Thinking Digital Conference 2010

It’s strange that I’m personally writing about Thinking Digital Conference (another one of Codeworks‘ conferences), yet I didn’t write about DIBI. I think the only reason is even though I was working on the team for Thinking Digital I wasn’t in on the talks throughout the couple of days. I was happily working away with the films crews, our own J6 and with Sara Allison from Microsoft so that they could both get the most out of the conference. Working with the film crews is so great as you get to spend a little bit of time with each speaker notably David Siegel, Mary Ann de Lares Norris from Oblong, Joi Ito, Ken Banks, Tom Wujec were some of the faces I managed to have a chat with.

Christian Payne managed to stalk me via Gowalla and I found him to be one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met more so as he gave me one of his business cards with a photo of his dog having a wee on it (there were other strange one i.e. of him half naked – I opted for the dog!)

All in all it was a great week, so many friendly people, so much networking so many good talks! It was also interesting for me to see how many people from DIBI were at Thinking Digital, it was great to catch up with you all.

During the day Tim Allison from the IDI worked on a little project which was played in the closing session of Thinking Digital 2010 which can be seen below;

Too Little Time, Too Many Domains

I have the most random amount of ideas quite a lot of the time. Ideas which I think I can put in to action but then I get busy with something else. It never stops me from buying the domain name though, I always end up buying the damn things. My domain portfolio has expanded quite considerably over the past two years. Some of them are absolute rubbish yet some of them aren’t bad at all. I’ve also set up sites on some of the domains, mainly to get a small amount of traffic and somehow gather some affiliate earnings from them which does work, however small the affiliate income might accumulate to.

I’m going to be completely honest. I don’t know the first thing about selling and buying domains / websites so no doubt I’ll get a few emails about buying them for a penny. No Thanks!

So this is what I’ve got and what I may be willing to sell on should the right offer be made. I’ll go into my creative thoughts for the domain names below.

  • – I was thinking about setting up a website where I’d answer any random question per day, it could have been on absolutely anything but I’d find a way to answer it. Yes, I know, a rubbish idea. 🙂 – Self-explanatory, I was going to set up a showcase of business card designs. – Not sure to be honest, was going to be part of something a lot bigger which is no longer happening. Not a bad domain name regardless. – is one of my oldest blogs. I’d originally set it up as a design blog with interviews/tutorials/showcase etc It probably gets between 400-1000 Page views a month with nothing new posted in around 6 months now. – Was going to set this up as an affiliate website, started it and became immediately bored. – Used this for various things over the years I’ve owned it. Mainly web testing. – Movie trailer website. Had it running for around a year now and I publish (when I can) the latest movie reviews from around the web. Depending on which film is a hit, it can receive regular traffic if I get the trailers up there quick enough. – This was going to be a web app at one point but I’ll never have time to do something with it. – Jen and I were going to set this up as a private project which we’ve not got round to doing yet. – Theme Hype has been up and running since Christmas time, and was setup as a blog for theme design related posts with an emphasis on being affiliate related, I can’t directly relate my affiliate income to this site as everything is linked up however it is pretty well indexed for some search terms. – This is my longest running websites and was started shortly after my blog in 2007. I’ve redesigned it a couple of times and it gets around 1000 hits per month. It’s very well indexed and is ranked No.1 for various search terms. I’ve never added affiliate links to the site. – These domains simple forward to the site above. – This is a private project domain which I would still like to work on should I ever find the time.

So what are your thoughts? Leave a comment, get in touch or follow me on twitter.

The Best Piece of Customer Service Advice

I’ll make this short. If you want a sound piece of advice in customer service this is it, no matter what you’ve done, what you’ve made or what you intend to do.

Never forget who you’re serving.

The minute you forget that, do something else as you just lost your heart to business.

Why I’ll probably never work in an agency again

The word probably

The most used word in this brain dump is going to be ‘probably‘, I can tell you that right now. That’s even before I’ve fully thought how this is going to pan out. It’s something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while and obviously more about the reasons behind it.

