A collection of thoughts, ideas and everything else that doesn't need a lot of words.

Deep Work & Scheduling Work Time

Today I had a long conversation with Anselm & Tobias and how to best schedule work time and get the most out of it to be most productive. Tobias has tried the Pomodoro technique for some time and it seems to work well for him. Anselm and myself haven’t tried it yet, but are interested in doing so and, as we usually always do if someone does one thing, ask a lot of questions to get the quick tl;dr version from the person in the know ;)

I made me think of Brad Frost’s approach of scheduling every minute of the day, which is also quite interesting and seems to work well for him. For Brad the Pomodoro technique didn’t stick. The only way to find out what will work for me, is to try one and/or the other.

Even though scheduling every minute of the day sounds very intriguing, I think for now I do prefer the idea of Pomodoro, since it seems easier to accomplish and stick with.

One thing that came up today was how Pomodoro would (or could) apply to creative work? While for Tobias this is quite straight forward and should work the same way, I’m not sure if this can be applied to all different kinds of work. It for sure is possible to break creative work down into small pieces, 25 minutes doesn’t seem enough to even get into a creative head space… But: It seems.

I guess the only good way to find out is to try, hence I will try to apply it from tomorrow on and see where it will take me.

How do you schedule your work/time to be most productive?


Semantic Components

I wrote a new article on Colloq where I explain how we solved an issue with our component semantics. It has proven as a solid solution for us and allows for a lot of flexibility, without messing up semantics. Read the article on the Colloq blog and if you have come across similar issues, I’d be glad to hear your comments and ideas.


Productivity and Complexity on the Web

The recent “The Cult of the Complex” by @zeldman kept me thinking, just like this tweet by @dhh did. I also feel like there was a time where our work has been much more productive and efficient a few years ago. I keep wondering if there could be a correlation between our productivity and the increased complexity, mainly caused by the ways we work today. My initial thought was “No way, things are so much better than they used to be…!”, but no doubt, they’re also much more complex now.

So here’s the serious, and thought-provoking question: Has our work gotten so much more complex that this complexity might hinder us more than it helps?

What do you think? What’s your impression? Let me know your thoughts.



Today I came across a tweet by Gerard Sans, in which he announced a public list to help conference organisers find more women speakers. I'm all in for more diversity at conferences and think that this is a great effort and another step in the right direction to create a better community, improve diversity and build a more inclusive community. We need more of this!

Have a look at the list if you want to give a little more diversity to your event and find some great (woman) speakers: #cfpwomen - The List or you can register as a speaker here.


Better CfP Feedback

I have applied to a few conferences again this year and as usual, there are more rejections than acceptances. For obvious reasons it’s not great to get rejected, but I always try to learn more about the “why”. I usually always ask conference organizers for more details on the rejection and some feedback. Sometimes I don’t hear back, but other times I get really helpful, constructive feedback which allows me to improve for next time.

I’ve written about how to give better feedback on CfPs and what conference organizers can do to provide it on Colloq last week.


GDPR is Great. And Sucks.

Over the last weeks I have learned a lot about the new GDPR regulation and the changes that will come with it. For the most part, I think this is a great and very welcome change and I believe that it will also unveil a lot of the really bad practices that have happened behind the scenes. I’m definitely looking forward to May 25th and the time after. This is all great.

On the flipside, many things about this regulation aren’t very clear and leave a lot of room for interpretation. If you want to be on the safe side, you might have to make some big compromises and that might not leave you too excited. Especially for sites/companies/people who already try to collect as little data as possible and put ethics at the core of their products, a lot of things have to be added to privacy policies that can make everything sound much more scary to end users than it actually is. Getting Colloq GDPR-ready makes for a good example of this. Stay tuned for some more details on our GDPR experience.


GDPR and the Deadline Race

While we’ve been working through and signed quite a few DPA’s with various services to get Colloq fully GDPR compliant, we’ve also come across some services where I’m a little surprised about their feedback, which in more than one case reads somewhat like this:

Thanks for the response! We currently don't have a DPA in place that we can provide as we're still working on this. We should have this all set and ready by May. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

The enforcement of the GDPR goes into effect on May 25th, 2018. That means everyone needs to be compliant by that date and in some cases getting compliant can be quite some work. The issue is that you have to wait for these services to be ready to start thinking about how to handle each and every case and what to do with those services.

The main problem here is timing: While some services take their time to be compliant by the effective date (or whichever date “ready by May” refers to…), only a small amount of companies seem to actually care about their customers and how they also need to meet the deadline…


Take Your Stance

The recent interview of Tim Cook with Recode that will air later this week, sounds very interesting and in it, TIm Cook takes a pretty clear stance:

Cook made that point again today: “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”

Swisher posed a question for Cook: What would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? His answer: “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

In today’s world, everyone has to decide who and where they want to be. The side Apple wants to be on makes me feel more positive about the future and will likely make me an even more loyal Apple customer, too. I hope that more and more people will join this side and that together, we can re-shape things for a better.


Instagram & Target Ads

I don’t use Instagram as much anymore as I used to, but sometimes when I post something and it “takes off” with a few more likes than usual. Once in a while I have look what happened and the other day I clicked a link in a new followers’ profile to have look at their shop and what they were selling. I found swimsuits and bikinis. Since then, I keep seeing ads from that shop on many sites I visit, again and again. Happy targeting. And such a waste of money. But most of all, not very targeted after all. I wish it would be something more useful that I liked.


Compressive Images

All of this isn’t to say we should never use compressive images—never is a word that rarely applies in my experience. But it does mean that we should be cautious.

Another very good post by Tim and I very much agree. As with everything, it really depends on when and where to use it. For some cases it might still be a good solution and I have to say I kinda like it. Mostly and especially for displaying multiple images, you are probably better off with the newer techniques, but there's also no rule that wouldn't allow to combine the techniques that work best for you in each case.


Taking Responsibility for the Things You Build and Run

It’s easy to blame third-parties and not taking responsibility for incidents of any kinds. The underlying problem is that it’s possible that it’s you yourself who allowed things to happen by design.

It’s you who designs your service. If you’re an engineer, it’s you who builds the API and the permission model which third-party gets access to which data. If you’re a designer, it’s you who designs the interface to ensure people understand what they’re doing when granting access. If you’re part of the company, it’s you who decides whether the service will work when users block Google Analytics or Crashlytics. It’s you who decides which data the service really needs. If we start with that in mind, it doesn’t matter if I’m working for someone else or myself. I know that I am responsible for what I work on.

Read the complete article by Anselm here.


How Fast Is Amp Really?

Some interesting points and observations on AMP from Tim Kadlec.

AMP’s restrictions mean less stuff. It’s a concession publishers are willing to make in exchange for the enhanced distribution Google provides, but that they hesitate to make for their canonical versions.

Sadly, in the end it's not really about improved performance, but wider reach paired with better performance. Otherwise it would be very easy: Less stuff, better performance.


Happy 29th

Today marks the 29th birthday of what started as “Information Management: A Proposal” and we now know as the Internet. I still remember the feeling when I first saw email and the web in 1998. Since then we’ve come a pretty incredible long way and that’s definitely worth a short post.


Social Media & Society

I‘m not really surprised anymore about such things, but these news seem to be coming more frequently these days. I came across these two articles that kind of confirm what I‘ve been thinking and talking about for quite some time: How social media screws with our brains and alters our society… not in a good way.
I‘m glad to see that there is more stuff like this popping up, it might get people to think about it a little more, since most people probably aren‘t aware or just don‘t care.

Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'

Former Facebook executive: social media is ripping society apart