a couple of little issues with it right now, but I'm looking forward to trying it out. The thing that really attracts me to this company and this product is the fact that it works best when you don't notice it. So, like even if it is a Chrome extension, that's okay. If I am magically having my calendar rejuvenated and rearranged without even knowing and everybody else is okay with it, and I'm getting valuable time back for my own needs, the fact that it's not there, that’s like magic. Right?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>One hundred percent.<strong> </strong> And, you know, there's an interesting yin and yang here. So, on the one side, that's exactly what we provide. So, our setup is relatively extensive, because we want to get you set up correctly and get you setup, right. Completion of our onboarding is really high and it's surprising because our onboarding, and I’ll own this, is relatively long. We have a lot of tools that we can get you up and running with, but once you're up and running, you get the recurring benefit, day after day, without really having to monkey with much. You can come in and you can dial things in, or you can change it, but we just help you out in the background, which is magical, and that's the experience that our customers love and that's the experience that ultimately that they're paying for.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>How long has Clockwise been around? It feels like you’ve been missing from my life for too long.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>So, the company was founded right around the beginning of 2017, so going on about four years here. But we've only been publicly launched for about a year and a half. I like to remind folks when they join Clockwise of this, which is that we're in the business of category creation, for better or worse, and there's a lot of better than this, but there is some worse. Category creation is really, really difficult. The upside of it is it's really exciting. We get to create something new that people haven't seen before. We get to imagine things from the purest of first principles. We get to create in the kind of the truest sense of that word. The downside of it is that we can't look over someone's shoulders. So RelateIQ, one of my past companies, we were building a CRM, a more intelligent customer relationship management piece of software.</p> <p>And so, you know, anytime that we had a question about business model, or about feature set or about functionality or even about UI, we can kind of go peek over the shoulder of Salesforce like okay, what are they doing? Or we can look over at one of our competitors' bases and like, Whoa, what are they doing? With Clockwise, we really don't have any direct competitors. And then on the business model side, and this is a really tough one, this is really tough about category creation is that we're not a line or replacement spend, there is no existing budget on somebody's spreadsheet inside of a large organization that says, time optimization software, x $1,000 a month, and so we had to go, and we had to make the business case and we had to carve out budget for ourselves and we had to translate that into ROI for the business. And so, it's fun to be a trailblazer and I wouldn't have it any other way, I find it so exciting, and the team is remarkable. It is really fun. It's really hard, but it's really, really rewarding. But I do have to emphasize the difficulty of it, and so it takes some time.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>So, what do you attribute the incredible growth that you've had? I read that you do no sales and no marketing?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>Yeah, well, that's changing a little bit, because we're seeing the growth from the early stage be so attractive that we're building out a little bit more of a marketing muscle, although that marketing muscle is really oriented towards a product lead growth model. So, there's kind of a new world of the Slacks, the Notions, the inner tables of the world where marketing is less about having a billboard and it's more about understanding the journey of your user and making sure that you're staying in touch with them at the right time.</p> <p>And then on the sales side, we're just building out our sales team. So for those of you interested in joining [laughing] a very compelling company, we are expanding our sales team as well, because we turned on those revenue levers. But in terms of the growth, it comes back again to those strategic decisions around what's essential here. And one of the things that's essential for Clockwise is not that we own the whole UI, not that we're the complete calendar, but one of the things that is essential is that we build trust, because we're going to move your meetings, which is crazy [laughing].</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> Totally crazy, yes.