Mad Mimi is a design-oriented email newsletter service founded in 2008. Developed to provide a mobile-app-like feel, and with a drag-and-drop email composer, Mad Mimi offers a simple, elegant user experience that helps customers create, send, and track beautiful html email campaigns.
Mad Mimi also offers robust APIs, integrations, and add-on features. This makes it a perfect fit for today’s visionaries, artists, and entrepreneurs, including great digital brands like Fancy and StumbleUpon, who use Mad Mimi to communicate with their customers.
For anyone who’s followed along here over the years, you’ll know that yours truly does not have much confidence or trust for services that are free. Twitter most definitely falls into the category of services where I believe the user is the currency, not the customer.
Yet, although I’ve transitioned away from other services like Google for my Internet based tools, I’ve had a hard time doing the same for Twitter. Why? Because the people are still there.
I’ve backed App.net (ADN) since it first started with it’s Kickstarter-esque campaign. I’ve been a user since the beginning. I believe in the ideas behind the service, plus I appreciate the vision Dalton Caldwell and team have for where to take it. I’m a paid user and treated as the customer. In short, I trust the service.
But I barely use it.
Simply put, I find the conversations I see there of little interest to me. The majority of the people I follow on Twitter are not present on ADN. Many have accounts, but very few are active. I would love to see that change.
You’ve no doubt seen these types of posts from others, but I have 100 free invites to give out. Come join me on a platform where the focus is on what’s good for the community, not the investment team. I would love to see the design community grow here.
Like many other geeks, I’m constantly evaluating my tool set. With Google Reader’s imminent shutdown, I’ve been considering the alternatives for RSS, as well as the options for getting news in other ways.
And in the category of bookmarking and read-it-later services, I’ve moved back and forth between different services over the years. The news of Instapaper’s sale got me considering the options once again.
I’ve tried the big ones. I used Instapaper fairly early on and it’s a wonderful app. However, it’s never been the most lovely service to look at. The iOS apps are decent, but the web service could use some love.
At some point I gave Readability a long look. It was also a good service, much more nicely designed than Instapaper. But the model was not — there’s been a lot of controversy over how they handle content. Next up for me, after a switch back to Instapaper, was Pocket. Yet another well designed free service with complementary apps. But it also left me wondering when the service would simply disappear, bought out because they never figured out a way to earn income.
Most recently, I’ve given Flipboard’s magazine option a try. The Flip It bookmarklet has done the job and Readability is a wonderfully designed app with a lot of little details that delight. But again, it’s a free service.
My confidence and trust in free services is at an all time low. Like many other geeks and early adopters, I’m focused on using services that I’ve paid for and for whom I am the customer and not the commodity (except Twitter … I love the idea of app.net, but most of the people I follow are still slinging the tweets). So in the arena of read-it-later services, I’ve been thinking about options where I would be considered the customer.
I realized that one company that I do trust, for whom I am the customer, offers such a service. But it’s one I never gave any consideration since it launched, I suppose because I was already enjoying some other service at the time. This company is Apple and the tool is Reading List.
Reading List has been my tool for saving items for several weeks now and there’s a lot to like. It’s nowhere near these other tools in terms of features … but that is not a detriment! Here’s what I like about it:
There are a few negatives. It’s not the most visually stunning feature. But it doesn’t need to be. It’s simply a list of pages with a few bits of data stored for each. One other negative is there is no way to group, categorize, or tag the items in this tool. That can be an issue for some.
The genius of Reading List is that it’s included in Safari, a great web browser. So while Reading List itself does not have a strip-out-everything-but-the-content feature like Instapaper, Safari does (Reader). There are no options for typography choices like Readability and Instapaper with Reader, but it’s a tradeoff I can handle.
And while Reading List has no social sharing functionality, Safari does.
Did I mention it’s fast? Adding a web page to Reading List on the Mac is a short CMD+Shift+D away. If you decide that you want to bookmark the page more permanently, CMD+D adds it to your bookmarks. And it’s baked into the OS, so any application can add support to put items in Reading List as well (please Silvio!).
Last, Reading List separates unread items and all items.
The more I consider the idea, the more I realize it’s Safari that is a fantastic tool. And unless I feel the need to share my bookmarks and items I’m reading, using Reading List and Safari’s bookmarks is a perfect solution.
A good example is the negative I mentioned above: organizing and categorizing is something you can do in a service like Instapaper, but not Reading List. However, I can organize my bookmarks in Safari to my heart’s content. Leaving my read-it-later items in one long list is perfect, the organization should happen after I’ve read it and decide it’s important enough to reference in the future.
Using Reading List has worked well for me. It’s only been a couple of weeks, and I’m a self admitted switcher, but for now, this is my setup.
