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Cognition

Articles By:

Ryan Irelan

  1. 7 Lessons in 8 Years of Client Services

    Posted on 6/26/14

    Eight years ago next month, I came onboard as Airbag Industries’ first employee (we later became part of Happy Cog). In a moment of reflection recently, I sat down with my eight-years-ago-self and wrote down some of what I’ve learned. Here’s what I would share with 2006 Ryan, to not necessarily prevent mistakes but to help him (me) manage them better.

    In the beginning, I worked as a project manager for a retainer client Greg Storey secured. I spent every day for a year talking to lawyers about blogs. I presented designs to lawyers, handled their requests and feedback, and then worked with them to get their new blog populated with content and launched.

  1. The Happy Cog Way

    Posted on 9/19/13

    When Jeffrey Zeldman started our studio in 1999, he established an ethos of openness, sharing, and teaching. Since that time, Happy Cog practitioners have spoken at conferences, written articles, authored books, and published code for others in the industry to learn from our experiences—good and bad.

    Earlier this year, Happy Cog partnered with my publishing business, Mijingo, in an effort to share the knowledge of Happy Cog’s many team members and to teach, enable, and empower professionals in what we practice every day.

  1. Those who teach, learn.

    Posted on 4/18/13

    At Happy Cog, we take pride in our work teaching others and sharing what we’ve learned. Whether by speaking at a conference, leading a class, or writing on this very blog, we’ve taught or shared our knowledge on best practices for web design and development, user experience design, business advice, and even the occasional informal primer on animated GIFs.

    When someone at Happy Cog tells me that they’re teaching a class for Girl Develop It or a local university, or a workshop at a conference, my first response to them is one of encouragement. Then, I say: The best way to get better at what you do is to teach others how to do it, too.

  1. Building the Happy Cog Test Lab

    Posted on 11/1/12

    When first planning our test lab, I surveyed my own collection of devices and then asked around our Austin office for people who had some older phones sitting at home in a closet or junk drawer. I was able to pull together a handful of devices, including two older iPhones we tested with during some iOS development work. I purchased the remaining devices.

  1. The Best Email in the World

    Posted on 7/19/12

    The Best Email in the World is the one that needs your attention. On any given day, the rules or definition of what that email is will change. Today, it’s an email from my car salesman with all of the numbers related to the lease buyout I’m about to do. Tomorrow, it might be an email from my wife with some photos she took of our daughter playing in her sandbox while I am away visiting a Happy Cog client.

  1. The Tech Behind Site Week

    Posted on 3/22/12

    In February we gathered a group together in our Philadelphia office to redesign and rebuild our happycog.com website in one week. The goal of our Site Week was to redesign the website (Greg Hoy covers the thinking behind this in a Cognition post back in Janauary) and to push ourselves to do something different.

  1. Writing to Remember

    Posted on 10/27/11

    For the last 5 ½ years, I’ve worked from home. So except for the occasional on-site meeting, almost all of my meetings have been done on the phone. If you were a fly on the wall in my office during a phone meeting, you’d see me with my head down scribbling notes while listening, scribbling notes while talking, and even asking for a moment so I can take more notes.

    During in-person meetings, I also try to take as many notes as possible. I often scribble notes while others are talking, and if I’m the one doing the talking—or if the discussion is a fast paced back-and-forth—I try to jot down as much as I can during breaks in the conversation. Sometimes I’m able to pen a few keywords in the middle of conversations that I can go back to later (during a break, perhaps) and elaborate on so as to not forget the most salient information.

  1. My Paperless Trail

    Posted on 7/7/11

    In a previous Cognition post, I shared my experiences of working remotely over the last 5 years. In the last section of that post, I made a quick reference to DEVONthink Pro Office, which I described as a “powerful database tool” that “allows you to easily store, tag, classify, and search for documents.” That is still true and, just as I mentioned in the post, I use DEVONthink Pro Office to store all of my documents, notes, URLs, and other files. As a follow-up, I want to share some more details on how I use DEVONthink Pro Office to organize some of my Happy Cog project documents.

  1. The Challenges of Working Remotely

    Posted on 3/24/11

    Last Monday, Happy Cog’s Greg Hoy led a SXSW session about company culture. I wasn’t able to attend SXSW this year, but Leslie Camacho wrote up a detailed summary of the session. Of particular interest to me was the discussion about working remotely.

  1. Making Dirt

    Posted on 12/2/10

    Two years ago, my wife and I stopped throwing all of our organic food waste into the trash. Instead, we purchased a composter and started tossing our food scraps into it. The intent behind this change was mostly selfish: we wanted a way to create nutrient rich soil to mix into the planting areas in our backyard. However, a week or two into using it, while pushing our trash can out to the street curb, I noticed another positive side-effect: the trash can was lighter and emptier. We were sending less to the landfill!

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