Bookless Libraries and the Democratization of Information

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014 in Nerdery | No Comments

A few recent articles have made the democratization of information—and the ‘arrival of the future,’ as some call these advances—hit much closer to home. First on display is the advent of the bookless library. That sounds like an oxymoron because of what we have known libraries to be for so long (shelves of books).

The Verge recently published an article reviewing Florida Polytechnic University’s new bookless library. Granted, the school’s curriculum focuses heavily on STEM material and the library has a book-borrowing program set up with other libraries. That isn’t the most interesting thing to me about the bookless phenomenon, though, it’s the way the concept is shaping the inventory and distribution of content:

Instead of books, the library has a deal with publishers that lets students access a title once for free. If any other student “takes out” the ebook of that title, the library automatically purchases it for its collection.

Instead of purchasing inventory, libraries can buy ebooks on-demand as needed. The efficiency brought about by that model alone will drive more libraries to adopt similar models. What’s more, as mobile devices become more and more integrated into education, we’ll see seamless ‘checkout systems’ in which students can access a school’s bookless library without even stepping foot in the physical space.

This will certainly be a fascinating transition to watch.

Advertising Hype VS Reality

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Nerdery, Work | No Comments

This week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association’s yearly Summit. MIMA happens to be the oldest interactive marketing association in the US.

I’ve already learned great things from the smart people here, but one thing I really appreciate about some of the content is that it’s honest. For example, in a session focused on the Internet of Things, Liz Presson said this:


Sticking With Lingering To-Do’s

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Work | 2 Comments

I am generally categorically opposed to what I call ‘productivity porn,’ or the prescription of silver-bullet productivity/GTD/time management advice. “Follow these four steps and re-claim your to-do list and your life!” One of the reasons I oppose that type of advice is that many times, the person espousing a fix has found something that works really well for themselves and won’t necessarily work for everyone.

That being said, I do think it’s healthy to think well about how we use our time (which I’m writing a series about) and from time-to-time I run across an opinion about productivity that I think is interesting enough to discuss.

To that end, a gentleman named Jeremiah Owyang wrote a post on Medium called “If Time is Money, Invest Wisely.” The premise of the post is spot-on:


If You’re Not an Art Director, Don’t Be

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Work | No Comments

This is a snippet from an email I sent to a designer I’m working with:

Also, one additional thought: the photo seems a *bit* ambiguous—do you think it would be better to shift it left so that you can see more of the laptop (to provide better context)? Not trying to art-direct, just trying to look at it from the potential customer’s eyes.

I’m working with a designer to shore up the lines on The Iron Yard’s brand. The resulting standards will serve as a guide to any designer creating any sort of artwork or collateral related to our company.

Throughout this process I’ve worked hard to let the art/creative director do their job without interfering. What does that mean? Many times when you have a deep connection to a brand (i.e., you started the company) or your authority over that brand (which is part of my job), you’re tempted to let your preferences guide decision making about the brand. To some extent, if you know the brand intimately, you are one of the brands most valuable resources.


My Answer: Is The Iron Yard Academy Worth The Investment?

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Work | No Comments

Yesterday I wrote about a potential customer asking a question about our business on Quora:

Is The Iron Yard Academy worth the investment?

I thought it would be interesting to publish my response—they way I tried to express what our customers receive when they give us money. (One of our graduates also responded, which provided an interesting and incredibly encouraging perspective.)

Here’s what I wrote:


Is What You are Selling Worth the Investment?

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Work | No Comments

Recently a potential customer (who is now a customer) asked a question about our business on Quora:

Is The Iron Yard Academy worth the investment?

I like that question because it cuts directly to the question behind every question a customer asks: Is what you’d provide me worth more than the money I’d give you? The concept of value exchange is one of the foundations of commerce. We give people and companies money because they can accomplish or provide something for us that we can’t/don’t have time to/don’t want to do ourselves.

That’s a healthy way to evaluate what we do: how much value do we provide our customers relative to the amount of money they give us?

Flying over the Pacific Northwest

Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Adventures, Photos | No Comments


Yesterday evening I flew into Portland, OR. It’s been a few years since I’d flown over the Pacific Northwest and I’m always amazed at the breathtaking landscape—especially from the air.


The Changing Demographics of The Internet Will Mold It

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Nerdery | No Comments

It’s a healthy exercise to think about the way people who aren’t like me experience things differently than I do (even if the raw material of those things are the same).

In August I wrote about how much of the world’s access to the Internet looks different from the typical American’s connection to the internet:

Our own experiences always influence our view of things. As a result we tend to think about accessing the internet as common when that isn’t necessarily the case. For example, over 60% of phones in the world are ‘dumb phones,’ or ‘feature phones.’ Still, those users can connect to services like Facebook and Twitter via a text-only interface.

In that same vein, our view of things can tint how we perceive our influence on those things. A recent article in Quartz offers a fascinating look at how a massive new group of Internet users coming online in India will actually shape what the web looks like.


Less Decisions for Your Brain

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Life, Work | No Comments

Last night my wife and I were folding laundry. We had two loads to process, so I started on one while she took care of a few other chores around the house.

We’ve been married a few years, but don’t often do laundry together—we both do the laundry, it’s just that most often it’s a solo activity no matter who is doing it (my wife is wedding florist and works weekends, which is why our schedule is a little out of the ordinary).

When my wife came in to help fold the clothes she asked, “do you always separate all of the clothes into piles before folding them?” I didn’t think much about it, but that’s exactly what I’d done: I sorted all of the clean clothes into piles by category (socks, shirts, etc.) and then set about folding them. Of course, I was asked to explain my methodology.


How Do You Refer To Your Customers?

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Work | No Comments


This week a potential student reached out to The Iron Yard. I manage some incoming leads and distribute them to my team as needed. As I was writing the email to hand off this particular potential customer, I stopped when I thought about how to refer to him.


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