• 43:55

Episode number: 127

2018 Year in Review

Summary

We close 2018 with our annual Year in Review! What have we learned in tech, business and life this past year? We also share some fun faves to add to your watch, listen, read and play lists. Plus, special guest Erin Lewis is back to give a rundown on this year’s Rapidfire Questions. Spoiler: people have opinions about karaoke.

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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: This year I learned that it just isn’t about profitability when it comes to running a business. It’s also about sustainability and viability.

[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 2018 in our annual year in review, and we’re so excited to have our former intern, Erin Lewis, with us again. 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 Foster Made, a digital design and development agency committed to creating thoughtful solutions to your technology challenges. From smart user experiences to strategic programming, Foster Made employs technology as a medium for advancing your business and making human connections. Visit fostermade.co to learn more.

Emily Lewis: Before we get to today’s episode, I wanted to remind our listeners about our Patreon. For just $5 a month, you can help us keep this podcast going, and in return, you get access to our private Slack where we chat with other listeners about past episodes. And if that’s not your speed, we have lots of other rewards. You can pick what’s best for you. Visit patreon.com/ctrlclickcast. And now to today’s topic, our 8th year in review episode.

Lea Alcantara: Ah, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: As we say, time flies when you’re having fun.

Emily Lewis: Yes. And we’re so excited that Erin is joining us as our special guest today. Our longtime listeners may remember her as our intern who joined us on previous Year in Review episodes. We missed her last year because she was deep into her new job, but we twist her arm to join us again this year because we love her and her rapid fire recaps.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: So welcome back to the show, Erin.

Erin Lewis: Thank you for having me.

Lea Alcantara: Of course, since it’s been a while you’ve been on the show, Erin, can you tell our listeners what you’ve been up to?

Erin Lewis: Absolutely, the last time I was on the show, I had just taken a job as assistant director of communications at a private school and I’m still there. I do photography, video, web stuff and copywriting for the school and I really, really love the work. I love my job. I listened back to the last episode that I was on and I said that my goal was to get good at making people feel feelings.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: And now, my goal is to get great at it.

Emily Lewis: Nice.

Lea Alcantara: Awesome.

Emily Lewis: So our tradition for these year-in-review episodes is to reflect on what we learned over the year in tech, business and life. So Lea, why don’t you start us off with tech lessons?

Lea Alcantara: Sure. So this is very recent, and in fact, while we’re recording this, Ben Croker just released this, so Ben Croker, he just started a weekly challenge called Craft Coding Challenge, and each week, he puts together a specific scenario that you need to solve using Twig and Craft.

Emily Lewis: Oh, clever.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, like all native stuff, and there’s no prize, and the judge and criteria is based on native Craft functionality, clarity and simplicity, and each week our colleagues send in their potential solutions and the following week, Ben breaks it down. You know, to me, it’s just so fascinating to see how differently our peers tackle the same problem.

Emily Lewis: It’s kind of like when we get a chance to take over a site that someone else had built and see how they had built it.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I love being able to see like how people’s thought patterns and processes work and in the end having the same outcome.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. So that’s craftcodingchallenge.com.

Emily Lewis: Cool. Erin, what did you learn about tech this year?

Erin Lewis: So this year and last year, I’ve been doing a lot of learning about a lot of tech; video editing and shooting and editing videos are a big part of my job, and I use Premiere Pro as a program and I’m self-taught, which means I watch gazillions of tutorials on YouTube.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: There are a ton of free resources out there, but one person or one account that I keep coming back to is Premiere Gal. She’s super cool. She publishes content regularly. Her tutorials are clear and nicely produced and she makes really good recommendations for gear and plugins.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: The bulk of her content is about Premiere Pro, but she’s got some after effects and audition stuff, and she also gives a lot of shooting, lighting and sound tips.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: And those are super helpful for a beginner like me. I had never even held a DSLR camera before I took this job where my primary work is to make videos.

Emily Lewis: Wow.

Erin Lewis: So she’s been a tremendous resource to me, plus she’s just cool, like I like her.

Emily Lewis: Nice.

Lea Alcantara: So how about you, Em?

Emily Lewis: Well, for our listeners, if you tuned into our last episode, then you know some of the business challenges we faced this year, and one of the unfortunate results of not bringing in new work and focusing so much on trying to turn around the business, I just didn’t get to do much development this year.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: But thanks to the podcast, I did learn about service workers, which we talked about in our episode with Jeremy Keith [Offline Web Experiences with Jeremy Keith]. That episode and Jeremy’s book got me really excited about JavaScript, which is just a rarity in and of itself, but it also reinforced that there are so much more to web accessibility than has been traditionally discussed in our industry.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: I never really thought about the offline web experience as an accessibility issue, but it is.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: Jeremy’s book was super easy to follow and really approachable, and so I was able to experiment with service workers when I was working on the front end for our ctrlclickcast.com site refresh. Don’t go looking for it. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: My experimenting isn’t complete and isn’t included in our recent site launch. It’s just one of the extras I’ll be working on post launch.

