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Month: October 2017

Who works on Weekends?

Wake up: 8:00am

Do Laundry: 9:00am

Go to Costco: 11:00am

Take a nap: 1:00pm

Go to work: 4:00pm

I’m behind on projects. Might as well catch up while I have the day off.

Music. Coding, Designing,

Water. Tea. Bathroom

Facebook. Repeat

Get off: 11:00pm

Just requested my UberPool and waited forever for them to show up.

I’m in.

The ride home is relaxing.

I enjoy seeing people dressed up in costumes and having a good time.

They must be celebrating Halloween. Even though the 31st is four days out.

Tonight is the night to party.

But not for me.

I’m a workaholic.

Im on my way home to relax. I’ll save my energy for the next one.

Simple Solutions to Big Problems

Spent 1 hour trying to figure out an issue with our WordPress site.
We just created a new custom post type and tested everything on our staging site.

Everything was working fine.

We decided to push the modified files to our live site and started to add content.

These pages weren’t loading.

We discussed our steps, removed excess plugins, and copied over entire site folders…

These pages still wouldn’t load.

This damn 404 page kept showing up on everything.

1 hour later, I decided to take a walk.

I knew we did everything right…what was the issue?

I sat back down and saw the other team members frantically checking the site PHP files.

They were panicking!

I was panicking.

But I stayed relaxed and tried not to think too hard.

If we did everything right, it must be a simple problem.

A problem we have no control of.

Once I thought about that, a lightbulb popped into my head.

No way could this fix the issue, I thought.

I navigated to the permalink structure page and didn’t change anything. I just hit “save changes”

Your Permalink Structure Has Been Updated

This showed up on my screen and I reloaded the issues pages.

Everything was working fine now.

WOW.

The most difficult issue had the most simple solution.

Think about that next time you try overthinking.

You’re Not Trendy

Why do what everyone else is doing?

Be yourself

Do you.

Find your own style

Find your own niche

Find your own community

If anything, you write to entertain yourself. You use it as a way to recap what you learn and to remind you how far you have come.

And to think…

You always told yourself you wouldn’t do it.

Look at you now.

Formatting Product Image URLs

Formatted correctly:

https://1mc51l3v9iyu3otpsg36nnvf-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/presonus-faderport_16-top_big.jpg | https://1mc51l3v9iyu3otpsg36nnvf-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/presonus-faderport_16-top_big.jpg | https://1mc51l3v9iyu3otpsg36nnvf-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/presonus-faderport_16-top_big.jpg

We need the product image to be formatted in a specific way.
image1.jpg | image2.jpg | image3.jpg

When copying the image url, you need to add [Space] [line] [Space] before pasting the next image url.

If you need to find the image url, right click on the image and save the image address. The image address will look like this.

https://1mc51l3v9iyu3otpsg36nnvf-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/presonus-faderport_16-top_big.jpg

Just Another Friday

Have you ever been in a situation where your supervisor tells you to work on a task, but you have no idea how to do it?

You probably have.

This happened to me today…on a Friday.

I was asked to create a custom post type template with PHP and connect it to our WordPress staging site.

Now…I’m pretty good at HTML and CSS, but anything outside of that, I struggle with.

But even with my obvious discomfort with the task I did it anyway.

I relied on Google to help me out.

I searched a few tutorials and web forums and was able to get the basic idea of what I needed to do.

But man…the coding.

The coding was so difficult.

I must’ve broke our staging site 3 times by misplacing a bracket or by looping in the wrong function.

So much frustration.

Oh is it already time to leave?

Deuces ✌🏼

Task: Build a 10,000 Product Database Fast

This month I have an interesting task of building a 10,000 product database.

The only problem is: I have about 30 days to do it.

Currently there are about 3000 products listed in this database and they are all optimized for search engines.

I have identified another 4000 products that are missing from the database that need to be added.

And, from historical data, can estimate that 2000-3000 products will be added this holiday season for Black Friday and Holiday sales.

Since I only have a small team to work with, we are going to have to cut this project up into pieces and make sure we are using resources efficiently.

Here’s the breakdown:

1) Focus on getting the MVP out

2) Tweak and Adjust in Bulk

3) Import and Submit to Search Engines

4) Maintain

This is just a theory and I will follow up in about a month to see how it pans out.

Step 1: Focus on Getting the MVP Out

With so many products missing from the database, we will need to focus all of our attention to adding them with bare bones listings.

Right now, if someone searches for a product not in our database, they get empty results.

I’d rather the database return a basic listing instead of nothing at all.

So we will focus on string the basic attributes:

Product Name

Brand

Price (MSRP if possible)

Image (Optional)

Step 2: Tweak and Adjust in Bulk

After these bare bone product listings are added, we can then focus on adding additional search attributes. Export out all of the listings added within a certain time range and edit them in bulk.

Add additional details such as product descriptions, gallery images, features, specs, and taxonomies here.

The fastest and most convenient way to do this is through a collaborative spreadsheet. I suggest using Google Sheets and collaboratively working on sections based on priority.

If a brand sells well, prioritize them over a lesser known brand. If we know certain categories sell well (such as Audio Interfaces) then prioritize that over less ROI products.

Step 3: Import and Submit to Search Engines

Since we are on a tight deadline, not everything is going to be complete with 100% accuracy. This margin of error is fine at this stage.

Take this completed sheet and format it correctly for your database manager or website and import it.

This will update your simple listings with the added attributes.

After that’s uploaded, resubmit your website to Google/Bing/Baidu for indexing. This will probably shoot back hundreds, if not thousands of SEO errors, but those can always be fixed later.

Step 4: Maintain

Once the database has been filled, we need to focus on maintaining everything with updated listings and add new products that are released.

