• 51:02

Episode number: 106

2017 Year in Review

Summary

For our 2017 finale, we look back at all we learned in business, technology and life this past year. We reflect on ongoing goals, challenges we faced this year and how we overcame them, plus we also address what we hope for 2018. Of course, we touch on our fave Rapidfire questions — what are they? Tune in to find out!

We’re on hiatus for a couple months (tune back in February 15, 2018) but we’ll see you on the other side! Happy new year!

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Episode Transcript

CTRL+CLICK CAST is proud to provide transcripts for our audience members who prefer text-based content. However, our episodes are designed for an audio experience, which includes emotion and emphasis that don't always translate to our transcripts. Additionally, our transcripts are generated by human transcribers and may contain errors. If you require clarification, please listen to the audio.

Preview: What I learned in 2017 with all that in mind is context with your clients is key. The biggest thing I learned about business in the web is that the web isn’t the end product. The web is the conduit for the end product or service or organization or person.

[Music]

Lea Alcantara: From Bright Umbrella, this is CTRL+CLICK CAST! We inspect the web for you! Today we are taking a look back at 2017 with our annual year in review. I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host:

Emily Lewis: Emily Lewis!

Lea Alcantara: Today’s episode is sponsored by Craft CMS. Craft CMS is excited to announce Craft 3. Craft 3 has been rewritten from the ground up to be faster and more secure and features multisite support and image editor with focal point selection, a built-in plugin store and much more. The first Craft 3 release candidate landed just a few days ago, so now you can confidently start using it for new projects and upgrade your existing Craft 2 sites. To find out more, head over to craftcms.com/3 and to stay in the loop about all things Craft, follow @craftcms to Twitter.

This episode is also brought to you by Sidecar. Sidecar was built by the team at Focus Lab to educate and empower creative professionals. Sidecar shares industry experience that touches on subjects like best design practices, effectively communicating with clients and more. Sidecar isn’t just about teaching, but also about doing. Their digital store provides assets that help speed along the design process for a variety of needs. To learn more, head over to madebysidecar.com and use promo code CLICK20 to receive 20% off on your first purchase!

[Music ends]

Emily Lewis: All right, you said it at the start, can you believe this is going to be our 7th Year in Review episode?

Lea Alcantara: Lucky number 7. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: So just like all of our past years in review or year in reviews, I’m not sure where the plural falls there. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: But we’re going to look back on the lessons we learned in 2017 in business, tech and in life, but we also kind of wanted to hold ourselves a little bit accountable and look back and see if we did what we said we wanted to do in last year’s episode.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Whether our perspectives have changed…

Lea Alcantara: Or not.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. Because I don’t think we’ve done that before. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, no, we just kind of just mentioned what we did that year.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So Lea, why don’t you start off with tech lessons?

Lea Alcantara: Sure. So last year I said the main thing I learned was speed.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: That speed was very important.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And this year, that focus really hasn’t changed as much, especially recently, speed is still top of mind because I’m just wrapping up a huge launch with a super customizable website.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But the flipside about customizable means endless queries.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And there’s only so much you can do to optimize those particular queries, so static caching to the rescue. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: You know, I wanted to ask you about that. So going with static caching, which to remind our listeners, it’s essentially like static HTML version of a page. It doesn’t hit the database when it’s called.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: But what has that, because I think it’s been important to you and you’ve learned a lot, but with this project and coordinating with the client, what have been some of the kind of challenging lessons that have come up with regard to the customizing and the caching and how those you find the balance for it, and then explain to them how caching has to be part of their workflow.

Lea Alcantara: Right. So you’ve kind of explained it in a nutshell there. It’s really a challenge to iterate to clients that the more control they have on a site, which theoretically you should give to a client, the more resources it takes up in their software and in their system, and one way to alleviate that is essentially just throw money at it and just add more machines, add more power, those kinds of things.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But that’s not always the case. Not everyone has unlimited sysadmins and like the fastest servers or time to fiddle and configure with that, and so really half the job is pretty much asking, “Do you really need that customization?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So for example, one of the recent requests that I had was, “Can I have a checkbox to consider whether this is an external link or not and then add make it open to a new site?” That kind of a thing.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Well, this site has many links that could be an external link and adding that checkbox means adding another field, which is adding another database query for that, when simply we could just not add that field.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Not add to the database and just simply check whether something is filled in in a text field, so there’s no crazy processing. It’s just more an “if then” kind of situation.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Which it’s still a query, but…

