All Posts by Ryan Jenkins

Black Friday is Doomed

When you were a kid, had you ever heard of Black Friday? Somehow, Black Friday has become a cultural phenomenon of recent years (in the United States, I can’t speak for other geographies). It’s a bit disappointing to see such emphasis put on shopping rather than spending time with family, or other wholesome activities. 

I’m not concerned though. Within 5 years, Black Friday (as we know it) will be a distant memory. In fact, we’ve already killed it. This year (2013) most major retailers opened on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) in the United States. Next year, they’ll open at noon. Then 8am, then 12:01am. Then Wednesday. Add the fact that a huge amount of commerce is now happening online and via mobile devices (Target just announced that they sold twice via their website this year as they did last year). Before you know it, it’s just another retail week. 

Or, I could be wrong. We’ll see. (What do you think of all this?)

Whatever Happened to Open Source?

Open Source used to be a thing. A huge thing. Wikipedia. WordPress. Linux. Firefox. etc. I’m not suggesting that it’s run its course, but it just doesn’t seem to have the momentum it once did. Tell a developer that you want to use WordPress to build your website, and he just might roll his eyes. Ask a designer what browser to use and she’ll probably suggest Chrome. Where’s the love?

Am I mis-perceiving this? Is it just so common now that we don’t need to talk about it as much? What happened?

Pushing Google+

Is there any question that Google wants you to visit Google+? Take a look at how many links lead to G+ in their new navigation design.

Happy Labor Day

I hope you have a happy Labor Day! What will you be doing to celebrate?

Bitcoins and Glasses and Drones (Oh my!)


Nearly two years ago, Marc Andreessen famously stated that “software is eating the world”. At the time, I excitedly agreed. Software companies were all the rage in Silicon Valley. In fact, I still agree with the premise. I love my mobile apps as much as the next person. Software is indeed changing entire industries. But I think there’s something even more exciting happening and our course is changing a bit. Companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are giving physical products a second-wind.

Here are five technologies that I’m really optimistic about. 

  • 3D Printers
  • Drones
  • Self-driving Cars
  • Google Glass (and other wearable technology)
  • Bitcoins

I’m sure other list-worthy innovations will emerge in the coming years, but I’m really excited to see what evolves from this list in the coming years. Imagine using a 3D printer to affordably produce your own prosthetics at home. Imagine your grandmother ordering groceries from her iPad and having them delivered by Drone half an hour later. Think about how many cars we could remove from production if we can get better utilization out of every car on the road. (You could just summon a self-driving car when you need to go somewhere rather than keep an unused car sitting in the driveway 90% of the time.) 

You’ll notice that I’ve included Bitcoins in this list. While Bitcoin isn’t a physical product, I think it will have a dramatic impact on the ability of other physical innovations to emerge. (Crypto-currencies are still in their infancy and Bitcoin is, by no means, the only game in town. Having said that, it’s branding and momentum give it the best leg-up to become a standard.) If-and-when crypto-currencies really take off, I think we’ll see huge technological and political ripple effects that are difficult to anticipate right now. 

Am I missing anything huge? What do you think will emerge in the next 5 years?

(Photo courtesy of Yann via Flickr)


Would everyone please pipe down about the Tumblr acquisition? Do you really think Yahoo! will just show up and start changing everything? Have you ever spent a massive amount of money on something really nice and popular with the intent to immediately change it?! That wouldn’t make any sense.

Yahoo! wants Tumblr because it is popular. If they change too much, it won’t be popular anymore. They’re not buying the product, they’re buying happy users/readers. Relax. 

Google Hangouts Update

There’s been a lot of buzz today about the many annoucements coming out of Google I/O. One that I’m very excited about is the release of Hangouts, Google’s new unified messaging service. Pulling Gmail Chat, Google Talk, and Google+ chat & Hangouts together is a huge win for users and I’m excited to see it happening. I’ve heard that Google Voice will rolled-in soon as well. They’ll likely also incorporate SMS messages just as Apple has done with iMessage and Facebook has done with Facebook Messenger. 

There’s one feature that nobody seems to be requesting though, and it’s something I really hope Google will eventually add to Hangouts… asynchronous audio messages or “push-to-talk” (PTT) messaging (something like Voxer). If you’re ever used these PTT messaging services, it quickly becomes second-nature. In fact, I’m convinced that PTT messaging will become a normal part of communication in the future. 

Think about when you’re driving and shouldn’t be typing a text message (or even making a phone call). In seconds you can fire off a quick audio message to a contact and then wait for them to reply at their leisure. It’s a phone call, without the 3-minute commitment and formalities. You can easily keep three or four voice conversations going at once and be uber-productive. And if you want to go back and listen to a message someone left you in the past, it’s ridiculously simple. 

Google has done a fantastic job of making amazing technology accessible to everyday folks, and I think something like this would push the envelope even further if it was fully baked-in to the other communication services. Please Google? Please?


There’s a simple reason you keep failing at your goals. It’s because you’re lying to yourself.

Have you ever asked someone who recently accomplished something impressive how they did it? They probably said something about working really hard, or being extremely fortunate/lucky. They may have mentioned a specific technique they used to get something done. But it doesn’t make a difference what they said, because you weren’t listening anyway. You were busy queuing up some excuses in your mind for why their solution couldn’t possibly work for you.

Oh you lost all that weight by swimming every morning? Yeah there isn’t a pool near my house, so…

Wow, you started a side-business by getting up an hour earlier every morning? Unfortunately, I’ve got a newborn baby so… that wouldn’t work for me.

You traveled where? That’s amazing! Unfortunately I can’t get that much time off of work at once.

Or what about these classics…

Sorry I’m late. My alarm clock didn’t go off.

Sorry I’m late. There was a huge traffic jam.

“Sorry I’m late. My car ran out of gas.

You’ve done it time and again. I’ve done it time and again. We all do it without even realizing it. Over the course of our lives, we’ve learned to rationalize away our failures. We all fail. But instead of owning up to it, instead of being honest with ourselves, we look for reasons why the failure was outside of our control. The truth: it’s almost never outside of our control.

From now on, pay attention to your self-sabotage. Try, “Sorry I’m late, I stayed up too late,” or maybe just, “Sorry I’m late.” It’s painful. It’s humbling. It forces you to acknowledge your failures. The benefit is that now you can start tackling the real reasons for your failures. And once you do that, it’s amazing what’s possible.

What do you think?

Be a Craftsman

I feel inspired when I see craftsmen doing what they do best. It reminds me that we’re all craftsmen in our own way. Some of us are spreadsheet ninjas, some are expert videographers, and others are amazing product managers and innovators. No matter what your area of expertise, remember that you’re an artist, and do your work with love and attention to detail.

If you feel like it, reply with a photo of yourself doing what you love.

Source: David A Smith – Sign Artist (by Danny Cooke)