Separate Your Brands

/ in Uncategorized

Branding Web Products

Big box brands

Branding your web products can potentially make or break you. I’ve found branding on the web to be incredibly strange and interesting. In the real world branding takes a critical part of the retail marketing industry. A few giant corporations own a large percentage of household brands. There seems to be a completely different dynamic on the web however. With retail you have corporations like Procter & Gamble and a handful of others owning hundreds unique brands.

In the retail world, there is not consumer perception of a Proctor & Gamble Tide, it’s just simply Tide. On the web however, Google has always mostly tried to create products itself under it’s own successful name. When you brand something under and existing identity, you take the good with the bad. Google started out with a motto of “Don’t be evil.”, but unfortunately users have over time believed them to be the opposite. Every time they release a new product with this name prefixed in front, for example Google Video was released. People were hesitant to even use it in the beginning.

YouTube came out, with a fresh reputation, and with no existing business backing which means it had no negative backlash when it came out. When retail products come out they don’t use any marketing to say who created it or who is behind it, because customers shouldn’t know unless they really care. There is a physiological association as soon as it is known which creates a positive or negative association with the brand.

It can definitely be looked at when you look at the majority of products on the web they have been created under a fresh, new “branded” name. You can see some great examples of this from Pinterest, YouTube, Reddit and others. They were not created as Google Video, Google Social Bookmarking, etc. They were given unique names to be branded. It can be largely attributed that the rise and fall of Yahoo was because their products were all under their name and there is no way ever that users are going to be able to remember Yahoo Auctions over eBay, Yahoo Games over Kongregate, Yahoo News over Digg/Reddit. You can create an entire vacuum of products under your primary brand, but you end up in a rabbit hole that you’ll never dig yourself out of.

The more tightly integrated your brands become, the more backlash and resentment users will pose. A great example is the tie between Google+ and YouTube comments. Users like isolated and independent brands. Imagine if Procter & Gamble’s Tide laundry detergent required you to use the official Procter & Gamble Downy fabric softener. They don’t, and your laundry doesn’t explode when it doesn’t. You simply pick what you want and you go with it. When you create the kind of ecosystem where your users no longer trust you, you allow competition to come and in and take over and fill the void.

One final thought is when a major brand like Google or someone else creates a product and destroys it, it also devalues the primary brand. People come to trust Google with reliability and storing user info in the cloud, then shut down with little notice. When Google Reader shut down even with very little demand it had a negative affect on Google from a large number of developers who is a target audience for their other brand Google Cloud. What they could have done was started it under a unique brand name and disassociated themselves from the beginning.

Sync your Slack status during Zoom meetings

/ in tech

When I initially joined GRIN (we’re hiring!) as a software developer working remotely, I was involved in a lot of different Zoom meetings.

I generally like to have my Slack status reflect my availability, but at the same time I don’t want to manually change it frequently.

I began to do some research and discovered using some different tools, that it was possible to automate updating my Slack status whenever I joined a Zoom meeting.

A few of my colleagues asked me if I was doing something manually or knowing me, that there was a chance I wasn’t… and I am now sharing my setup to help others get the same workflow working.

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Recovering data from Docker volumes

/ in dev, ops

After a fresh install of my operating system and after coping over my Docker backup, I discovered that there was a gigantic file called Docker.raw which stores all of the containers, images, and volumes somehow magically. In my case, it was a whopping 86+ GB! 😳 Sure storage is relatively cheap, but that’s just needlessly wasteful and this is my laptop so it’s a bit ridiculous. I believe now that this was a result of working with Docker from an old version and that this problem may have been solved, but at least regarding Docker for Mac, the raw file can not be shrunken while retaining the data. This means that if you wanted to keep all your Docker resources, you would first have to get any data out of your volumes that you want to keep before you can get rid of it.

While attempting to figure out how I was going to get the data out of my volumes. I was lurking around my Docker setup when I noticed that I had a lot of extra volumes. I didn’t know if the data inside was important or not and so I wanted to find out more about them in order to see if the data needed to be properly backed up. Upon searching the web, I couldn’t really find much documentation around viewing volumes and getting data out of them for backing up and restoring between machine migrations. I’m going to share this in the hopes it helps someone else since I wasn’t able to find anything online when I looked.

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Taking Docker to the Next Level

/ in dev, ops

Last year I dove into Vagrant and Chef to setup developer environments. For a while now I’ve been trying to wrap my head around Docker and why people are raving about it in the devops world so I decided try it more.

Why Docker

Docker is a very powerful tool to spin up isolated “containers” which are similar to virtual machines except that they aren’t. They are built and ran as developers choose and every step inside a build file creates an image subset that can be used as a starting point in another image.

What does that mean? Well say you have 3 steps to setup a simple WordPress server.

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Getting Started in Open Source

/ in dev, open source

Open source is so ubiquitous nowadays that its inevitable you are benefiting from it every day even if you don’t know it just by using applications on the desktop, web, or mobile. The applications you use most likely have dependencies that are open source. If you’re on Mac or Linux, the unix kernel that powers them is open source.

Many people including myself feel encouraged to contribute projects that we use and benefit from because it helps the ecosystem as a whole. The entire ecosystem grows exponentially as more people contribute and work together, it’s a powerful thing.

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