Emily Lewis: Less intensive.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, it’s less intensive and there’s not an extra resource, that’s just not there.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And just having to ask those particular kind of questions is important, and then really kind of explaining what a ton of customization actually means. So with this particular client, one little feature on their home page, because they wanted to customize every single thing…

Emily Lewis: Aspect of it.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah. So not just the text, but the background color, then the text color, then whether it’s an external or internal link, and then whether it opens in a new window or not, and then you add that and then they have a hundred links.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So just the math and then that’s just in one little section a ton of queries, and you can only push back so much when that really is a feature that will help their workflow and their needs.

Emily Lewis: Yes.

Lea Alcantara: And so you just kind of have to balance this out with their team. I definitely think it helps to have an advocate or several advocates in your client’s team and I think that helped us out a lot to help translate some of these situations because I do know like the tech team that we’ve been working with with this particular client has been really great, because they’re techs, so they know. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: They know a little bit about the pros and cons, and then at the end of the day, because they’re internal, they’re like, “Well, this is just the way it’s going to be and here’s the workflow, the situation.”

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I feel like that’s the part where this is the first project where we’re really giving the client every single thing they’re asking for because that’s what they asked for. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: Like that’s been the mindset from the start of this project.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: This ultra-level of customization for their marketing.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And so it’s not the question of pushing back and advising the client against it, it’s about the balance, but I think what has also been a lesson for me, because I’m watching this.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: You know, Lea and I have clearly defined our roles in this so that we don’t confuse the client. That’s something that’s important. So Lea is handling talking to IT and talking to them specifically about the caching, but as I’m observing from the outside, the caching, it seems to be a really hard concept for them to grasp in terms of workflow.

Lea Alcantara: Right, yeah.

Emily Lewis: Not the IT department. The IT gets it. They’re like, “All right, Marketing wants this, this is how we’re going to give it to them.” But in terms of the people who have to enter content, the caching seems very challenging.

Lea Alcantara: Right. And I mean, it’s also hard, too, because it’s a new system and so top of mind, they’re like, “Well, this didn’t happen in the old system.” Then you have to remind them, “Well, you didn’t have those customizations or those features or even that content in the old system or the old site or the old design.”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So that’s something to remind them of it. It’s just a matter of – I think it’s human nature, everyone is always resistant to change.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: And so there’s a little bit of growing pains in trying to figure what are the next steps out, what’s the best way forward, and at the end of the day with this particular client, I mean, obviously, there’s still a lot to go with like optimizing other things beside just static caching because some will say like, “Well, static caching is a final step, it’s not the solution.” You know?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It can be a band aid situation that hides underlying issues.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But if the solution ends up being, again, like, you know, sometimes throughout this entire year, we’ve been talking about kind of balancing, “Okay, what is the ideal solution, and then what is the solution that actually gets the goal completed?” Right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And in this particular case, static caching helped check off a lot of boxes.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And we brainstormed with their internal team over how to make the workflow more efficient, and in my opinion, of course, there was like some sort of internal resistance for a few of them, but at the end of the day, part of the solution was, “Okay, if we’re going to do like massive changes, we’re just going to do it once a week. We’re not going to do it every day.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And I mean, when you stop and take a step back, “Okay, if you were the…”

Emily Lewis: That makes some sense though.

Lea Alcantara: Exactly. If you are a content admin, you’re like, “Okay, I made this change, I want to see it.” We totally understand that, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But in terms of like being practical about campaigns and just workflow in general for an entire team, if there’s massive change, just coordinating schedules, I think the most sense.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And the irony almost is they wouldn’t have gotten to that point if they didn’t actually run into some speed issues, right?

Timestamp: 00:10:00

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Because they were like, “Well, this happened,” and this is the way we can give the least amount of headaches for everyone, but even if there wasn’t any speed issues, this I think is still a better just general workflow for people to deal with.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And that being said, I want to add that like the changes are from massive changes, like the weekly ones, they can still make daily changes.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees.

Lea Alcantara: And it still shows up on the site.

Emily Lewis: So yeah, I feel like the technical lesson is not just the technical aspects of getting speed issues addressed.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: It’s also trying to have the conversations about compromise and what solutions are and kind of embracing that idea of change

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So you also mentioned last year a little bit about security.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: Where does security fall for you in 2017?

