chad lindstrom’s blog

random thoughts, expression, ideas and activism


Visa Signature Hotels

What better to break my blog-silence, than to announce a fantastic project I have been working on for the past few months.

The Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection! More correctly, I’ve been developing the website and web infrastructure for Kiwi Collection, which powers visasignaturehotels.com and soon to power our corporate site as well, www.kiwicollection.com.

I can’t say much at the moment, aside from this project has been a great experience. We’ve got a superstar team of designers and developers, along with a great leadership and project team. It really is a breath of fresh air when you have competent people at all levels of the organization, with quality as the Number 1 priority.

It’s really a great feeling when a project has great test infrastructure, a team willing to constantly challenge, and push for improvement week after week.  An organization committed to it’s quality, it’s image and delivering the best product to it’s client.

I’m quite enjoying the project, which still has a number of big milestones to reach. So far, we’re kicking ass, and we are running like a well oiled machine.

Stay tuned!  There are greater things to come from Kiwi Collection.

EA Skate Graphics Creator Gallery

It’s always nice to see a project you’re working on go live.  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing through several high profile projects go up over the years.  Upgrading Nintendo.com (NOA 2.5, back in the days the Wii was the Revolution), rebuilding and relaunching DirecTV.com, rebranding ActiveState.com, merging 3 gold companies into NewGold.com, the list goes on.  It’s fun stuff, it’s like a hobby and I just so happen to get paid for it!

My latest project is the EA Skate Graphics Gallery.  Working on the project was rather rewarding, as I was collaborating with the great guys at AppSpin who know their stuff.  It’s a pleasure to work again with a core group that are focused on getting a good product out the door.  It’s also a good chance to get immersed again in front-end development.  My role at work over the past 12 months has me doing less of the things I’ve really liked to do, and these extra projects really help get one back into those simple and easy things.

I quite enjoy working on projects like this, especially when that cool stuff has the potential to be seen and used by so many.  As we speak, this Skate Graphics Creator has been used to create over 675 graphics in just a couple short days.  The Graphics Creator and Gallery is proving to be a success and a useful tool and feature.  It’s adoption like this that gets the gears really spinning.

Congrats to all involved!

26 Ways To Know Your Software Development Project Is Doomed

A couple that hit close to home:

When you see the project budget, you realize that over half of it was spent on a Web designer to create a Photoshop mock-up of the home page—with no regard to whether that design is feasible. Or with any attention to the thousands of pages of content that will exist underneath that home page.

and…

You are a Web developer. You open the ZIP file with the HTML documents the client produced for the site scripts you need to integrate with the Web application. And you discover the client’s HTML documents are all Microsoft Word files, saved in HTML format.

Dec 03

Emotion

There are countless examples of successful websites (Flickr, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc), successful devices (iPod, iPhone) and successful cars (Smart, Prius, Porshe).

What is it about those success stories that makes them stand out from the pack?  Is it superior performance or technology?  Is it timing or cost?  Is it something else?  

I vote on ‘something else’.  Specifically, emotion.

Why is it, so many get such satisfaction from simply opening their latest Apple product.  Why is it, that so many are so proud of their Toyota Prius?  Why is it Youtube beat out Google Video?  And why is it the iPod consistently beats out the Samsung, Creative, Zune and other competing products?

Sure, one may claim timing, or technology (the iPod is usually the weaker product) or marketing or whatever.  I think it’s mostly due to the emotional connection.  At the end of the day, our emotions play a huge part in what we do, and where we spend our money.

Want some proof?  Ever had a friend get all excited and want to show you their new iPod?  How about their new Samsung?

Get customers excited, meet a need, and really connect them with an experience.


About 8 years ago I purchased the Creative DTT2500 Speaker Set.  It’s served me well.  It continues to serve me well.  However, the amplifier is starting to short out.  The 5 speakers + subwoofer are doing just fine.

Now, I’ve been scouring the net for a while now trying to find a place to either repair the amp or to replace it.  I’d rather not toss this system all together, for obvious reasons such as waste, principle, and simply that there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get this thing repaired.

Anyone know anyone, or any place where I would be able to get something like this repaired or find a replacement (for just the amp)?

Sometimes it makes sense to go new, other times it makes sense to reinvent the old.

This happens all the time in software.  Sure, I could refactor this, but I could also just rebuild it all together.  Hmm…  It’s also generally easier for a designer to dramatically alter design, making it their own.  But if you change too much, it’s ‘new’.  And if you’re building something people need to use, you’ve got to sell them on the new way of doing things.  That’s asking people to change habits, and habits die hard.  Think how hard it is to quit smoking, not only is it an addiction, it’s actually a habit!

Take the latest big things:

  • Twitter (it’s blogging, but for when you don’t have much to say)
  • Facebook (it’s just a better friendster, hi5, myspace, etc)
  • Google (a better altavista, lycos, yahoo)
  • OSX (a better vista)
  • Amazon

Seth posted today, ‘Gravity is just a theory‘.

Everyone ‘believes’ in gravity

The top 3 in that list are examples of taking one’s previously defined theory of ‘gravity’ and reinvented it.  Twitter just grabbed a niche for those looking for a way to blog short, concise updates.  Where a blog previously failed, twitter came in and complimented it.

Facebook just took a concept that others were mediocre at, and reinforced it and made it better.  There is nothing new and novel about social networks, or groups, or friends or connections online.  Facebook just made it way better.  And they incorporated a very successful viral network to grow so quickly such that noone could keep pace.

Google didn’t have to reinvent or introduce anything new, they just came along and turned a broken system (existing, biased and influenced search engines) and made something unbiased and useful.  Word of mouth and a good system was all they needed.  No “this is what we do, and this is why you need us” messaging was needed.

Later on, Seth states:

Evolution is really slow.

Amazon on the other hand, is evolution.  It wasn’t overnight success for these guys.  Sure, they may have been selling product from early on, but it took huge investment and a lot of time for a movement and people’s habits to change.  Amazon bet on those habits changing, and that paid off.  Amazon now enjoys a healthy dominance in the market.  It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap.

Ultimately, if building new means you need to change habits, and get your market to abandon a previously believed story, then you are taking the hard road.  Potentially a much bigger payout at the end, but much more risk.

So, if you’re looking to make a quick buck, jump on bandwagons, and rebuild and sell gravity as a better gravity.

It ought not be of suprise to any of you, but it’s now as good as official, Google Chrome will allow Extensions.

This is good news for those looking to switch from Firefox to Chrome full-time.  I know I have already switched.  Looking forward to the day I get my Delicious integrated into my browser again.  I’m not a big fan of the delicious bookmarklet.

Thanks Google, for a great browser.  And opening up the platform!!