Sam Solomon

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

Designing Signal Tower

I’ve got something to show you.

After ten weeks of designing, developing and updating content, the new Signal Tower is live. The reception has been positive. I, for once, am content with something that I’ve created. It’s a weird feeling.

I set out to build the site with a few goals in mind. I wanted to make the interviews genuine, educational and beautiful. I wanted improve newsletter signups without creating an annoying user experience. I wanted learn as much as I could about WordPress development. Here’s how it came together.

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May 26, 2014

Websites are for Humans

Writing an article that gets read by tens of thousands is exhilarating. If you’ve written an article, it’s hard not to obsess over the analytics. It’s the same type of thrill that keeps gamblers glued to slot machines, or addicts in search of cocaine.

That exact obsession took hold when my post about eliminating social media buttons went viral. I had tens of thousands of visits on the first day. Hundreds of people thanked me for providing a new perspective, while others lambasted me, saying that I was an idiot. I loved every bit of it.

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February 7, 2014

Why I’m Done with Social Media Buttons

As designers, it is our job to question why elements should exist. Sometimes we get so caught up in new ideas about navigation and animations that we forget to go back and examine more common elements—like social media buttons.

They are unsightly relics of the web 2.0 era, yet they continue to find their way into new designs. Why does this happen?

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May 11, 2013

The Experience Deficiency

I recently spoke with an MBA student who wanted to get into advertising. She said that it seemed like an interesting industry, and wanted to learn more about the interactive side of it.

One of my colleagues talked about how the agency was organized and what the day-to-day was like. I mentioned my experience trying to run a business in college, and talked about the advantages of writing.

When asked if she wanted to know anything specific to working on interactive projects, or had any questions in general.

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March 18, 2013

The Last Two Jobs on Earth

Everywhere you look software is automating work. If you think your job is safe, I bet someone is trying to automate what you do.

History tells us that when technology destroys a sector of jobs, a new sector appears and absorbs those jobs. It may even create more in the process. When Henry Ford’s affordable automobile jumped onto the scene, carriage makers went out of business. But as automobiles gained ground new opportunities were presented in manufacturing and transportation.

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January 31, 2013

Why College Graduates are Underemployed

Recently the Center for College Affordability released a report titled “Why Are Recent College Graduates Underemployed?” The report focused on university enrollments and labor-market needs.

We are producing vastly more college graduates than needed in the economy, and makes some interesting predictions about the future. It touches on many of the points I made the other day about how we our treating symptoms, instead of problems.

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January 30, 2013

Treat Problems, Not Symptoms

“We will provide the support necessary for all young Americans to complete college and meet a new goal by 2020, once again, America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”

The quote is from President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address, and was mentioned as I listened to NPR’s Tell Me More this morning. To meet that goal the United States will have to produce 8 million new degrees, which will cost an estimated $100 billion (and that is the low estimate).

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January 12, 2013

Create When You Are Inspired

When I was in college I would often skip homework or studying for a test.

Why? Because I was inspired to work on something else. Inspiration is a terrible thing to waste. Work when you are inspired, and you are bound to build something beyond your normal capabilities.

Have you ever set aside an hour to work on something, and completely lost track of time? If you look down at your clock and several hours have passed, that is inspiration taking effect.

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