I currently work at Codeworks, and don’t get me wrong it is brilliant. Working on such projects as Thinking Digital and the DIBI Web Conference is crazy good. I wake up every morning stoked that I have the opportunity to do it. It is hard work, my weeks feel more like days and there is always a to-do list but it’s exciting. I’m doing everything I want to do and then some. I’ll probably be doing this for some time as I do enjoy it that much.

Natural progression in my head stated that when I was freelance a few years ago I needed agency experience to see ‘the other side’. That agency was small in size and big in ambition and there were some great times but at the end of the day the agency wasn’t mine. My views and my way of doing things would never have been implemented and I would never have seen the outcome of how everything in my head would have worked live within an agency.

The opportunity to work within the agency on various projects was great but I never had the opportunity to run the agency like I would have liked to.

In an agency there are always more people involved in the company than you and certainly more than the thoughts going round inside of your head. When you’re freelance or working for yourself, every decision you make is down to you, you in essence are the control freak running everything. You don’t have to rely on other people, you don’t have to carry people and you don’t have to wait for things to be implemented. Everything happens right there and then as soon as you think of it when working for yourself. If you are working within an agency you probably never have the opportunity to implement things that you’d like, unless you’re the MD/CEO.

I now feel after having the experience of both sides of the coin that I need more control in that scenario. I probably need to relax somewhat but when you’re putting your working reputation on the line you certainly don’t want to have to rely on other people. If I was to work within an agency again, it would be small and it would be my own. I’d keep it very small working with people I’d trust my life with with the same amount of ambition and love for their work as I do, but again this may probably never happen as I’m enjoying myself far too much.

I wonder how many other people who have both been freelancer and agency employee think about this? Your thoughts would be great on the subject. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, 600+ other people do…

Next Year I

I recently posted about my achievements in 2009, these were quite comprehensive as the year seemed jam packed full of ‘stuff’ from start to finish. A lot of people online have gone in to posts looking back on 2009 and looking forward to 2010. I believe, 2010 will be an incredible year for people within our industry. On a personal level I have a bigger journey to take in 2010 than I’ve taken before in my current profession. Next Year I…

Would like to buy a decent camera and learn how to use it.

Take more pride in my blog and redesign it (finally).

Create better content for my readers.

Read at least 3 fictional books throughout the year (I’m addicted to non-fiction).

Game less but play harder.

Purchase a 27″ iMac.

Go to more conferences.

Meet more people from the ‘online world’ in the ‘offline world’.

Start weight training (again) and look after my body.

Write a book.

Design more of anything rather than some things.

Teach myself more about design, there is so much more to learn that what you know.

Do more talks.

Do at least one design related talk.

Get Married (3rd April).

Read all of my design related books.

Give more back to the design community.

Do more for a specific charity that I know where the money goes.

Write more for other blogs/magazines.

Learn one new thing per day (no matter how small or trivial)

Create a typeface from scratch.

There is quite possibly a lot I’ve missed out or forgotten about and I’m never one to hold myself back when I want to achieve something. Hopefully in 2010 I will be able to achieve all of these and more.

How about you? What would you like to achieve in 2010?

This Year I…

I didn’t do this last year although I wish I had. We’re now heading to the back end of 2009 and it makes you think of all those things that you’ve achieved or done over the past twelve months. There have been ups and downs throughout 2009 however the ups way out number the downs.

This year I’ve done a lot and wanted to take the time to list my achievements, so here we go, this year I…

Turned 26.

Found an increasing amount of grey hair.

Abseiled 180ft for charity making my fear of heights disappear.

Handed in my resignation.

Joined Codeworks.

Was Car-Less for 8 months.

Bought a new car.

Went to Future of Web Design Tour (Leeds).

Played far too much Battlefield: Bad Company.

Played far too much MW2.

Wrote an article for Fuel Your Creativity.

Wrote an article for .net magazine.

Started a secret project which still remains secret.

Went to London for a TV Casting because of that ‘secret project’.

Planned a wedding (still planning the wedding).

Had some professional photos taken.

Went to see Al Murray and nearly passed out through laughing.

Moved in to our new house.

Had an operation which went a bit wrong but I survived.

Set up DIBI which is taking place in April 2010.

Worked my ass off day in day out.