Lea Alcantara: So for me, I feel like it’s sort of related to speed, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: You know, security I feel like is one of those nebulous topics that people bring up and think, “Yeah, of course, we want our site secured,” but then they don’t actually do anything about it.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: And I know I remember last year I knew it was important and I was a little bit intimidated about HTTPS and HTTP/2 that I just started to learn about it.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But once I actually dove through it, and I really have to thank Nevin Lyne of Arcustech who, you know, he’s so great.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: And I know he’s a sponsor, so there’s that, but even if he wasn’t, he explained to me exactly how SSL certificates work, exactly what the differences were in different types of certificates, what free certificates were like versus dedicated certificates, on and on and on, and at the end of the day, once you’re on to that information, the actual execution of getting a site to HTTPS is relatively straightforward.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Like the real sticking point is I think third-party services that haven’t bought into it, I guess.

Emily Lewis: Right.

Lea Alcantara: Or haven’t taken the time to deal with that as well.

Emily Lewis: Like what?

Lea Alcantara: Well, they might put the HTTPS in the URLs in their code.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But then they haven’t updated their certificate.

Emily Lewis: Ah.

Lea Alcantara: So sometimes you see that everything loads and then you don’t see the lock icon in the browser and you’re like, “What’s going on here?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And then you find out it’s because they just haven’t updated their security or they haven’t updated this one line of code.

Emily Lewis: And wasn’t that just like we had a client and that was like a video embed, right?

Lea Alcantara: Actually, there were two things. One was a video embed and the entire service. Okay, it was really odd because their marketing side of the site was all HTTPS.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So like anything that was text, anything that was a blog, anything like that was you got the lock. It was a 100% secure. But the actual service where the videos are being showcased were not.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So the only solution to launch was to actually change services, which is kind of like almost an extreme situation.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But it is what it is and there was a good solution to deal with that.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And the other one was that I was kind of referring to a little bit earlier was there was one line of code where I think they already have the certificate, but they hadn’t done a mass change or changing HTTP to HTTPS in all their form widgets.

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: That was it. Because I was just like, “But it’s working.” Like you’re looking at it, it’s loading it, it’s working, and then as you drill down to the

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Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Those are words that I heard during these things. Another thing that I think is really important about accessibility, and I really do hope we have an episode on this this year.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: But it’s just how much client handholding you need to do, not just to explain the value of accessibility, but their role in it because when a client has content management system and they’re entering content, a huge part of the accessibility falls on their shoulders.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And there needs to be a lot of education and a lot of documentation for their reference and then more education on top of that and more reminding them of it because they just don’t retain that as something naturally.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: It really does require the repetition and frankly, that’s something that I don’t think we budgeted for in terms of time.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And that was an important lesson to have a lot more time holding the client’s hands about their content responsibilities with regard to accessibility.

Lea Alcantara: That’s always the X factor, isn’t it, right, the client factor?

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: It’s why I’m going to go on a little bit of a side tangent there. Last year, I think we talked a lot about pricing.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And there are so many different tiers and so many different levels of pricing and I think price, however, fits that client and project, but really fits that client. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I think sometimes when you and I submit the actual work, like the actual design work, the actual front-end work, we’re usually spot on because our post project review and we actually see the breakdown of our hours, we’re like, “Yeah, we totally got the front-end hours right. We totally got the design hours right. Even one project I got almost exactly right.” And then project management is out of the window.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Yeah. It’s a painful lesson to learn, but…

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. Are there any other tech things that you’ve learned besides accessibility?

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I really, really wanted to make sure I mentioned Flexbox because I listened to a few of our past Year in Review episodes and over and over, I kept saying I wanted to experiment with Flexbox. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] Right.

Emily Lewis: So this year I actually did it.

Lea Alcantara: Yehey.

Emily Lewis: And browser support was where I needed to be for some of the projects I worked on this year. Previously, I didn’t want to rely on polyfills or a newer technique when I knew I had a proven technique.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And that’s just how I am. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: I am an early adopter, but finally, it fit in and it’s really simple. I mean, there are some aspects to it that take a bit of time to get your head around, but the fundamentals of it are really simple and frankly, if you’re dealing with like IE 10 and higher and nothing lower than like iOS 5, you’re good.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And while you may not have full Flexbox support, the fallbacks are really easy to throw in with just a little Modernizr detector.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: So I found that really fun to work with, especially when I was like, “Oh, oh, wow. That, well, that was easy.” [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It’s where you were just like, “Oh, that just saved me an hour that I thought I’d be spending on it.”