Lea Alcantara: Very cool. Now, let’s talk about the professional lessons we learned this year. Erin, why don’t you kick us off?

Erin Lewis: So this has to do with building relationships at work.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: I work for a pretty big organization. There’s like a hundred faculty and staff members and then a lot of kids, and we’re all part of the same community, and what I’ve learned over this past year is that it’s important to figure out the way that your people like to communicate and then make it a goal to reach out to them in that way more often than not.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: Some people are okay with email or just messaging, like text or Basecamp or whatever, but a lot of folks want to talk on the phone, which I hate talking on the phone.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: But a lot of people are really comfortable with it, and even more people do better in a face-to-face situation, at least in my community.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: I found that I get more consistent follow through when I meet whoever it is in whichever way they’re most comfortable. It’s really important for my job to have positive relationships with everyone in the school. I just can’t my job done if the faculty and staff and students don’t trust me and feel good about talking to me.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: So little things like walking to meet somebody or calling rather than firing an awesome email go a long way with the right person.

Emily Lewis: It makes sense.

Erin Lewis: it kind of gives you a chance to like be a person.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Erin Lewis: You can give them a compliment or ask them something about something outside of work or school. You can kind of infuse a little joy into this business interaction in a way that you really can’t do with text without being kind of awkward or disingenuous.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: And that’s something I’ve really worked on this year, and I think it’s helping me in my work.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, Lea, I think that was something that you were mentioning in our last episode, just about how important it is to video chat, the face-to-face situation.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: Especially for sales.

Lea Alcantara: Right. And I’m going to touch on that on my end, on my answer a bit more, but before I do that, Em, what did you learn about business this year?

Emily Lewis: Well, this year I learned that it just isn’t about profitability when it comes to running a business. It’s also about sustainability and viability.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: After having our most profitable year in 2017, this year couldn’t have been more different. I just about drained my savings to get by, and that’s because we were not sustainable. We didn’t have processes in place to ensure that the business could keep that profitability from last year going forward. We didn’t have basics in place to ensure the business itself is viable with things like a business plan and understanding our margins. And what really helped me with this lesson was the book Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Toolkit for Entrepreneurs. It’s by Norm Brodsky, and by Chapter 3, like it was so quick, it was crystal clear to me what we were lacking in the business and in our mindsets, and I wished I had read it eight years ago before I even started freelancing, much less running Bright Umbrella. So yeah, how about you, Lea, what did you learn about business?

Lea Alcantara: Well, kind of jumping off that last point about like processes and understanding what it takes to keep a business profitable and sustainable, one of my largest lessons was to take some time to formalize the sales process. So I think I mentioned this in our business challenges episode where it’s like, “Well, I had a process, but it was kind of like by instinct rather than true Point A to Point B, and here’s why.” And then so I thought I was doing a good job with follow-ups, but they weren’t, and follow-ups are crucial, but if you don’t have a plan in place or even what that means, then a lot of balls can be dropped, like kind of jumping off of what Erin said earlier too, like even understanding how people respond to specific communication methods, and so for us, unfortunately, a little belated learning, video chat was really crucial, and even in-person networking was a lot more effective for us.

Timestamp: 00:10:06

Anyway, but once you invest the time in figuring out a process that works for you, one of the benefits is you have less cognitive clutter and confusion about where you are in the process in what to do next. But speaking on follow-up, so just really building on this umbrella of communication really, the next most important thing I learned is to remove assumptions and check in more regularly with your coworkers and business partners. Have a very specific – so that’s a key word, “specific” – understanding of positives and negatives for the week to remind yourself what’s going well, but also to get ahead of anything that is going is sideways sooner.

Emily Lewis: And you mentioned it on our last episode, but we’re trying to do that with end of the week, weekly, we call them “temperature checks,” right?

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, absolutely. So let’s wrap up a bit of these lessons learned with what we learned in our personal lives. Em?

Emily Lewis: Well, if you’ve been tuning in to these Year-in-Review episodes, you know that I’ve been focusing on my mental health the past few years as well as running the business, but that put me in a position where I just didn’t feel I had the energy to give back to my local community like I once did when I started, when I moved out here and starting freelancing. But this year, I really felt like I was finally in a good place to get involved again, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been working with students at the Deep Dive Coding Program here in Albuquerque, and it gives me so much personal and professional satisfaction.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: I love working with students, I love sharing what I know, and I’m even now mentoring one of those students one on one, which is incredibly exciting because I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of stuff that I can share. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: So my lesson for quality of life is just get back; it feels great.

