Pages Navigation Menu

Most Recent Articles

Time Spent On A Website (not always an indication success)

I was reading an interesting old Wall Street Journal the other day on “stickiness” by Thomas Weber. Immediately, I saw in print what I’ve been thinking for years: It’s not how long you can keep a user on your site, it’s how well (or easily or pleasantly or enjoyably) you allow a user to perform a desired task.

Weber makes the point succinctly when he writes, “Sticky was stupid.” He explains that the industry’s push for stickiness has been in direct opposition to users’ needs. Stickiness, he writes, “tempts people to view a business through the lens of steering customers to do something rather than giving them what they want.” Which is exactly right.

The long-held notion of stickiness is that the longer any given user stays on your site, the better. This longer stay helps in collecting ad dollars, boosting sales, and upping the number of tasks performed on the site.

Read More

Eric Schmidt, Do Tech Millionaires Deserve Their Fortunes?

Merit is a very funny word,” says Eric Schmidt, ex-CEO of the software company Novell and Google. “I’m not sure I entirely understand what it means.” Formerly chief technical officer at Sun Microsystems, where he helped develop the Java programming language, the gawky, bespectacled Schmidt is widely regarded as one of the most thoughtful executives in the high-tech world.

We are eating lunch at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Atlanta. “Who said that life is fair?” Schmidt says to me. “Who says that we get what we deserve? I didn’t set out to make money or become rich. I did my job because I liked it, and the money showed up afterward. Suddenly I woke up and said: ‘Oh wow, I’m not middle-class anymore.’ But I can’t say I have a moral right to this wealth. In a sense, it’s a complete accident in my life. And if it went away that would be OK too.”

I bring Schmidt back to the issue of merit or just desserts. In what sense, I ask, can tech millionaires be said to deserve their fortunes? “It is undoubtedly true that the vast majority of people in the high-tech world have made their own money,” Schmidt says. “Inherited wealth is simply irrelevant. We’re talking about wealth that didn’t even exist a decade ago, in some cases five years ago.”

Read More

Bethany Hamilton’s story- The Fearless Life

Recently, I saw the movie “Soul Surfer.” If you’re not familiar with Bethany Hamilton’s story, she’s the young girl whose arm was bitten off by a huge shark while surfing in Hawaii on Halloween morning some years ago. This is still such an inspiring story, it influenced so many people and helped many of us to achieve more. One of my friends passed her GED test thanks to this story, she now helps other students to prepare for the GED with these free resources.

But let me remind you the Bethany Hamilton’s story. She survived but of course lost her arm. The movie is the story of her efforts to get back in the water, relearn how to surf, compete in a surfing competition, fail to qualify, and resolve to work harder and eventually succeed in her dream of becoming a pro surfer. Talk about courage!

Bethenny failed to move on past the amateur surfing competition she would have owned had she had both arms, she almost gave up surfing. Though her veins were filled with salt water, she dreamt of surfing, and her entire world revolved around surfing (i.e. being homeschooled so she could hit the waves during peak times), she was going to turn her back on everything she was and figure out a new path. After her mission trip to Thailand, she decided she’s going to give surfing one more shot – all or nothing – surf or sink.

Read More

Lawrence Twombly, From Hockey Star to CEO

Larry “Buzzy” Twombly remembers feeling angry, angry enough to want to get up and punch the driver of the Trans Am who’d just barreled through the stop sign at 70 miles an hour. Twombly had flown off his motorcycle and crashed through the windshield of the car that hit him, but he didn’t feel pain. Just anger.

For a minute on that chilly, fall day in November 1984, he stood on his own. The Harvard freshman and athlete who’d already had been drafted by the National Hockey League was physically strong, and adrenaline gave him an extra rush. He tried to take a step and looked down.

That’s when he realized his foot wasn’t really there. All that was holding it to his left leg were a few red veins and a tendon. His entire ankle, as well as his future as a professional hockey player, had been destroyed in that late afternoon motorcycle accident.

Read More

How Corporate Spies Work

At the NSA, Winkler learned valuable lessons about cryptoanalysis and database design, among other things. But the spy’s life failed to match his expectations. The NSA, says Winkler, was “more Dilbert than James Bond.”

It was in the private sector that he finally found the intrigue he longed for. While working as a project manager at SAIC, a San Diego-based technology consulting firm, Winkler was asked to conduct a security test for a client company.

The company wanted to know how easy it would be for a competitor to identify its overnight carrier or the type of computer system used in its research library. Winkler took it upon himself to broaden the assignment. “Why go after something so lame?” he says. “The goal was to simulate an attack, and that means computer access.”

Read More

Why I hate Christmas

I hate Christmas and the whole damn holiday season. Here’s why:

  • They start stocking the store shelves with all the Christmas froufrou at the beginning of September. By the end of November, I am so tired of looking at all the shit that I want to stick toothpicks in my eyeballs and serve them as cocktail onions just to keep from having to look at the crap a minute longer.
  • I used to wonder how people justify spending so much money to decorate their homes for one stinking holiday, but now I know. They start putting the shit up after Halloween and don’t take it down until the end of January. They spend a quarter of the damn year celebrating a holiday that is only one day long. Then, of course, there are the real lazy asses who never take their damn lights down. Someone needs to yank those lights down and choke the sh.. out of them.
Read More

Your Favorite Blog (No, I mean this one)

My friends, the time has come. The Freelance Rider has gotten bigger than my britches.

So, based on some very good advice, it’s time to separate my blog from my business website.

The blog will be moving to in the very near future. I’ll set up a redirect from this page and, in general, make it as easy and seamless as possible, but please bear with me if there are any technical glitches in the process.

Of course, all of the wonderful content that you see will be migrating, as well, and you can still count on the same insightful posts that you’ve come to expect. I’m also going to start featuring guest posts, so get those pencils ready.

I’m really excited about the move, and I think that giving the blog its own space will help it grow even more. It’ll also give me a chance to do a few awesome things that I’ve been wanting to do, like a members’ only cage fight arena! Or maybe that was my other other website…

So, here’s the fun part for you guys: user feedback!

Read More