It seemed like there was going to be so much more than the above when I was thinking about it. I’ve had a very very busy year and 2010 is going to be much of the same. Thanks to Jen for giving me the support through 2009, looking forward to 2010! Anyway, what about you — what did you do?

It’s all change!

Carrot to CodeworksIt certainly has been an interesting few weeks, everything as I knew it has now changed. Contrary to popular belief, I am not nor ever have been the owner/founder of Carrot Media. I held the role of Creative Director up until Friday just gone, (November 6th, 2009). Nearly 2 years of hard work, long hours and awesome clients enabled me to grow and learn so much. I’ve evolved and shot off in a direction that I’m ecstatic with.

I’m a bit like Johnny Five, I need input. I need to learn and grow on a daily basis and if I don’t learn something knew I feel like I’ve let myself down. Recently I’ve yurned a change of direction, more of a re-alignment to be quite honest. To hone my core skills, the skills that I love and would do whether it would be a job or not.

The re-alignment is in fact me leaving Carrot Media and every involvement I had with them. They are going to take over complete control of Eliot Turner and the Ecommerce Experiment, obviously this was something I had to think about as I am still a huge believer in giving good ecommerce knowledge back to the general public.

Thinking Digital

I’m joining Codeworks as the Marketing and Creative Executive and primarily looking after the Thinking Digital Conference with Herb Kim and the rest of the team. I’ll be hopefully working very closely with the rest of the teams and project within Codeworks to aid their growth. There is a lot planned for the coming year so I can’t wait to get there and  #crushit (Yes – I said it.)

Simple law of attraction?

It’s a strange one, when leaving Carrot Media I had the intention of staying freelance. I love what I do, so why wouldn’t I carry on doing what I do best? This is just a quick thank you to the people who have contacted me and I very much look forward to working with you in the near future.

Talking about future…

It is definitely going to be a busy time, but I love busy. It’s what I strive for. I’ll continue to be Beta Testing for WooThemes helping them make sure all aspects are covered before releasing their themes. I’ll be doing a few more talks to some larger audiences and working on a few more ‘other’ projects.

A late introduction

If you follow me on Twitter you will know I am a huge fan of anything to do with WordPress, I love the platform and its agility. About a year ago I said that I was going to create a theme or a set of themes for release. With everything going on at the time it was very difficult to do way too many things at once, never mind re-design my own site/blog which I am yet to get round to.

However, I have in fact finished the design of the first theme which will be released. I’ll be working with Rich, a great friend of mine and an extremely talented Developer to produce the themes.

The name of the first theme is ‘Spex‘ and will be a Personal/Portfolio blog theme. I’m extremely excited about it and look forward to getting it up and running.



I will write more about Spex, the more we get through the development process as well as the other themes which we have planned. So in the mean time, have a desktop wallpaper on me.

Spex Wallpaper

My socks are in order

Carrot Media LtdSometimes you just need a good ‘ol post with a really weird title, however it does have meaning behind it. I’ve spent the past 5 or so months wearing odd socks, not just literally but also mentally. Covering too many roles without too much time had me ran ragged, I was constantly tired without being able to focus properly on everything as well as I should have been.

My focus was diluted by the stress and tiredness that ensued and until recently it was only going to get worse, until something happened.

My life was made easier

Justin and I sat down and realised that the best way forward was to employ a new member to the team at Carrot Media. Ryan Downie and I had been talking for some time over Skype and I immediately thought of him as my preferred choice. Young, talented and able to communicate well, it would be an ideal choice to build my team. A couple of weeks later, the FOWD Leeds Tour was taking place and it was a perfect team to discuss what we were going to be up to over the next few weeks.

Know when to start managing

Natural progression, get over it. It happens. The roles I was talking about earlier, they change as well. The natural progression is constantly changing my core skills as a designer, marketing bod and manager. Listening to Colly at FOWD last week talking about his role within Erskine made me think about my own role at Carrot, and how over the next few months I will be changing. With the addition of Ryan to the team it means I can concentrate more on the things I love within the business whilst working on the creative strategy for businesses we look after.

My socks are in order

So my socks are finally in order when tonight while sorting out some clothes I finally matched up 3 pairs, something which I’ve not been able to do for months.