Category: General

General creative topics

10 Ways to make a great employee quit

Dumb Rules
Inc has published a great article titled 10 Dumb Rules That Make Your Best People Want to Quit. It’s a subject that is near and dear to my heart, both because I’ve experienced working with companies with some or all of the rules, and I’ve been working in the advertising business long enough to see first-hand how these dumb rules actually come into the conversation whenever I’ve asked why someone was leaving.

Among the worst rules listed:
Dumb rules for performance reviews – There’s no bigger waste of time, and no easier way to insult a great employee than making them fill out these “rate yourself from 1 to 5” reviews. If managers and companies actually cared, they would know the answers and act accordingly. I’ve never met a manager that enjoyed these types of reviews, and I’ve never met a fellow employee that didn’t cringe when it came time to fill them out. This is particularly annoying if you work for a company that is having financial difficulties and you know damn well you aren’t going to get a raise anyway, or they’ve already pre-determined that you’re getting the standard 3% raise no matter how great you are.

Dumb rules for approval – What is the point of trying to hire the best and brightest employees, and then not letting them do their job without you hand-holding and looking over their shoulder at every little thing they do? Why would they tell someone they needed a real go-getter who doesn’t need a lot of supervision, and someone they could trust to get the job done… then not trust them to get the job done? It’s insane.

How stupid would I be to hire the brightest minds in our business and then tell them what to do?
—Steve Jobs, Founder/CEO of Apple

I worked for a company that would not allow a single piece of work go through to completion without reviews by committees of managers and the CEO himself. Yes, the CEO actually had to approve EVERY LITTLE project. I had a 2-inch by half-inch white sticker with 8 words in black Helvetica type (a legal disclaimer) that had to be added to the bottom of product boxes sold in California. There was no debate about the wording—it came straight from the legal department and I copy/pasted it. It took me about 45-seconds to create it, make a PDF proof and send it to the appropriate project manager. It took two weeks to get through the approval process because the management team “didn’t have time” to talk about it in their weekly meetings.

Dumb rules for onsite attendance – It’s 2017. We have our own computers, and they’re usually much more powerful than the cheap crap companies try to get by with. We also have high-speed Internet, and it’s almost always much faster than the company Internet connection because it isn’t being shared by dozens if not hundreds of employees and network servers. You’re paying us well, and treating us decent… so why won’t you let us work from home a few days per week? I’ll tell you why. Because the people in charge are old school “We need to get our money’s worth out of you and the only way we can make sure we are is by seeing you sitting at a desk.”

So you need to be home to let the repair guy in to my house for what will probably be an hour of work. The problem is that he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be at the house… sometime between noon and 3pm he says. If I’m allowed to work from home, I can spend all but the 5 minutes it takes to let him in and explain the problem GETTING WORK DONE. But no… you need to take an entire day off, putting everyone else behind waiting for you to return to work the next day to get what they need from you. Brilliant. That’s getting their money’s worth, alright.

I’ve heard these same stories from numerous friends working for companies of all sizes. The one constant is management/owner mentality that they need to see an employee in order to believe they’re working. Studies have shown that people are happier, and almost always more productive working from home, I have no idea why owners refuse to buy into it.

The dumb rule missing from the list
You’re always going to find somebody that abuses a work from home policy, it’s unavoidable. But that brings me to a dumb rule that’s not on the list in that article.

The “no cause” clause that companies refuse to follow. In most professional companies, you sign some sort of agreement saying you’ve read the employee handbook and accept the rules stated. One of those rules is always “you can be fired for no cause.” So if you have an employee that isn’t performing, and/or abusing the work from home policy, WHY DON’T YOU JUST FIRE THEM??? Why must the rest of us suffer through months and months of “we need to build a case to get rid of him” time? It’s insulting to good employees—putting unnecessary stress on them—and it’s doing more harm to the company than any worry of lawsuits.

Image courtesy of FreePik.

The impact of color on conversion rates

Color favorites

Studies have show most favorite colors (above) by men and women—along with their least favorite

Color does not add a pleasant quality to design — it reinforces it.

—Pierre Bonnard

Color is one of the most powerful tools in a designer’s toolkit. It can draw attention, set a mood, and influence a users’ emotions, perceptions and actions. Did you know that color accounts for 90% of the reason why you purchased a specific product? Or that full-colored ads in magazines are recognized 26% more than black and white ads?

