Posts tagged Doing

Live @ SMX East: What SEOs Should Be Doing With Mobile

For years, debates raged about what constituted “best practices” when it came to mobile SEO. Early on, the discussion focused on whether it was important to have a separate site optimized for mobile devices. That proved to be a major challenge, as it required detecting and optimizing…

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21 Things Every Web Developer Should Be Doing by @stoneyd

  If only Ferris knew what was ahead. That quote comes from much simpler, and slower times. With the web and all it’s related technologies, we have seen life change faster than ever. If life was fast during Ferris’ day, it’s at lightning speed now. But the faster life gets, the more we have to slow down to take stock of things. This is no less true in the ever-changing web. But let’s start at the beginning: web development. This is usually the starting point of a business’ web presence outside of social media. Sometimes, in haste to “get going” […]

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11 Things You Should be Doing With Google Analytics by @YEC

Google Analytics offers e-commerce startups a great way to increase conversions and grow revenue by seeing where a site or mobile app could use improvements. It’s a great tool — if you’re not already using it, you should be. Although most entrepreneurs know the basics, there are a whole host of lesser-known Google Analytics tips that startups could be using to improve their business. Here are 11 of them: Create Custom Audience Segments Put your target audience analysis and personas to good use by creating customer audience segments in Google Analytics. You can apply these to overall traffic or individual […]

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Takeaways from Sean Si’s “I’m Not Doing SEO”: A #SEOSummit Recap by @AkiLiboon

SEJ’s Philippine team was privileged to attend last Saturday’s SEO Summit and meet the speakers. Among them is Sean Si, a Filipino motivational and leadership speaker and the founder of SEO Hacker, a Philippine-based company that provides Internet Marketing and SEO services. “I’m Not Doing SEO” While the event is all about SEO, Sean talked about how the art of sales can pump up your business’ online marketing campaign. According to him, “Online marketing is bringing your brand from the throne to the hearts and minds of people.” In order to achieve that, you need to find the right arena […]

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Why I Left Doing Just SEO – Business 2 Community

Why I Left Doing Just SEO
Business 2 Community
Nobody what anybody tries to tell you, SEO is, by its very nature, a reactive industry. Traffic goes down, you react. Links disappear, you react. Google changes their algorithm, everybody reacts. It's not the only industry like this, but it was

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Distributed Development: You’re Still Doing It Wrong

Distributed computing is the future of technology, but you’d never know it from how many tech organizations continue to operate. While our systems run across multiple servers and even data centers, our development teams too often sit within the same office. While there are real benefits to a co-located development team, the costs of competing for local talent may well outweigh them.

Ironically, open source has taught us how to effectively work in a distributed fashion, but far too few organizations have heeded its lessons. 

The Costs Of Homogeneity

Facebook is the world’s largest open source company, as I wrote recently. If any company groks open source, it’s Facebook. 

And yet Facebook has a very 20th century approach to development. When my company was acqui-hired by Facebook a few years back, Facebook had little interest in any engineer that wasn’t located within Silicon Valley. Move to the Valley or move on, was the mantra.

There are good reasons for this mindset. Studies have found that co-located engineering teams can be more productive, with less time needed to coordinate resources, make decisions, etc. Embedded in that decision, however, is a tradeoff, which Jeff Waugh uncovers in reference to why companies elect the co-located or distributed development approach:

Not only does distributed development yield a greater range of people, but it also provides access to talent at far lower cost. This is a big deal given the escalating cost of recruiting and hiring engineers. Seen the price of an engineer in Silicon Valley these days?

In an email conversation, former MySQL and ZenDesk executive Zack Urlocker pushed the advantages of distributed development. Not only is it “much easier to hire when you have distributed teams,” he told me, but it turns remote locations into real offices and “not just sales outposts,” which is good for both productivity and morale beyond the engineering team. 

But set aside the costs for a moment. Can distributed development actually work?

What Open Source Teaches Us

For those in the open source world, this is almost a silly question. Some of the world’s greatest software, from Linux to Hadoop, gets written by disparate engineers huddled over their laptops in far-flung locations. By its very nature, open-source development favors online collaboration on code, with all communication happening on mailing lists, chat channels and more. 