Lea Alcantara: Right, right.

Emily Lewis: So it will definitely be a go-to, but definitely part of our Starter Files from now on.

Lea Alcantara: Right. I mean, that reminds me of like what I mentioned with like the HTTP/HTTPS kind of move and it’s like, “Oh, I don’t know anything about this,” and then I do and then it’s fine.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: And then it’s fine, magic. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, right, exactly.

Emily Lewis: All right. So we’ve talked a little bit about business stuff in regards to the technology lessons, but what about the straight up business lessons you learned in 2017?

Lea Alcantara: So last year I said I learned that knowledge is nothing without understanding and I definitely still agree, like knowing what marketing is versus knowing marketing in the context of your business are totally two different things and in the same vein, kind of like we also kind of touched on during the tech talk here, what I learned in 2017 with all that in mind is context with your clients is key.

Emily Lewis: Yes.

Lea Alcantara: The biggest thing I learned about business in the web is that the web isn’t the end product. The web is the conduit for the end product or service or organization or person.

Emily Lewis: I wonder if that mindset that you’re developing, that we’re developing, I’m wondering if it’s hopefully going to serve us in the long run if we’re not defining the web, we’re just focusing on business.

Lea Alcantara: Right, right.

Emily Lewis: Because who knows what the web is going to be.

Lea Alcantara: Right. Like who knows what the tech is going to be, yeah. How about you what’s your top business lesson?

Emily Lewis: Yeah, so I think my top business lesson this year is really along the same theme as you as yours, Lea, and like I’ve mentioned already, one that we’ve addressed on a lot on the show, how to really communicate with our clients. Not just talk to them, not talk at them, but find a way to connect so that they really understand what we’re saying and we understand them.

Lea Alcantara: Right, right.

Emily Lewis: And on our Demystifying series, we’ve shared a bunch of like examples and analogies of how we really literally trying to speak to our clients.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: But we didn’t talk too much about extending that to include how we are writing.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: For me, I’m specifically thinking like our content marketing.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: The blog posts and the social media and the newsletters and things like that that we’re producing.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: So like every blog post I’m writing these days or newsletter or even editing your stuff, Lea, I’m trying very hard [laughs] to connect with our clients and prospective clients.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: I’m trying to write to them to address the concerns that they have. Stop selling Bright Umbrella. Stop trying to show our peers that we know the tech and really just focus on demonstrating that we understand our clients, their problems and that we can solve them, and doing that without tech or fancy scenarios, just really simple language that gets the point across.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And I find it incredibly hard to do. I don’t find writing hard, I mean, I find motivation to write hard, but writing itself isn’t hard.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] Yeah.

Emily Lewis: But only a certain way.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: I’m comfortable writing the way I write, and the way I write is to write about tech, talk to my peers, “Those are the books I’ve written.” That’s how I write.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: I love to write to a client audience and try and think about what our clients are doing every day in their jobs and trying to put things in terms like that. It takes so much extra time than just writing a quick blog post, and especially when we are busy with actual paying and fun client development, I don’t want to write a blog post. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: It’s like the last thing I feel like doing, but in my head and in my gut, I know that not trying to connect is a step back for the business.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And skipping the marketing, skipping the blog post, skipping the newsletter is a step back for the business, because it just is, that’s not where we are anymore. Like I could pretend that I’m just like a little one-person shop, you know?

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: But that’s not what we are and that’s not what we are trying to be, and that connection is really how you and I are differentiating ourselves.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: It’s literally what clients tell us they appreciate about us. So that’s my business lesson, holding myself, holding us to the standard for communicating, not letting us half-ass our business.

Lea Alcantara: Right, and man, it really is like learning another language.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I mean, it really is easier said than done, because we have our clients’ best interest at heart, but trying to communicate that in a way that they understand it naturally resonates is not always the case. For example, even all these discussions with accessibility that we’re talking about or tech or even speed and caching and all those things, this is for the benefit of their website and for their goals, but they have other problems to think about, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: They’ve got other motivations too, and so we need to figure out how to speak about what we’re doing that resonates based on their motivations.

