Notes from the Generate Conference 2015 in NYC

It was an amazing Friday last week, at the Generate Conference in NYC.

Here’s a brief recap of topics covered (from my point of view).

Best talks
– Expertise category: Lara Hogan on performance
– Case study category: Jon Setzen on 24-hour experience
– Entertaining category: Dave Rupert on prototyping and play
– Energizing and ass-kicking category: Mike Monteiro on 13 designers’ mistakes

Notable trends
– performance is being taken seriously now. Everyone recommended, and working across teams to educate them on importance of performance optimization, and establishing “performance budget” for your projects
– rapid prototyping helps win business
– it’s a designer’s job to lead a presentation and “sell” the design to clients. “A good designer who can sell work is more valuable than a great designer who can’t.”

Random notes
– Brad Frost cracking up the entire time during Dave Rupert’s presentation. Crowd-energizing talk by Mike Monteiro. It is pure joy to watch someone who’s not only an expert, but also funny and/or brutally honest
– Shopify workshop was informative and inspiring. I built a Shopify store 3 years ago, and it was a great experience. Good opportunity for developers to make money by being experts/affiliates on their platform
– Good format, venue and programming. One day, 2 tracks, great speakers, AND reasonable pricing
– Got Mike’s book and Shopify’s Grow guide. Happy.

Instagram is happy, Twitter is whiny

Agree with Jason Fried’s take on these two platforms.

When I have a few minutes to kill, and my phone is in front of me, I almost always reach for Instagram. I never regret it. I come away feeling the same or better. When I occasionally reach for Twitter, I discover someone’s pissed about something. I often come away feeling worse, feeling anxious, or just generally not feeling great about the world. Twitter actually gives me a negative impression of my friends. I know it’s not Twitter doing it, but it’s happening on Twitter. that’s how Twitter feels to me.

For similar reasons, I don’t use Facebook and almost never check Twitter. I’m not that cool to be on Snapchat or Periscope. But I’m on Instagram all the time. And best way to get in touch is via good old fashioned email:

Who wants to start an online business?

Recently, I took an online course on starting an online business by Penelope Trunk.

Here are the reasons I loved her content:
– a very specific topic: it’s not about startups, not about non-profits, non about million-dollar businesses. It is about a side (some call it lifestyle) online business, that can potentially supplement or even become your main source of income
– she walks the walk: she started a few successful businesses herself
– she is a woman, who has a huge career AND is raising kids. This is a key factor for me: I want to hear from a woman with kids, because I am one, too. (as much as I love Ramit’s stuff)
– she uses personality type analysis in her courses. Everyone has unique strengths, and it is just so much easier to use something YOU are naturally good at for building a business.
– she’s honest and fun. Read her blog to get honest insights on womens issues, educational system, keeping together a marriage and career advice. Watch her videos to see how fun she is. She’s the real deal to me.

Here’s a quick example from Penelope’s summary email:

In short, you can divide people in four categories:

NT’s like to live in the world of ideas and will like systems.

F’s care about people, and feelings, and things that matter in the world.

SJ’s like details as opposed to big strategies

SP’s and NTP’s will thrive with smaller projects instead of long, drawn out projects.

I’m an ISTJ, and here are tips for people like me:

SJ’s are very systems driven. They’re not interested in ideas because you can’t quantify an idea. They want a system to push people through so they can see progress immediately. SJ’s should focus on online businesses and tasks that rely on systems based thinking.

ESTJ’s and ISTJ’s

The ESTJ is going to be a rock star at testing online businesses. No one will be able to launch and test faster than the ESTJ. They’re great with a to-do list, so they should write a list of every business type and just start going down the list and executing. Once they find one that feels right, they should go with that.

The ISTJ isn’t as adventurous in what they want to implement, because they want to know everything they’re doing is right. They will research until they’re sure their idea will work. That’s fine. They should wait for their idea.

That last one is so true. I just can’t dive into something until I know it is a right idea and it will work!

A couple of years ago, my friend Ohn and I had our side online business: an online store for womens clothing, jewelry and accessories. Ohn did a fantastic job running and promoting it, and she had fun with it (she’s an ESTP). I, on the other hand, enjoyed building out the site, coding up the template and anything related building stuff around the website. We since closed down the store, because stores with inventory in a crowded space are really tough to run (lesson learned). It was a great learning experience, and a testament to our friendship – we are still best friends (and sometimes reminisce about days when we had this fun project and did photoshoots modeling our clothes). So if you are doing a business with a partner, pick someone with skills that are complimentary to yours.

Question to all of my friends: do you have ideas for a business? I’d love to hear more, share the learnings from this online course, and potentially form a partnership – let me know!