In the open source world, you can collaborate with your colleague sitting next to you, but any relevant communication needs to happen online, or the model falls apart. If anyone is privileged by sitting next to their peers in the office, the model breaks. 

GitHub can help. Increasingly, development happens on GitHub, brilliantly explained in non-geek speak by Lauren Orsini. GitHub works so well because it allows developers to work on their own time, forking and merging code asynchronously, either collaboratively or competitively. 

Your Mileage May Vary

Of course, the subtext here is that distributed development works better when the software architecture allows it, not to mention company culture. As Charles Wise posits, “Tightly integrated apps are much tougher” to pull off than systems that involve modular architectures. Given the increasing prevalence of open-source code emerging from tech titans like Facebook and Google, perhaps the default should be modular architectures that are a natural fit for distributed development?

Even with tightly integrated systems, companies have shown that it can work, and well. Marten Mickos, a veteran of MySQL, which had a very distributed workforce, and current CEO of open-source cloud company, Eucalyptus, emailed me some thoughts on how Eucalyptus works:

We have software developers in China, Bangladesh, India and all over the US. A third are located in Santa Barbara where we have an office. The rest work from their homes or collaborative workspaces.

Everything we do is online. We use Jira, Confluence, Github, wiki pages, email, IRC and so on.

Our developers have small private (and personal) clouds in order to be more productive.

We do regular online meetings for specific teams, specific features and specific releases. We follow an agile model, shipping major feature releases twice a year and maintenance releases every second month.

A lot of discussions happen on email. We have an alias for fun@ and one for life@ and discuss@ and On these lists, people can exchange information and debate various topics. And if they are busy, they can of course ignore those emails.

Because of our model and our commitment to openness, we have been able to recruit some of the absolutely best engineers in the field of distributed systems. The fact that they don’t have to move to wherever the HQ are is a huge plus from them.

This has been my experience as well, having worked at highly distributed teams at Canonical and Nodeable and more tightly coupled teams at Alfresco and MongoDB. Both work, though in different ways. 

What Works For You

Ultimately, though, whether distributed development can work for your company comes down to—surprise!—the particular nuances of your company, as Twitter’s open source guru, Chris Aniszczyk suggests:


All true. But my modest proposal is that many companies haven’t even tried to experimented with distributed development, and they should. As Urlocker insists, co-located development is “good but it’s limiting. Over time there is tremendous advantage to having multiple Dev teams in multiple cities.”

Better, more diverse talent at less cost. That sounds like a winning formula.

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Up Close @ SMX Advanced: What Advanced SEMs Should Be Doing About Mobile

Every year is the year of mobile, and 2014 hasn’t been a disappointment. Mobile screen time now exceeds TV in the United States. Fifty percent of paid-search clicks on Google will come from mobile devices in 2015, according to one forecast. So what do advanced SEMs need to know about mobile, and…

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Social Media 101: 30 Things You Should Avoid Doing on Social Media by @albertcostill

Social media is a great way to promote your brand, expand your reach, and increase followers who will hopefully become customers. However, it can also create trouble when not used correctly. One mistake on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, and your brand is suddenly dealing with a serious reputation issue. Since we don’t want you to experience that migraine-inducing nightmare, here are 30 things you should avoid doing on social media: 1. Only Focusing on Facebook When you think of social media, the first social network that comes to mind is probably Facebook. With 71% of adults online using Facebook, it’s easy to believe you can […]

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Why You’re Doing Digital Public Relations Wrong by @wonderwall7

As the managing editor of SEJ, which gets almost one million pageviews monthly, I find myself receiving up to ten press releases and “embargoed announcements” from all kinds of companies everyday. And almost every time, I find myself shaking my head and simply deleting the email. While the reasons for my heavy use of the trash icon in Gmail can vary, it is most often for the common sense stuff: they addressed the email to an editor from years ago; or there is no name at all. Or, their press release isn’t related to SEJ in any way, and I figure they […]

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Arduino Rising: 10 Amazing Projects People Are Doing With The Tiny Microcontroller

This past Saturday marked World Arduino Day, an eponymous celebration of the first decade of the open-source single-board microcontroller designed for do-it-yourself electronics projects.

Developed in 2004 for Italian design students, Arduino quickly became a favorite for builders and makers all over the world. With a built-in set of inputs and outputs that can be directly connected to sensors, Arduino allows for projects that interact with the environment outside the tiny microcontroller. 

