Sam Solomon

April 7, 2015

So Long and Thanks for All the Job Jackets

April 1, 2013 was my first day working at Red Square Agency as an interactive producer. April 1, 2015 was my first day working full-time on SidePrize. Red Square was tremendously good to me. However, the time had come for me to leave.

The agency was an entertaining place to work. I moved to Mobile knowing virtually nobody and left with a wealth of great friends. I’ll miss shooting pool at lunch and after work. I’ll miss my early morning banter with Mr. Sullivan, the agency’s lovable founder. If there’s one thing that sticks out in my mind about the agency, it’s the wonderful, diverse group of people that make it tick.

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February 21, 2015

My To-Do List Framework

When I joined Red Square in 2013 the office used different pieces of software to keep track of daily tasks. The creative team used Things, while production, my team, used Wunderlist. I was encouraged, along with the rest, to keep track of tasks using the software.

Here’s the thing though—the best designed to-do list isn’t a piece of software, it’s a pen and a piece of paper. No matter how simple the app is, it will have more cognitive overhead than writing it on a piece of paper.

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December 31, 2014

Twenty Fourteen

I’m Sam Solomon. You likely know me from the longform interviews I do with designers, writers and entrepreneurs. By day I manage digital projects for casinos and by night I design, write and tinker.

Part of doing a year in review is for accountability. If I’ve written something down as a goal, it adds pressure to meet it. The other half of this is for you. Perhaps there is a mistake I made, or a flash of brilliance I had that you can apply to your own projects.

This year I did 12 interviews, wrote six posts (including this one), worked on five projects, was promoted and started a newsletter at work.

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November 28, 2014

Chmod Calculator

A simple, responsive chmod calculator I built to help those learning about Linux file permissions.

Visual Design, Development

If you need something, make it yourself. Ever since moving from a grid server on GoDaddy to a LEMP stack droplet on Digital Ocean, I’ve had to learn a whole lot about system administration. I’m pretty familiar with Unix commands. It’s a start, but I continually kept running into an issue when trying to modify files, permission errors. And so began my quest to learn about chmod and Linux file permissions.

There are quite a few chmod calculators available online; however, none of them were aesthetically pleasing. It felt like an opportunity for a new project. Thus, with my militant mindset toward shipping I set out to build a responsive, better looking chmod calculator.

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November 9, 2014

Podcasting Seasons

I am going to try something new with Signal Tower.

Wednesday night I was interviewing Justin Jackson, host of the awesome Product People podcast. He’s had some incredible guests: David Heinemeier Hansson, Patrick McKenzie and even my friend Samuel Hulick.

I wanted to have him as a guest for purely selfish reasons. I wanted to learn everything he knew about how to run a podcast. How did he get his first guests? What contracts does he sign with sponsors? Needless to say, I was grilling him.

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October 14, 2014


Wiry is an open source wireframe template that helps designers create wireframes clients will understand.

Visual Design, Frontend

There’s a problem with traditional wireframes—clients have a difficult time understanding a collection of boxed Xs. Even when you explain that one element is an icon, the other is a text overlay, it can be difficult for them to see. On the other end, the designer doesn’t want to show too much detail, as to loose flexibility when working on visual design. This is where Wiry comes in—to help designers create wireframes clients can understand.

Wiry is a small project that I’m working on with Chris Rowe. Using his personal wireframe kit as a starting point, we’re adding new elements, device mockups and building a site to show off its features.

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October 12, 2014

Bussing Tables

My friend Jason Shen wrote a post called You Had One Job. His goal was to point out that our parents’ generation grew up with the expectation that they would go work for one company and be loyal for their entire life. It’s obviously different in today’s world. I’m 25 and have already had more than a dozen different jobs.

As I was going through Jason’s list, I reflected on my own jobs. More interesting than the number of jobs that I’ve had, is the experience I gained from them. In many cases I learned what I didn’t want to do when I grew up. Those poor experiences pushed me in the right direction.

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September 6, 2014

Learn from Side Projects

How can I learn to code?

It’s a question I get a fair amount. The obvious answers are to checkout codecademey and Treehouse. Both are good places to start, but I think the best answer it to learn from side projects.

A side project should not start as a business. It should be enjoyable and push your skills a bit further. As Marvel’s Murat Mutlu says, “Your side project should be something where you get home, fire it up, and feel the zen.”

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August 31, 2014

Signal Tower

Signal Tower is an online magazine that features longform interviews with entrepreneurs, writers and designers.

UX, Visual Design, Frontend, WordPress

When I moved to Mobile, a small town on the coast of Alabama, I quickly realized that the tech and design community I loved was nowhere to be found.

To keep in touch I started doing Skype sessions with friends. Eventually that expanded to others in the community. One day I had the idea to start recording these sessions. If they were helpful to me, I figured they might be helpful to someone else.

I’ve spent the last year and a half conducting interviews with brilliant entrepreneurs, designers, developers and writers from all over the world. The interviews themselves were incredible, but the site they were on was not. It was time to make a worthy home for those interviews.

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August 27, 2014

Icon Yard

Icon Yard is a library of Creative Commons Zero icons created by designers from all over the world.

Visual Design, UX

Finding good icons can make or break a project. Some icon sites require designers to license or attribute icons. Others require the user to register. Incredible icons are scattered across dribbble, but they can be difficult to find. Why isn’t there one place where it is easy to find vector icons? That’s why my friend Henry Bayuzick and I built Icon Yard.

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