Maslow's Hierarchy of Career Needs

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is a valuable mental model describing the progression of needs, which he classically applied to psychology. The idea behind Maslow’s Hierarchy is that one can only work on obtaining a higher level of need when the needs of a given level (and the levels below) are fully met.

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AngelList Insights

I wrote a little code to analyze technologies in demand with new startups. I used the AngelList job board as my source and was able to pull about 1100 startup job postings. AngelList shut down their API a while back. I created the data files from a simple jQuery selector, once I had manually loaded all of the posts they would allow. Note that this behavior caused my AngelList account to be flagged for scraping and disabled, and they won’t re-enable it.

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Computer Generated Blog Posts

Much of the buzz around AI centers around the AI’s ability to be creative. The recent AlphaGo victory over grandmaster Lee Sedol was not only a triumph of Computer Science in a realm previously thought impossible, but more importantly, and impressively, it showed creative problem solving capabilities by an otherwise extremely analytical AI. The now famous 19th move of Game Two was shocking to Go grandmasters, including Lee Sedol himself. Those in the know describe the move as “creative” and “unexpected”.

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2017 Goals

2016 was a fantastic year! I made my goal of writing 25 blog posts, which I’m quite proud of as I had fallen short several years running.

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New Ideas Require Mental Space

I’ve been spending time lately developing better processes for how to think about my job, how to think about the products I’m building, and how to prime myself to come up with better ideas. The topic of how to “ideate” has been written about ad nauseam, and I’ve read and listened to much of the advice. There’s a lot of good information, and some bad information out there. I think much of the advice is personal, what works for one person may not work for another. Having tried many different methods with varying results, one thing is clear to me - giving my mind space to process and make new connections that lead to new ideas is extremely important.

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Product Work Versus Agency Work

One of the most important questions to ask yourself as a web developer is if you enjoy working on a single product, or across multiple products. There is no right answer to this question. However, there is a right answer for you.

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It's our best XYZ ever!

It’s our best iPhone ever! No kidding. Was there ever a question? Is there a chance that the newest model of anything will be worse than the previous version? As consumers, we assume that it will be better, we’re expecting it, now just tell us how.

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Consistency is Key

A personal record (PR) is special to any runner. By definition, it represents the fastest time a runner has ever covered a given distance. It’s also possible, or even probable, that it represents the fastest time they will ever cover that distance.

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2016 Goals

The last several years I have set goals, some of which I met, and some of which I did not. I like the practice of setting goals for the year ahead - it seems healthy. Though my goals are not at the front of my mind on a day-to-day basis, I like to think that they work on a subconscious level.

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2015 Review

2015 was a wild ride. I took a new job as a Rails Developer with Commerce Kitchen, and became a father for the first time. Looking back on the goals I set for 2015, while they may have been appropriate at the time, they became out-of-date the moment I took the new job, and unattainable the day my little man was born. Hitting yearly goals has been hard in years past too, but my excuses are more pronounced this year. Part of 2016 will be to evaluate what yearly goals mean to me, and how to set more realistic and beneficial goals. Regardless, here are the goals I set for 2015:

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2015 Goals

Once again, the new year is upon us and it’s time to layout my professional goals for the year ahead. As I like to say, this is my time to prune the old and irrelevant, expand on what is solid and good, and gain exposure to the new and exciting. Here are my goals for 2015.

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Creating Physical Products in a Digital World

As a web developer, most of my work is not only completely digital, but it’s ephemeral - lasting only a few years, if I’m lucky. At times this wears on me, as if my entire career is building something that will be simply overwritten in the next version.

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You Should Hire Me

This post is a complete and honest look at who I am as a developer, something I find hard to express in a cover letter or resume.  I have strengths and I have weaknesses, and I'm happy to tell you about them both.

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My Background

This post is my complete work history, from my first page as a student, through my professional jobs, freelance jobs, and personal projects.

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2014 Goals

New Year's Eve is a natural and fantastic time to reflect on the past year's goals, and to derive goals for the year to come.  This is increasingly important as technology continues to change at an ever increasing pace. Learn to prune the old and irrelevant, expand on the solid and good, and gain exposure to the new and exciting. Here are my goals for 2014.

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The Internet Complete Reference

Today I came across a large reference book from 1994 titled, The Internet Complete Reference. The book was an attempt to enumerate every available resource on the web: Usenet groups, Gopher sites, email addresses, and FTP sites (with username and password). Surprisingly few listings had a URL. This book was Google before Google, in printed form, Yellow Pages style.

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My Bank's ATM - A Pleasant Experience

I use my bank’s ATMs for a few things - I pull out cash, and I deposit checks. When I get cash, it’s always the same amount. When I deposit a check, I always choose to deposit in my checking account, and email me a receipt. It used to be that when going to the ATM, I pick from the options my same choices over and over, which was fine, I never thought otherwise, until.. One day the ATM remembered my choices from the previous time, and thought to ask, “Hey Alex, do you just want to deposit this check in your checking account and send a receipt to this particular email address?” It was a pleasant little surprise, to which I answered, “Why yes, that is what I’d like to do, thank you.”

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iPad as an Input Device

It’s often said that the fastest input device is still the keyboard.  I thought I’d share a use-case where the iPad is actually a faster input device than the keyboard.

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Four Things Not To Do When Podcasting

I love listening to podcasts. They are a tremendous tool in the ever present battle to keep up with the craft of programming.  Podcasts help me keep up with industry news, learn about new patterns and technologies, and hear about what others are creating on the web.

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Trademark Strengths

My trademark strength has always been the ability to play in both the technical world, and the business development world.

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What is an Enlightened Pixel?

“What is an enlightened pixel, is that some kind of web thing?” says the teller at my local business bank.  I didn’t have a clever reply, so I simply said, “yes.”

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