</p> <p><strong>MATT:</strong> [laughing] Totally crazy. And so, we need to build out the trust that you understand how the system works. And what that means for us is that we have to go person by person, and if you go person by person, if you're not hiding behind a sales team that pushes a top down, or if you're not looking at a centralized administrator to roll it out, you've got to really stay close to the user, and you've got to really make it something interesting that they're excited about using. It turns out if you do that, people like to spread it, people like to evangelize it. And lastly, it, of course, doesn't hurt that going back to kind of the core thesis around Clockwise and why we started it, calendars are networked, Clockwise exists on that network and so you can spread on that network as well, which has really been essential to our growth.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Let me see if I can give a very short explanation of what I think Clockwise does, so that our listeners can understand and then you tell me if I got it right or not. So, you built this piece of software, and you started a company to do it. This piece of software connects to your calendar, you're using Google Suite, it connects your Google Calendar, and it gets used internally with the team or the whole company where you're at. You tell the software which meetings are important to you, when you would like to have focus time, which meetings could be moved, and presumably other people in your organization and on your team do the same thing.</p> <p>And then you trust the software Clockwise to just go back in the background, and actually move meetings around so that you get larger swaths of time to yourself for focus thinking or for strategy work or for doing the work instead of being in the meetings? How's that?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>That is dead on. Nicely done. We're going to hire you for our marketing team to make sure that you give the introduction.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] That's amazing. Okay, good. I love this idea. Tell me about the expansion. What happens once internal companies or companies can fix their meetings internally? Do you start leveraging that network effect and go outside of your company with other companies or maybe with other software platforms like the Microsoft Office platform?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>Yeah. So, stated otherwise Ivan, kind of synthesizing what Clockwise is, it’s a smart calendar assistant that frees up your time so you can focus on what matters. And so, we, exactly how Ivan stated, we open up focus time for you through moving meetings to better times, and you get a lot of controls, what we move, when we move, but we can help to do that across the organization. That gets better as more people inside our company use it. It's great.</p> <p>If you're a single person and you come into this, nobody else in your company is using it, you’re going to get a lot of value out of Clockwise. We have a lot of features that are great for just a single user, whether that's personal calendar sync, where you can pull in your personal calendar, your work calendar, completely private, completely obfuscated from your colleagues, but still allowing you to share that, you need a Slack sync, but the real core of it, that coordination gets better as more people join.</p> <p>And so that tends to push it throughout the organization. Now, when you hit the walls of the organization, you're right, Ivan, there's not a natural product way for Clockwise to spread right now. And so, the way it spreads between companies is one really fun one is, if somebody changes jobs, they tend to bring Clockwise with them. Word of mouth on Twitter, we have a lot of user love. We also are present on a lot of channels, like on Product Hunt and so areas that people are shopping for software, and just kind of word of mouth throughout the ecosystem of friends, talking to friends about solutions.</p> <p>That is where marketing needs to play a little bit more of a role for us, is getting out the word about Clockwise so that we can make those hops from company to company. And on the product development side, you’re absolutely right, speaking of things that pain my heart, the number of users that come to our homepage really want to use Clockwise, they’re excited about the premise and can't because they're on Office 365 or they're using Outlook, we will correct that. For those users out there on Microsoft platforms stay tuned, we'll have something very exciting for you within the next year.</p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>That's awesome. I'm glad to hear it. I have so many other questions, we have run out of time. Will you come back so we can talk some more?</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>I’d love to. This was really, really fun. I’m always excited to talk about technology, software, Clockwise, but especially when those things intersect with Minnesota. That is just wonderful.</p> <p><strong>IVAN:</strong> [laughing] That's awesome. I'm glad to be talking about it as well with you. It's been so awesome spending time with you, talking about your history, how you started Clockwise, all the things that you've done before that and I hope to talk to you again soon. It's been a great pleasure talking to you.