For this reason, many compare Arduino to Raspberry Pi, but Arduino is not a self-sufficient computer like the Pi. What Arduino can do is make electrical engineering ridiculously easy. For example, let’s say you wanted to create a simple project to make LEDs blink on and off. On the Raspberry Pi, you’d need to install your OS and some code libraries, and that’s just the start. On the Arduino, you can achieve the same functionality with just an LED, a resistor and eight measly lines of code.  

If you’re curious about getting started with Arduino, there’s no better time to begin than today—World Arduino Day—or whenever you’re reading this article. I’ve listed 10 projects below that are ideal for any Arduino beginners out there. 

The Ever Blinking LED

Adafruit shows you how to make everyone’s favorite first Arduino project, an LED light that blinks. On the surface, it looks like you’re learning to make the light blink slowly or rapidly, but really this tutorial is ideal for getting you familiar with your Arduino. And by the end of it, you got a blinking light, and that’s pretty darn cool.

A simple robot. Photo and tutorial by Nathan House.

A simple robot. Photo and tutorial by Nathan House.

Arduino Based Robot

MAKE magazine calls this an ideal first robotics project. It’s fast and simple but by no means limited: You can program the robot to move around on its two wheels while avoiding any obstacle you put in its way. 

Garage Door Opener

Since the Arduino’s strength is communicating with the world around it—a la the Internet of Things—this project is a great example of how Arduino can be contacted by a mobile phone to trigger your garage door.  

Talking Clock

This Arduino project looks more elaborate than it is. It uses a LoL (Lots of LEDs) display shield to show the time and a Speakjet Speech Synthesiser chip to speak it aloud. But once you’ve got the hardware together, the software just requires a quick download of some open source code, and your clock soon be able to literally tell you the time in no time at all. 

Keyboard Lock

Make Arduino your personal sentinel by programming it to keep intruders from accessing your computer keyboard. This project is from Arduino Workshop by John Boxall, a book designed for beginners looking to get started with Arduino. 

Tweet your coffee pot to brew on command. Photo and tutorial by greggawatt.

Tweet your coffee pot to brew on command. Photo and tutorial by greggawatt.

Twitter Enabled Coffee Pot

Tweet at your coffee pot while you’re out, and come home to a fresh brew. This project only requires four hardware components and eight steps, but everyone that follows you on Twitter will be impressed at your DIY know-how.  


This Arduino project queries your home PC, which then polls a Google Calendar to determine the ideal temperature for your apartment. It’s not especially pretty, but there’s no soldering (fusing metal objects with a tool) required. 

Pollutant Sensor

Arduino makes it easy to monitor your air quality. As creator Luke Iseman points out, you can either buy a pollutant detector for upwards of $230, or you can make one yourself with Arduino on the cheap. This one uses a small gas sensor to basically allow your Arduino to acquire a sense of smell.  

The "magic crystal mood ball." Photo and tutorial by Bruna Calheiros.

The "magic crystal mood ball." Photo and tutorial by Bruna Calheiros.

“Magic Crystal Mood Ball”

Academic Bruna Calheiros found a hollow plastic ball, and rigged it to an Arduino and five RGB LEDs to change color when it senses heat. Depending on the user’s touch, the ball will change to one of eight colors, thereby “measuring your mood.”

8x8x8 LED Cube

What would you do with a large, glowing Arduino-powered cube? I don’t know, but 3 million people have tagged this Instructables post to try it out. More elaborate than any of the previous projects listed, the creator estimates four or five days of work. Too much? Start with MAKE’s 3x3x3 LED cube for beginners.

So now that you’ve seen these various Arduino projects, how do you know which one’s right for you? The Arduino Store offers many variations of the tiny microcontroller, but while the tutorials we listed could use any Arduino board, we’d recommend the Arduino Uno because of its standard size and usability, which is also the board that’s included in Arduino beginner kits.

For more experienced electrical engineers looking to toy around with Arduino, the Leonardo offers more processing power for bigger projects, and the Due has even more. Arduino also offers the Micro, which lives up to its name, while the LilyPad is ideal for sewing into clothes. 

Lead photo by Nicholas Zambetti

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