Lea Alcantara: Oh, I just wanted to say that beyond just it feeling great, it reminds you that you have expert knowledge to share, you know?

Emily Lewis: Yeah. It’s hard to forget that when things aren’t great at work. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs] Well, yeah, or it’s just that there are certain pieces of knowledge. For example, part of the volunteering I did is a presentation on design basics.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And they’re basic so to me, I’ve known them for 20 years, so I don’t even really think about it anymore; it’s just inherent.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But after breaking it down for these students, I realized these tenets are new to a lot of people, you know?

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, like I think that beyond just giving back, it’s just also reiterating what you know, and that, yeah, you’re the expert here.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Well, how about you, Lea, then, what was your kind of life lesson this year?

Lea Alcantara: So like one of our guests we had earlier this year, Gina DeLapa [Thriving at Work with Gina DeLapa], she says, “Self-care is oxygen.”

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But that means so many different things, so for me, that manifested to doing more things by myself.

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: So, you know, I think I get into the habit of trying to always coordinate schedules with friends or my husband and family.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: But sometimes, you know, it’s a great thing to give permission to just do it yourself.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Just go do stuff by yourself. I recently went to a Black Violin concert alone, and it was so much fun.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And also, when you go by yourself, you tend to get like really great seats. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Because they’re solo, and the second thing that I learned personally this year is that an uncluttered space equals an uncluttered mind.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Now, I don’t subscribe to Marie Kondo in her entire magical tidying spiel, but there’s something to be said when the space you work and live in is tidy. I moved into my new house, and for almost a year, a year, I had books and crap all over the floor.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Like it was just everywhere, then one day I just had enough, I bought bookcases like an adult. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Proper shelving and containers, and honestly, I feel so much better now that everything is in its place.

Emily Lewis: I completely know that feeling. I’m not a clean freak; I’m a neat freak. I like things neat.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: I don’t really care if it’s clean. I just want them put away…

Lea Alcantara: In their place, yeah.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: So Erin, how about you, what was your quality of life lesson this year?

Erin Lewis: Oh, so this year, it’s self-advocacy.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: It’s something that I’m completely working on. Professionally and personally, really wherever, just being able to speak up for myself. It’s ridiculous how hard that can be to do even in everyday situations.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: You know, I’ll be at the grocery store and I’ll ask some person’s help and they’ll like show me something, but it’s not really what I want, but I take it because I feel like I’ll be rude to them if I say no.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: It’s so dumb like, and I end up doing things that I don’t want to do for no reason. I wouldn’t hurt anyone for me to just say, “Nope, that’s not what I want. I want something else instead.” That’s a very simple example, but I’m kind of tired of just saying that everything is fine when everything isn’t always fine.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: So I’m trying to undo some of those habits and speak up for myself and to other people in a respectful way.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Erin Lewis: Like not getting angry, but just saying, “No, this is what I’m looking for or this is how I would like this situation to play out.” It’s extremely uncomfortable, but I’m finding it necessary.

Lea Alcantara: This actually reminds me a bit [Public Bathrooms bit] Ellen Degeneres did with her stand up.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: She spoke about why is it that we’re always reflexively saying, “Oh, it’s okay,” when like an incident happens.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: And the scenario she set up with was like, “Yeah, like if somehow you’re in a public bathroom and someone like bangs the door open and then they say like, ‘Oh, sorry,’ and you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s okay.’”

Erin Lewis: “I am fine.” [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Is it? Is it really? [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Right. I was actually listening to a podcast, and I forgot the name of it, a little earlier. They had a line that was something like, “You wouldn’t believe the number of physical and sexual assault cases that have happened in the United States because women didn’t want to be rude.”

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: You know, I mean, that’s an extreme, the opposite end of the spectrum.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Erin Lewis: But our fear of being rude, I can really screw you over, you know?

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, totally.

Erin Lewis: And the thing is, it’s not about being rude or not being rude. It’s just about being clear and knowing what it is that you want and then saying it, and for some reason or at least for me and a lot of my friends, that comes across as rude, and it’s not, you’re just being assertive.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I struggle with that too, Erin. It doesn’t surprise me you and I are similar in that way.

Erin Lewis: Yeah. Well, working at them though.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, exactly. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: So those are our lessons that we learned this year. Let’s talk a little bit about some of our favorites from the year, maybe books or podcasts, anything you like really loved and would recommend. Lea, why don’t you start?

Lea Alcantara: So I’m not going to lie, I’m super into the rise of the romcom this year.

Erin Lewis: Yes, yes.

Lea Alcantara: And super into the fact that it’s refreshingly led by a lot of Asian-Americans for some reason.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: So two movies, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which is also a book series.

Emily Lewis: Loved it.

