This week on the Boagworld Show we talk UX processes, deploying projects and podcasting.
Paul: Hello and welcome to the Boagworld.com. The podcast about all aspects of digital design, development and strategy. My name is Paul Boag and joining me on this week’s show is Dan Edwards, Marcus Lillington, Sam Barnes and Ryan Taylor. Hello all.
Marcus: Hello Paul.
Paul: Everybody’s bright and cheerful on a Monday morning.
Marcus: But they’re not really are they? Especially you Paul! You sound like you literally… You sound like you are still in bed actually.
Paul: Well, to be honest, the honest truth is we’ve got our in-laws staying at the moment and they got up and got in the shower just at that key moment. So as a result I am sitting here in my dressing gown.
Marcus: Ah bless. (Laughter)
Paul: I know right! So sad. So how is everybody? Dan, Dan, Ryan you got to meet up this week. That’s a rare occasion for you guys isn’t it?
Ryan: It is, we’ve not seen each other since November. Dan came up and met Matilda when she was born but we’ve not seen each other since then. It’s a bit hard to get away when you’ve got a newborn.
Paul: Ah. So what you do when you meet up?
Dan: As it turns out, eat. Yeah.
Paul: Eat? Ah!
Ryan: Yeah, eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat and eat. Yeah, I didn’t mean to but…
Marcus: Didn’t mean to! (Laughter)
Dan: It just happened!
Ryan: It just happened,!
Dan: We slipped.
Marcus: Its food.
Ryan: In the way that some people, you know, have one too many drinks and kind of stumble home we kind of have one too many courses.
Sam: I understand.
Paul: Right, so how’s the weight then guys. Whe’re nice and rolling around now are we?
Dan: This is the weird thing right because for the last few weeks I’ve been trying to watch what I eat a little bit and I’m not drinking as much and it’s been going okay but like, I’m not losing any major weight or anything. So this week I thought, right, this is going to be a write-off. We’ve eaten out at least twice a day, every day. We’ve drunk. And I lost 3 pounds this week! So something to be said for eating out excessively.
Paul: Oh, right. The new diet plan. Is it?
Ryan: Should drop our gym membership and fit another meal in.
Marcus: I have a theory on this because I have theories on things like this. Because I’m always slightly… Way too much because I’m a bit of a Labrador and I can’t help it.
Paul: A Labrador? How does that work?
Marcus: Labradors, they’re missing a gene, or they have a gene that just means they’ll just keep on eating until they die. You have to kind of pull them away from the food.
Sam: What a fantastic thing to know, thank you Marcus.
Marcus: So I’ve always described myself as a bit of a Labrador because I’m similar, not quite as bad as I used to be when I was younger. But therefore I occasionally think “Oh, you’re getting a bit tubby I need to lose some weight.” And I find with losing weight it doesn’t come off until a month or six weeks after you do the diet. So I reckon Dan, therefore you were doing well a month or six weeks ago and you will put the weight back on again in a months time from all the being fat stuff that you’ve done with Ryan.
Dan: Well that’s depressing.
Marcus: There you go, sorry about that.
Ryan: We’ve got that to look forward to now.
Dan: Now I think of done really… Yeah, yeah.
Ryan: Didn’t actually think you’d done well did you? Did actually think you’d done well and instead of it just being a freak of nature, you know, I’ve lost 3 pounds but you can’t have done you’ve just eaten three tons of food.
Paul: He thinks it’s his x-man superpower. That’s what it is! (Laughter)
Ryan: We went to see Logan as well while I were down.
Paul: Oh, is that any good?
Ryan: It’s brilliant, it is devastating but it is brilliant.
Paul: I hear the best bit about it is the fact that it’s got a teaser for Deadpool at the end.
Dan: I found this out Ryan, you know that trailer I sent you. That’s at the end of it.
Ryan: I think that’s why everybody was still sitting in the cinema. Because I’d heard that there was no after credit thing related to the film but everybody was still sat around. And you’re looking around thinking I can’t be bothered waiting but what are they waiting for?
Paul: Yes, I know. Is that lemming thing isn’t it. Just follow the crowd. Well you missed out on a deadpool trailer.
Ryan: Well, I’ve seen it since.
Paul: Well yeah, so have I.
Ryan: You don’t miss anything in this day and age.
Paul: Yes, that is true. I’ve got to say I’ plot’ve got the… I have got a very much a teenage sense of humour. Deadpool just makes me laugh like a drain.
Dan: Oh, it’s brilliant.
Paul: It was so funny.
Ryan: No one could do apart from Ryan Reynolds. I can’t imagine anyone else in that role. He is just Deadpool.
Paul: Exactly, so Logan is depressing is it?
Ryan: It’s just emotional. It’s…
Dan: It’s quite emotional.
Ryan: Yes, it’s quite emotional and it’s nothing like any of the previous… In fact X-Men last stand the third one. Back then when that they did, was on last night and it is so cheesy, I mean it was before but it feels so much more now that you have watched… Because even like Wolverine, the one they did in Japan is kind of more… umm… What’s the word
Ryan: Well no, because the X-Men stuff, the kind of superhero-ey, is more gritty, you know what I mean?
Ryan: More grown-up, that’s it. Whereas Logan feels, it almost, yeah, it’s just a very mature film. And obviously it’s quite dark as well. There’s a lot of, he swings his claws and blood splattered across the screen rather than before when he swung his claws, you know, it was like a scalpel blade so precise that there was no blood whatsoever. People just fell over and died and that was it. It’s really good, really good.
Dan: It was quite funny actually, Ryan, we came back that evening and Ryan was just quiet like you’d been to a friends funeral or something. (Laughter) He was just so quiet.
Ryan: I was processing it, just processing it.
Dan: So, we won’t spoil anything for anybody but yes it’s a brilliant, brilliant film.
Paul: Oh, good. I might go and see that. I was going to wait until it kind of came on DVD or whatever. Things don’t come out on DVD. What you say these days? It’s not DVD is it. They come out…
Paul: Digital download? Streaming, yeah.
