The first session of The Next Web’s conference was provided by Christopher Young, McAfee’s CEO. The title of Chris’ presentation was “The Business Imperative for Creating A Culture Of Security”. His presentation started with an anecdote of the time that McAfee had a security breach of their own.
Welcome to another edition of Island treasures, we’ve been gone a little while but we promise we’ll be better at passing along these little gems more often in 2018. If you’re new to this, Island Treasures is a curated list of the coolest new things we’ve implemented into our day-to-day workflow or even just simple tools things that make life a little bit easier! 3Things
Being as it is a new year, the first thing we found is the world’s simplest tool for reminding yourself to get s*** done in 2018. 3Things conveniently lets you type the 3 most important things you want to be reminded to do this year…and best of all, they promise not to send you anything else! For example, on my 3Things list is:
Learn to Swim. I figure your late 20’s is the sweet spot for learning this skill
Eat Better. Currently I’m on week 2 of a pescatarian diet and haven’t had a beer in 3 weeks. PLEASE SEND HELP…I MISS 9 MILE AND CALIFORNIA RANCH RIBS.
Try not to buy more dogs. I currently have 2 and apparently my wife doesn’t want to be married to the guy with one of those belt leashes..but I dunno I think Daniel Radcliffe would disagree.
This December I was fortunate enough to attend The Next Web’s New York conference. This is an annual conference put on for people in technology, communication and media businesses.
The idea of the conference is to provide a platform for startups to network, and to have industry leaders learn, discuss, and determine what the future of the web will look like. In an effort to make the conference more intimate and fruitful, TNW limited the number of attendees, and required people to apply for an invitation. I was beyond excited when my application was accepted.
This year marked the fifth edition of the conference, and they decided to try a new format this year. They had the typical stage program, with speakers throughout the day. They also had “Round Table” sessions, where an expert/leader in the industry would sit at a small table with at most 10 attendees. This allowed for very intimate discussions compared to most keynote or breakout sessions at conferences I’ve been to in the past.
My plan from the beginning was to share everything I learnt in a single blog post, but the amount of knowledge that was shared was immense. So over the next week or two, I’ll be sharing the highlights from each session I was privy to. I hope you guys enjoy. Here are the sessions I attended so you have an idea what to look forward to:
Talk: The Business Imperative for Creating A Culture Of Security
Christopher Young, CEO, McAfee
Round Table: Redesign Strategy 101
Jess Brown, Director of UX, VICE
Talk: Machine Learning for Personalization
Tony Jebara, Head of Machine Learning, Netflix
Talk: Dreams for Future Cities
David Rose, Entrepreneur, Author, and Researcher, MIT
Round Table: Mindfulness-Based Leadership
Cory Muscara, Mindfulness Coach, Google SIY
Talk: Cryptocurrency and the Future of Money
Galia Benartzi, Founder of Bancor
Talk: The Future of Emotionally Intelligent Machines
Pamela Pavliscak, CEO of Change Sciences
Island will be giving a talk titled Function vs. Form: Building a Website with Purpose. With so many tools out there such as Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, it’s actually quite easy these days to build a nice looking website, without needing know how to code. This is great, cost-effective solution for startups and small businesses when done right. In this talk we’ll cover some common pitfalls people make, which turn their website from a useful sales and lead generation tool, into just a piece of eye-candy.
We don’t always get asked to do Spec Work, but when we do it reminds of us this video from a few years ago.
In nearly every case we’ve experienced, it is never the client’s intent to receive free work, they are simply not aware of what they are requesting. There is just something about design that makes people think we can just whip it together, and they can pick their favourite. Maybe it’s because good design is typically made to look simple and effortless. However good design requires strategy, and consultation with the client and target audience, and also relies on years of education and experience.
“There must be collaboration between the client and the designer, for design to be an effective business asset.”
We don’t do spec work because it leads to subpar results. It also has a negative impact on the design industry as a whole, leading to work being undervalued, and promoting unethical practices. If you want to learn more, check out nospec.com or watch the video below.
This past December Island ran a contest to give a deserving company or individual in Saskatoon a new website. It was our way to give back to the community, the best way we knew how. We are super excited with the winner we chose: Naomi Zurevinski.
Naomi has been working on a project called “This is My Self”, which is dedicated to sharing stories of self-love and to inspire people to embrace who they truly are. The project was born out of her own desire to create a space where she would be able to share her story, and the stories of others, while promoting better self-confidence, self-respect, and self-love for everyone.
For me, choosing Naomi as the winner was a no-brainer. As a father of a nine year-old girl, I already see the importance of self-love and confidence. I know her best defense against bullies, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, or anyone else who tries to put her down is to be proud of herself for who she is. If there is anything I can do to help promote the message of self-love and recognizing every individual as special, then I feel I owe it to her to do that.
Naomi’s hope for the project is that it can be “…an outlet for people to share their struggles, and how they learned to accept themselves as they are”. Island is thrilled to have the opportunity to design a website that will have a profound impact on so many people. It seems like a dauntless endeavor, but working with Naomi, we’re hoping to deliver amazing results. We officially kicked off the project last week and can’t wait to share the progress as the This Is My Self website begins to take shape!
We all have them. When you’ve been building websites, or doing anything for a number of years, you’re bound to pick up some bad habits. The first step in dropping a bad habit is to identify it. That’s why we’re always doing code reviews, and reviewing each others work on a regular basis. We also have a formal review session every week, and after the launch of each website. These “retrospectives” focus around one question: what can we do better?
2. Shed some weight
Every website we build, we want to be as lightweight as possible. This keeps webpages loading fast so your users don’t get frustrated and move on to the next site. We accomplish this by minifying our code, and optimizing images based on your user’s screen size. In addition to this, we’ll continue to follow our “less is more” approach, keeping our designs light with white space, and organizing sitemaps in a simplified manner.
3. Learn something new
One of our core values is humility, which means we are never done learning. In 2017 we’re setting aside specific time for self-improvement. This means we’re taking online classes through websites like Skillshare and Treehouse. We’ll also be bringing back our knowledge sharing sessions called “Island Talks”. This is an opportunity for any of our staff to present to the team about anything related to websites, design, marketing, or anything else relevant to our work. Keep an eye out as we’ll post them to our website as they happen.
4. Sleep more
For the past couple of months we’ve been working with Sleepwell Consulting, providing them with a redesigned website and new branding. We’re fortunate enough to learn from every client we work with, and the value of quality sleep was a lesson I for one needed to learn. The tradeoff in productivity, quality, and efficiency during daytime hours far outweighs any work done after the fifth cup of coffee late at night.
Island is looking for a website developer to join our team. The ideal candidate is a self-starter who cares more about blowing clients away than the bottom line. If you’re looking for a position with room for learning, growth, and the ability to contribute in all aspects of a business, then drop us a line.