Nick Babich has a great article on color theory for designers—check out The impact of color on conversion rates at the Adobe Creative Cloud blog.

Apple to put voices in your head

I found this article about Apple’s work with the hearing impared fascinating. I had no idea we were at the point of surgically implanting hearing aids, but apparently 10% of hearing aid customers could really stand to benefit from the surgery. And I’m sure as the technology improves (along with the hardware), it’s going to be more common.

While some companies “throw together” features to sell their wares, Apple spent years developing a low-energy form of Bluetooth for just such a use-case. Bravo, Apple!

How Jony Ive Masterminded Apple’s New Headquarters

Jony Ive - Apple Park

‘‘Jony works tirelessly at the detail, evolving, improving, refining. For me, that makes him a poet.’’
—Norman Foster

The Wall Street Journal has a superb feature article on Jonathon Ive, Apple’s design genius. And of course, it’s packed with gorgeous photos of Apple’s new headquarters, including some inside pics that I’ve not seen anywhere else. You just gotta love the clean lines of the workspaces and common areas shown.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit-back in your favorite chair because it’s a long article, but so worth the time.

Adobe nostalgia: What a tangled Web we weave

GoLive Cyberstudio
Adobe has a habit of buying and killing-off great products. There are so many that I can’t even remember the names of some of them.

I came across a few of these product CDs the other day as I was cleaning out some old storage bins. And it got me thinking…

Adobe’s tangled web:

  • 1995 – Adobe acquires Seneca Inc and its primary app – PageMill
  • 1996 – GoLive Inc releases the first commercial-grade WYSIWYG HTML page builder – GoLive
  • 1996 – Macromedia begins selling Flash
  • 1997 – GoLive Inc releases CyberStudio – the 3rd upgrade to the original GoLive app
  • 1997 – In response to CyberStudio, Macromedia releases Dreamweaver
  • 1998 – In response to Flash, Adobe begins selling ImageStyler
  • 1999 – Adobe acquires GoLive Inc and re-brands CyberStudio as Adobe GoLive
  • 2000 – Adobe kills off ImageStyler and replaces it with LiveMotion
  • 2000 – Adobe kills off PageMill and SiteMill
  • 2003 – Adobe kills off LiveMotion
  • 2005 – Adobe acquires Macromedia and its popular Dreamweaver & Flash apps
  • 2007 – Adobe replaces GoLive with Dreamweaver in Creative Suite 3
  • 2008 – Adobe kills off GoLive completely

PageMill was the first consumer-oriented WYSIWYG HTML page builder. I loved it. Even though it couldn’t create tables, it was simple to use and produced excellent code with little fuss.

Adobe GoLive was a product that Adobe acquired when they purchased a German company named GoLive who made a spectacular application called CyberStudio. I loved this app even more than PageMill. It was truly a professional app that produced much cleaner code than the first version of Dreamweaver—and it was far easier to use.

Adobe LiveMotion
Adobe LiveMotion was basically Flash for designers. Flash was a code-heavy mess even in the early days—usable only by developers for the most part. LiveMotion was a breath of fresh-air. I created several websites for clients back in the day using LiveMotion and nobody knew the difference. It was awesome software.

Macromedia was the originator of not only Dreamweaver, but Flash and Freehand (Illustrator’s only competitor). Many people, including myself, believe that all of the Macromedia products went downhill after being acquired by Adobe, with Freehand being outright discontinued. And many people, including myself, believe that all of Adobe’s competing products were far superior to their Macromedia counterparts. Unfortunately, Macromedia had the numbers.

In summary, Adobe acquired three companies, the only three that produced serious software to create websites in the early days of the web. In hindsight, they killed the easier-to-use software in favor of more complex software, which is why we have the complete mess that we have today.

Incidentally, most of the applications Adobe has acquired over the years came from companies that acquired the apps from someone else as well (Flash, Director, Freehand, HomeSite, ColdFusion and more). It seems nobody ever really wanted to hang on to anything in Silicon Valley.

Don’t even get me started on PressReady, ImageReady, TypeManager, Streamline and Dimensions. All of those apps live-on to this day—rolled into other apps or the OS itself—but none of them offer the simplicity and superior results of their stand-alone predecessors.