Marcus: You can tape it on video Paul.
Paul: Yeah, I’ll record it off TV. I shall watch it on my phonograph. I don’t know!
Marcus: I’m 50 now and so is my wife and I don’t ever want, talking of eating a lot of food, I’ve eaten my body weight in food and I think I’ve drunk my body weight in alcohol as well and I might die.
Paul: You might die?
Marcus: I just, I wanted to put my head on the microphone. I was all right when I woke up this morning. I was “Oh, I’ve got away with that” and now I feel, egh.
Paul: Well you can’t do that at your age!
Marcus: It was a whole weekend, and it was a whole weekend the previous weekend. And it’s like “I don’t want to play any more!”
Paul: You can’t do that Marcus, it’s not good for you. You going to give yourself a heart attack.
Paul: You’ll end up getting… You know what you’ll lot will end up getting, you’ll end up getting gout. They reckon that’s coming back don’t they, gout.
Marcus: Yes, one of my friends gets gout. He’s quite a lot older than me but yes, and it’s, I’m sure it’s alcohol related. Definitely.
Paul: Yeah, course it is.
Marcus: Or a lack of kind of proper food. It’s like “What are you having for dinner tonight?” “Beer!”
Paul: Beer and curry. There you go. Can you get gout from curry? I’m sure you can.
Paul: So, I didn’t believe you Marcus but apparently labradors do have an eating gene. At least according to the Daily mail!
Marcus: Oh well, Hmmm (laughter)
Dan: The source of all knowledge!
Marcus: That probably means the opposite then Paul.
Paul: No, the second result immediately after the Daily mail’s Cambridge University so… That says something about Google doesn’t it, there’s something quite not right there when Daily mail comes first, followed by Cambridge University. There you go. Cheerful.
Marcus: It’s one of the reasons why labradors are the most popular dog in the world. It’s because they are so trainable. Because they will do anything, literally anything for food.
Sam: That’s like me. You could train me.
Marcus: Yes, I’m the same! (Laughter)
Dan: That’s why there’s so many fat labradors as well. Because people don’t realise. They just think the dogs are hungry and they will just feed them, and feed them and feed them. So yeah.
Marcus: It’s true they don’t have to be like that.
Paul: It’s a bit like having a teenager in that regards.
Marcus: Yes, but teenagers do… They can, most of them anyway, can eat and eat and eat and eat.
Paul: That’s true, without them getting any fatter. Hey, enough of this labrador talk. There’s something much more important to talk about.
Paul: This is really important. This is world changingly important. My book is available for preorder!
Marcus: Oh, can’t I just have one when it comes out?
Paul: No, you’ve got to preorder it. You don’t think I’m giving you one for free Marcus, what do you think I am made of. Money?
Ryan: You’ve written another book Paul?
Paul: Yeah, when your brain is as full as… As full of brainy stuff as me and you are so good with what words are, you know, you have to keep producing these things.
Ryan: Go on then, what’s your book about? Paul?
Paul: Do you not know?! It’s like you pay no attention interest in my life whatsoever. (Laughter) I just presume everyone hangs on every word I say.
Marcus: What? Sorry?
Paul: And follows everything I do, every moment of every day.
Ryan: I’ve always kind of treated you like, you know the automated voice on the end of the phone. Whenever you start talking I just get quiet and listen. Because you like that, you know. Because I’m used to listening to you all the time and not being able to interact with you on podcasts so.
Paul: I’m fine with that! (Laughter) I like it when people just listen to me but you obviously haven’t been because I have been talking about this book for bloody ages. So it’s more like I’m just background noise to you aren’t I basically Ryan. That’s what we are saying.
Ryan: You just put so much stuff out there Paul that yeah, you do just become background noise, you know.
Paul: I’ve always been a great believer in quantity over quality. (Laughter) That’s right isn’t it? That’s what it’s supposed to be?
Marcus: That is absolutely spot on Paul, yeah.
Paul: I thought it was that, yeah.
Marcus: Keep throwing stuff at the wall.
Paul: Yeah, eventually something might stick. Well it seems to work for me.
Dan: Is this your user experience revolution book Paul.
Paul: You’ve just googled that Dan!
Dan: No, I have not. I, hand on heart, I can say that I saw a tweet the other day.
Paul: There we go, good man.
Dan: It reminded me of Jamie’s food revolution.
Paul: Oh no!
Dan: Boag’s user experience revolution. You’ve gone Jamie’s route.
Paul: Oh that makes me feel really good. Has he seriously written a food revolution book?
Dan: Well his thing is a food revolution isn’t it.
Paul: Ahh, is it really?
Paul: O Gore. I’ve associated with Jamie Oliver.
Marcus: He’s all right! He’s a bit annoying but…
Ryan: What’s wrong with our Jamie?
Paul: He’s a twat!
Ryan: Dan: (deep intake of breath)
Paul: No, he really is.
Dan: You can’t speak harshly of Jamie Oliver.
Sam: I didn’t know he was so divisive. I was quite indifferent to Jamie.
Marcus: Yeah, I don’t really care! I think he’s great. The work he’s done over the years is fantastic. He’s annoying but on his current programme Jamie and Jimmy’s, they have the food fight thing every week. I think it’s superb.
Dan: Yeah, I really enjoy that show.
Marcus: You are wrong Paul.
Dan: So we took the shine away from Paul there and put it onto Jamie Oliver which…
Ryan: This new book is…
Dan: cooking, with Boag.
Paul: I could to do a cooking book! How difficult can it be. You peel the plastic off the top and put it in the microwave. That’s cooking isn’t it?
Sam: No Paul, what I want to see is a motorhome cooking show with you.
Paul: Ah, no I don’t cook in the motorhome. My wife won’t let me do anything in the motorhome. Not that we got a motorhome any more so…
Sam: Oh yeah, sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up such a sad thing.
Paul: Well no it’s not sad. It’s like…
Sam: Don’t try and hide it Paul, it’s absolutely fine. (Laughter)
Paul: I’m going to let it all out. I never wanted the motorhome in the first place. It was my wife’s thing. But I did get into it I must admit.
