Know Your Truth: Developing Strength In Business.

strength in business

I’m a pretty obsessive guy.  This characteristic didn’t bode too well with girls in my high school, but it seems to be working well for me in business.  So when tasked with a project, I make sure to see it through to the end, no matter what.  I’m a pitbull of web development and project management.

I think this obsessiveness of mine started when I was growing up and having a need to be liked by everyone.  That, coupled with the fact that my parents or teachers never believed anything I told them.  I digress.

Knowing who you are, your strengths and weaknesses are key to running a successful business (and having a happy life).  For example, nothing is worse than being pushed around by a pushy client.  We have all had experiences with clients who suck everything out of you.  No matter how many times you follow up with them, or keep them informed they are never happy.  Nothing you do seems to be good enough and you soon find yourself going way over board in making sure that they know that you are doing everything possible to resolve any issues (or challenges) you might be facing.

It’s that feeling that they don’t believe you are doing everything you can to make it work (enter mommy and daddy issues).  So believing in who and what you do will prevent you from being pushed around in both life and business.  We also know, that clients who never seem happy, are generally never happy, period.  So don’t be dictated by clients who are malcontents. It’s a losing battle.  Actually, don’t be pushed around by clients at all.  I know, I know, rent is due.

If you’ve been in business for 10+ years, chances are you’ve worked with an array of characters.  From programmers, to designers to developers to social media marketers to other project managers, you’ve had your fill of over sellers and under deliverers, your ups and downs.  That said, you know your market.  You know what service others provide.  You’ve experienced not having your emails or calls returned for 3 days…you’ve been over quoted. You’re developing your strength with all this experience.  You know who you are.  You know your quality of service and you know what you can deliver.  And what did we learn from Saturday morning cartoons?  Knowing is half the battle.  Honest.  Now please be my friend on FB.

New Zealand’s Hidden Gem


Over the last couple of days, I’ve been getting email newsletters from, ihiphop distribution.  These newsletters took me back about 7 years ago, when Frog On Top was commissioned by Chuck Wilson to develop an all hip hop based, social media network.  I knew Chuck from the time I worked with Vin Diesel on his web projects, so naturally I wanted to keep the good connections going.  I accepted the contract.  Great, now all I needed was someone who knew WTF they were doing…

A guy I worked with at the time, got in touch with some kid in New Zealand.  When I say kid, I’m not being condescending.  I really mean, a kid.  I think he was about 15.  With no budget, there was little choice, I had to hire him.  I forget how long the job took, but I do remember being blown away with what the kid was putting together.  “A video converter?  Sure, I can do that…is $200 OK…?”

So in-between cleaning his room and dates with his girlfriend this wonder kid put together an incredible social media platform called, HIPHOP Crack… which eventually became what you are seeing here:  The site landed us a mention in Billboard magazine which helped FOTS reach the next level.

If you’re wondering why he’s not working for FOTS anymore, that’s because he got some job at some small company called twitter doing something called a, Senior Software Engineer..?  Not sure what that means, but I think it means no more video converters for $200…

Anyway, the “kid” is no longer a kid.  His name is Tom Rix and it’s been awesome to watch him grow.  I’d suggest you follow him because chances are you’ll be working for him one day.

Design Versus Development: The Suck Factor.

design vs. development

When I was young, not only did I have to walk 6 miles backwards in the snow to school, but I learned a valuable lesson that things simply look better on TV and that the end product doesn’t always come out the way you envisoned it.

I had asked Santa for the Six Million Dollar Man, Misson Control Center.  It looked so cool on TV.  True to his word, Santa delivered.  But when I opened the box and set everything up, it looked nothing at all like it did on TV.  My dad had to build a contraption with coat hangers just to get the dome to stay upright.  He had to build a custom wireframe to help support it.

Flash forward…2013…things still look better on TV, wireframes are no longer made from coat hangers and there’s still a divide between how things should look vs. how things are developed.  Enter the suck factor.

A client comes to you with some amazing visual concepts, they spent a lot of money on a designer to create something really unique… awesome.  The problem is, the designer didn’t consider the development aspect.  So now the client with their great design becomes confused when you tell them that the design might have to change a little bit to accommodate development.

The designer isn’t going to say anything. They, and rightfully so, want to get paid.  They don’t want to confuse the situation by telling the client about possible issues they may face with developing what they have just designed.

Developers know all too well about these issues, but they’re not the best at communicating with clients.  So, it typically falls on the shoulders of the project manager.

The project manager is now tasked with telling the client that their awesome design just can’t be developed the way they want it.  Enter the suck factor.

But you’ve already taken on the client, the check has been cashed, and you’re doing whatever you can to convince your developer to “try harder”. This typically means you have to pay them more money.  So what started out as a nice profit for you is slowly being sucked away because the client’s designer never took development into consideration.  Or they did, but they just didn’t care because they just cashed their check too.

So for the next project that comes in, make sure you either A) get your team to do both design and development B) if they already have the design, make sure you let the client up front the challenges that may lay ahead.  Because nothing is worse than over selling and under delivering.  I’m looking at you Steve Austin!

article: Design versus development and the challenges faced by project managers.