Rationalizing font decisions

Every year, I devote about two consecutive months to some dedicated projects for my website, with the intention of adding something new or changing things up. In 2018, I designed and coded my online portfolio of marketing projects. In 2019, I spent a good part …

WordCamp Riverside was a blast!

Another weekend at a local WordCamp, another weekend of fun, learning lots of new things, and making new connections. WordCamps are the local gathering of WordPress users, developers, service providers, and business owners. On any given weekend, there’s at least one WordCamp happening somewhere around …

Big news from Instagram. They’ve been running trials in seven countries of publicly concealing the number of likes of a user’s posts. Now, the company just revealed they’re going to test this in the US. Details remain to be seen, but the reporting indicates users will be selected at random to have their like metrics concealed.

This move is a clear indication that Instagram is at least somewhat liking what they’re seeing with their tests outside the US. (Yes, pun intended.) But it’s sure to amplify stress levels among those in the influencer economy. Instagram may not benefit much financially from the influencer-brand marketer relationship, so hiding like counts wouldn’t hurt their bottom line much either.

We all know that tech investors are constantly on the chase for the next big thing with big valuation potential. For 2020 that could well be the influencer economy, in the form of tangentially tech-centric products facilitating the relationship between influencers and brands or companies, or making small investments in influencers for a share of their future revenue. As it turns out, influencer-centric startups are indeed attracting some VC interest (story below).

It’s interesting to see this happen as some marketers are now questioning whether the idea of throwing lots of money at an (purportedly) influential person really makes sense. This plus the never-ending scams of faking follower and like counts, and Instagram possibly ending the practice of displaying public user metrics.

A tale of two rebranding efforts

Two significant rebrandings were just revealed. One is admirable and a welcome refresh. The other is confounding and seems conflicted. First, the favorable rebranding effort by Microsoft, in the form of an all-new logo for Edge to accompany a major overhaul of its web browsing …

Presenting code with syntax highlighting

When it comes to presenting computer code on the web, there really aren’t any fast and hard rules, other than perhaps to just make the code visibly distinct from the primary text content. In HTML, the <code> and <pre> tags are commonly used to present …

Sprout Social, a social media management SaaS company with over $100 million ARR (annual recurring revenue), has filed to go public. According to Crunchbase, the startup raised about $111 million and was most recently valued at around $800 million. Like so many other fast-growing tech companies, Sprout Social has significant double-digit yearly growth but also operating at a loss.

Any company, no matter how seemingly invincible, has a weakness factor. And for Sprout Social, it’s clearly the fact that its business model is 100% dependent on access to a small handful of privately owned social media networks. Facebook, Twitter, and the like can and do change the terms of their APIs over time. There’s been a history of companies being greatly undermined following some sort of new API restriction, often with little or no advance warning.

iPad fans and content creators, rejoice! At least a little, once Adobe at last releases a desktop-like app for Photoshop later this year, and is reportedly set to announce the same for Illustrator. Upon its initial release, the Photoshop app will be lacking some notable features of the desktop version, so the same may have to be expected for Illustrator. Still, this could finally be a major step toward the iPad becoming a widely adopted tool for content creation.

Another new iPad development could also aid content creators: mouse compatibility – albeit enabled through accessibility settings (and the unusual use of a dot as a cursor, instead of the customary pointer icon).

Do you trust your AI?

Companies are increasingly relying on AI and machine learning-driven products to help in their business operations. This includes marketing. But before diving into an AI-centric product, you should be able to answer the following with good clarity: What are you trying to achieve in your …

Uber just made a new round of layoffs, some affecting its performance marketing team. This is the team involved with online marketing and advertising, including (presumably) targeted ad campaigns all over the web and social media. These layoffs mark the second time Uber has restructured some of its marketing operations.

For young, growth-oriented tech startups, I continue to believe this is only the beginning of many, many marketing-related job cuts to come over the next several years. The marketing spend at these companies has been extraordinary to help fuel high velocity growth, but it simply can’t be sustained forever.