Dan: It was that whole Breaking Bad phase you went through wasn’t it? (Laughter)
Ryan: Ah Gore, the thought of Paul and his boxer shorts just popped into my head!!
Paul: AAHH! No, that disturbs me!
Dan: There is a photoshop task there isn’t there? Breaking Boag.
Ryan: That’s a completely different film mate! (Laughter)
Paul: Can I tell you about this book or what?
Dan: Yeah, go on then.
Paul: I want to. So I’m very excited. User experience revolution. It’s basically it’s aimed at people who want to change the organisations they that they work in. And everybody goes “Ohh, there’s nothing I can do. I work in such a big organisation, they don’t get user experience, my job is shit, nobody appreciates me.” So it’s for people who are in that kind of situation. It’s a kind of step-by-step guide of how you can get people to take user experience seriously. Lots of practical things you can do. And it’s available for preorder which is really cool. You can go to Boag.world/UXbook and if you preorder it before it comes out you will get the e-book version earlier than everybody else and you will also get a set of cards, downloadable cards, which are like individual little ideas of things that you can do in order to improve your work environment and get people to take UX more seriously. And you get 20% off. So it is worth pre-ordering. Marcus, go preorder now.
Marcus: As I said, I am waiting for my hardback copy.
Marcus: Signed, yes. Absolutely.
Paul: Yeah, because that will really add to the value of it.
Marcus: … By the illustrator. Is there an illustrator?
Paul: There is an illustrator, yeah. Yes, she’s really good.
Sam: Well Marcus, how about you get yours signed, I don’t get my signed then we will just A/B it on eBay and see what happens.
Marcus: There you go.
Paul: See which… Split testing.
Marcus: Yes, done.
Paul: That’s a terrible idea! (Laughter)
Marcus: You are setting yourself up for this though Paul, come on.
Paul: I don’t think any of you lot have written a book have you?
Ryan: Yeah, I have.
Paul: Oh yes, you have Ryan. I forgot.
Ryan: Eat that Boag.
Paul: It was that significant in the web design arena that I didn’t even remember you had written it.
Ryan: Yeah well there you go. It was on a topic that was beyond your comprehension thats why you didn’t pay any attention.
Paul: Yes, of course. (Laughter) Sam, you definitely should write one.
Sam: I know, I actually enjoy writing more than anything else but I just haven’t got round to it. I’ve been published in a book, like a couple of chapters here and there but I don’t know, I think it was you who told me like, I’m not gonna become a millionaire so…
Paul: Oh no, you won’t get rich out of it. No, it’s all ego. That’s why I’ve written so many!
Sam: I know, but you say it gives you credibility. I think actually will do the opposite for me. I think I’ll…
Paul: You think it will undermine you
Sam: Yeah, exactly. I’ll just keep it light, you know. A little bit here, a little bit there. Don’t let them get too close.
Paul: Don’t let them find out too much of what I think. Yeah. Yeah, notice that I don’t suggest that Marcus writes a book. I think that would be just a terrible idea.
Marcus: If I did it would have to be a story.
Paul: You’d write a sci-fi novel.
Marcus: Yes, I would love to do that but I think I would need to take… It would take me five years to write it probably. With not doing anything else!
Marcus: Maybe when I retire, that will be my job. I will write a book.
Paul: I’ve got to say I would love to write a sci-fi book. I lie in bed, because I can’t sleep, and plan sci-fi books. That’s what I do lying in bed at night.
Marcus: Maybe you should read sci-fi books and they would send you to sleep. That’s what I do.
Paul: Oh no, I do. They have an opposite effect on me. They get me all… I get so into it that I then can’t sleep.
Marcus: But do you actually read words off a page.
Paul: Yes I do!
Marcus: No you don’t, you listen to audiobooks.
Paul: No, that’s when I’m in a car!
Marcus: Oh, okay. I let you off.
Paul: No, no. In bed I’ll read a Kindle.
Marcus: After a while, if I do about 20 pages my eyes just won’t stay open anymore and I’m gone.
Paul: Big problem I have at the moment is that I’ve been playing Horizon Zero Dawn on the PS4 and that means that I definitely can’t sleep.
Marcus: What’s that Paul? From an old man…
Paul: It sounds like the most ridiculous, we really ought to get on with the show at some point… It sounds like the most ridiculous premise ever for a book. So basically it’s set, you’re like a caveman, tribal… Well a woman actually, cavewoman, tribal kind of person who goes through this post apocalyptic world killing robot dinosaurs. Which makes it sound terrible but I have to say when you get into it and you find out about it all it is one of the best pieces of sci-fi writing in a video game that I have ever seen. Really very good. Isn’t it Ryan? You’ve obviously played it.
Ryan: Yes, it’s excellent. It’s excellent.
Paul: Have you finished it yet?
Ryan: Well no, because I was down in Chichester when it came through the post and Amazon even rubbed it in and sent me a text message saying “Your game has arrived” and it’s like, I know, I can’t play until the weekend. And then obviously had to spend time with family because they had not seen me for three days, the annoying buggers! So I had a few hours but yes, it is very, very good. Very immersive.
Paul: I’m so near the end now.
Ryan: Don’t spoil anything.
Paul: No, no I won’t. Don’t worry.
Ryan: You must have skipped like so much if you are right near the end because it is about a 60 hour game. Either that or you haven’t done any work for several days.
Paul: It’s 40 hours game and I haven’t done any work.
Ryan: Right, there you go then.
Paul: That’s what’s been going on there. Anyway, talking of work, shall we actually talk about digital stuff!
Ryan: Oh, do we have to?
