Monthly Archives: November 2014

Thanksgiving turkey hat

Because not every blog post has to be serious: Special thanks to my friend Amy who crocheted this masterpiece! Amy also works with an awesome group of volunteers that crochets dolls for kids fighting cancer and other illnesses .

Thankful

I’m thankful for family and friends and good health and so many wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of working with at Google. But I’m also thankful for airplanes: “You want to see your family? It would take months to walk to them, but come sit in this metal tube and thanks to some interesting properties of physics, you can see them later today.” And I’m thankful for the internet: “Oh, you can’t or don’t want to sit in the metal tube for hours? Press this button and you can see your family instantly from thousands of miles away. You can talk or just enjoy each others’ company.” Our society and world still needs to improve in lots of ways, but I’m thankful for how far we’ve come in the last century, and I hope we can make things even better in the coming years.

Oh No They Didn’t: European Parliament Calls For Break Up Of Google – Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land Oh No They Didn't: European Parliament Calls For Break Up Of Google Search Engine Land The agenda for Search Engine Land's SMX West search marketing show is now up. Search marketing is the biggest area of digital marketing. You can't afford to get it wrong! SMX has practical tips & techniques for those experienced with SEO & SEM plus a … and more »

Election Day should be a holiday

I’m looking at this list of federal holidays , and you know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking fuck Columbus Day. Who the hell cares about Columbus Day except for mattress stores? Instead, let’s scratch Columbus Day and make Election Day a national holiday. Turnout on Election Day was only 36.6 percent in 2014 , according to Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. If we made Election Day a holiday, it would be easier for people to vote. People would actually start to look forward to Election Day, too. By the way, you know you else would like to make Election Day a holiday? Senator Bernie Sanders . I like that guy. If push comes to shove, I’d be willing to keep Columbus Day as a holiday and just add a new holiday. But really, do you remember what you did on Columbus Day a month ago? No? Me neither. I’m thinking we can make Election Day a pretty fun holiday. Vote in the morning, BBQ in the afternoon, and drink or set off fireworks in the evening. That’s a holiday that a lot of people could get behind.

How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs – Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs Search Engine Land It has the most amount of information , and thus gets viewed longer and read more. It follows that a great meta description actually does improve click-through, and thus site ranking. Sure enough, that makes the meta description an SEO factor after all! and more »

Premortems

Google has a pretty good culture of doing postmortems . When something fails, someone close to the failure tries to document what happened and why. A good postmortem document should also point the way to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Mistakes happen, but you don’t want to make the same mistakes over and over again. Instead, it’s important to try to get to the root of a problem and fix it there. Failure can be a good thing if you learn valuable lessons along the way. But it’s also a rule of thumb of software engineering that it’s 10x harder to catch a problem at each new level of deployment. That’s why solid tests (e.g. unit tests) are so helpful; it’s much easier to fix a problem when you catch it earlier. Likewise, requiring code reviews before submitting code changes can avoid lots of stupid mistakes. Once buggy or poor code is checked in, debugging a problem can get much harder. And if a problem makes it out into production, it’s typically even more difficult to fix. When you take a solid practice like postmortems and think about going further upstream, you land on the idea of a “premortem.” An example of a premortem would be going to each member of a team before a product launches and asking them: “What’s going to break or fail? What’s the mostly likely thing to go wrong?” After all, the people who have been working hard on a project have been steeped in it and are intimately familiar with potential weaknesses and failures. I first heard the idea of a premortem from a Freakonomics podcast , but the idea is so simple that it practically explains itself. However, there are a couple subtleties. First, don’t bring everyone into one big room and ask “Hey, what’s going to go wrong?” That’s a recipe for groupthink unless there are a small number of glaring problems. Instead, you want to collect the initial feedback independently and privately so that people won’t be biased by hearing what others are saying. With private feedback you might end up hearing opinions that people are afraid to express in public. If you do have to settle for a big group meeting, ask people to channel their personal voice of doom on their own before opening up the public discussion. The second subtlety is that “dogfooding,” the process of testing your own product internally before introducing them to the world, is almost like a premortem if you can get good feedback internally. The touchy issue here is authenticity: people want their feedback to be taken seriously, but internal feedback might be biased or skewed for various reasons. Even if you disagree with internal feedback, it makes sense to take a clear-eyed look at what people are saying. And if you do disagree, it helps to explain your reasons for adjusting to feedback or not. Could a pre-mortem help your next project avoid a massive failure? Why not give it a shot to find out? Premortems can be an easy and fast exercise, and you might get some really useful insights. Just ask the people close to the launch to brainstorm “What’s most likely to go wrong?” before the project launches.

Google Quietly Updates The International Targeting Hreflang Webmaster Tools … – Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land Google Quietly Updates The International Targeting Hreflang Webmaster Tools … Search Engine Land The agenda for Search Engine Land's SMX West search marketing show is now up. Search marketing is the biggest area of digital marketing. You can't afford to get it wrong! SMX has practical tips & techniques for those experienced with SEO & SEM plus a …