As I was waking up this morning, this little joke popped into my head…it amused me enough that I eventually posted it to Twitter…and now here (OK - so I’m easily amused - deal with it!):
If nothing else, it makes me think of my friend Hilary Mason …and that always makes me smile too!
I spent a little bit of time over the past few days finally upgrading our production Mongo instances for PubGears to the latest stable release.
One of the biggest advantages this gives us is all the new aggregation stuff that Mongo has to offer (which I’ve been using in a few other projects already as well).
If you don’t know about the Mongo aggregation stuff, I *highly* recommend you check it out ( http://docs.mongodb.org/manual/aggregation/ )
There are a bunch of really interesting and useful things this allows for, including simple things like grouping and counting on distinct items…you can see an example of that in action in the USV open source conversation project -> https://github.com/unionsquareventures/theconversation/blob/master/lib/tagsdb.py (this query returns the tags a given user has used, and the count of how many times for each)
..and if you use pymongo (like we are), then I also recommend you dig into the associated documentation a bit as well ( http://api.mongodb.org/python/current/examples/aggregation.html ).
At first glance a lot of this will probably look pretty complex and deep (at least it did to me), but once you grep it it’s a powerful set of features…so well worth the reading and required ‘grep’ time to understand.
My wife and I took full advantage of a vacation today…we both slept in till about 9am (the kids got up at 7 like usual, and went straight to the computers for their usual ‘weekend’ Minecraft fix).
Once we all finally got up and ready, we went to the Fairmont Country Store (a local little spot I really like) for breakfast, and then headed out to Easton Pa to check out the latest version of the Crayola Factory.
Our kids are actually getting a little big for the Crayola Factory, and we’ve gone there a bunch over the past 5 or 6 six years (it’s only about 45 minutes from our house), but they had done a big renovation over the winter and my wife had wanted to see what changed (mostly the price and the layout — but still overall fun).
We also stopped at a 25 Burgers for a late lunch on the way home…and are just now getting back.
Throughout the day (in down moments) I would catch up on some email and other communications, but otherwise I was almost entirely offline.
Now that I’m home for the night, I’m just doing a quick amount of catch up on some email, posting this rambling set of thoughts, debugging a few quick, small, things for pubgears and then I’m going to close down and play with the kids and the dog for a bit. Maybe even do a little reading.
Just the type of ‘offline’ day I like to mix in every so often.
At Coach Wizard we are driven by the following two core beliefs:
1. Great coaches have a positive life impact on their athletes and communities.
2. Anyone can become a great coach.
But the question that often follows these beleifs is, what does being a ‘great’ coach actually mean?
It’s a good question, with a complex answer…and I won’t dig into all the details and specifics in this post, but I will say that we believe it boils down to these eight core traits:
- Deep domain knowledge
As you can imagine we spend a lot of time obsessing over these sorts of things, and we use them to drive everything we are putting into the product, the content, the community, and probably most important the business.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say about each of these things in much much more detail as we inch towards a full initial product launch in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments about what makes a ‘great’ coach?
One of my earliest hacks on top of the Twitter API was a thing called friendstat.us - which I called a ‘people based view’ into your Twitter stream.
Really it was just a very basic Twitter client (though prob. one of the earliest/first), and the whole idea was that instead of looking at things in the default timeline view Twitter offered (time based) I offered you a way to look at your stream person-by-person.
The main advantage to this approach was that the quiet people had just as much chance to stand out as the noisy people (who over-share/over-post and clutter up my stream).
So - what were the mistakes on this one?
1. Twitter, and it’s users, were still trying to figure themselves out. It wasn’t nearly a stable enough system for most people to be ready to think of it in new and interesting ways. Trying to get them to understand ‘people based’ vs. ‘time based’ was too difficult a task (for me) at that point in time.
2. I had no real reach or influence into the Twitter audience (and no budget to buy my way in). This meant that even if it was the coolest thing since sliced bread (it probably was), *very* few people were ever actually exposed to it — and the only way it would spread is if it hit upon that (ever elusive) viral magic.
BTW - this #2 mistake is pretty much a textbook reason not to go into a given market or purse a given idea…if you don’t have a really unique and valuable hook into your market, and you don’t have the budget to buy your way in…then *you* are probably not the right person to be doing the thing. It doesn’t mean your idea or even your execution are bad, it just means you need to find a partner who can really plug you in.
3. I didn’t really think of it as a business, and once again, had no real idea about if/how it could make money (besides the lame default of “at scale we can do advertising”).
Ultimately this was one of many Twitter hacks that I really built more for myself, and as a reason to play around with the Twitter API (and data), and so I never really approached it as a business or an idea that I thought would blow up huge…so many of the mistakes weren’t really ‘mistakes’ this time around (there were more like consequences of my decisions).
Eventually, I think after Twitter made the “don’t biuld clients” statement, I closed down the service (though I still squat on the domain of course)…and since I’m still a big believer in “over time is more interesting and important than real time”.
BTW - I do have a modern version of the ‘people based view’ concept baked into the latest version of knowabout.it (in fact you should auth with Twitter and check it out!)