Paul: I know! It sucks doesn’t it. We’ll talk about a sponsor first to warm up to it. Because you don’t need to say anything during the sponsor bit and its Teacup Analytics again which I really like. So as you guys know Teacup is something I use all the time because analytics can be really overwhelming especially when you kind of point clients at it. And you can show them loads of information and you open them up to something like Google analytics and they take one look at it and they get paralysis. They don’t know what to focus on, what to look at and it also leads, that leads to a tendency to look at the Vanity metrics. The kind of stuff that’s on the initial dashboard of Google analytics which are really useful things like user sessions or bounce rates. And there is no kind of context to stuff like that. User sessions, the number of user sessions won’t actually tell you very much about the performance of your website. It just tells you how good your marketing and advertising is to drive people to the website. Something like bounce analytics, bounce rates for example, yes, bounce rates do matter in some situations but in other situations if people arrive at exactly the page they’re looking for and it tells them exactly what they need to know, which is obviously a good thing, then you don’t have a really high bounce rate. So you need to be very careful about these vanity metrics. And that’s the problem with things like Google analytics, it just overwhelms you with so much information that you end up looking at those kinds of things. While Teacup, which is built on top of Google analytics, you don’t need to do any thing, install any new software at all on your website, Teacup focuses on answering real questions that people have. So it questions about what users are doing, how you can improve the site, those kinds of things. And it presents all of that in very simple metrics so it rates your performance on those different things in like an A to, well I was going to say A-Z but it’s not A-Z it’s A to D think, rating system. Clients absolutely love it because of that because it makes everything so obvious and they can tell what you have done, what the benefits of what you’ve done on the site because they can see those analytics improve. It is also very good because it will make recommendations about how the site could be improved. Which obviously if you are a web design agency it means that extra work for you. So very good, check it out at Boag.world/teacup
Round Table Discussion
Okey dokey. Who hasn’t started for a while? Marcus, you haven’t started for a while. Do you want to…
Marcus: I started last week Paul! That’s how much attention you pay.
Paul: Okay, Dan. What about you?
Dan: Ooo, well I’ve got… I sent you a thing.
Paul: Yeah, you did. You’re now not going to do that thing.
Dan: No, no. I am going to do it but I don’t know how long it will be as a cover piece so I do have a secondary thing if we get stuck or if we need more.
Paul: If I need to come back to. No, I’m sure… It’s all right to have a short thing. Sure things are good.
Dan: Okay, cool. It’s all right to have… (Laughter) Sorry, being a child.
Paul: Dan, how old are you? It’s not length its girth! Carry on.
Dan: I wasn’t going to go there Paul. Anyway…
Paul: Yes you were! You already had!
Dan: I simply laughed. I simply laughed! Anyway. So, my thing is a little bit of a plug but a friend of mine, a good friend of mine Ben Howdle, he released… Well does all sorts of things he’s a big side project fan. You know, he puts out a lot of side projects a lot of them open source and things like that but his latest project is a site or an app called ekko, E-K-K-O.site. Basically what it is, is it is away for particularly small and I would say very small businesses to get up a website simply. Which sounds like okay, its square space or something like that but the clever thing with it is that it uses your Facebook page to create you a website. So it pulls in all the data from your Facebook page, your cover photo, your opening times, your posts, information about you et cetera, all your photos and things like that and puts them into a nicely designed website. And it is really intriguing actually and he asked me if I could help out and do a theme for it which I did. They are all one page sites, they are very, very simple and it isn’t something that I think is kind of going to… Is not one of these “Oh let’s replace web designers.” It’s ideal for your friends who’s all right using Facebook… Because at the end of the day a lot of people, or clients I should say, maybe don’t know the ins and out of a CMS or they have to go and try and learn a CMS but they know how to use Facebook because they use it every day. And they are quite comfortable posting to their Facebook page and things like that. And if they sort of have an audience within that. This is what he thought, why not just make it super easy and make Facebook the CMS. So that’s what Ekko does. Essentially you connect it and you choose a theme, I mean there’s a few on there at the moment. I think four or five themes. They’re pretty simple at the moment. And yes, it publishes. You can choose a domain… Yeah, it’s just super easy, as I say it’s not one of those thats going to replace web designers in my opinion. It’s just a really easy way for people who want a nice easy one-page site to get up maybe for their café or something like that. You know, that some of the examples that are on their site. But I thought it was a really interesting idea. As I say he’s a good friend of mine and he’s put a lot of time and effort into this on the side of his day job as well so I just thought I would cover that really.
Paul: I think actually it raises quite a lots of interesting points.
Paul: Because it raises the issue of the fact that that very bottom end of the web design market is going away. And not just because of this but because of, you know, like you say Squarespace and Wix and all the other build your own website tools. And actually I think that’s not a bad thing. That’s something that happened in desktop, when desktop publishing came along in print. That the very small stuff was democratised and commoditised, in that anyone can do it and that actually was very healthy for the industry as a whole even though it changed it. So that’s one interesting thing that comes out of it. Another thing that comes out is the value of side projects and how good it is to work on these different side projects. And then the other thing that I really like about this as well is the premise from which he has started. That he has started… Instead of starting with “How do we create, you know, the ability for people to create their own websites if they’re not very techie or whatever?” He has instead started with something people already know and built on that. I really like that idea. I think that’s a really clever idea.
Marcus: My big question here is how much does it cost?
Paul: Yes, I think his price point is a bit high.
Dan: Yes, I think that’s one of the only criticisms that a couple of people have mentioned is that it’s not the cheapest thing. It’s £16.50 a month, right. Which isn’t cheap, okay. It’s kind of on a similar scale to Squarespace, it’s probably around the same as Wix. I’m sure he’s done some sort of research into this. He only just come out of beta or beta, I don’t know which way you say it. But it is £16.50 a month which is around $20 a month so it’s not the cheapest thing in the world but it’s still cheap. And I think the thing is is obviously he’s put in a lot of work into this but I don’t know how necessarily he has come to that figure whether it is because he has worked out the figures that he needs to cover his costs and added some margin or whether it’s based on research around the market et cetera. But yes, that’s how much it is.
Paul: The other thing… Sorry to interrupt to Marcus… The one thing that you can do and he might be doing, because I’m quite a fan of this. Is price high but discount a lot. Because you can always go down in price. But it’s quite hard to go up in price after you started. So starting high is always good. Sorry Marcus, you are going to say something.