Being a parent brings many different challenges. Daily. Yet, it also results in so many rewards that are hard to describe to those without children. Whatever issues arise, by the end of the day there’s no question that being a parent is worth whatever trouble may come.
But I still struggle to remember that fact in the moment. When my children frustrate me, my irritation always seems justifiable. They have disobeyed, or done something contrary to the instructions they’ve been given many times before. In the moment, I can only think of the inconvenience that the disobedience, foolishness, or just plain loudness has caused.
As a Christian parent, I’m thankful that He reminds me of the truth of the situation once I’ve cooled down and the irritation has gone. When clear thinking returns, I’m reminded that my irritation is only because I’ve been inconvenienced … which is never a good cause for punishment or harsh words. It’s a selfish reaction.
I remember that each time my child disobeys, or sins through their own selfishness, my job is not the protect myself or my time, but to point them to God. Each infraction is an opportunity to point them to the cross, to preach the good news of the Gospel.
Parenting is one of the best opportunities to practice daily the laying down of self and picking up the cross. His will be done, not mine. All glory to Him, not myself.
Parents, if you’re a believer, please remember that your mission field is right in your home. Making disciples is the call for all of us and we don’t have to go anywhere to do it. They’re always watching, so through the power of the Spirit that dwells within us, let’s be the salt and light that draws them to the Father.
A I get older, I get better at remembering all this. Even in the moment. Boy oh boy, there are days when I don’t want to! But seeing the lights start to come on in their eyes is worth it.
Arrive in the office, make a cup of coffee, open up your email, and turn up your favorite song. We know how it goes.
Check out Steven Jengo’s new single, summer of 2042.
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Take care when driving at high volume. Find more at jengo.com.
For anyone who has used PayPal to collect payments online, I have felt your pain. When it comes to trusting services to help you run your business, most web focused entrepreneurs have little desire to let PayPal keep their finances in order.
PayPal does have its advantages. It’s accessible in most countries, does not require a credit card, and is straightforward to use for the consumer. However, as the one making a sale, its detractions far outweigh the benefits. The fees are significant enough to get your attention, the UI is a dog’s breakfast, and we’ve all heard stories of mysteriously locked down accounts and extremely poor customer support processes.
Because of this, I’d much rather use another option if possible. We ran Fusion Ads for three years on PayPal, but I was always looking for other options. Today, it’s nice to see that new businesses can start collecting payments with much more friendly solutions.
Stripe is the one that gets a lot of attention. And for good reason. It’s well designed and was created with developers in mind. But as a non-developer, what I’ve been pleased to see is plenty of services that make getting set up with Stripe more friendly for those without coding skills.
I’ve been keeping my eyes open for alternatives in preparation for a new business of my own. Here’s a list of what has caught my attention so far.
All of these options look good. Some require the customer to create accounts, others simply add an overlay to your web page for one step payments. Some add a transactional fee, others simply are a front end to Stripe and add no extra fees. Not all are purely payment gateways … they simply make it easy for creative people to sell products, services, or memberships.
And that’s what is so great. Creative people can easily earn an income for their work and focus on doing what they love instead of mucking around with code.
With a slightly furrowed brow, his deep brown eyes flicked back and forth, following the passing scenery as we sped down the highway. Like any four year old boy, his hat was turned backwards and slightly to the side.
As he peered out the window, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his mind. Was he reflecting on the events of the day, remembering the the perfect blue sky filled with hot sunshine, the time spent in the water, or the delicious and extravagant summer food? I wonder if he realizes how blessed his existence is, if he knows how he lives like a king of old times, more comfortable than 90% of the people in this world will ever experience.
But of course he doesn’t. We do our best to ensure that he and his siblings realize their blessedness, but I know too well how I fail in this area myself. How can I expect a four year old who has never known anything else to grasp this perspective? Yet we will continue to try and teach our children what they have and how they are called to share, to care for those in need and distress.
After all, that’s what my Father did for me. And I long to follow in His footsteps.
There seems to be a growing dissatisfaction in some circles of the design world. Many people, especially those getting a little older, seem to want the community to move the focus from aesthetically pleasing baubles to solving real problems.
I couldn’t agree more. If we could have a few more start ups focused on clean water, healthcare, or food shortages and a few less that are focused on helping us read everything or recommending movies to our friends, the rest of the world might join us in saying that technology and design can make a difference.
But solving real problems requires time. Downtime. Thinking time. And silence. I hope there are a whack of designers and developers out there — young and old — who are looking to break free from the cycle of social media updates so they can find inspiration and vision to solve bigger issues.
One such designer is Jason VanLue. He and Sean McCabe are writing a book that will tackle these issues. I think our industry should be thinking and reading about this subject. So go back this project.
Then spend 50 minutes in silence, thinking of a problem you’d like to see solved.
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