Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The PDF Paradigm


Those 3 letters have made Adobe a heck of a lot of money. The ability to lock down and present a downloadable, readable flat-file to anyone is pretty sweet. No one else came up with it. Microsoft didn't, Apple didn't, a host of other multi-billion dollar companies didn't. Adobe just focused on something it was good at and created a new need for the industry. Really, for all industries. As ubiquitous as the Adobe Reader is, I don't think there is a single company in existence, large or small, that doesn't make use of the PDF format.

So what is it about that PDF Paradigm that I find so intriguing? I believe that the accessibility of a PDF document implies interactivity. Albeit the level of interactivity is simply downloading to your hard drive (or within your browser). And this is really no fault of anyone's, it's just a general urban myth that has arisen and continues to propagate itself as there is really no challenge to this "interactive" perception.

But what is the truth? In a world where keeping people at or on your web site is the ultimate goal (think "sticky"), the PDF paradigm runs counter to that goal. When you click on a PDF link you are taken away from the framework of the web site. You are taken away from the dynamic capabilities that the HTML/Javascript/CSS/Flash world enables and are rendered a flat, static world that you can either save on your hard drive or print.

Where the PDF is an alternative, a more permanent legacy to an interactive component, feature or set of wisdom within a site, that is a perfect use. But recognize that it should be used as a redundant feature, not as a primary resource.

Take an accounting of your web site. I think travel and tourism web sites are some of the primary culprits here. Look at all the documents you have (what I would really ask you to focus on is all the maps you have converted to PDF) and think about what the PDF is doing and if that fits the intent. If your PDF is a map, I would say look at SideStreet, or a Flash implementation or, if you don't care about losing any branding, even a Google or Yahoo map. The key is to keep people on your site.

Are you?

No Pain No Gain

Normally I completely believe in that saying. And in the entrepreneurial world, I would say that there is a lot of pain, and therefore a lot of gain.
However, when training for an event that is far beyond what one week of solid training can really prepare you for, a sense of pragmatism descends and casts an almost comical "how the heck did I get here?" light on the situation.
And so, in my endeavour to train to the greatest extent possible, I believe I am, but I added a day off (or two) to ensure that I didn't actually have a complete physical breakdown before the race. iTunes can only carry your momentum so far and after that, the proverbial wall hits hard and fast. I felt the wall coming, and so the gift of age (wisdom) allowed me to sidestep the wall and enjoy some beers, some burgers and some bull$*!^ at Bridgeport Brewery.
Speaking of no pain no gain, SideStreet welcomed a new team member tonight. Say hello to Tony. I think his nickname will be Frodo (this is based on his last name... makes you wonder). He had to drive up from Corvallis, which, after many jaunts up and down I-5 to Salem and back, I can understand that pain.
The team (Jason and Brian) liked what they saw and it will be interesting to see what Tony can do with our web-based interface (which is a lot farther behind than we would like it to be).
I will make my last training run tomorrow. I'm thinking a 5-6 miler through Forest Park. Thursday is a rest day as Friday is race day. I think this will be Hood to Coast #15. Geez I'm old... Geez I'm sore... I'm going to have a little cheeze with this wine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Now this is the life of the Oregon entrepreneur

So in the course of sales, research, reviewing the work of a potential
new partner I get a missed phone call from my soccer buddy Cliff...
Then an email... Then a text... Then another phone call (which I
strategically avoid until ready to deal with this urgent matter).

So I call:
Sean: hey cliffie it's goose what's up?
Cliff: want to run hood to coast?
Sean: (stunned silence)
Cliff: (patient silence)
Sean: I guess I have a few weeks to train
Cliff: it's next week
Sean: (stunned silence)
Cliff: we're running leg 5
Sean: isn't that the toughest leg?
Cliff: 2nd toughest
Sean: I'll start training tonight... Crap

So as the photo will attest this begins my cramming for hood to coast.
If you don't know HTC then you are not an Oregonian...

Thus the distractions that are uniquely Oregon. I now must fold daily
training into my regimen of trying to build a business.

Day 1 is done. Mission accomplished as the Toadies reverberate in my
ears and I suck wind with the Dunniway track all to myself.

Stay tuned for more...