Marcus: I was going to say the reason why I, I wasn’t just being… I had a reason for asking about the price, is because I have been, as you know, in many bands over the years and there are millions of fans, and probably literally millions of bands in the world who all use Facebook as their website. And they will not pay £16.50 a month. But I bet they would pay a fiver.
Marcus: We would have done, happily. Because it’s just so quick and easy. Let’s just put a Facebook page up and you can just bung things out, events, you can use it for gigs and all that kind of stuff. So if you could put a theme on that and have your own URL, wow! Especially… But I can’t see many bands being willing to spend £200 a year, or whatever it is on it. But they probably would spend £50 quite happily. If not a £100.
Dan: I think it’s interesting actually because yes, it can pull in anything that you can put on Facebook. So events et cetera get pulled in to an events panel et cetera. And if you don’t have any then they obviously aren’t shown. So yes, I think there’s definitely huge potential in this idea. Especially like you say Paul, the fact that people know it. I think that was the thing that intrigued me the most was the fact that people already use Facebook and they know it and if you are essentially… The other thing is is that you are no longer having to go to your website and publish an update and then also publish it on Facebook. You publish it on Facebook, it goes out to audience but then also goes to your website. So yeah, it’s a very interesting idea to me. And I hope he does well with it.
Marcus: I think it’s great, really good.
Paul: I think it’s original and interesting and I like it. Cool, good. All right then, check that out. So what’s the URL for that Dan don’t think we have said the URL did we?
Marcus: Yeah, we did.
Dan: Yeah, it’s ekko.site. e-k-k-o.site.
Paul: Nothing is ever spelt as it sounds these days is it?
Paul: It’s a bloody pain in the arse for podcasting I can tell you. There will obviously be a link in the show notes as well. Who shall we do next?
Dan: How about Sam? Because he missed out last week.
Marcus: Pick Sam, pick Sam!
Paul: The trouble with Sam is that it’s he’s just doing another plug. He’s as bad as Dan. It’s all… Oh go on then, we’ll try and draw, will do what we did with Dan and try and draw out some useful lesson to the crap he’s plugging! (Laughter)
Sam: Let’s do this! Mr Boag you’re going to eat your words! So first of all let’s go with the plug. So to is just for a little event that I am speaking at in April which is called ground control and you can look at the site at groundcontrolconf.com
Paul: Ah, now that’s very interesting you say that because….
Sam: Is it now Paul!?
Paul: I am doing an excellent, I’m doing an excellent workshop for that particular events.
Sam: Are you now approving of this plug?
Paul: no, I’m just… I wouldn’t have brought it up personally but as you have I feel it is important to stress that I have a full day workshop on the event and that actually many people, not me, but many other people have said what an excellent workshop it would be to attend. Especially if you are someone who is keen to make your organisation more digitally friendly and how it actually ties in very closely with a really good upcoming book that…
Dan: Is that your food revolution workshop as well?
Paul: Yeah, food revolution workshop. Absolutely! Sorry Sam.
Sam: That’s okay.
Marcus: Just to cut across you again Sam, which day are all the talks on. Because that’s the one I would be interested in.
Sam: I think it’s 21 April.
Paul: Hang on, hang on, hang on!
Sam: Yeah, I don’t think the workshops… I don’t think they’re even published what day they are. No one really cares…
Paul: They’re on the Thursday.
Ryan: You don’t go to workshops these days anyway, workshops are old school aren’t they.
Sam: It’s all about food or whatever, I don’t know?
Ryan: Yes, socialising stuff.
Sam: Hang on, is the 21st?
Ryan: There is the after party.
Sam: Yeah, 21st.
Paul: Yes, the talks on the 21st. Even my wife is going.
Paul: Which kind of leads on to what you wanted to say.
Paul: Well I’m looking down the list of talks here and you know, there are titles like living within imperfection, Hunting down red flags, failure, the next one is scrum, that’s a bit kind of yeah, project managing, team building type stuff, diversity, post-launch success. I mean these are things that apply to absolutely everybody.
Sam: Absolutely I mean I think…
Paul: And in every situation don’t they really.
Paul: Yes, it is and you are right it is not even just what events, you know, it’s what we read about as well. We should be… We talk about being T-shaped don’t we. That you should have a broad knowledge across a lot of areas and then specialty in one. But when it comes to our reading I don’t think we are very T-shaped. I think we just tend to focus down on our area of interest and broad reading, being subscribed to for example the stuff that you put out Sam, or the stuff that other people in other disciplines put out, is really important to do. And that is why I have always kept this podcast very broad in what we cover.
Sam: I think for me, I think I was mostly thrown into the things that have actually been retrospectively, amazing for me. So when I had to… When I was thrown into selling for instance as a project manager thrown into selling, initially I was thinking I’m not going to enjoy this or whatever. Not to say that I loved it but the stuff that I learnt, I didn’t learn specifically how to sell but what I learnt was what it was like to have sales as your priority and how that changes your priorities as a person at work, your mentality and suddenly the comments that I would make to a salesman without having done it, I could see how they could be sneered at. And it just raises that awareness of other people’s jobs which I think in turn can only make you better at yours. I don’t see how it can’t.
Paul: Sam, write a book. Please, write a book. I want to read the book you write.
Paul: Talking of people that have written a book… See, I did a segway then! That was really good, that was like a professional podcaster! Ryan?
Ryan: That’s actually a really good segue because my book was about, well my book is called “version control with git.” And what I want to talk about
Paul: Oh, that sounds so interesting doesn’t it! That’s the kind of thing that I would love to read. Version control with git.
Ryan: It’s only short, it’s only a pocket guide. The interesting thing is that it’s actually available for free. You can download it as a PDF.
Paul: Ahh, really valuable then!
Ryan: I put it up on Gumroad when five simple steps closed. The interesting thing with Gumroad, I’m not sure if you used it, but when you actually put something on there if you set the price to 0 the price field says “set a fair price” and it defaults at zero but you have to physically put in zero and everyone does. So no one thinks a fair price for my book is worth anything at all.
