It’s my last day in Rome, my first real vacation since snowboarding last winter. Although Rome has a lot to offer, I was homesick for Munich nearly every day. I realized how spoiled I am by its cleanliness, German punctuality in public transport and I miss great bread. But these adjustments are always part of travel and visiting a foreign country with their own culture. What really prevented me from enjoying this holiday is my profession: being a web designer and wannabe entrepreneur.
Yes, you heard me correctly. You should learn how to master <table> based layouts and code like it’s 1999.
In my experience, Email is the most effective marketing channel, often besting search engine marketing and social media marketing, although Email often gets only a fraction of the budget. Until recently I’ve only had anecdotal evidence to support this theory.
Last week Forrester Research confirmed my experience in their report, The Purchase Path of Online Buyers in 2012. What’s interesting is that Email drove 30% of sales of repeat customers, with about 17% coming from combined SEO and SEM and about 1% from social media1.
Example of good responsive email on Nexus7 tablet. Twitter has responsive emails too, but their breakpoints aren’t optimized for tablets like this one from meetup.com. Nexus7 vector by Lucas Smith.
For the first 10 years of my web worker career, I considered myself more of a designer than a developer. Despite front-end HTML, CSS and occasional backend experience, I saw myself as a designer. I enjoyed pushing pixels in Photoshop more than writing lines of code and debugging problems in IE.
Today however, I spend more time on the command line and in Sublime Text than in Photoshop, both on client and personal projects. What changed?
dai--ichi asked: A lot of those services that are "free" aren't really free. There is a *huge* market for data mining. Take Instapaper, for example--a web app that allows you to "save" interesting web pages and read it later or share it with friends. Now imagine that if I were a marketer how much I would pay to be able to know all the web pages that you were interested in enough to save. That service isn't "free", you paid your privacy to be able to use it. In the same vein, Facebook isn't free either.
Agreed, data mining is an interesting possibility. But some data is useful, like what Facebook has. They really know what I am interested in, not just based on what I enter as interests but also how I interact with the platform, my friends etc.
If you were a marketer, you’d only be interested in useful information to you. For example, how are the abundant photos of food or people’s shoes found on Instagram interesting?
I’m not saying all data or services is worthless. It’s just not worth millions, in other words, not equal to their operating costs or selling prices.
Anonymous asked: I just stumbled upon your blog and love it. You are so authentic. Can you tell me how you chose Munich and what you did to move? I am living in San Diego and was thinking about doing something awesome like this with my family. Thanks!
It was serendipity. I received a Fulbright grant to teach English in German high schools after college and was placed at schools south of Munich.
In terms of moving here and getting a visa, I’ve tagged several posts about starting a business here, which requires a special visa. In my opinion, finding a job as a skilled individual and as an American is not that difficult and you have control over it. What is unfortunately often hit or miss, are the authorities at the Foreigners’ Office (Ausländeramt). I’ve had both good and bad luck with the authorities. But if you are determined and have patience, you can persevere.
Good luck! Germany is awesome. I love it and don’t have near future plans to go back.
The market for internet companies is broken. We cannot continue starting companies with millions in venture capital and no business model from day one that generates revenue, and more importantly profit.
Don’t rejoice at Facebook’s plummeting stock. It’s an ominous sign for us all. Companies are willing to pay boatloads for great designers and developers in part because they believe we will make the difference and help them become the next Apple or Google. When that bubble pops, many of our salaries may also pop.
Zero funding vs $7 million
Last week Elias and I finally relaunched refreshmunich.com, the website for our user group of designers and developers in Munich. Because we are a web savvy bunch, we wanted to create a responsive website that would work on desktops, tablets as well as mobile phones using one set of markup and css.
We also wanted to try to build a CMS-less site that we could still easily update via other services that we use regularly anyway, namely:
Google Calendar, Twitter and Flickr.