Lea Alcantara: On Netflix, I loved it. And of course, Crazy Rich Asians. Those two movies have been highlights of my movie-watching year.

Emily Lewis: I love both of those. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, it’s so good, and I hope it just opens the door for just more romcoms in general, and of course, Asian-Americans, it’s just nice being represented on screen.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

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Lea Alcantara: Random recommendation, there is this YouTube channel. Emily, I’m not sure, you should watch this if you haven’t heard of it, it’s called Simon’s Cat. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Oh, yeah, yes.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. It’s like silent cartoon and it’s literally this white cat and it’s Simon’s cat. It’s super cute, and I’ve been really enjoying this like bubble popper game that uses its character designs.

Emily Lewis: What’s a bubble popper game?

Lea Alcantara: It’s basically one of those things where there’s a character in the middle bottom of the screen and there’s kind of like this arrow thing and there’s a bunch of bubbles at the top half of the screen and you’re supposed to match the colored bubbles from the bottom character to the top group of bubbles.

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: And if you get like three or four in a row depending on what the game is like or what the rules are, then it pops the bubbles, and then theres’…

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, and then so there are different levels and scenarios of difficulty for all of that to happen and it’s just super, super cute and the characters are great, and it’s literally called Simon’s Cat Pop Time. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And it’s free and then if you want to like pay for like to get ahead or whatever or you can watch some ads, that’s basically what it is, but generally speaking, it’s free and it’s addictive.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And so that’s a fun like brainless app I recommend. An album I want to recommend, you don’t hear this name anymore, but he was so big in the 90’s and 2000’s. I’ve been really loving Lupe Fiasco’s newest album called Drogas Wave.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Great music to bop to, but also, lyrically, really super strong and thoughtful.

Timestamp: 00:20:00

Emily Lewis: Oh, awesome.

Lea Alcantara: You know, a lot of cultural criticism, but then you could dance to it. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Is it on Spotify?

Lea Alcantara: It should be. I suspect Amazon Music and that’s where I discovered it under their like new music recommendations kind of thing.

Emily Lewis: I’ll check it out and see if it’s on Spotify.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: That’s where I’m listening these days at least.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. Drogas Wave, and since we’re on a podcast, let me recommend a fun one I listen to, it’s called Show Your Work, and it focuses on the Hollywood industry and dishes the hot tea on the actual work it takes to work and succeed in show business. So it’s actually kind of like a business podcast, but it’s all about Hollywood with a bunch of gossips thrown in so it’s Elaine Lui.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: Yes, Elaine Lui and Duana Taha of Lainey Gossip fame. They both host the show, and yeah, it’s really fun hearing them deep dive into the world of entertainment and kind of talk about how entertainment is a reflection of culture and society, and I especially love the heavy feminist lens they give to the show. So, there is a lot of like insider info on just Hollywood in general, and yeah, and everything in the business with Hollywood.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, that seems completely up your alley.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I think you’ve always looked at pop culture and Hollywood gossip as that sort reflection. I know you’ve talked to me about it years ago and stuff.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Erin Lewis: So that sounds cool.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, I know. It’s fun. Especially because it really feels like listening to a couple of girlfriends where, yeah, you’re just kind of like talking about the world at large.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But then you throw a wind real housewives’ conversation in the middle of it, right? [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: You had me at the word “gossip.” I just like added it to my list.

Lea Alcantara: Okay. I think you’d like Erin.

Erin Lewis: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: All right, Erin, how about you? What were some of your favorites that you would recommend to listeners?

Erin Lewis: One of my new favorite shows right now is called The Good Doctor. Have either one of you guys watched this?

Emily Lewis: I’ve seen the preview, but I haven’t watched it yet.

Erin Lewis: Okay. I love any doctor drama, but this one is different in that the main character is a surgeon who has autism.

Lea Alcantara: Oh, it’s like this young doctor, right?

Erin Lewis: Yeah, yeah.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Okay.

Erin Lewis: It’s like reminiscent of Doogie Howser days. I don’t know if you know that.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: Gotcha.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: But I can’t really speak for how accurately they portray someone with autism on the show because I don’t have any personal experience to connect that to, but I just love how they address social and emotional issues. It’s from this really unique perspective, like through the lens of someone who has autism, but it becomes very universal and kind of demonstrates the ways that we are all human and we all struggle with these things regardless of what we’re dealing with in our lives.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: And so it gives me the feels. When I first started watching it, I was like, “Oh, I don’t really know about this show.” But two or three episodes in and now I’m super psyched when it comes up on Hulu.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: I love it, and I don’t know, I think it’s cool. I think it’s cool. I think it’s a good direction, and it’s MBC so it’s not even like a mainstream network.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: Okay, and now I’m going to talk about books for a minute, so everyone, if you don’t like listening about books, just fast forward like…

