In an effort to keep up with HTML5, just like Vimeo, YouTube has started to implement <iframe>s for their <embed> codes as a means of displaying their videos. By doing so, it allows a wider variety of devices to view an embedded YouTube (or Vimeo) video.
However, for all you developers out there, this means the old-school way of fixing a CSS-only drop-down menu from going behind an embed code no longer works. Previously (and this still works with the old code), you had to use z-index and wmode=”transparent” to make sure your menus show in front of the video.
Everything isn’t a Facebook Like or Share. Everything isn’t a retweet. Everything isn’t how many times you’ve checked in on Gowalla or Foursquare or bought a Groupon or Dugg something. These ideas aren’t revolutionary.1
But it’s easy, isn’t it? It really easy. You don’t have to leave your computer. You have an infinite number of shots. You can throw as many notecards at the wallâ€”when you have an unlimited number of notecards, you just know eventually something will stick.
To use a military metaphor, there is no substitute for on the ground intelligence. To not use a metaphor at all: There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. For phone calls over e-mails. There is no substitute for getting out of your chair and attending a conference, or speaking at a luncheon, or for taking a client out for lunch.
This is what I call Analog Marketing. It’s you being youâ€”all your awkward mannerisms, all your beautiful eyes, all your suits that fit slightly off your shoulder, all your quirks and the cadence of the way you speak. It’s getting on the ground and doing the tangible work that will support your digital marketing. And for that, there is no substitute.
Like and Share everything you can. Go viral. Ask for retweets. Do the best you can.2 But in reality, companies don’t have an infinite number of notecards to throw. Companies have to be selective in what they do. They have to make profitable decisions. And the most profitable, sustainable decision a company can make is to put their people on the ground.
Part I: DrupalCon and the birth of the #drupalmonster
I recently had the pleasure of giving a guest lecture at a Public Relations class with co-worker Albert Hughes at his alma mater Prairie View A&M. It was the impetus for writing this piece.
Our company Schipul solves problems. Painting with a broad brush, we solve client problems related to the Internet. For example, a potential client will come to us with one concept: They need a website and they have no idea how to do it. They trust us to not only:
Be honest with them and give them an honest quote3,
but also provide them with the best technology to solve their problem.
One of the solutions our company employs is the content management system Drupal4. We believe in its infinite flexibility, its community, and it is often times the perfect solution to a potential client’s website that needs to be extremely custom.
We realized three things about Drupal as a company:
The community is fiercely loyal;
a lot of people talk about Drupal as a solution, but there aren’t a lot of people “doing it”;
the Drupal community is definitely doing it.
Albert effectively “brought” Drupal to our company as a solution. He had been messing around with it in his personal time, and when a client approached us about a website, he immediately knew Drupal could solve the client’s problem. It did.
At that point, Schipul went full force with Drupal. We learned it and memorized it and taught it and began to take part in the community. We even loved it so much, that at one point, Albert (a rapper by night) produced a quick music video based on a flow of his. Watch this:
Rapping about Drupal is a pretty absurd concept, but it worked. Founder and creator of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, saw it and put it on his blog. The plays on the video sky-rocketed. Albert and I went to DrupalCon that year, and because of the video, people recognized him. He began to cultivate relationships based off his non-Web-based talent. It established him as part of the Drupal community, albeit in a weird way. It showed a love for the product, and the people responded.
Fast forward to a year later, and Albert and myself were attending DrupalCon again. We knew the power of last year’s rap video, and we wanted to do it again. We had just hired a video specialist on our staff, and with his help, Al and I created a remix to Kanye West’s Monster, effectively creating the #drupalmonster. Watch:
Since we had met Dries, we e-mailed him again and asked him to watch the video figuring he would enjoy it. To our intense thanks, he loved it so much he posted it on his blog again. This was two days before DrupalCon.
Here’s where Analog Marketing comes in. We didn’t want the initial push and hype of a mere blog post to stop people from watching the video. We wanted to be a part of the Drupal Community, and we wanted to give backâ€”as I said earlierâ€”albeit in a weird way.