Ryan: Occasionally someone put in like a dollar or a fiver. But yes, I think about it every time an email comes through, it kind of tints it a little bit in my mind. I think “Oh, someone has downloaded my book… and they think it’s worthless…” (Laughter)
Paul: There should be a way, there should be at the end of the book, right, it should then ask you how much was that book worth. At the end. Because how do you know at the beginning how much it is worth?
Ryan: That’s very true. Then again when was the last time you read a book to the end?
Paul: I always read books to then end.
Ryan: No, but without skipping to the last page and just reading the last page like all the way through.
Paul: No, I always read all the way through, seriously.
Paul: Yeah, I’m very committed to my book reading.
Ryan: Oh, right.
Dan: I’ve got at least 30 books that I am only about 1/4 of the way through.
Paul: No, no, I think it triggers one of my OCD things. That I can only read one… I can read one non-fiction and one fiction book at a time. And I have to read them to the end.
Ryan: I just wish I had time for that kind of thing.
Paul: Well I don’t. All it means is that I’ve been reading the same book for six years!
Ryan: Oh, well there you go! (Laughter) which is practically the same thing!
Paul: Well yes. Anyway, go on, sorry.
Ryan: Okay, so this service that I’m going to recommend… I forgot all about this because we just use it without even thinking because it’s so finely integrated into the way we deploy websites is a service called deploy. DeployHQ.com is the, it’s by the guys who do… It’s aTech media so they’ve got several other products. They do codebase and various other things but thier deploy service is actually for managing the deployment of your applications and your websites and you can hook it up to work with… It hooks directly into github. You create a project within the system, you tell it where the repo is in github and you can basically, whenever you need to deploy changes to a production server or a development server or a staging server or whatever you want to call it, it handles that process. It can FTP, it can SSH and you can configure it however you need to. But what makes it really useful is that it can, you can set it to run additional commands before and after deployment so if you need… So after you deploy, you’ve done a deployment, if you need it to do an update on the server you can write, you can add a command in that says “Right, deploy the site and then run this command.” If you need to put on a .htaccess file or something like that onto the hosting you can set it to create the file and tell it where to put it so those kind of things aren’t committed into your git hub repo. So it’s actually got a load of flexibility and one of the really nice things about it, as do a lot of other services that do this kind of thing, but it works with Webhook so it can automatically deploy. So when you’re working on something and you merge a change into your master branch in Git and push that up to github that will automatically deploy to your production server. So you haven’t got to go into the system and actually manually deploy. You can actually, you know, it just comes completely integrated into your workflow and you only ever have to go in if you need to just tweak the process in some way which once you’ve all got it all set up very rarely happens. So I forgot about this because it’s one of those things that once we kind of set it up once for a new project and then forget about it because our deployment process is all in place and implemented. But it’s really useful and for what it does and the way it helps you it’s not that expensive either. So I thought I’d…
Paul: What is the pricing?
Ryan: Well it’s got… Well they have got a free plan where you can just do one project so if you’re an internal team or something like that. It is limited to how many deployments per day. But if you’re only working on one website and it’s an internal thing then you know, your probably not going to do more than 10 deployments a day anyway which is what it is limited to. I think we are on the plus plan which I think is 22 projects. But the basic plan is £6 a month.
Paul: Crikey, that’s good. And even 22 projects is only £12. This is not bad is it?
Ryan: Yeah, it’s not bad. The website hasn’t been updated for a little while but the actual interface once you get in, I think, it may… I’m forgetting when was actually released, think it might have been the year before last, but I think the interface has actually had a big facelift and it’s a really nice system to use and really easy to configure. So…
Paul: I like the idea of when you deploy it can also then trigger other things to happen. That’s very useful. For example trigger a clearing of cashe. That kind of stuff would be very handy.
Paul: And don’t force you to work in a particular way.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. And this one does it very, very well.
Paul: Cool, well I like that one a lot, that’s good. Okay let’s do Marcus. Let’s do you next. It’s only you and me so I will let you go next.
Marcus: The irony. We’ve just had to stop. and I’m going to talk about recording techniques on audio, on audio! On audio recording techniques on when you’re doing podcasting.
Paul: It is quite funny that we’ve literally just had to restart the recording.
Marcus: But I’ll start at the top. Which is kit. I think there are really only two important items, kit wise, and they are a decent microphone and a decent pair of headphones. The mic is fairly obvious, if you’re using a crappy mic then you’re going to sound all tinny and stuff so if you use a better quality mic then you are going to sound warmer and fuller and all those kinds of things. But the headphones, are almost more important. The reason being is the editor, and I am kind of coming at this from the audio editor point of view, is that overspill, I’ll explain what that is in a minute, is an absolute nightmare. So if you’ve got a decent pair of headphones that cover your entire ears and they’re not the semi-open variety. They are the fully closed variety, basically when all you guys speak that sound isn’t coming out, isn’t leaking out, over spilling into my microphone. And that is what often happens when, if I get lots of different audio tracks come in that I have to put together I will find that somebody, there’s always one person it sounds like they’ve got their speakers on loud while they are recording. And you’re getting them fine but you are getting everybody else as well. Which is a major pain. A little tiny bit… There’s always a silver lining isn’t there… A little tiny bit of overspill actually can help sometimes because it means I can sync exactly. Because if I’m getting people that started recording in different places you have to kind of move them around to get everybody in sync. So tiny little bit of overspill can actually help that process but generally speaking you don’t want any.
Paul: Going back to mic. You skipped over mic.
Paul: Do we want to give people a recommendation of a mic to use?
Marcus: There are so many I just… If you’re willing to spend, I don’t know, if you spend a hundred pounds on a mic you will get one that is plenty good enough. I think maybe that’s a place to start.
Paul: I use a Rodes podcaster mic which is very good. But for years I used a snowball. Which was very good as well. Now Sam, you had a suggestion for a mic, a very lightweight quite cheap travel mic that I got and was actually very good. And now I’ve forgotten what it is called.