Emily Lewis: She’s a librarian, she can’t help it. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: So one of my favorite books this year is called The Power, and the author is Naomi Alderman. Forgive me if I am pronouncing any of these names wrong, but it’s a super cool sci-fi story about shifting power from those who have it to those that don’t. It’s got a real feminist slant to it. It’s really exciting and it’s well written. Splashed on the cover, it says it’s one of Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2017.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: And that’s an endorsement I can get behind. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Another book that I really love is called The American Marriage by, I think you say it Tayari Jones. She is a very, very talented writer. Every word is just overflowing with emotion and the story itself is compelling from the first to the last page. It’s just really beautiful story, and then the third one I really love this year, this is actually the Pulitzer Prize winner from last year, which I didn’t realize when I picked it up from the library, it’s called Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It’s not the kind of book I would normally choose. It’s an offhand comedy of errors kind of book about an author. It’s about a man who’s about to turn 50, coming to terms with his age and all the different twists and turns of his life as he travels on a self-made literary tour.

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Erin Lewis: The story is not that super interesting to me, but the book is fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever read a comedy or a satire that was so well written. You can tell that this author knows how to write. It was heartwarming and hilarious. I highly recommend every single one of those books. They’re awesome.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, you recommended The Power and the American Marriage to me, and those are all on my list, but you hadn’t mentioned Less, so now I get to put that one on my list.

Erin Lewis: I’ve got to warn you there, it’s really good, and it’s not just any book, it won that big old prize. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Okay, and then I’m going to talk about podcasts and then I’ll leave you because I could go on and on about my favorite things. I’m going to do your listeners a kindness by not listing all my favorite podcasts.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: I brought so many and I listen to them all the time and there are so many good shows out there, how could I pick? But there’s one miniseries that made a really big impact on me this year. The show is called The Heart, and it’s produced by Radiotopia, and it’s a little miniseries within that show, and the series is a 4-part exploration of sexual consent called No.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: I won’t really go into any more of it, but I think that everyone should listen to this show. I actually found it because another one of my favorite shows, Radio Lab, did a spin off of the No series to kind of get the word out about it, so both were awesome. You could listen to Radio Lab and then if you like that, then go to The Heart, but if you’re interested at all in issues of self-advocacy and consent, check it out. It’s raw and it’s real and it’s very, very good.

Lea Alcantara: Awesome. I’m adding all of the above to my list. [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Yes. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Erin is like tops for recommendations. Every time she and I skypes, she’s got at least one book and one podcast recommendation for me.

Erin Lewis: Well, I can’t get enough books and podcasts. I just want to like… eat them.

Lea Alcantara: Awesome. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: So okay, Em, how about you, your turn.

Emily Lewis: Well, Erin took my favorite podcast. I was going to mention the No series as well. Erin recommended to me earlier this year. It was amazing and I’m trying to get Jason to listen to it. Yeah, everyone really should, men and women. So my second favorite podcast then is Anna Farris is Unqualified.

Lea Alcantara: Yes, yes. I love that too.

Emily Lewis: It’s like an advice show, and I love advice stuff. I don’t know what’s up with that lately, but I’m just obsessed with advice columns and advice podcasts. It’s got a great sense of humor, lots of celebrities. It’s fun and easy to listen to. I play it when I’m on my walks. It’s super fun, and I kind of have a girl crush on Anna Farris. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: She’s super cute. My favorite blog is an advice column.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I mentioned it the last episode, it’s called Ask a Manager. It’s just chockfull of great advice for professional relationships and professional challenges, but it’s got a bit of that sort of reality show drama where you just can’t believe some of the things people write in about. Just this morning, I was reading about a woman, she’s a hairstylist and her husband, his boss, demands that the hairstylist cut her hair for free.

Erin Lewis: What?

Emily Lewis: Right, exactly, what? But…

Erin Lewis: Your one is removed, buddy. Sorry. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It’s just fun to read about that kind of stuff, but then also get really practical advice on how to handle even that kind of crazy stuff. Let’s see, my favorite book, I’m kind of surprised that I’m saying it’s my favorite book because I haven’t finished yet, I’m still reading it right now, but it’s been pretty impactful since I’ve started it. It’s called Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman. You know, Lea, you know people are kind of dropping that emotional intelligence all over the place in our industry.

Lea Alcantara: Right.

Emily Lewis: And after starting this book, I really wonder if those folks understand what it is. This book dives into the biology, neuroscience and psychology of emotional intelligence, which until I started reading it, I didn’t realize it, but I think it’s critical to understand that, the science of emotional intelligence. If you want to use it, either your own or understand others, to be a better designer, developer or even just human, it’s not a buzzword, and it’s not just about being sensitive to others. It’s so, so much more. But fair warning, it’s dense. It’s sciency. It’s kind of like a textbook, but I found it really, really interesting and I’m already putting some of the knowledge to work in my personal life.