Our idea was this: Print a bunch of moocards (half-sized business cards, halved hot dog not hamburger) with a bit.ly link that pointed to the video. That was it. The only thing on it was this: bit.ly/drupalmonster. When we got to DrupalCon, we had 1,500 printed out at a local Kinko’s, and old-school guerilla-style, handed them out to everything and everyone. We put them on tables. We gave them to Drupal fanatics, we gave them to concierges at our hotel, we gave them to people we’d meet eating lunch at a local pub.
But as we gave them out, we talked to them about Drupal. What they loved, what they didn’t. Some had more to say than others, but we tried to connect with them on some level. Given a captive Drupal audience, this was somewhat easy. (“Hey, we wrote and produced a Drupal rap music video” said to someone who uses Drupal raises an eyebrowâ€”it doesn’t make a lot of sense.) It was a little harder when trying to convince a hostess at the hotel it was worth her time.
But I saw that same hostess the next day and she called me over and said that not only did she watch it, but she pulled her co-workers aside and they watched it. Eventually, her boss saw it too. And as she was telling me this, her boss came over and complimented us on the video, and I got to compliment the hostess for being a good sport and actually taking the moocard back and watching the video.
Warning: Nerdy Business ROI Stuff Coming: A lot of people ask me how to quantify ROI on social media… blah blah blah. This is exactly how: That boss then said to me: “I’m not in control of who does our website, but if I were, I would go with you.” It’s the best compliment you could give not only myself and Albert, but our company. Asking our company to do your website is an honor to us; it’s like asking us to babysit or be invited to your wedding. And because of the work we did on the ground, in the trenches, talking to the people and going to where they were, we would get their business. We would get that honor.5
Part II: SXSW
If there was ever any epic display of Analog Marketing, it exists on the corner of Trinity and 4th St. during the Interactive portion of SXSW. I had the pleasure of attending for the third year in a row, and each year, it seems this spot between the Austin Convention Center and Champions Bar gets busier and busier.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending, at this spot and immediately entering the convention center, there are literally hundreds of people handing out any number of things: party invites, QR codes, half-clad women giving you a card with a free trial code on it. It’s Analog Marketing, for sure, but it’s the “Facebook” equivalent of the concept. You have an infinite targeted audience and, most likely, and infinite number of notecards to throw at a wall. So you start throwing.
Companies know SXSWi is an important cornerstone in networking. The sessions are always hit-and-miss, but there’s always one thing you can rely on: People. People are the cornerstone of any business. If you have no buyers, there is no company. The only thing this version of Analog Marketing lacks is the connection. Most of the time, the people are in a hurry. They’re trying to get from Point A to Point B in as quick a time as possibleâ€”the marketer barely has time to hand them a card (one of many they’ve gotten in the past 30 seconds), let alone have a conversation with them about their needs and how the marketer’s product could possibly solve their problems.
We tried the Analog Marketing moocard approach to our video at SXSWi as well, and it was significantly less successful, for two reasons:
We did not have the captive audience. (When you’re at DrupalCon and you’re handing out a video about Drupal, it’s like going to a comic book convention and asking someone to watch an interview with Stan Lee.)
We did not have time to cultivate a relationship with the person receiving the card. (See next.)
Part III: Cultivating the relationship
Our Business Development Director Aaron Long once told our company in a full company meeting:
It’s a lot harder to get mad and permanently leave your best friend.
His intent is this: When we talk to clients, we try to be their friends. They literally pay our paychecks. Being honest, ethical, and doing good are cornerstones of our company’s foundation, so when a new client comes in, we get the blessing of helping their business not only survive, but thrive. That’s our job; it’s why people hire us. In return, they pay our paycheck which allows us to do all the things we love to do when we’re not working. It’s a win/win6.
When you have a good rapport with a client, they’re less likely to leave you. You can be absolutely honest with them, speak with candorâ€”and with those two combinedâ€”have real conversations about what they need their website to do and how we need to accomplish it.
Along the way, you become their friend. You begin to respect each other. You begin to bring in the client’s business as your own; when they succeed, we succeeded. And as they grow and trust you more, they’re less likely to leave. You’ve established a level of trust that has absolutely nothing to do with Digital Marketing. Something you could never buy and something you could never “Like” or “Share” on Facebook. Those things are all part of it, but at the end of the day, you need Analog Marketers to cultivate your relationship with your consumers.