Emily Lewis: So let’s say we get it down in our networking, we have our – what do they call it – the elevator pitch, the right way to say something when we’re talking in front of someone, to then say, “Okay, now I have to put that same energy into like the writing material.” Oh, it’s not like it translate. I don’t know why. It’s not a one to one. It just doesn’t flow over.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: The concepts do, the mindset, but the how you do it, yeah, it’s hard.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I really do hope someday we can hire a writer. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, right, yeah, but that’s why they exist, and that’s why copywriters exist.

Timestamp: 00:30:00

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It’s why content strategists exist because this isn’t something that is easy.

Emily Lewis: But at the same time, it’s something that’s important.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely.

Emily Lewis: All right, so moving onto how about your personal life, your quality of life thing that you learned or achieved in 2017?

Lea Alcantara: So last year, I spoke about processing and planning for my own personal life. Otherwise, it gets set aside for business or work goals.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I think especially when you enjoy your job, right?

Emily Lewis: Yeah. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: So it’s just like you just keep going.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I do think this is still an ongoing struggle, especially when I get stressed. A few things I mentioned last year, I still think it’s important to do or it’s actually much harder to actually execute, like it’s easier said than done, like especially I used to go to the gym three times a week and I want to get back into that, but it dropped one time a week, which I’m still proud of because that means I still go, right?

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: But it’s one of those things where it’s just like wow, a habit that I’ve had for years, once things got really busy, I’m like, “I couldn’t do it, but that’s something that I’m going to try to work on and see I should be able to do it. How can I fit it in during busy times?”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So that’s something too that I’m contemplating in 2017 as in, “How do I execute certain goals and habits when there are stressful situations that I know actually will help me through these stressful situations.” Right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It’s kind of like that hamster wheel kind of thing where exercise will help with stress and with just feeling generally better for and getting started for the day, but when you’re overwhelmed, you’re just like, “Eh.” You know?

Emily Lewis: Yeah. I am right there with you. I’m completely 100% right there with you. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I mean, I felt like during our busiest peak, and people, we’re just coming off of this. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Right, and so we’re like, “Oh.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: And so it’s fresh in our minds, but like launching out of bed at 6 a.m. because the client is on the East Coast and something has come up and forget about going for a walk at that point, and yeah, I feel like there’s a potential for some support between you and me, Lea, where we could help each other be a little bit more accountable for our physical wellbeing.

Lea Alcantara: Right, yeah.

Emily Lewis: Like how much would you be probably more inclined to go do something I nudge you. I know I would.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, I know, absolutely. It’s just really one of those things, and I do think it helps sometimes if it is somebody that isn’t your spouse. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Yes. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Like because Rob tried to nudge me a few times and I’m just like, “No!” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Yeah. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Don’t want to get up and go to the gym!

Emily Lewis: I totally know what you mean.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, so that’s definitely something I’m thinking about in 2017 and processing and seeing how to work through.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I do think something I did do that’s new this year in terms of quality of life and learning what’s important to me was sometimes what’s old is new again, you know?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So most people, especially if you’re listening to this podcast, know I love singing and musical theater.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And fun fact, I even got married in a theater.

Emily Lewis: I didn’t know that.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, I got married in a theater, but this was the first year in a long time that I actually bought a full season subscription to watch live shows again.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and I used to go all through high school and college and then it petered out, you know, sometimes it’s budgetary concerns obviously, it’s one of the first things to go.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But I always really enjoyed it and as an adult where I had a regular income, I could or I’m able to afford it.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It took me a long time to be like, “Hey, I should just…”

Emily Lewis: Do it.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. It’s just one of those things and I’ve been so happy going through it. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Like Rob joins me and he tolerates it. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: But yeah, I know it’s just watching the Sound of Music live, knowing all the lyrics of the songs.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: There is just something about live theater for me that just makes me so, so, so happy and it just reminds me to kind of reflect over things that you love, that you used to love, you can love again.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And you enjoy it again, you know?

Emily Lewis: That’s a good one. I live that. For me, so listening to last year’s Year in Review, I think we did a fairly decent job in 2017 of doing what I said I would do. In my personal quality of life area, I wanted to stay well attuned to my emotional and mental wellbeing, and I did that. And I think I did better than I normally do with self-care, and I think it’s just a sign that I’m definitely out of the depressive period that I was in for a few years, because frankly, I mean if anyone has dealt with stuff like that, it just gets hard to do everything.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So I think the fact that I’m able to do things that seemed basic but seemed hard before is a good sign. So part of that self-care, I made a commitment to myself to reconnect with some people who I had isolated myself from and I did that. I’m still trying to do it a little bit more. Also, I feel like I hit a challenge midyear because the therapist I’ve been working with, she retired in the late summer, so I feel a little untethered in that regard, like I don’t want to find another therapist.