</p> <p><strong>MATT: </strong>Great. It’s so fun to be here and thank you for the time and thank you for the platform.<strong> </strong></p> <p><strong>IVAN: </strong>Matt Martin is co-founder and CEO of <a href="https://twitter.com/getclockwise">Clockwise</a> and you can find them online at<a href="http://www.getclockwise.com/"> getclockwise.com</a></p> <p>You’ve been listening to The TEN7 Podcast. Find us online at <a href="https://ten7.com/blog/category/podcast">ten7.com/podcast</a>. And if you have a second, do send us a message. We love hearing from you. Our email address is <a href="mailto:podcast@ten7.com">podcast@ten7.com.</a></p> <p>Until next time, this is <a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic">Ivan Stegic.</a> Thanks for listening.</p> <h2>Credits</h2> <p>This is Episode 119 of The TEN7 Podcast. It was recorded on May 14, 2021 and first published on May 26, 2021. Podcast length is 55 minutes. Transcription by <a href="http://www.rcdataentry.com/">Roxanne Chumacas</a>. Summary, highlights and editing by <a href="http://www.truevoicecommunications.com/">Brian Lucas</a>. Music by <a href="https://soundcloud.com/lexfunk">Lexfunk</a>. Produced by <a href="https://twitter.com/jonathanifreed">Jonathan Freed</a>.</p> <p>Please rate our podcast! Doing so helps spread the word about the show. Just pull it up in the <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ten7-podcast/id1347158838">Podcasts app</a> and scroll all the way down, hit the stars and you're done! Thank you.</p></div> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span>jonathan</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Wed, 05/26/2021 - 10:04</span> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-audiocast field--type-file field--label-hidden field__item"> <h2><div class="audiofield"> <div class="audiofield-player"> <audio id="audiofield-audio-player-file-1250-g7zmixgkjnqsst93" preload="none" controls controlsList="nodownload" > <source src="https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/assets.ten7.com/ten7.com/files/2021-05/TEN7-Podcast-Ep-119-Matt-Martin_1.mp3" type="audio/mpeg"> Your browser does not support the audio element. </audio> <label for="audiofield-audio-player-file-1250-g7zmixgkjnqsst93">TEN7-Podcast-Ep-119-Matt-Martin_1.mp3</label> </div> </div> </h2> </div> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-people node--view-mode-person-blog-entry"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__info"> <div class="person__name-title"> <h3 class="person__name"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ivan Stegic</span> </h3> <div class="field field--name-field-job-title field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item">CEO</div> <div class="divider">&nbsp;</div> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Image</div> <div class="field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="person__description"> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Words that describe Ivan: Relentlessly optimistic. Kind. Equally concerned with client and employee happiness. Physicist. Ethical. Lighthearted and cheerful. Finds joy in the technical stuff. Inspiring. Loyal. Hires smart, curious and kind employees who want to create more good in the world.</p></div> <div class="employee-social-icons"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-posts field--type-link field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="/blog/author/ivan-stegic">Blog Posts</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-twitter field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://twitter.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M18.519,4.716c-0.627,0.278-1.301,0.466-2.008,0.55c0.723-0.433,1.277-1.117,1.537-1.933 c-0.676,0.4-1.423,0.691-2.221,0.847c-0.636-0.679-1.545-1.104-2.551-1.104c-1.93,0-3.494,1.565-3.494,3.495 c0,0.274,0.03,0.541,0.09,0.796C6.967,7.222,4.393,5.832,2.667,3.716C2.367,4.234,2.194,4.834,2.194,5.475 c0,1.211,0.617,2.282,1.555,2.909C3.177,8.366,2.637,8.207,2.166,7.947V7.99c0,1.694,1.205,3.107,2.805,3.428 c-0.293,0.082-0.602,0.123-0.921,0.123c-0.225,0-0.445-0.021-0.657-0.062c0.444,1.389,1.735,2.399,3.265,2.426 c-1.196,0.938-2.704,1.497-4.341,1.497c-0.282,0-0.561-0.016-0.834-0.048c1.547,0.99,3.384,1.569,5.358,1.569 c6.43,0,9.945-5.325,9.945-9.945c0-0.152-0.003-0.303-0.01-0.452C17.458,6.033,18.052,5.417,18.519,4.716" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-drupal field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://www.drupal.org/u/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" height="20px" id="Layer_1" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 20 20" width="20px" x="0px" xml:space="preserve" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" y="0px"> <path class="social-icons__icons" d="M13.656,4.726c-0.857-0.534-1.666-0.744-2.475-1.278c-0.502-0.34-1.198-1.148-1.78-1.845 C9.288,2.719,8.948,3.172,8.56,3.496C7.735,4.143,7.217,4.337,6.505,4.726c-0.599,0.308-3.851,2.249-3.851,6.424 c0,4.174,3.511,7.248,7.41,7.248c3.899,0,7.281-2.831,7.281-7.119C17.346,6.991,14.175,5.049,13.656,4.726z M13.75,16.875 