Growth Hacker

Internet marketing is my area of expertise. Past consulting clients include eBay, CafePress, DocuSign, myfab, and DeepDyve. Visit my consulting site at Market Extend.
Macworld 2014
March 31, 2014 Jamie Shiller Events


Last week I had a chance to spend some time at Macworld in San Francisco. This pic is from a session called Meet The Podcasters. Three of my favorite podcasters were on the panel: David Sparks and Katie Floyd, the hosts of Mac Power Users, and Allison Sheridan, the host of Nosillacast. Don McAllister, creator of ScreenCastsOnline was also on the panel.

Later at a few parties I got a chance to meet some of the folks on the panel. David Sparks gave me a bit of advice on using Markdown and working with a copy editor. Don McAllister explained how he manages tasks for his team using Podio. I’ll have to check out that service.

While I did find some of the Macworld sessions useful, and it’s cool to look at the products, chatting with folks that create the awesome stuff I appreciate is the best reason to go.

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The Roost Stand
March 13, 2014 Jamie Shiller Product Review

For years I’ve been using the mStand from Rain Design to prop up my Macbook Air. While it’s great for my home office, the mStand is a U shaped hunk of metal that’s not meant for carting around. I wanted something like the mStand that’s portable.

Last week, I learned about The Roost Stand, an ultra portable stand for the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Then I listened to an interview with James Olander, the creator of The Roost Stand, on an episode of the Think, Make, Sell podcast. The interview closed the sale for me. The Roost Stand is a great product. I highly recommend it!

The Roost Stand got it’s start as a Kickstarter project. Take a look at the Kickstarter video.

Here’s a video showing how to open and close The Roost Stand.

This video shows The Roost Stand holding over 132lbs!

This is a side view pic of the Roost Stand on my desk.

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The Twitter Bootstrap 3 Grid System
October 17, 2013 Jamie Shiller Twitter Bootstrap Web Development

Understanding the Twitter Bootstrap 3 grid system can be really confusing. In Bootstrap 2.3.2 there was only one kind of column. Bootstrap 3 has four column sizes. I was looking for a tutorial showing how the grid operates for different device screen sizes (mobile, tablet, desktop). The best explanation I found is from easydevtuts on YouTube. The color coded examples of rows and columns make it really easy to see how the grid works.

For reference here are the notes taken over the course of the five videos on the Bootstrap 3 grid.

Bootstrap Grid Notes

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Wireframing With Omnigraffle – Get The Guide That Makes It Easy
October 4, 2013 Jamie Shiller Prototyping

For the past few years I’ve been using Omnigraffle to create wireframes for new websites I build. Each time the process took longer than it should because I was always slapping layers and layers on top of each other and fiddling with the formatting.

Recently I found a guide on using Omnigraffle for wireframes from CX Partners, a customer experience consultancy.

The guide allowed me to crank out the wireframes for a pretty complex site in two days. The guide was written for Omnigraffle 5. The Omnigroup just released Omnigraffle 6 a few days ago, so some settings may be a little different, but it should be mostly the same.

If you’re using Omnigraffle for wireframes I highly recommend you download the guide. Just click on the image below.

Omnigraffle Wireframe Guide PDF

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The Runner2 Game Music Bundle (Game Music + Game)
February 27, 2013 Jamie Shiller Games

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Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is the awesome sequel to BIT.TRIP’s Runner game.

I purchased the Runner2 bundle from Game Music Bundle. It included the video game music from Runner and Runner2. Also included was the Runner2 game for Steam. By this time the bundle is over, but you may find another great bundle over at Game Music Bundle.

I had a chance to play Runner2 last night. It’s the first game I’ve played through Steam. Steam worked pretty good on my MacBook Air, only a few hiccups. I was surprised to see how the Steam app makes your Mac a game console. In Big Screen Mode it seemed like an Xbox 360.

While Runner2 only has a few controls, Steam recommends using an Xbox 360 game controller. A third-party driver must be used to enable the Xbox 360 controller on a Mac. The driver is available from a site called Tattiebogle. With the driver you can use a wired Xbox 360 controller or a wireless one if you also have the Microsoft Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. The receiver costs about $10 or $12 on Amazon.

If I get any more Steam games I may dust off the old Xbox 360 controller.

Full disclosure: I’m an investor in re:discover, the company running Game Music Bundle.

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Auto Sort Files into Sub Folders with Hazel
May 29, 2012 Jamie Shiller Automation

Hazel ( is a Mac automation app that, among many other things, can be used to automatically move files into sub folders based on filenames. Some great tutorials already show how to do this using the “Created Date” of a file. Here are a few:

What if you’re doing an expense report? It’s likely that your expenses may be for the previous month so using the created date won’t help you as the created date will be the present date. Instead the answer is to use “Custom Tokens”.

The video below shows how to setup file sorting in Hazel based on custom tokens.