Lea Alcantara: It’s hard.

Emily Lewis: It’s hard, and this woman who I was working with was an amazing fit. So I’m just sort of dreading that, but I’m going to do it, especially because I do feel like our current political and sociological climate is kind of taking a toll on me.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: I’m listening to last year’s episode and I could hear in my voice how like I felt emotional, but strong about like staying politically active and informed.

Lea Alcantara: Right, yeah.

Emily Lewis: And I’ve got nothing left.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Like it’s a year later and I’ve got nothing left, and that’s probably their strategy, to just wear people down because you can, then you have to start saying, “Well, who do I take care of? Do I take care of me and my family and my immediate surroundings?” So it’s a challenge, but on the other side, my town elected a progressive mayor and so I’m pretty hopeful that that sort of change that starts locally, that’s just beginning and we’ll see larger change later.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, that’s right.

Emily Lewis: So I think that’s how I’m trying to balance the whole “I can’t take it anymore.” [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] Yeah, I definitely think that it’s just so important, but that does remind me of that advice on airplanes, you put the mask on first on yourself before you help others, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: You need to be in a position where you are strong. Otherwise, you can’t be useful in any other way.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: All right, so that was this past year. Let’s think about 2018, looking forward.

Lea Alcantara: Oh 2018.

Emily Lewis: I know, isn’t it? I won’t even say the dirty word that came out of my mouth I thought I was going to say. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: But it’s such a mind-blank. That’s what it is.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Mind-blank?

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: That’s good. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It’s a mind-blank. All right, so what do you have in mind for next year? What are you aiming for?

Lea Alcantara: Well, it’s interesting because what I was said last year, I said my goal was to be a better negotiator.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And it’s like this year for this podcast specifically, [laughs] I kept plugging Never Split the Difference.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Because I love that book so much, I still think that’s important absolutely, and I think I have become definitely much better at getting people to tell me what their budget is. I’m more comfortable doing that, which I think is really important asking for what the project is worth.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Obviously, it’s still an ongoing challenge sometimes, but I think that it just takes practice.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But my plan for next year I think, I want to be really more intentional with networking.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So this year I know Emily and I really upped our strategy there and have been more choosy about where we go and who we talk to and how we do it, and I think of the mindset shift to have that because at some point, you’re wondering like how is this genuine, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But at the same time, it’s like but you are a genuine person, why would you have any interaction that was faked? It’s my way to like flip that script, right? I think earlier in my career, networking was way more socially focused, which yeah, I don’t think is really a bad thing. I think sometimes even that mindset is good. It gets you through the door.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But the problem, especially when I look in hindsight was there was no follow through, right?

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: I think now we have the tools to make sure that people we want to stay in touch with aren’t lost.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I agree with that. I feel like I’m on the same page as you are with plans for next year, smart networking. You and I have talked about this. I don’t want to continue to invest my time in conferences.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: You know, 2018 is kind of the last year that I’m going to continue to put time and energy because I still want to remain open to the possibility that a conference may be a genuine way to support Bright Umbrella, but if it doesn’t, then I’m not going to do any more conferences starting in 2019 because the experiences don’t support me personally well.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And then if I don’t see them supporting the business, I just can’t justify doing it, but where I do see investing time as having a much, much more potential is local, the more one-on-one networking and building, not just meeting people to conference, but building a relationship in our local community.

Timestamp: 00:40:06

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And so I feel like that’s where a lot of my focus for the business will be in 2018, sort of forming a mastermind group of sorts with one of our Albuquerque clients who is connecting me with other professionals she knows in the area and we’re meeting for lunch where we talk a little bit about shop, but mostly we’re just getting to know each other. It already led to referrals really quickly.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And then kind of in the same line of building up that local networking by them, hoping to return to a bit of the volunteer spirit I had when I ran a local Adobe User Group here in Albuquerque. I’m getting involved with one of the coding boot camps in town, which is connected to a nonprofit, and in fact, in two weeks, I’m going to help the next group of graduating students with their final presentation.