c-0.081,0.081-0.825,0.599-1.698,0.68c-0.874,0.081-2.055,0.129-2.767-0.518c-0.113-0.113-0.081-0.275,0-0.34 c0.081-0.065,0.146-0.113,0.243-0.113s0.081,0,0.129,0.032c0.323,0.259,0.809,0.469,1.844,0.469c1.036,0,1.764-0.291,2.087-0.533 c0.146-0.113,0.211-0.017,0.227,0.048C13.831,16.665,13.863,16.762,13.75,16.875z M10.919,15.402 c0.178-0.161,0.469-0.421,0.744-0.534c0.274-0.112,0.421-0.097,0.68-0.097s0.533,0.017,0.728,0.146 c0.194,0.13,0.308,0.421,0.372,0.583c0.065,0.161,0,0.259-0.129,0.323c-0.113,0.064-0.13,0.032-0.243-0.178 c-0.113-0.211-0.21-0.421-0.776-0.421s-0.744,0.194-1.02,0.421c-0.274,0.227-0.372,0.308-0.469,0.178 C10.708,15.693,10.741,15.564,10.919,15.402z M15.206,15.532c-0.582-0.049-1.747-1.861-2.491-1.894 c-0.938-0.032-2.978,1.958-4.579,1.958c-0.971,0-1.262-0.146-1.585-0.355c-0.486-0.34-0.729-0.858-0.712-1.57 c0.016-1.262,1.197-2.442,2.686-2.459c1.893-0.017,3.204,1.877,4.159,1.86c0.809-0.016,2.362-1.602,3.122-1.602 c0.81,0,1.036,0.842,1.036,1.343c0,0.502-0.162,1.408-0.551,1.975C15.902,15.354,15.659,15.564,15.206,15.532z" fill="#818a8f"></path> </svg></a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-social-github field--type-string field--label-hidden field__item"><a href="https://github.com/ivanstegic" target="_blank"><svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px" width="20px" height="20px" viewBox="0 0 20 20" enable-background="new 0 0 20 20" xml:space="preserve"> <path fill-rule="evenodd" clip-rule="evenodd" fill="#818a8f" d="M10,1.922c-4.573,0-8.282,3.708-8.282,8.283 c0,3.658,2.373,6.763,5.664,7.858c0.415,0.076,0.565-0.18,0.565-0.398c0-0.198-0.007-0.718-0.011-1.409 c-2.304,0.5-2.79-1.11-2.79-1.11c-0.376-0.957-0.919-1.211-0.919-1.211c-0.752-0.515,0.057-0.504,0.057-0.504 c0.832,0.06,1.269,0.854,1.269,0.854c0.739,1.267,1.938,0.899,2.41,0.688c0.075-0.535,0.29-0.9,0.525-1.108 c-1.839-0.208-3.772-0.919-3.772-4.093c0-0.904,0.322-1.643,0.853-2.223C5.483,7.339,5.199,6.497,5.649,5.358 c0,0,0.695-0.224,2.277,0.849C8.588,6.022,9.296,5.931,10,5.928c0.705,0.003,1.412,0.094,2.073,0.278 c1.581-1.072,2.276-0.849,2.276-0.849c0.452,1.139,0.168,1.981,0.082,2.191c0.53,0.58,0.852,1.318,0.852,2.223 c0,3.183-1.937,3.882-3.781,4.088c0.297,0.255,0.562,0.761,0.562,1.533c0,1.107-0.009,2-0.009,2.272 c0,0.221,0.148,0.478,0.568,0.397c3.288-1.097,5.659-4.199,5.659-7.857C18.282,5.63,14.573,1.922,10,1.922z"/> </svg></a></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-related-posts field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/meeting-moment-part-5-hopeful-signs-decarceration-and-social-justice"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Meeting the Moment Part 5: Hopeful Signs For Decarceration and Social Justice</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; May 12, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/meeting-moment-part-5-hopeful-signs-decarceration-and-social-justice" aria-label="Listen to Meeting the Moment Part 5: Hopeful Signs For Decarceration and Social Justice now." title="Listen to Meeting the Moment Part 5: Hopeful Signs For Decarceration and Social Justice now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field__item"> <article role="article" class="node node--type-podcast node--view-mode-homepage-blog-teaser"> <div class="node__content"> <!-- @todo get author photo from the referenced entity --> <div class="blog__author-photo"> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items number-items-1"> <div class="field__item"> <div class="node__content"> <div class="person__image"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/author_teaser/public/2021-06/ivan.jpg?itok=xhoF69cc" width="100" height="100" alt="Ivan Stegic" loading="lazy" class="image-style-author-teaser" /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog__info"> <div class="blog__tags"> <ul class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items" aria-label="Tags" role="group"> <li class="field__item" aria-label="Tag"><a href="/blog/category/podcast" hreflang="en">Podcast</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="blog__title"><h3><a href="/podcast/episode/meeting-moment-part-4-power-human-centered-design-criminal-justice-reform"><span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Meeting the Moment Part 4: The Power of Human-Centered Design in Criminal Justice Reform</span> </a></h3></div> <div class="blog__byline"> <p> Ivan Stegic &mdash; May 5, 2021</p> </div> <div class="blog__link"><a class="button" href="/podcast/episode/meeting-moment-part-4-power-human-centered-design-criminal-justice-reform" aria-label="Listen to Meeting the Moment Part 4: The Power of Human-Centered Design in Criminal Justice Reform now." title="Listen to Meeting the Moment Part 4: The Power of Human-Centered Design in Criminal Justice Reform now.">Listen now</a></div> </div> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field__item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/2021-05/TEN7-Podcast-1220_1.png" width="1220" height="1220" alt="The TEN7 Podcast" loading="lazy" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-podcast-number field--type-integer field--label-hidden field__item">119</div> Wed, 26 May 2021 15:04:27 +0000 jonathan 389 at https://ten7.com