Part IV: What you should be doing now
Laozi (known by any number of variations of his name, such as Lao Tzu) was a record-keeper for the Zhou Dynasty court. He is credited with the following, translated into any number of languages, written 3,000 years ago in one of the most famous texts of all-time, Tao Te Ching7:
Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, “We have done this ourselves.”
This is the definition of Analog Marketing.
I spoke in Houston once about The Next Generation Website at the Social Media Breakfast Houston. A man was there whom I had never met, nor had the chance to meet after my talk, but called our office later that same day. Our top sales-person, Courtney Pemberton, fielded the call and fell in love with them; it wasn’t even about “selling” to them in the conventional sense. They were Girouard’s General Store, who have the claim of the oldest general store in Texas. Due to my public speaking and Courtney’s expertise, they signed on as a client in an incredibly short amount of time. At the time of writing, their site is still in development, but Courtney has gone out of her way, having fun with the client, because she likes them. Both the project manager and Courtney went to their store and took pictures of everything they could find because it’s such a cool place. She brought the pictures back and in design meetings, the designers fell in love with the place as well, experiencing it through the pictures they took, but also the excitement in the employees’ voices.
And when their designs are approved, and their content is added, and their site goes live, our tasks accomplished, I know they’ll look back and say, “We did this together.” And at that point, Digital Marketing can take over and run its course. I’ll be sure to Like it and Share it on Facebook, but I have confidence knowing it all started with Analog Marketing.
1 Although I am still amazed at how many “public relations” companies just try to convince their clients to get on Facebook or Twitter because it’s like some sort of mandate. News flash: You don’t have to be on Twitter. A better question to ask: Is that where your people are?
2 Recognize that these are still good things and that this statement is not tongue-in-cheek. Just don’t start here. Don’t put your cart in front of your horse.
3 If someone’s quoted you over $100,000 for a website, pleaseâ€”call us. You’re most likely being lied to.
4 For the curious, we use three content management systems at our company: WordPress, Tendenci, and Drupal. The first and last are open-source CMSs that have created and cultivated wildly successful communities. We rely heavily on said communities and are infinitely grateful for the hard work these people do. The second in that list is a currently proprietary CMS our CEO wrote in the early 2000s to keep the company afloat after September 11. It’s currently in its fifth iteration and is still bread and butter to our business model.
5 Even more “ROI”-y stuff: The video had an initial push of around 1,500 plays. As we handed out the cards throughout the conference, the plays continually went up each day: 123, 141, 148, 154, culminating the last day of the conference, topping 200 plays at 202.
To this day, we continually get double-digit plays from the video as it takes on a life of its own. We also continually get sales calls solely because they saw the video, liked it, and thought to themselves, “If they love Drupal this much to make a video, they must have a passion for it.” And passion breeds greatness.
At the time of this writing, the video has over 4,600 plays and 33,400 loads.
6 Also a cornerstone of the business. A card is handed out to every new employee (and to a number of clients/potential clients) that not only lists the cornerstones of the business, but also our Mission and Vision and Schipul Honor Code.
7 I don’t intend to cheapen any form of Taoism or religion by comparing the concepts of Analog Marketing to a sacred text. I take the quote literally at its face-value: Go to where the people are first. It will literally support everything you do after that.
DrupalCon Day 1 was a blast with a ton of good information, but Day 2 was a whole lot nerdier in our sessions. So, as with our last post, there may be a nerd alert necessary.
Making Maps Beautiful
If you’re a Drupaler and want to make sure your maps look beautiful, we attended a session on ways to make Drupal maps beautiful. Hint: You don’t always need to use Google Maps.
Open Stream Maps is an open source mapping system that is similar/rivals Google Maps. There are (believe it or not) instances where clients cannot use Gmap (or Drupal’s Google Maps module); Open Stream allows for another option.
Bring it all together by using the MapBox module which allows you to provide layers (e.g. selected boxes that show/hide information) on your maps (even Google Maps!).