Lea Alcantara: Cool.

Emily Lewis: And then the last thing I’m hoping for for 2018 is to take more time away from work. Lea, you are really good about taking vacations. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: And I mean it in a good way.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Like I think you pursue that sort of quality of life and break from and disconnection from work and connection to your friends and your husband and stuff, but I suck at it. I’m a workaholic. I can’t think of when I wasn’t, but this year Jason and I took a few road trips and I’m getting better at taking days off. I think you can even say yes, I am better than I have been before. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Emily Lewis: In fact, I even have every Friday off for the rest of this year. Sometimes it’s going to be good.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, nice.

Emily Lewis: And I just wanted to continue that next year. I live in an area where you can really escape with a quick drive or see something really amazing with a little bit of a longer drive, and so we’ve got some short and long road trips lined up next year that I’m really, really looking forward to. I just wanted to enjoy that part of my life a little bit more.

Lea Alcantara: Very cool. I’m glad.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. Well, I need it. I need something. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Because I’m pooped. But you didn’t mention anything personal. Do you have any personal kind of hopes for the upcoming year?

Lea Alcantara: Hmm, gosh, I mean, it’s such an interesting thing to like contemplate. Well, I mean, my sisters and I are having a little mini-reunion next year.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So really just making sure I continue to have those types of strong relationships and making sure I have time for them and doing those types of things that I’m able to do that. It’s almost kind of like the same way with the season tickets and things like that, you know?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I feel like when I was much younger obviously, like I was not as financially secure, so I was very careful over where I spend time, where I spend my money, and now I should spend the fruits of my labor in order to do the things I wanted to do, which means seeing my family, you know? [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Like little things like that just seemed much, much harder like a long time ago, and now that I have the resources, now is the time to invest in that, and I think it’s taken me a while to realize that I can do that now. So I mean, I think that’s something to be like way more aware of and have the ability to do like as in, “Okay, I can go see my sisters. I can go visit this, that or the other, or go on a road trip.”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I definitely think I’m way more of an extrovert than an introvert, but I could be a huge homebody, unless there’s like a motivation.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: I could, for example, the past for few days, I’ve been binge watching The Punisher with my husband just sitting there for hours on end in the evening at the end of the day. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And I’m happy as a clam doing that as interacting with people and doing stuff as well. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: But this is the time to I have to like actually remind myself, “Go do something, Lea.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs] Yeah, I think it’s ultimately just about whatever you’re doing in your time away from work, that you’re just trying to really enjoy it for what it is.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Emily Lewis: All right, so we’re getting near the end to the time when we would normally do our rapid fire ten questions, and since Erin is not with us anymore….

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I mean, she’s with us, Erin is on the planet. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: She just left my house, but she’s not helping us with Bright Umbrella or the podcast anymore, so we don’t have her little snappy recap, but Lea did take a look at some of our questions from guests from the past year. So what were some of the things that you noticed, Lea?

Lea Alcantara: So I thought it would be interesting to see the introvert and extrovert spread.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: I’m not really surprised to see that 74%.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: That 74% of our guests said introvert.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Some said they were a mix, but only four, four guests out and out said they were extroverts and didn’t add, “Oh, I’m also an introvert.” Do you know what I mean?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me. I feel like that’s been my experience in real life in terms of meeting people professionally.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, in the web, right?

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: And like you had like there’s only one person who’s coding in front of that screen.

Emily Lewis: That’s true. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Did you have a favorite question from this past year that we asked guests?

Lea Alcantara: So I always love our best advice/worst advice questions.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Because I think it’s really revealing and inundated with information so it’s nice to have something like that distilled.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, tidbits, bites.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s revealing about the guest as well, you know?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: My personal favorite answer to the best advice is fear is excitement on pause.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And that one was from Amélie Lamont, and I just love that line.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, good guest.

Lea Alcantara: And another quote that I really liked was from Jack McDade, and his best advice that he received was you can have the best idea without follow through and they’ll still go nowhere, but even mediocre idea with follow through will get you somewhere.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I totally agree with that.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, a 110% I think follow through is everything. As for advice to ignore, because they’re the worst…

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: I think Denise Jacobs’ example was try to do what other people do to be successful.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And I think that’s important to iterate because I think, you know, especially I think of this industry because there are a lot of people here without formal training of any sort.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: This is still a young industry, so people are trying to do what other people do, but that can only get you so far, right?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It might get you through a learning curve, but that’s about it. I did find it interesting to note that several guests mentioned that if it’s bad advice, they just cast it out of the head and so they don’t even remember what a bad advice was.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, well, that’s good. Those are some healthy people. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. I know. Not wallowing. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I know seriously.