The easiest way is to have an XML feed directly from our vendors. This will dynamically update our database with the product data from the vendors database.

The only problem is most vendors don’t have these.

So we will have to rely on manually updating our listings via the price sheets we receive.

One dedicated person can handle this duty if they repeat the steps outlined above.

Am I Wasting Time?

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, a thought hit me.

Am I wasting time?

Am I living paycheck to paycheck and wasting away my life grinding for numbers in my bank account?

The answer is yes. Yes I am.

Even though I love what I do and enjoy coming up with new ideas to improve productivity…at the end of the day, I go home to an empty bedroom.

I sit down, eat my “bachelor” dinner, scroll my Facebook feed, and go to bed.

*If you are not familiar with a bachelor dinner, you probably never had it. Think fast and simple food. Like frozen meals, burritos, or my favorite: Top Ramen noodles.

This work grind process is repeated Monday through Friday. 5 Days a week, every week.

Day after day until you finally notice that 2 months, 3 months, 1 year, and then 5 years have passed.

You don’t WANT to waste your time grinding to support your lifestyle. But you have to.

You enjoy the perks of living in a capitalist society.

You enjoy the perks of having extra money to spend on yourself or someone else.

You enjoy the perks of living a better life.

You enjoy the new car you can afford.

You enjoy the new iPhones, expensive concerts, and nice clothes you can buy.

The short term benefits are amazing.

But it still keeps you up at night.

Is your time really worth it?

Will you wake up 10 years from now and look back on what you accomplished?

Just something to think about…

Web Robots Are Dumb But Still Smarter Than You

I have a love-hate relationship with web robots.

When programmed correctly, these robots save me hours and hours of time doing simple web tasks…such as copying and pasting data into a spreadsheet.

However, when not programmed correctly, they can literally COST YOU hours and hours of your time.

For example,

I created a simple web scrapper that copy and pastes data from a vendor website into a spreadsheet for importing.

It basically looks up key data I need, filters it, removes extra styling tags and images, and pastes the raw data into a spreadsheet.

When this robot is setup properly, I can populate a spreadsheet with 500 products in a matter of minutes. These products can then be directly uploaded to a website and be live and ready to go in minutes.

However, these bots didn’t always work this well for me.

In the beginning, this scrapper actually cost me more time cleaning up data than it did actually saved.

The web robot would scrape data from the vendors site and populate its spreadsheet (as it was designed to do).

However, after 10 minutes of running I would check the data it had gathered and noticed the data was full of random html tags, empty info, and had formatting issues that had to be cleaned up.

This scrapper gathered most of the information I needed, but the formatting was all over the place.

Data wasn’t in its right cells, descriptions were taking up multiple cells, and some categories were missing.

It took me hours to clean up this sheet and prep it for import.

I think I could have saved more time by doing the whole job myself manually.

But either way, I respect the bot for doing exactly as it was told. I just wish it would pause and ask me to fix errors before continuing to make the same error AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.

Awkward Conversations with Clients

Have you ever had an awkward conversation with a client?

Of course you have.

But why do you think it was awkward?

Was it because you just sent over a long email discussing a sensitive topic? (Because you were too ‘afraid’ to discuss details on the phone)

Was it because you had a direct demand and didn’t want to have that weird moment between delivery of the message and the response to the demand?

Or was it because you are simply too nice to this client and don’t want to discuss tough issues with them directly?

Either way, it’s tough to avoid these situations.

After going back and forth between calendar invites and text messages a call time is finally setup.

You constantly keep this time in the back of your head.

It haunts you while you are working.

It haunts you while you are trying to sleep.

It stays on your mind all the way up to the time you need to make the phone call.

You’ve prepared.

You’re ready to answer all of their questions.

You’re ready to discuss the hard topics.

And you finally dial their number…

They answer.

You both have the usual small talk and share slightly fake laughs before that awkward silence comes up and you know it’s time to get down to business.

The conversation ends up goes well.

Sometimes.

Other times it causes you to show your true emotion and curse to the gods in your mind.

But you never actually say what you’re thinking right?

At the end of the call… you think “It’s easier than I thought.”

The client was understanding.

You are relieved and can’t wonder why you were panicking so much in the first place.

These conversations are so difficult to have, yet so easy once you actually have them.

Still the anxiety that comes with these awkward conversations is something we’d all love to avoid.

Just Bought a Scarlett 2i2 for Audio Work

Today, I made the first step towards taking my music production to the next level.

I bought my first audio interface.

I bought a pre-owned Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface from a guy on the Let Go app.

After toggling back in forth whether I’d actually meet this guy and buy this interface (which I ironically had no idea how to use), I decided to pull the trigger and actually do it.

After work, I headed over to his place in DTLA.

I thought it was creepy he gave me his address, gate code, and building number…but I didn’t ask any questions. He had great reviews on the app and he seemed trustworthy based on that first impression.

I finally met Jon.

He was a friendly home engineer who DJ’d on the weekends.

He explained how to use the interface, told me a little about his new business, and we made our transaction.

I left and headed back home to try out this new baby.

Right now I don’t have any instrument or mics to connected to it, so it’s literally a stand-alone piece of hardware that I’m using for my DAW and headphones.

And I have to say…

It’s already worth every penny.

I was able to adjust one of mixes immediately.

I moved through the sound spectrum and adjusted levels with ease using the master control knobs.

Since the interface isn’t really supplying sound to my headphones, maybe the interface was just providing a placebo effect.

Who knows?

All I do know is… I have one of the three pieces I need to finish up my collection.

All I need now is a nice condenser microphone and a portable recorder.

I like to mix audio in my free time.

It keeps me sane.

It helps me relax from my long work week and gives me a chance to relieve stress by listening to music.

I guess normal people call it a hobby.