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[PMC Weekend Edition] A mystery, solved

February 2, 2019

I love how this story illustrates how mysteries are solved, which is also a sort of story about how self-made expertise is created. Summary: a scientist was looking at some ancient teeth and ran across something surprising. Here are a few key tidbits that illustrate how this scientist went about solving this mystery (all quotes…


[PMC] Confession: I used to not know what event-sourcing is

February 1, 2019

Confession time. I really work at staying up to speed on the world of technology. I actually do what David Maister suggests in his brilliant screed on standards, which is to read the trade journal of the clients I serve, which is DHH’s Twitter feed right? Sort of kidding; I read more widely than that…


[PMC] Thinking like a media company

January 31, 2019

I’m still working on that update of The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms. It’s a big project! Too many words, and I’m going to have to cut at some point. The word count graph is headed up and to the right and points to around 80 thousand words which is at least 20 thousand too…


[PMC] Moats and rancid water

January 30, 2019

Moats are, by definition, a body of water that doesn’t flow anywhere, so moats are going to get stanky. Probably covered with algae and filled with nasty bacteria. Much more like an algae-covered pond than a clear, flowing stream. No wonder so few of us want to build one for our business! Most of us…


[PMC] “Lightnin’ change when Lightnin’ wanna change”

January 29, 2019

I like to imagine Lightnin’ Hopkins wearing cool sunglasses at all times, even while doing his business in the bathroom. To be clear, I don’t like to imagine him doing his business, but I do like to imagine him with cool shades permanently affixed to his head. In all the pictures I’ve seen of him,…


[PMC] Bad Luck City

January 28, 2019

I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget the first time I heard R.L. Burnside’s “Bad Luck City”. It was while driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was camping, and listening to whatever college radio station broadcasts out of Asheville, NC. Or did broadcast. Do college radio stations broadcast anymore, or do they just stream now? Anyway,…


[PMC Weekend Edition] This is what commoditization looks like

January 27, 2019

This is what commoditization looks like. The first paragraph of this news story sums the whole thing up pretty well: AMHERST — In a sign of New England’s swiftly evolving higher education landscape, Hampshire College on Tuesday announced its desire to merge with another educational institution, citing financial strain that threatens its future. The school…


[PMC Weekend Edition] Rapid prototyping

January 26, 2019

Quick tophat: my biggest frustration with publishing 1x/day, 5 days a week is that I have more ideas than I have publishing slots. I know a percentage of you are saying, “uh, you could just like, edit yourself more, Philip.” And you’re not wrong, but I really love connecting with you through email, so I’m…


[PMC] David Byrne on email marketing

January 25, 2019

Sometimes I think Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” is the email marketing theme song. “You start a conversation, you can’t even finish it You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything“ This is the part that’s talking about ineffective email marketing. This part reminds me of email marketing that only exists to make a sale.…


[PMC] Easily replicated

January 24, 2019

I’m working on updating The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms. All customers of the existing version of the book will get an updated copy for free. I wanted to share an excerpt from the 52-thousand-word-and-growing manuscript: Your skills are easily replicated by competitors. The prevalence of open source in the modern custom software development industry…