Sam: It’s a Samson go mic. So not Samsung, Samson go mic. It is the tiniest little thing you have ever seen. It is what I am using now. I put it on a proper stand with a bit of a pop filter and I think, yeah, I think it sounds absolutely fine. I think it was, I don’t remember how much it was, hang on if you give me two seconds I will tell…
Paul: It’s not massively expensive.
Sam: I mean, where is it… Nope, I can’t find it now. It’s really not. I think it was under 50 quid easily and it’s just, honestly it’s this size, the height of your thumb really I think and probably twice as wide and that is it. And it just seems to work great, I’ve had no issues with digital.
Paul: It’s £40 on Amazon.
Marcus: So that’s… But it’s not a fiver, don’t use just any old crappy thing that you’ve got lying around if you’re going to…
Paul: And definitely don’t use the one built into your Mac.
Paul: Because that is very kind of tinny and yeah, it picks up everything from everywhere. You want one you can get good and close to.
Sam: I think on the overspill thing as well Marcus, I think I did that on my first Boagworld appearance. I think I had the, I did the kind of headphones, the one headphone in my ear and let the other one dangle down not realising that was dangling right by the mic. I had no idea!
Marcus: There are certain things you can do, you can use kind of noise gating which will… It will take away audio that only comes up to a certain level. You can kind of use a noise gate so that when you start talking you are much louder, obviously, so that the microphone will turn on as you start talking and then it will turn off again when you don’t. And all that much lower overspill will get cut out. But there’s a point when that stops working and you end up sounding like you are being cut in and out too much.
Sam: What software do you use Marcus? To actually edit podcast on.
Marcus: I use logic audio. Which is over the top for editing a podcast. You don’t need anything this sophisticated to do it but they all kind of… They are all graphical interfaces with different tracks that move left to right as you know, as the recording is going and you can see the different… And watching my different little audio wave files appearing as I’m speaking and you know, you can basically cut them as you are editing, you are graphically cutting those files up so I think pretty much all editors work in that way. I don’t think it’s a really important aspect of recording good audio. I suppose what I’m trying to say. The microphone and your headphones are much more important.
Paul: The only thing that I have found with audio software that is quite nice is if there, if the audio software has got a basic noise filter functionality. So for example in my office I have a fan that likes to randomly turn on, or even the fan in your MacBook if you are recording or whatever. And you can get this kind of hum in the background so having something that can remove that is quite nice.
Marcus: There was also another kind of, standard effect if you like, that recording engineers use, which is compression. Whatever you are recording onto whatever recording software you are using it is good if it has got decent compression software in it. All that is doing is kind of, it is squashing the lows up to the middle and the highs back down to the middle. So it is literally compressing the sound.
Ryan: If you have Adobe creative Suite, you know, like the monthly subscription or full suite, you get access to audition as well which is pretty good. It’s got some good features but again that’s probably overlooked kill generally for editing something. But if you’ve got creative suite you’ve already got that software.
Paul: And audacity is a nice free one isn’t it.
Marcus: It’s lovely, yeah. I have just stopped using audacity for converting to, for final conversion to MP3. Because logic didn’t do it that well. But now it does. So I finally binned audacity. The next thing I wanted to talk about is mic technique. So this really comes down to stay on the bloody mic. Because I’m going away from the mic now… And now I’m coming back onto it. But one thing we are kind of guilty of, I don’t usually notice with singers there are always kind of pulling the mic away onto their mouth and away and all that kind of thing. All they are doing is when they are singing loud they pull it away, and when they singing quietly they bring it up close. And that’s not…
Paul: What about babies in the background?
Marcus: Babies in the background!
Ryan: There’s nowt I can do about that!
Paul: No, no it’s all right!
Marcus: One thing we are guilty of is when we all laugh, we stay on the mic. Because obviously staying on the mic is really important but if we want to get really loud we should pull back like this. And then come back again when we want to talk.
Sam: That’s a lot of thinking when you’re laughing! I get it, yeah but.
Paul: I don’t think I’ve got that in me.
Marcus: I’m not suggesting we have to do this but it’s just, it’s just about good practice when you are using a microphone.
Ryan: It’s going to be a weird recording next week when were all thinking about these things. we’re all kind of fading in and out and like, I want to laugh but I can’t remember is it in or is it out. I missed the joke, I missed the joke!!
Sam: Thing is, I’m doing it out of like fear. (Laughter)
Marcus: That’s quite funny because when you were getting very animated there Ryan and your microphone overloaded and it clipped and thats what we are talking about avoiding really.
Ryan: There we go then.
Paul: You are very naughty Ryan.
Ryan: Oh, and just a terrible recorder.
Marcus: It brings me nicely onto zencastr which is what we’ve been using lately to record. Which is superb, basically it kind of does all the recording software bit on its own, if you like. And when Paul pulls everything together it compresses it, I was talking about compressing earlier, because we are all going in at different levels and the file that I get given back from Paul, we are all nicely levelled, usually. Maybe it goes in and out a bit but it’s got compression software in there. But we’ve been having problems, as I started off this little segment with zencastr where it’s just, we’re getting the odd kind of time when somebody is echoing really badly. And we thought, two or three weeks ago… Lee pointed it out to me, Paul. He said you went really weird and robotic sounding at the end of whichever one, two weeks ago episode. “Did I?” I said. And it’s exactly the same thing that happened to Ryan last week. We thought it wasn’t going down locally but it was. I have to admit Ryan that last week I had to edit you, I had to edit whole sections of you out of the show.
Marcus: Because you were just, we thought “Oh it will be all right” and it wasn’t. And then that’s the nightmare scenario for the editor. It’s like “Ahh, I’ve got to take whole…” You know, you might have talked the three minutes about something and then Paul will have pulled stuff out of that and commented on it and then somebody would have referred to it later. And as the editor you’ve got to think, right, you’ve got to really use your brain and listen to the entire show to make sure that you’ve, you know, the continuity is there between the bits once you’ve removed those bad bits.
