Mon Dec 31
This last year, quickly drawing to a close, has been one of new beginnings and growth for me. I don’t often reflect on a previous year like this at the turning of the new year, but this year I thought I’d make a break from my traditional beer and Jools Holland evening.
The new beginnings started back in January as I joined a new company. It had been my wish to join a start-up for a long while as the flexibility, drive and attitude of a fledgling company is much to my taste. I couldn’t have struck it better as not only do we have the backing of a major company, but our primary client is poised to become the next big thing it their industry. And I’m working with a great bunch of people.
The growth came on a number of fronts. The latest addition to the Taylor clan is continuing to shoot upwards (and outwards) and this year has mastered the all-important skills of holding a drink, walking and feeding himself. He’s set for life, I reckon. Personally the growth continues, although that’s more to do with a lack of self-control when it comes to biscuits. Note to self: lose weight, you fatty.
My out-of-office-hours work continued to grow pleasingly with the launch of a major website and several other projects. I’m in the good position of being able to choose the projects I work on which means what I do throw myself into benefits from me being a true believer in what my clients are trying to do. Plus I like to count people I work for as friends, so having a special business relationship with them is a good thing.
Musically this year has been quiet, with my only musical outlet being my church. I have been lucky enough to get a couple of new effects boxes for my guitar so what I lack in talent I make up for in range of sounds. Definitely a quantity over quality thing.
With this website I’ve stuck to my usual sporadic output, with less of the in-depth articles I’d like to write. Mainly through lack of time, but also because I’ve been preparing mentally for a new venture in the new year. As regular readers of this blog will know I’m in the process of setting up Yorkshire Twist, the official web development and consultancy branch of my online life. For too long have my professional services been cluttered by strange pictures of animals so it’s time to divide myself in two. Here’s what will happen.
This website, stillbreathing.co.uk, will continue to be my catch-all dumping ground for random stuff. So expect music, pictures and comments about things I find on the web.
My business website, yorkshiretwist.com, will be dedicated to giving an introduction to my services, articles on internet life and website development, and guides to help you get the best out of your websites.
Hopefully that will help me, and any potential clients, keep our heads clear. It’s not that I want to separate business from pleasure (anyone that doesn’t enjoy their job should think about a change of career) but a less … strange portfolio site may be better.
Anyway, I hope the following year brings you all happiness, health and prosperity.
Tue Dec 11
That cheeky chappy Jeremy Keith has got a photo of a possible new BBC homepage design. The BBC is one of the most visited sites on the web, so when they make a change people tend to notice. I’m not going to comment on the design itself much (although I think it’s quite nice, but not as good as the current design) but there are a couple of things in that photo worth mentioning.
Firstly they use Mac’s, and Firefox. Sensible. Secondly their Firefox has Chris Pederick’s fantastic web developer toolbar which makes seeing inside any web page as easy as anything. They also use, if you look carefully on the taskbar, the Aptana IDE.
So can we presume that the BBC website is designed and tested using open source tools? If so it’s a boon for the open source movement. Well done BBC.
I’m a bit behind the times, but I got this from Tom Coates.
Sun Dec 9
OK, it’s not quite open source but it is a worldwide community effort to design a car that will actually be good for the world. Looks like a fantastic idea: Vehicle Design Summit.
Thu Dec 6
I use the word” music” loosely. Image from the great Dave.
Sat Dec 1
Over the next few months I hope to make some pretty big changes regarding the way I do business. The biggest change is my company name, currently stillbreathing.co.uk, will change to Yorkshire Twist. Sounds like a cocktail involving ferrets, I know. Let me explain.
The Yorkshire bit speaks for itself. I’m based in the heart of Yorkshire and although I’m not a Yorkshireman born and bred I’m very proud to have made this place my home.
So, what’s the twist? Yorkshire folk are known for having little patience for frippery. Extraneous fluff isn’t their way, and I appreciate the fact that they want to get to the nitty-gritty quickly. I’m not the only one that thinks like that. Simple is better, especially when it comes to the web where acronyms and jargon abound.
So I’m putting in place a policy to avoid jargon as much as possible. Yorkshire Twist will be an acronym-light zone. Clients will be able to easily understand the technology and therefore get the best out of it, without having to invest in a thesaurus.
How exactly that will pan out I’m not sure yet. The clients I work with currently say they appreciate my down-to-earth approach, so I figured it’s worth turning that skill to my advantage. Plus it gives me the chance to separate my slightly worrying personal online life from my business dealings.
It will also give me a brand under which I can offer some of my open source software, and some other pieces of software such as my content management system and e-commerce system. Hmm, that’s a bit close to jargon for my liking. I may have to rethink how I describe these things.
My manual for much of this transition, apart from my wife’s impeccable common sense (she’s a true Yorkshirewoman, you know), will be this guide to marketing a small web design business. Recommended reading for anyone in my position.