Here’s the naming convention I reviewed in the video:


2012-04 – work expense – dropbox.pdf
2012-05 – work expense – nmodal.pdf

Move Files into Sub Folders:

2012-04 – work expense – dropbox.pdf


Test Expenses –> 2012-04 – work expense

2012-05 – work expense – nmodal.pdf


Test Expenses –> 2012-05 – work expense

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Luke on September 12, 2012

Thanks for the post.:-) It really helped me out!

mdutoit on November 2, 2013

Thanks Jamie - please keep this post up. It really helped me, and I'm sure it will help many others who doesn't grasp the use of custom tokens and matching patterns in Hazel. It's not that obvious in Support threads and documentation. Thanks again.

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Quick Overview of Process Mapping
May 17, 2011 Jamie Shiller Uncategorized

Here’s a short video on process mapping a PB & J sandwich. This is a simple example anyone can understand. Milk is the only thing missing 😉

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Paper Prototyping an iPad App: Business Model Generation
June 15, 2010 Jamie Shiller Business Model Generation Prototyping Visual Thinking

There’s a new iPad app to visually structure business models based on the Business Model Generation methodology. The methodology is outlined in the book
Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Alex Osterwalder, one of the writers of the book, used paper prototyping to show how the new app will function.

As the name indicates, paper prototyping uses paper to mockup user interface designs. There’s a good book on paper prototyping called Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces. It was recommended to me by Dan Arkind, the CEO of JobScore.

Many folks say it’s best to start prototyping on paper before moving to computer programs like Omnigraffle, Balsamiq, or Axure. During the initial prototyping stages computer programs can constrain your creativity when defining how an app should function. It’s best to work out your ideas a bit before moving to the computer.

In the videos below, Alex uses paper prototyping on top of his iPad. Showing the paper prototype this way is really powerful. Since we can see the iPad underneath the paper, the simulation is enhanced as it really seems as if we’re looking at an iPad app.

I’ll consider buying this app when it makes it into the App Store. However, it may still be best to do the Business Model Generation work on paper. 🙂

Here’s a video showing the alpha version of the app:

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Amir on July 10, 2010

Thanks for sharing, Jamie.

I've used paper prototyping in the past. It works great, but it's hard to edit an iterate.

I started using Apple Keynote to prototype iPad apps and test them on the iPad, and it works like a charm.

Here is a quick video showing the outcome:

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Post-It Note Project Schedules
January 20, 2010 Jamie Shiller OmniGraffle Templates Visual Thinking

How do you build a project schedule? If you start building a fairly complex schedule on the computer, you can actually end up wasting time. It’s much easier to build a project schedule with paper (actually Post-Its) before heading to the computer. Here’s how I make my schedules with Post-Its.

1) Categories
Grab a piece of paper and define the categories for your project. My schedules usually deal with Internet marketing so my categories often include email marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine marketing, etc.

2) Structure
Go back to your paper and map out how you’re going to organize your Post-It notes. Draw a large rectangle on the paper. One option is to place your categories along the top of the rectangle and the units of time you’ve chosen (e.g. week, months, years) along the left side of the rectangle. This gives you the framework for your workspace.

3) Build the Workspace
Take a roll of brown paper and cut off a piece big enough to cover a good chunk of a wall. Then make equally spaced vertical lines on the paper. This gives you some structure to organize the Post-It notes. Then tack the paper to the wall with some wall putty.

4) Moving to the Wall
Ideally, you’ll have some Post-Its in a few colors. I use green for categories, purple for the months, pink for items that require a setup process, and blue for the launch of a specific marketing initiative.

Start by placing the categories and months on the paper. Then create the items that will go into the schedule. Don’t worry about putting them in the right month or even the right category at first. Just get the info out of your head and onto the Post-Its.

Once you’ve created a few Post-Its, start shifting them into the appropriate categories and months. Keep going until the schedule is done.

Here’s a marketing launch schedule I built using the technique described above.

Post-It note visual schedule

5) Making It Pretty
At this point you can copy your schedule into Microsoft Project or another project planning tool. One choice is to use the Post-It schedule as the basis for a graphic that will look great in a presentation.

Here’s a graphic I made based on the Post-It Note schedule shown above.

If you have OmniGraffle you can use my template to build a visual project schedule.

I was inspired to start building project schedules with Post-Its after reading
Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes. The technique I described above is a bit different than what the book covers. I think the book would describe what I did as a variation on a bottom up decision tree.

Good luck with your visual project schedules!

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chris gale on March 9, 2010

You weren't inspired to do this by John's beautiful rainbows of post-its back at RevCube?!?!

I kid, this looks a little more organized :)

How you been?

jshiller on March 26, 2010

You're right. John's process was an influence.

I'm good. You still in SF?

jshiller on March 27, 2010

You're right. John's process was an influence.

I'm good. You still in SF?

jshiller on June 19, 2010

Here's a conference schedule built with Post-it Notes. UXCampLondon 1.5 Grid.

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