And let’s not forget about TileMill. You can use it to create custom tile setsâ€”it’s a WYSIWYGish editor to create a look for a map and map interactions. As they say, they’re a “a modern map design studio
powered by open source technology.” They do all the heavy CSS-lifting to making your maps pretty. USE THIS.
By the way, dmitrig01 is a 15-year-old 10th grader who is an incredible speaker and actually wrote Drush Make. He spoke at 12-years-old at DrupalCon. I was still learning what women were when I was 15.
A basic, annotated Drush Make file
Hopefully this can get you started:
core = 6.x (Tell it what version of Drupal you're using)
api = 2 (What version of Drush Make we're running, found on Drush Make download page)
projects[cck] = 2.9 (Tell it which version of the module you're grabbing)
projects[features] = 1.0
projects[news_item][download][type] = get
projects[news_item][download][url] = URL (can be localhost, e.g. http://localhost/...)
projects[news_items][subdir] = features
We’ll be back tomorrow to drop some more nerdery on your ass!
For the most part of the keynote, Dries hammered home the fact that Drupal 8 must work for all devices (no longer the desktop); the number of smartphones in the past year has increased exponentially and it would be egregious to miss that market.
Dries also wanted to note that if you have two platforms, Drupal and some other CMS, the one that always wins out is the one with the better “ecosystem.” For example, the reason the iPhone wins out over competitors (that might even have a better product or coverage), is due to the ecosystem they’ve created: the App Store, the Apps themselves, the culture, etc. Dries wants to ensure that the Drupal ecosystem is not just stable, but thrives moving into the next generation Web platform.
When creating Drupal 7, Dries met with 20 major market CTOs (e.g. Time Magazine), and asked them what the biggest issues facing the then current state of Drupal was. He said two bubbled to the top: Configuration and Administration. These were added directly to the direction of D8.
You can use ARIA (short for Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles for descriptions, e.g. <nav role=”main-nav”>, to target and separate your HTML structures.
Rule of thumb: Use the new <section> tag to group similarly related items (e.g. footer link menus), and use <div> tags to group somewhat unrelated items (e.g. a main content area and a sidebar).
Really cool tip: On <input> fields, add type=”url” or type=”email” to change the keyboard layout on smartphones.
Media Module for Drupal 7 only
Albert Hughes spent some of his time in a session that discussed the way Drupal 7 will handle and update media in the Drupal system:
Media is now treated closer to what one would consider a “node”, e.g. you can add fields like “caption”.
You can also now upload a file and reference it throughout the site, as opposed to have it attached to a custom content type node.
“Uploads” or the “File Attachments” have been taken away to make things more clean and streamlined.
However, one of the main reasons this was taken away isn’t because of the Media module, but because the FileField module in Drupal 6 was added to core.
“Monster (Drupal Remix)”
And of course, both A.Hughes and D.Stagg spent a lot of time throwing out moocards getting people to visit http://bit.ly/drupalmonster. And if you don’t want to click, we’ll provide the embed for you 😉
Mad love to Brian Potter for the editing and direction.
CMS is a monster
Blue on ya monitor
site bombin on ya
Now look where Drupal poppin up
As look through ya pocketbook
Site need a new look
try a Drupal sample
Hughes’ll demo an example
Drupal Drupal gotta lotta users
I’m a need to see a lot sites on this movement
I’m a need to see more Drupal sites watch us prove it
I’m a need to see more Drupal sites watch us prove it
Drupal, Drupal, everybody Drupal (x3)
took my first site live on Drupal 5
that was ’08 i was trying to survive
got my suit straight and bought 2 ties
the lord blessed me with a gig now we on the rise
html i knew css
dreamweaver jquery and a cms
on my resume and in my cover letter
everyday i’m goin in and i’m getting better
up all night i done learned php
I’m on that on lullabot for a phd
in the Drupal game i’m a do my thang
managing projects on my way to fame
and we don’t see the same i got better views
in different regions doing fields like some soccer shoes
yeah its a.hughes i’ll replace ya name like a token
and you better back up before your site is broken
Drupal Drupal gotta lotta users
I’m a need to see a lot sites on this movement
I’m a need to see more Drupal sites watch us prove it
I’m a need to see more Drupal sites watch us prove it
Drupal, Drupal, everybody Drupal (x3)
Drupal Drupal got a lot of users
Gotta build a site that’ll scale like weight losers
Gotta load fast using solr and some views
Gotta look better like Bentleys over land cruisers
Weak CMS sites boy we be trashing them
Call EMS those sites Drupal bashin them
Like Perez Hilton talkin’ trash bout yo fashion
Gotta have a clean back end like kardashian
Source code on LSD all tabbed out
Using css3, I’m a brag about
The Drupal 7 drop, stagg’ll always be about
Killin these sites with some node templates maxxed out
Give me a fresh install and an IDE
Hooked on hooks, modulating like I’m Whitney
Hook_form-alter like I’m doin’ plastic surgery
Takin’ these sites to a level like you never seen
One day my sister Kathleen and I were both up at our church and I wanted to tell her something. We were in high school. She’s 14 months older than I am. We liked each other, never fought.