Lea Alcantara: Very cool.

Emily Lewis: Oh, and the last thing I want to recommend is something I watched this year on Netflix. It’s called the Haunting of Hill House. Lea, I think I told you about this.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah, like I read somewhere on Twitter, like people were like crying about it, like screaming. They were so frightened.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. It’s chilling and scary, so if you’re into that, you’re going to like it. It was also poignant, and so if you love drama and family connections and challenges in families, you’re going to want to watch it, and then if you’re kind of into amazing cinematography, it’s absolutely beautiful to watch, the lighting, the staging, great acting. Jason and I were hooked from the first episode to the point where it was like a bright Sunday morning and so we blacked out all the windows just to get the mood right and we just binged all day, until we got to the last episode. It sucked.

Timestamp: 00:30:01

Lea Alcantara: Oh.

Emily Lewis: The whole series was great, and then in the last episode, basically, it gets dumb and cheesy and totally ruins the beauty and depth of the show. So if you’re going to watch it, just skip the last episode.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: I wished I hadn’t watched it. I left kind of being disappointed, but the whole thing up until that point was really, really impressive.

Lea Alcantara: Gosh, I mean, endings are hard though. Endings are hard.

Emily Lewis: They are, but man, to do something so great and to end on a note like it did, Jason and I were like, “What? This is weird, but oh, well, it’s Netflix.” [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: You’re like, “Next.”

Emily Lewis: Yeah, exactly. [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Yeah, in fact, we did, we went right from that into like another series about haunting. Yeah, we went on. October was all about watching scary stuff for us.

Erin Lewis: It’s fun.

Emily Lewis: Yeah.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Emily Lewis: So ladies, we’re about just a few weeks away from the new year, let’s talk about what we want to learn in the coming year. Lea?

Lea Alcantara: So for me, I think I want to get back into my design roots.

Emily Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. These past two years, I’ve been pretty focused on like upping my CMS dev skills.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: But it may be time to refocus on design. I designed a couple of proposals recently, old school kind of PDFs.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: You know, it was a lot of fun, and even designing our recent like holiday cards, those types of things, it’s like, “Oh, yeah, I like this too.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: And also, there are so many new tools out there that I’d like to take some time and try out something like Adobe XD and maybe another design process, that kind of stuff.

Emily Lewis: Yeah. Erin, how about you, what are your goals for the new year?

Erin Lewis: This year, in addition to getting great at making people feel feelings, as I said earlier, I want to dip my toe into the world of motion design.

Emily Lewis: Nice.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: I’ve used some After Effects templates in my videos, and most of the time, I’m unable to customize them enough to look exactly right, and it is the kind of thing that unless it is exactly right, it looks wrong.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: So it might be because I don’t have any legit design education to begin with, but even making simple animation is a struggle for me. After Effects is just much, much harder for me to pick up than any of the other programs that I’ve learned for video. I tended to just use really simple titles that are in Premiere Pro because anything I’ve made in After Effects just makes the finished products look worse instead of better.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: You know, I tend towards simplicity when it comes to design aesthetic, but I want that to be because it’s a choice, not because I don’t understand how to do something, and I also know that there are so much more to video than the narrative style that I’ve been working on in the past couple of years. I think understanding motion design could really open up some doors in terms of how I can use video for all types of marketing, and so I’m ready, I’m signed up for a class that starts in January.

Emily Lewis: Nice.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And we’re going to rebook Rachel Nabors on our show to talk about web animation, so I think Erin, that might be interesting for you to tune into as well because she’s kind of going to go into the science of why motion can compel people to do things.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: Yeah, absolutely.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. And I think it’s more, even though the topic is web animation, it’s really kind of like Animation’s Motion Design 101.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, yeah.

Lea Alcantara: So yeah, I’m excited to have her on, and I’m excited for you to learn all that stuff so then we can have you.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: You make a wonderful CTRL+CLICK CAST audio-video clips for us.

Erin Lewis: Yes. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: I’m ready.

Lea Alcantara: So how about you, Em, 2019?

Emily Lewis: You know, my goal for the new year is to get clear about what I want in my life.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: I turned 44 this year, and over the past 18 months, several of my older relatives passed away.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: And those two realities have really given me a clarity about what I want for myself that I just didn’t have before. It’s so cliché, but it’s not something about a decade ago, but we’ve got limited time on this earth and I just wanted to make sure I do and have all the things I want before my time is up, and for me, that means I need to embrace change, which historically I’m not really good at. So to support that, I want to get myself in a good place mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: So my goals are to continue working on taking care of myself. For me, that means seeing my therapist every week, but it also means actually doing the work that she and I talk about because it’s super easy to just show up and then not actually do the follow-through work, and it means taking better care of my health. I’m not managing stress well. I’d like to manage it differently. I’d like to be more active. I’d even like to drink more water. [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Yes.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Erin Lewis: That is only the goal, drink more water.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, exactly. [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: All of the above.