Paul: And nobody wants to listen to an entire episode of this!
Marcus: Well, I was going to say that if I listen through entire episodes every week and edited all the umms and ahhs out of it then I would never get any other work done. That’s a very big job! And what I do, and this is one recommendation is take notes, if anything goes wrong you can just go “Oh right, at 32 minutes, 30 seconds I need to go back in and have a look at that.”
Paul: That’s another nice thing about Zencastr is you can drop in timeline footnotes as well for when things do go wrong which is nice. And of course the other thing that it does which you didn’t explicitly say which is if you have multiple speakers like we have at the moment it is going to sync up all of those for you and create a single audio file which is lovely.
Marcus: Absolutely, yes. It’s a really useful thing, I guess we’ve just… The you know, the experiences we’ve had with issues the last couple of weeks has got me saying to everybody you need to record locally as well. And then if it, if you have got a separate, separately recorded local file then in Ryan’s case last week I could have just said “Ryan, I’ve got a problem with this send me over your local version” and I could have just cut it in. Which would have made my life a lot easier. But you’ve just got to… My final point is that sometimes you’ve got to be prepared to, you have to go through the entire thing just to kind of keep the continuity going if there is a problem. And that’s it really unless you’ve got anything to add.
Paul: Well the only thing I was going to add at the end was just that if you are interested in podcasting, if it is something that you are considering doing maybe, or even wondering what the benefit is of it…
Dan: Have you got a book?
Paul: No I haven’t actually, I’m going to recommend somebody else. One of the guys that I mentor and work with is an expert in podcasting and he has written all kind of of really great guides on the best equipment, how to become a good podcaster, the benefits of podcasting to your business, all of that kind of stuff. You can find out more about that at thepodcasthost.com. Really great resources that I highly recommend. Okay, do you know what? We will skip me this week. Because I plugged my book, my book can be my pick for the week. So there we go.
Right, let’s talk about our second sponsor and then we will wrap up today’s show. It is Proposify which allows you to say goodbye to using indesign and other design tools to create great looking proposals. You can now just use Proposify instead and save yourself a heck of a lot of time. It has got some great design tools in it that allow you to produce really great looking proposals. You’ve got access to over 800 Google fonts so you can match it with your style guide, you can also go in and edit the stylesheets if you want. You can change colours, size, all or everything you could want to do from a design point of view. It’s got built-in… It’s got some really nice pricing table features as well giving you lots of flexibility in terms of how your pricing tables appear. You can obviously add images easily whether those be info graphics or even video. You can put video in as well. You can change the layout of how your images are displayed, all the kind of control that you would expect. They have also got really nice cover pages so that you can create a high-impact cover for your proposals and you’ve got the ability to have all the kinds of things you would find in a design tool for like repeating headers and footers and page numbers and all that kind of stuff. If you can’t be bothered to do all of that, if you don’t want to create a custom template that goes exactly with your brand identity, maybe you’re a smaller setup which doesn’t have all of that kind of stuff in place they have got a gallery of loads of predesigned templates that look really nice and you can just help yourself to and get going. And then most of all your proposals going to work anywhere which is really good. It is mobile friendly, and it’s also interactive as well which is obviously makes it a lot better than traditional proposals. So if you want to try Proposify see how you can make your proposals very simply but also to make them high impact then go to Proposify.biz/Boagworld. So Marcus you have a joke for us?
Marcus: I do, I picked one of Darryl Snows many, many jokes from the Boagworld slack channel. Which is, what do you give a cannibal that shows up late for dinner?
Paul: Go on.
Marcus: The cold shoulder. (Laughter)
Paul: That’s actually quite good, I quite like that one. Right, yeah, I don’t know why we do jokes, it is such a weird thing. Let’s do where we can find out about people. Ryan, where can we find out about you?
Ryan: We are nodividestudio.com and I’m @RyanHavoc on Twitter.
Paul: And Dan?
Dan: Also nodividestudio.com but on Twitter I am @DE
Paul: And Sam?
Sam: I’m at TheSamBarnes.com and on Twitter @TheSamBarnes.
Paul: And Marcus.
Marcus: Headscape.co.uk. That will do.
Paul: And next season, I just want to very quickly talk about next season before we wrap up just a reminder that next season were going to do lightning talks where anybody can create a pre-recorded 10 to 15 minute talk and it is a great opportunity if you have never spoken at an event because it terrifies you, or you just want to get your name out there. We are accepting talks from absolutely anybody. We are going to do it, I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I going to do it on a first-come, first served basis. Right? So if you get in a talk to me it will be on the show. If you are late and it takes you ages to get to talk, a talk to me. It might not make it to the show but it will be posted on the website. All right? So every single talk I receive we are going to put on the air. Or well, not necessarily on the air, on the website. I really just want to give everybody an opportunity to share something that they have learn’t. It doesn’t have to be very much. I just want to make it so that as many people as possible can start to get the exposure that they deserve. I want to see a lot more people other than the same old names being seen again and again. To find out exactly how that works go to Boag.world/season18. Please send me stuff soon because I get nervous about not having enough content for the next season. So don’t make me suffer.
Sam: Paul can I just say that for anyone listening who would like some help with that as someone that found, well still find’s speaking quite difficult actually, I kind of actually understands what it’s like. So honestly, maybe contact me on Twitter or something. We can swap addresses and actually have a chat about what you could talk about or anything you are worried about because I think a lot of people don’t realise how difficult others find it. And I think you can get past it.
Paul: Yes, I think that’s a really great idea. And remind people again what your Twitter ideas sound is Sam?
Paul: And the same applies to me as well. If you want some advice on how to make that work, how to make get the most out of it I have put a whole load of stuff in that URL I just gave you but please feel free to contact me as well. Especially if you’ve never done this before, especially if you’re nervous I really want to help people out to get people going on this. All right, so that’s it for this week join us again next week where we will be doing more pointless waffle but until then, goodbye.