Tech Presentations Vs. The Second Screen

I recently did a presentation about React JS for the El Paso Web Development Meetup. We were fortunate enough to get a classroom on the University of Texas at El Paso campus. It was fantastic because our attendance was boosted because it is more accessible to students in between classes or willing to stay later into the evening. However, there was a downside that I’ve seen with students and at tech presentations where the audience is equipped with the latest gadgets and gizmos. Before I started the presentation a wall of screens came between me and the audience! It felt unnerving for me to feel like you are competing with something for attention during your own presentation, but I pressed on.

Doing a post mortem on my presentation I realized that dealing with the second screen is the new reality. Luckily most people at tech presentations are already tech savvy. I tried a few things to win the second screen and came up with a few ideas to try next time.

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TEDx El Paso 2016

I am proud to say that El Paso hosted its own TEDx event in 2016. I had the pleasure of attending the September 20th event in a standing room only auditorium at the El Paso Museum of Art. Events like TEDx are a testament to El Paso’s growth. It’s a shoot directly at the “there is nothing to do in El Paso” mantra El Pasoans are oh so familiar with. I’d like to share a few observations from the day’s events and keep the conversation going with the people I met.

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Horrible User Stories Episode 02: No Smooches for Smoochr

I recently heard about, which has the opening tagline:”Discover Black singles by complexion, hair type and more!” Smoochr has stirred up quite a bit of controversy because of its tagline and approach to finding the perfect mate.

I haven’t used a dating site before, so I don’t know what to expect. I’d imagine most dating sites have some similar attributes and features, but focus on a different demographic or niche interest. A user can create a profile to distill their unique personality with a few text areas and radio buttons. A user can search for your soulmate based on attributes you determine are important. Things like that.

Let’s explore and imagine some of the User Stories that the Smoochr team may have created.

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Why Bad UX Isn’t Stopping Pokemon Go

I love Pokémon Go, but it suffers from quite a few UX problems. There are a few elements of the game like the nearby screen, Stardust and even your list of captured Pokémon that get little in game explanation. It’s a bad experience for new players trying to learn how to play the game.  And yet, Pokémon Go is dominating app charts for iOS and Android. Let’s take a look at a few of the UX issues and explore why they haven’t hindered Pokémon Go’s popularity.

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When Customer Discovery Goes Bad

Are you conducting Customer Discovery Interviews? How many have you done? How are they going?

I recently completed a few interviews, and let’s just say, it didn’t go to well. Many of the examples of Customer Discover I’ve encountered have a happy ending. In the examples the hypotheses are proven correct and products move ahead at full speed. What happens when your interviews don’t go well? I want to share how my interviews disproved my hypotheses and what happened afterwards.

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Stand Ups For One

I’ve been working on my own for the past couple of weeks. It’s definitely a change of pace to what I am used to. I’ve worked at companies where daily and weekly stand-ups are the norm. Stand-ups are great ways to reflect on what you’ve done and determine what your next steps are. I thought it would be fun to do my own stand ups for my solo projects. It sounds kinda silly, but I’ve been recording my own daily stand ups. I’ve been able to track my progress pretty well and get a good gauge of how things are going.

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Why Aren’t Restaurants Doing NPS?

I was at a restaurant the other day and had a great experience. I immediately started thinking about Net Promoter Score. It’s amazing how often you rate businesses in your mind once you are aware of NPS (but that’s a topic for another day).

I thought to myself when I received the check for the meal , “Why aren’t restaurants doing NPS?” Restaurants have your attention when you pay the bill. Customers already have a pen in their hand. Surely there has to be something easier than calling an 800 number or scanning a QR code to give input about your experience. Then it hit me. Fantastic Fest! Fantastic Fest is a film festival held every year in Austin, Texas. Before each movie starts you get a small piece of paper, the size of a business card. The paper is is divided up and has 0-10 on it. You tear the paper across the rating you give the film and leave it with an attendant when the film ends. A low friction, easy way to give input.

NpsRestaurantSo why not create a similar process for restaurants? It seems pretty easy to add some text to the end of a receipt. It should be easy to circle or tear an NPS score after you sign your bill. You’d have a great feedback loop. Whoever picks up the bill can immediately follow up with the customer if they got a bad rating? Here is a quick mock-up of NPS on a restaurant bill. Would you rate a restaurant if they added this easy form to the bottom of a receipt?

Tips For The 2016 Google Code Jam

The qualifying round for Google Code Jam is only a few hours away. Google’s annual competition is a great way to benchmark your coding skills against some of the best developers across the globe. Is this your first time participating? Are you a seasoned pro? Here are a few tips to help you do your best during Google Code Jam, or any other coding competition, regardless of your skill level.

Just go for it

This is honestly the most important tip I can give. Many developers that I’ve spoken to about Google Code Jam fall in two categories: People who have never heard of Google Code Jam and people who wish they participated. Register and give it a shoot.

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Excuses, Pivots and Other Fun Words


I’ve been out for awhile. Here is what’s been going on.

Call them what you want, facts, reasons excuses. I’ve had lots of life changing events and haven’t really made the time to create new content. That changes today.


If you didn’t catch one of the most important bullet points, I’ll reiterate. I am starting my own company! What does that mean for this blog? Not much, actually. I will be bootstrapping my project and doing most of the development myself. In other words, lots and lots of low budget coding! I’ve already got a few things in the work to talk about the minimal viable product I am creating to gauge interest in one of my projects. I’ll adding a little more on some of the entrepreneurial things I am learning, but at the end of the day it’s all about the code.


Welcome to the next chapter of Low Budget Code. I look forward to sharing all the excitement and terror that comes along with starting a new company.

Horrible User Stories Episode 01: What a Twist

I don’t hunt for Horrible User Stories, they just seem to find me. The subject for today’s episode played out like a bad plot twist in my text editor. Spoiler alert, this story isn’t a dream, it’s actually a nightmare.
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