Lea Alcantara: I have this giant jug that I always fill up, and if you just give yourself a goal where it’s like, “I just need to finish this by the end of the day,” it looks comical.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: It actually looks like half the size of my body, it seems like.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: But…

Emily Lewis: We need so much water than I think I was raised to realize.

Lea Alcantara: Oh, yeah.

Erin Lewis: You really need to be drinking it all day long.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: If you’re not peeing every half hour, something is wrong. [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: It’s the truth.

Lea Alcantara: It’s so true.

Emily Lewis: All right, now, we’re going to do one of my absolute favorite segments on the show, Erin’s special Rapidfire Recap where she kind of looks back at our guests’ answers to our Rapidfire questions, and we’re going to do a new set of Rapidfire questions next year like we always do, so Erin, will you give us a look back at this past year’s questions?

Erin Lewis: Of course, I’d be happy to. I’m just going to jump right in. So the first question that you ask every guest is, “What is your go-to karaoke song?” Our guests clearly fall into two camps on this one.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: And 72% don’t miss a beat and they’re ready to share their go-to song with pride.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: And 28% are clearly taken aback by the question.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: They’re protesting that they don’t indulge in the lip synch arts.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: One of your guests said, “I don’t have one, I’ve never done karaoke,” and quickly retracted that statement saying, “Wait, I just did it last week.” [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: There’s mixed feelings about karaoke. My favorites were Rachel and Jason who also blessed our listeners by singing a few notes. Do you remember, Jason sung, “The sun will come out tomorrow,” and that made my day when I heard it.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: It’s hilarious.

Erin Lewis: The next question, “What advice would you give to your younger self?” And 33% said some version of “don’t worry so much,” ranging from “don’t worry, life is big and you’re little” to “don’t worry, you don’t look fat in that photo.”

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: And the rest spread the gamut from “shut up and listen, do the work, be patient, slow down, be proactive,” and what I believe to be the most sound advice out of the bunch, “we’ve invented time travel and you need to destroy the time machine as soon as it’s invented.”

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Nice.

Emily Lewis: And that was my favorite, too. That was Jeremy.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It was so, so funny. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: So favorite PG-curse word….

Lea Alcantara: Cockwomble.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Jeep snacks.

Emily Lewis: Shenanigan.

Erin Lewis: I picked a few new vocab words on this one.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: I heard a lot of classic throwbacks like creeps, phooey and darn, but there is one that I really didn’t understand. They said clown something, like maybe they said clown and then put another word with it. I’m not really sure. I didn’t understand it, but I thought maybe we could cross that with Emily’s response, which was jesus falls, and start saying…

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Jesus clown balls every time something goes wrong. What do you guys think?

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: That’s like an interesting combo. [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Clown balls, then we asked what is the favorite superhero, and 33% Wonder Woman, 15% Pink Panther, 15% Batman, and the rest were an assorted variety with my favorite, “I’m a beekeeper, does that count?”

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: It’s Chantal.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah.

Erin Lewis: Yeah, beekeepers are the real superheroes, so yes, yes, it counts.

Lea Alcantara: Fun.

Erin Lewis: And then what is your favorite time of the year? According to their answers, 52% of our guests are slurping up their pumpkin pie lattes and try to use with huge grins on their faces as we make our way through this fabulous fall, and 10% will be waiting patiently until they see the first daffodils popping up to welcome in spring, and 20% have a long way to go until they get their hot, hot summertime season of choice, and 1% said they love soccer season, which also it’s a very different interpretation than anyone else, it’s still a very valid answer too.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: We have the World Cup this year.

Lea Alcantara: Yeah. Yeah, we did.

Erin Lewis: Oh, I was disconnected from that. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Okay, what would we change about the web? Oh, frowning face, long story short, we all love it, but can’t stand the creepy ads, negative people, lack of diversity and general douchery abounding on the internet.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: One person suggested putting your phone in the fridge to keep it from listening to you and recording your data, and I think that’s not a bad idea at all.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Finally, for the three words to describe yourself and your work, I couldn’t really think of a way to break these down, so I put my favorites together in a sentence that we can use to describe our guests en masse.

Emily Lewis: Okay.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: Okay, CTRL+CLICK CAST guests are passionate, energetic, weird and quirky robot voices who do rewarding aspirational, inspiring, impactful and sometimes mediocre work.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: That’s awesome.

Lea Alcantara: I love it.

