16 Responses

  1. Carolyn Jewel
    Carolyn Jewel February 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm | | Reply

    Great article! I LOVE the Atlantic now, Their feed is wonderful and so informative I’ve been thinking I need to sub to the magazine, which I will do in the next few weeks I imagine.

    As to the technology advice, YES! Even if it turns out you don’t have the talent to become proficient, it’s important to be familiar with the subject so, at the very least, you can make wise decisions about when to hire someone with expertise.

  2. Laura E. Kelly
    Laura E. Kelly February 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm | | Reply

    Great advice. As you went down the “big picture” list in “Shift Don’t Drift,” I realized that I’ve managed to touch on all of them, from Tumblr, Pinterest and Smashwords to MailChimp, Google+ and the iPad and Kindle. When I look back to where I was 3 years ago to now it makes my head spin. Learning all this new stuff (via all the free tools and resources) has been a privilege and a blast!
    PS Does anyone else think of Harold Pinter every time they see the Pinterest name?

  3. Jack W Perry
    Jack W Perry February 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm | | Reply

    Great advice. The key is to jump in and just start absorbing what you can. Don’t let others tell you what to know, learn it yourself. But don’t be afraid. Jump in and play.

  4. LC
    LC February 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm | | Reply

    It’s never a bad idea to learn about what’s coming to get you.

    While most of the recommendations in this list are common sense, I have a little trouble with #2, HTML 101. As a classically-trained former programmer, I don’t see the point to it; learning a programming language makes no sense unless you understand how programming works at the macro level, which means understanding how computers work. That’s a lot to ask of people who don’t really need that knowledge. Besides, commercial websites have become so complex that I doubt anyone codes HTML by hand anymore. Right-click->Show Source will typically give you only a tiny slice of what’s actually making a website run; you could just as easily ask people to learn Java or C++.

    Perhaps we should really urge people to play with or learn one of the web authoring programs. This approach wouldn’t immediately wash out the folks who can’t or won’t engage with code (most of the world), but will show them what their own web developers are working with and give them a flavor of what’s involved.

    1. Nic Boshart
      Nic Boshart February 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm | | Reply

      While I agree people should learn program, you don’t need to learn all the core coding to know how to get HTML to display correctly. Do you think every application dev knows how the Linux kernel works? And they don’t need to.

  5. Tina Hoggatt
    Tina Hoggatt February 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm | | Reply

    Guy, another fantastic post from you. I too went through the checklist. One thing I will say is that all of these skills and all of this knowledge is useful to a generalist, anyone working anywhere there will be the need to post information to the web and communicate with a constituency. And it is always a good thing to be learning. It enlivens the mind. Thanks for this!

  6. Nic Boshart
    Nic Boshart February 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm | | Reply

    Dead on. Not just companies, but employees need to think of themselves as digital-first. Good post!

  7. Monique Sherrett
    Monique Sherrett February 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm | | Reply

    Great job. These are important lessons to impart to anyone in the industry and thinking about it as a career choice.

    I agree with you about HTML 101. Not necessarily having to know enough code to code but understanding the logic of any programming language is incredibly useful, even it that’s just to communicate to a developer what you’re looking for. I learned Pascal in university. Does anyone even use that programming language anymore? I doubt it. But understanding if/then/else helps me think through web apps, databases and all the supporting structures of creating cool user experiences online–and that’s from a marketing perspective.

    The more you understand, the better you can create (or better contribute to the team hired to create).

  8. Laura
    Laura March 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm | | Reply

    Thanks very much! I will follow most of this advice. Pintrest and Tumblr are my holdouts so far, too. Not for long!

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