Lea Alcantara: So how about you, Em?

Emily Lewis: Actually, what stood up for me was my favorite worst advice. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: So the worst advice that really cracked me up for how ridiculous it was that someone would utter this advice to someone was our last episode with Jason Tselentis where someone had advised him to burn all the bridges, burn them all. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I just think that’s hysterical.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Someone thinks that’s a success path.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, wow.

Emily Lewis: Well, yeah.

Lea Alcantara: I can see the possible perspective, you know what I mean, as in like to be true to yourself.

Emily Lewis: To be yourself?

Lea Alcantara: And it’s just like what kind of candy land utopia do you live in? [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Oh man.

Emily Lewis: And I observed this all year long and it drove me nuts, but I said nothing because it’s not my place to judge. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I have to say that I thought almost everyone’s answers to “the power is going to be out, what food from the fridge do you eat first,” their answers were bizarre; condiments, vegetables, pineapple, almonds. Are you kidding me? Like only a few people said ice cream, like that is what you eat first. That’s the rule, people.

Lea Alcantara: It’s rule, of course, Emily.

Emily Lewis: I couldn’t believe it, honestly.

Lea Alcantara: In eating what’s going to be in the fridge if it’s…. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs] Vegetables?

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, no.

Emily Lewis: Vegetables will be fine in the fridge for days.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, totally.

Emily Lewis: Oh, I’m judging now, but still.

Lea Alcantara: I’m with you, yeah, yeah, I know totally.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Frozen treats should have been number one.

Emily Lewis: Well, and honestly, like that’s like the universe is saying, “You need to eat some ice cream right now.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, exactly.

Emily Lewis: It’s like, here, for you, you don’t have to feel guilty that you are doing your responsibility to not make a mess in the freezer.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: So that’s where I stand on that. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And finally when I was just looking at the rapid fire questions, like one of my favorite questions was related to food, and it’s finding out where to eat when you’re at someone’s city, and it just reminded me like we have guests from all across the country and the globe.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: So there are recommendations everywhere. I think eventually we should compile a list one day.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, that should be like when we decide to finally say goodbye to CTRL+CLICK CAST, which we should then release like the guests’ recommendations for restaurants.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, I know totally.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Totally. Wow, looking back 2017 and now 2018 is on our radar.

[Music starts]

Emily Lewis: Crazy, it’s been a blur. I mean, Thanksgiving just happened, I don’t even know what happened.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, true, true. Well, that’s all the time we have for today, and for the rest of the year, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and a very prosperous New Year.

Emily Lewis: Yes.

Lea Alcantara: CTRL+CLICK is produced by Bright Umbrella, a web services agency invested in education and social good. Today’s podcast would not be possible without the support of this episode’s sponsors! Many thanks to Craft CMS and Sidecar!

Emily Lewis: Before we sign off for 2017, a huge thank you to our guests we are fortunate to talk to so many different people on the web industry who inspire us. We also wanted to thank our listeners. We hope you are learning and being inspired to do great work.

Lea Alcantara: We also can’t forget our partners for their ongoing support. Arcustech continues to provide us fast, topnotch hosting and excellent customer support for the past 100-plus episodes.

Emily Lewis: We are going to enjoy a break from the podcast for the next two months. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Whohoo!

Emily Lewis: But we will be back on Thursday February 15th when we return to our regular schedule. We are still lining up guests so be sure to check out our schedule at ctrlclickcast.com/schedule and stay tuned to @ctrlclickcast on Twitter for updates.

Lea Alcantara: This is Lea Alcantara …

Emily Lewis: And Emily Lewis …

Lea Alcantara: Signing off for CTRL+CLICK CAST. See you next year!

Emily Lewis: Cheers!

[Music stops]

Timestamp: 00:51:02

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Emily Lewis and Lea Alcantara

CTRL+CLICK CAST inspects the web for you!

Your hosts Emily Lewis and Lea Alcantara proudly feature diverse voices from the industry’s leaders and innovators. Our focused, topical discussions teach, inspire and waste no time getting to the heart of the matter.

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Bright Umbrella