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Designated Hitters in the NL?

As a die-hard Cardinals fan, this week’s news that Wainwright has been sidelined for 9-12 months by a torn achilles is devastating, and it has brought the conversation back around to whether or not there should be a DH in the National League.

To me, I think that it’s inevitable, the DH will come to the National League within the next 10 years. But, as much as I’ll miss Waino this year, I think that it’s the wrong move. Having a pitcher who bats brings another dimension and level of nuance to the strategy of the game. Having a tough inning? The 9-hole is your best friend, your sanctuary. On the flip side, when you’ve got the bases loaded and two outs and your pitcher comes up and bloops it into right or, miraculously, drives it over the wall for a grand slam, you feel like the heavens have opened up and the baseball gods are shining on you.

So please, please, leave the DH in the AL, and let’s keep the NL just like it is. Except maybe we could get rid of instant replay, please?

Why do you go to Disney?

I’ve never understood it… I’ve been to Disney World and Disneyland once each, both when I was under the age of 13, and enjoyed it, but I don’t understand why adults choose to spend their vacations at Disney, when, for the less than a week at Disney, you could spend a week on the Mediterranean or in South America or Thailand or Scandinavia or, or, or…

So, I know a lot of people love Disney… can someone explain it to me?  I welcome your comments with open ears and an open mind…

Learn by teaching, even when it’s uncomfortable.

If you need another reason to go speak at your local WordCamp or Meetup Group, try this one on for size: do it to learn something new.

I stumbled across this article from 2011 where Annie Murphy Paul talks about why we learn more when we teach.  There’s a deep level of satisfaction derived from teaching that is hard to get any other way, and it drives us to become experts in whatever it is we are sharing with others.

So don’t just teach for others, teach for yourself, and apply to speak at your local WordCamp!

10 Things you need to stop doing today to be happier.

Great article that my mother-in-law shared on behaviours* that are destructive to our own happiness.

  1. Stop complaining.
  2. Stop Judging.
  3. Stop avoiding your fear.
  4. Stop being so hard on yourself.
  5. Stop being negative.
  6. Stop caring about what other people think of you.
  7. Stop worrying about the small stuff.
  8. Stop needing to be right all the time.
  9. Stop blaming others.
  10. Stop living in the past or the future.

Reach the whole thing: at Elephant Journal.

  • Excuse the u, I am in London at the moment…

Giving Effective Praise

I seem to run into managers far too often who are quick to critique, but slow to praise.  Meaningful, authentic positive re-enforcement is one of the most important things to have as a part of your company culture.

From a Sandglaz article from last fall:

What better pick-me-up is there than praise for your hard work? Praise can turn a bad day around. It can remind you that although you’re stressed and buried in piles of work, you’re doing a good job. That’s why team members, regardless of their positions, shouldn’t hesitate to praise each other.

Praise and positive feedback go hand in hand. They’re timely, specific comments about something a team member did well. Unlike feedback, praise doesn’t have to be constructive. It can simply be used as a motivational tool to boost performance. Praise is also based on personal judgement, whereas feedback should be factual and issue-focused.

These aspects of praise are well known. But here are some interesting, scientifically-backed tips on how to properly praise your teammates.

  • Avoid the sandwich approach
  • Praise teammates while they’re working toward a goal, not after they’ve achieved it
  • Tailor praise to the teammate’s personality and experience level

Read the whole article:
http://blog.sandglaz.com/properly-praise-team-members/

What is Imagination?

A thought to carry you into Monday…

What is imagination? It is the Combining faculty. It brings together things, facts, ideas, conceptions in new, original, endless, ever-varying combinations… It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science.

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, 1841

How to Create Better Relationships

Read a great article about creating better relationships– the highlights:

  1. Treat other people as you would like to be treated.
  2. Truly listen.
  3. Be assertive.
  4. Remember to give the small gifts of kindness.
  5. Mix things up.
  6. Have human standards.
  7. Focus on solutions, instead of arguing on and on.

These are, individually, all things that I’ve tried to work on for years. This article does a great job at helping you think about the way that others perceive you, and the way that you communicate. Read the whole article here…

Let’s stop being so price sensitive about hosting

Over the past decade of dealing with clients, I’ve dealt with a lot of misconceptions about website hosting. I’ve dealt with all of the major hosts, and many of the minor ones. I have friends at a number of hosting companies. I’ve had good experiences, and I’ve had (really) bad experiences.