We were very close as children, moving around a whole lot, but when it came to personal issuesâ€”as high school studentsâ€”it wasn’t like we were opening up about our formative experiences.
At church that day, she wasn’t around me at the time so I scoured the church for her and eventually found her tucked away in a back room. The type of place where you have to really want to talk to someone if you’re going to commit to that kind of search. She was crying, curled up on a couch.
I had never seen my sister cry; she was always very strong and in control. I came in the room, sat down, and asked her what was wrong. She started to tell me, and I would interject every once in a while trying to ease her feelings.
I hated to see her cry and I wanted to do anything I could to fix it. She would start talking again and then I would comment again and she’d have to start talking again and I’d try to comment again because it hurt me to see her cry.
Eventually she just turned to me, stared me down and said: “Shut up!” I froze. “I don’t always need you to fix things. Sometimes, women just have to talk. And all you have to do is listen.”
If you know anyone that works here at Schipul, you’ll know we’re a pretty competitive group. Not a whole lot of us are want to lose, and I’m sure there is a sub-set of us who no one wants to see lose for fear of flying objects or obscure injury.
So of course, we started a fantasy football league.
Rookie Commissioner Michael Coppens put together the crew, a batch of 10 Schipul misfits and a couple of the company’s close friends. Draft day was held after-hours in our conference room where dinner and libations were consumed and the crap talk immediately started flying.
Aside: For those of you who aren’t familiar with fantasy football, it goes like this: A certain number of teams (usually 10 or 12) divvy out NFL players by position (e.g. you get quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, a kicker, and a defense) and, depending on their individual performances each week, they garner a certain number of points. The sum of these points is put up against the sum of your opponent’s points that week. Team with the most points wins. Repeat weekly.
After three weeks, I’d like to proudly say I’m in dead last place. This is obviously because I’m cursed with too much knowledge. Mr. Coppens himself is in first place which, as I’m sure we’ll all agree, is a little suspicious considering he’s the Commissioner. And although it’s still early, it’s gotta be hard for people like Project Manager Derek who (see standings below) has scored the third highest point total of any team, but has only won one game. Such is the life of a fantasy football owner.
What’s the point?
In all seriousness, Schipul values its culture above almost everything else (customer service is easily number one). And even though not everyone in the league has two televisions turned to one game and the other to NFL’s Red Zone while streaming a third game from ESPN3.com with four separate StatTracker windows open to keep up with fantasy stats like some people, it’s a great opportunity for our employees to hang out with each other and chat it up around the water cooler.
Even though dead last place takes a beating on Monday morning in the smack talk, I can’t wait for that shiny, shimmering moment when one of my players explodes, I smash my opponent, and I can get my own comebacks in.
No wins after the first three weeks? Only sounds like it’s going to be more of feat when I come back and win.
In the interest of full disclosure, I really dislike traveling. My idea of traveling is making my way 24 miles from my home in midtown Houston to my parents’ house in Katy, TX by way of a decade-old Corolla.
Hardly the jet-setting, 4,800+ miles to London in a Boeing 767.
It’s part of my nature not to want to be away from my home. It makes it so that when I’m in a temporary home (read: hotel) in another city, I start to get antsy. So for me, half of the fun of travel is the literal travel itself. I love being in an airplane, I love airports and taxis, I love airport bars.