Emily Lewis: Erin, you always has such a great way of putting that together, that’s why I love those. I don’t even care if our listeners like it. I like it. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: No, yeah, I know. Exactly, I’m just like, “This is the best highlight of the year.”

Timestamp: 00:40:03

Erin Lewis: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: So now, we’re done with the recap, it’s your turn, Erin, to answer our Rapidfire ten questions.

Erin Lewis: Oh.

Lea Alcantara: Are you ready?

Erin Lewis: I am ready.

Lea Alcantara: So question one, what’s your go-to karaoke song?

Erin Lewis: Okay, I’ve only done karaoke one time, it was the summer before the 2004 election. I was at a trashy bar in Ocean City, Maryland. I sang Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: And there was like a stage and the microphone and everything, when I was done, I started yelling at the crowd not to vote for Bush, and they had to pry the microphone away from me and I was escorted out.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: It was just taken.

Lea Alcantara: You were escorted out, that is epic.

Emily Lewis: Wow, in Ocean City, that’s impressive, Erin. All right, what advice would you give your younger self?

Erin Lewis: Chill the F out.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, totally. [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: What’s your favorite PG-rated curse word?

Erin Lewis: Dag.

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Dag, man.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: Who is your favorite superhero?

Erin Lewis: Rainbow Brite.

Lea Alcantara: Oh yeah.

Emily Lewis: Oh, my gosh.

Lea Alcantara: Excellent answer.

Emily Lewis: Your bedroom was Rainbow Brite when you were younger.

Lea Alcantara: I’m glad.

Erin Lewis: In the bedspread and everything, I love her.

Emily Lewis: Yeah, I remember that.

Lea Alcantara: What is your favorite time of the year?

Erin Lewis: So as a true Mid-Atlantic girl who is never happy with any season, my favorite times were those interim days when the seasons are changing and you get to wear the clothes and eat the food and do all the things of the new season for the first time.

Emily Lewis: If you could change one thing about the web, what would it be?

Erin Lewis: That’s such a big question, I think I would make it so people could only use its powers for good.

Lea Alcantara: What are three words that describe you?

Erin Lewis: Determined, motivated and down to earth.

Emily Lewis: What are three words that describe your work?

Erin Lewis: Effective, joyful and evolving.

Lea Alcantara: [Agrees]

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara: What’s your favorite meal of the day?

Erin Lewis: Lunch and no one else said that they like lunch.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Erin Lewis: Every other guests, they said they like breakfast or dinner.

Emily Lewis: [Agrees]

Erin Lewis: Lunch is the most wonderful thing you could look forward to at all morning and take a break and eat, it’s so good.

Lea Alcantara: [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: All right, last question, coffee or tea?

Erin Lewis: Coffee, and tea if I can’t get coffee.

Lea Alcantara: Awesome. So bye, 2018. That’s all the time we have for today. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis: [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara: Thanks, Erin, for returning for our end of the year review.

[Music starts]

Erin Lewis: It was a lot of fun. Thank you for having me.

Emily Lewis: In case our listeners wanted to follow up with you online, where can they find you?

Erin Lewis: I have a Twitter, although I don’t look at it, @ErnLew. I guess that’s it.

Emily Lewis: All right, this is such a treat, Erin. Thanks again.

Erin Lewis: Thank you. I had a lot of fun.

Lea Alcantara: CTRL+CLICK is produced by Bright Umbrella, a web services agency obsessed with happy clients. Today’s podcast would not be possible without the support of this episode’s sponsor! Many thanks to Foster Made!

Emily Lewis: And before we sign off for 2018, we want thank all the guests who helped us deliver another year of fantastic content, episode after episode. And of course, a huge thank you to our listeners.

Lea Alcantara: We also can’t forget to thank our hosting partner: Arcustech for their ongoing support. They’ve hosted our shows since the days when we were the EE Podcast.

Emily Lewis: Finally, a special shout out to our “View Network” patron, Mike Rogers. Thank you so much for helping us to keep this podcast going.

Lea Alcantara: If you want to know more about CTRL+CLICK, make sure you follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @ctrlclickcast or visit our website ctrlclickcast.com. And if you liked this episode, become a patron, so we can continue creating content you love. Visit patreon.com/ctrlclickcast.

Emily Lewis: We’re going to take a short break, super short this time around, but we will be back on January 10th. We’re going to get the low down on the recent Vector Media Group acquisition of Happy Cog from Vector’s Matt Weinberg and Stuart Henry. Be sure to check out ctrlclickcast.com/schedule for more upcoming topics.

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: 00:44:07

Thanks to our Patrons!

Chris Harrison, Dan Heron, Glimmering Podcast, Mike Rogers, Reuben n’ Sherri Johnson, Stephen Bowling, Tracy Osborn, Louder Than Ten, John Rogerson, Laura Guerro

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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.

Produced by

Bright Umbrella