The one thing about hosting that continues to blow my mind is the level of price-sensitivity around it. Many clients are so used to seeing that they can get super-discounted hosting for a few bucks a month that they balk at the idea of paying more. I have had clients who were paying over $100,000 a year for development who didn’t want to pay more than $10 a month for hosting. While this is obviously an extreme example, it probably resonates with plenty of other developers out there.

So, why should you pay more for hosting?

  1. Speed. Cheap hosts are (generally) slow. Or at least they can be. In order to charge you so little for hosting, companies need to be able to get their hard costs as close to zero as possible. To do this, they put your site on a server with thousands of other websites (literally). So what happens if a few of those other sites get really popular? Everything slows to a crawl. Numerous studies have shown that having a slow-loading site is as ineffective as having no site at all, just an extra second on your load time can mean a double-digit decrease in conversions.
  2. Downtime. When problems happen on “bargain” hosts, they can often drag on for a long time. I once had a site go down for 10 days before they were able to get the server fixed and solid again. How much would it cost you to lose your website for 10 days?
  3. Support. Want to be able to call someone when you have a problem? Or at least get support tickets answered within minutes? Good luck!

Your website is a major factor in the success of your business. Even if it’s just telling people about your store, it is creating a customer experience before your customer even sets foot in your store, and it’s telling potential customers what to expect from you. Don’t have that experience be “We don’t care about your time.”

What type of hosting SHOULD you choose?

  1. If you’re hosting a pretty straightforward site (blog or informational website), WordPress.com can be a great way to go if you don’t need much customization, or, conversely, if you have a very large site with lots of traffic (WordPress.com VIP). But if WordPress.com VIP is in the running, shared hosting decidedly wasn’t. (Disclosure, I work for Automattic, where we make WordPress.com and WordPress.com VIP)
  2. For the majority of self hosted sites, the WordPress Managed hosts (WP Engine, Pressable, Flywheel, etc) provide a great value. At ~$30-300/mo, all three provide great hosting, strong support, and WordPress-optimized technology stacks. Some of the big hosts have also gotten into the Managed WordPress hosting game (GoDaddy and Dreamhost pop to mind), and they’re probably good, but I’ve never used them.
  3. There are some edge cases for strong traditional hosting– large multisite networks, for example, have historically not held up well on managed hosting. When this is the case, but you’re doing under, say, 1m hits/mo, then I’ve had good luck using cloud-based virtualized servers with SSD hard drives like the ones offered by Storm On Demand, among others. This can also be a good solution for mixed-platform solutions where WP is powering some of the site but not all of it.
  4. Once traffic warrants it, you’ll need to take the leap to one of the big guys– Amazon AWS, Rackspace, Microsoft. Be sure to bring your checkbook, but hey, if you need this kind of power, you’re doing something right. But also, when you reach this level, be sure to check out WordPress.com VIP.

At the end of the day, I implore you to not treat hosting as a pure commodity, where the lowest price always wins. Evaluate your needs, evaluate your options, and decide on value, not price.

6 Habits That Will Help You on Days When You Just Feel Like Giving Up

I read a good article this morning with some ideas on how to get through those days that feel like everything is an uphill battle. Hit the link for further explanations.

1. Tap into realistic expectations.

2. Remind yourself why you are doing this.

3. Remember: It’s darkest before the dawn.

4. Reconnect with the basics or change the path.

5. Tell yourself: Just for today!

6. See if it is time to quit and to try something else.

via 6 Habits That Will Help You on Days When You Just Feel Like Giving Up.

What do you do when things get blah?

Code as a tool, not code for code’s sake

Interesting article shared with me by Derek Smart:

View story at Medium.com

This got me to thinking about my (sometimes contentious) relationship with code over the last 23 years. I first started coding with HyperTalk in 1991 at the age of 7. I loved it not because I was about to write elegant code (I wasn’t), but because I was able to make things happen. I was able to create things that had heretofore never existed, using only a string of characters in the right order.

Fast forward to today, and that’s still the relationship that I have with code. I don’t care HOW something comes to be, I care about what it is and what it can do. I try not to be a cowboy coder, but I also am not a code poet. I don’t take the time and care to craft beautifully elegant solutions.

For this reason, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t spend much of my time writing code any more. I love having the ability to see a problem, imagine a solution, and just build it, but I love being able to help others see the forest while they’re stuck in the trees even more.

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