When I’m sitting around in San Diego waiting for my layover flight back to Houston, there’s something so engaging about hitting up the crappy Home Turf Sports Bar with a beer and people watching. No need to break out the computer.
So in honor of travel itself, I present to you The Oscars of Literal Travel, my takes on the best of the best in enjoying the trip itself, and not necessarily the destination.
Here’s the deal: Before all you travelers and jet-setters and skip-town-to-Vegas-for-one-day-ers tell me I’m wrong with these, I know that I don’t travel a lot. I’ve hit my fair share of American airports, but no, I haven’t been to Seattle or Portland or to any in Florida. Fair warning.
Best Airport: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
There is nothing better than ATL’s long halls. If you compare airports to malls, most are convoluted and next to impossible to navigate with escalators and floors and gates that you have to take three trams to get to before realizing you still need to go up another level. (Yes, IAH, you’re that bad.)
For such a major city with a major airline hub, Atlanta’s airport gets it right. There’s no mistaking where you need to go: Just walk down the hall. You want to remove some stress from traveling? Just take out all that worry of touching down in a new place and having no clue where to go. In Atlanta, you just walk. Check out that terminal map to the left. Head to Atlanta and the worry about finding your gate will be a thing of the past.
Best Airport Eating: Pappadeaux’s (IAH)
I may be a little partial here, but there is nothing like Pappadeaux’s before catching a flight out of your home town. Sure, it’s a “chain” in the sense that they have more than one location, but the fried alligator is so damn good, you can’t pass it up—and I hate seafood. Combine that with a good draft beer selection and a very close proximity to Terminal D and E, it’s a can’t miss. If you’re not a Houstonian, try to fly Continental and get a gate out of D and hit it up.
Best Airport Bar: The “Restaurant Area” in Columbia Metropolitan Airport
When I’m traveling, I don’t want glitz and glamour. I don’t want to have my attire checked at a door with a dude with an earpiece checking a list like I’m at some uppity club on Washington Ave. I want a beer. I want it cold and I want it fast because we all know the layover isn’t long enough.
So don’t give me Vino Volo. Give me the wide open area in what Columbia Metropolitan calls its “restaurant area.” Familiar with the airport because I went to school there, the airport is so small it’s got only one terminal with two sides, joined together by this “restaurant area” that offers a view of the entire terminal. (Check out the layout for yourself.) Just hop up to the bar, grab a tall cold one and commence to people watching. You get to see all of the comings and goings and there’s no chance you’ll miss your flight because you got held up behind a ridiculously over-sized golf cart.
Best Nap Material: Nothing
After moving and shaking in between (or before) your flight(s), you want to do nothing but nap it up. Don’t reach for those headphones, don’t put on that movie. Just put your head up against the window. Nothing beats the hum of the plane buzzing along thousands of feet above the bustling earth.
Let me know I’m wrong!
If you’re a fan of Schipul and are reading this blog, we know you are most likely a traveler with an opinion. Let us know YOUR favorite travel trip spots—not your favorite destination. Let me know which airport I need to make my layover in so I can hit up that bar—and not even want to leave the airport.
If you’ve ever wondered why all the fonts on the Internet look the same, it’s because there’s a very limited number of them for Web designers to choose from. The issue is this: For a font to work correctly, it has to be installed on your computer. If it’s not there, it doesn’t show up.
Fortunately, every single computer on earth comes with at least one font installed. In fact, there are multiple. And because every computer has this specific set, Web designers are free to use those fonts in their designs because they a) know what it will look like, and b) they know it will work.
Being limited to around five or six fonts (Arial [or Helvetica on a Mac], Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia, Tahoma, roughly) seriously limits the way your designs will look.
But as the Internet grows up, Google is hoping to utilize some new features to allow for designers to use more fonts in their creations. Enter the Google Font Directory.
The Google Font Directory now easily allows designers to embed fonts into a site itself, rather than require the computer to have them installed. (Visit the Directory itself to see the ever-growing list of new fonts available.)
And the best part? It’s incredibly simple!
All the designer needs to do now is drop this line of code…