I suppose that’s not a terribly original title. I’m sure a Google search will yield a dozen articles with this title. Oh well whatever. It still means something to me. Starting in 2012 and beyond, my mantra is to create and own content.
I started this year with this mantra in mind. I started a series of interactive math digital books and apps with the belief that this would be a rich area for content. The theory is good, the execution was not as good. Still, I am proud to have completed that project and learned something from that effort and failure.
Today, I continue to push forward in other content areas. As a lifelong programmer, my specific area of content is software. As technology evolves towards mobile devices, my content focus as a software developer should naturally be mobile apps. Of course, the skills to create apps is far distant from having good ideas for mobile apps. The best compromise is to stay focused on apps that are content-driven, which is perfectly acceptable to me. I intend to stay close to the digital publishing sector and any digital publishing tools that I create in this area will have educational and/or technological value to me.
Earlier this afternoon, I re-read an article that I have always found fascinating. It is the story of Byron Reese of Demand Media, who has made a career out of creating content based on audience interests.
In my current side project, I am working on a content production engine that delivers topical content to mobile devices. By “topical content”, I mean content within a specific interest area; content that has an audience. Perhaps it’s the equivalent of Flipboard for X, where X is something that people are interested in. The content can be a mix of curated news and videos, as well as reference guides. A good example would be content focused on a specific video game where the audience is very passionate about the content and wants a custom experience with social integration.
That’s where things stand right now. I plan to post more on this blog mainly for my own mental benefit. To get focused and stay sharp…
For the last decade or so, I have said that the most important quality that I expect from myself and others I work with is precision. It is that inate drive to build and deliver things that have been carefully engineered to resist and gracefully handle failures. The best engineers will expect flaws and unexpected fail points in anything they create. Only through precision can you mitigate the risks of errors that occur at runtime.
Looking to the future, I am entering a new level of my career in technology and advertising. And I am setting new targets for myself and for the company I am excited to join. My new mantra is “performance”. No just performing well or awesome (which is my baseline goal). I mean the ability to measure and demonstrate performance on a number of key performance indicators (KPIs). In my mind, I am looking to establish processes to catalog and track the execution of major tasks and deliverables. Ideally, this would result in a weekly set of charts that one could use to immediately gauge performance and risk.
Looking back, I can point to the quality that matters the most throughout one’s career. Conveniently, it is another word that starts with “P”. Passion. That’s what I look for when hiring anyone, especially if they are just getting started and perhaps are still growing in terms of skills. And it’s the key ingredient that you need for yourself and your entire team. If it’s not there, it is painfully obvious.
Saying it again, you need these things: passion, precision, and performance.