Book Sample

I wanted to give you guys a sneak preview of the book I’m working on. This is half of the introduction chapter and it lays the groundwork for the ideas that I’m going to present in the book.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I have here, drop me a line at machinecompatibel@gmail.com or leave a comment at the bottom. Thanks.

Why Producers?

Producer: noun prə-ˈdü-sər, prō-, -ˈdyü-
: someone or something that grows or makes particular goods or products

There are a lot of words floating around in the world that attempt to describe what we do:
Creator. Maker. Blogger. Podcaster. Artist. Author.
All of these apply, but fail to encompass the scope of what independent new media professionals do in our day to day work. It’s for that reason that we turn to the world of old media for a kind of catch-all term.

It’s a term that refers to those who manage and supervise the creation of content from start to finish. It’s a term that’s often modified to capture the specifics of a position (i.e. TV Producer, Film or Movie Producer, Record Producer). But because the word doesn’t carry specific meaning in the old media paradigm, it allows us to capture the full range of our day to day efforts with a single term.

For our purposes let’s add a new definition for the word “producer”:

Producer: noun prə-ˈdü-sər, prō-, -ˈdyü-
: someone who is responsible for carrying the creation of a digital work from inception to completion

This is not to say that every person creating content (whether painting or writing or speaking or singing) is doing the same work. It is, instead, an attempt to cope with the fact that those doing work online share certain responsibilities.

Because the responsibilities are so similar, our workflows tend to look similar. I use the term “Producer” as an acknowledgement that we are, in fact, running a business concern from top-to-bottom and end-to-end.

What is New Media?

New media: noun ’nü ˈmē-dē-ə
:means of mass communication using digital technologies such as the Internet.

While new media is often created by long-established, large companies, we will limit our definition to that media created by independent producers for direct distribution to their audience. This includes digital painting and other static visual art, music, talk and other audio programming, written content (books and blogs), and video.

The specific medium is not of great import to our discussion. We’ll concentrate on the tools and processes that we use and put in place to produce a finished product. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll borrow another term and refer to these tools and processes as the backline.

The Backline

A backline is a stage term referring to the amplifiers, instruments, and other equipment that musicians use in live concerts (the equipment that’s lined up behind the band). The new media producer’s backline will include any software, scripts, equipment or even other people that our media is processed through in order to turn it into the finished product that is presented to our audience.

We’ll focus on these tools in broad terms. I want to describe the types of tools that you’ll need to be successful rather than risk becoming obsolete by detailing the specifics of a particular application that will change with the next update. So rather than describing Omnifocus or Asana in the first book, we’ll concentrate on what I call The Hub: your calendar and task manager.

Kicking it New School with OS X and iOS 8

Apple’s been doing some interesting things over the last couple of years. The updates to OS X and iOS 8 have included the kinds of things we’d expect from Apple, and some things that we never thought they’d consider. Take Continuity and Extensions, for example.

The One We Expected

Continuity is the kind of thing we’d expect from Apple. It’s a system for providing a seamless experience between the Mac and iOS. It allows me to pick up where I left off when I switch to a different device.

I’m typing this blog post in Byword right now. If I had to get up and leave[1], I could pick up my iPad. Because Byword supports Continuity, a little Byword icon will appear on the lock screen. I can unlock the iPad by sliding on the Byword icon and my document is ready for me to continue working.

Armed thusly with my Bluetooth keyboard, I set off in search of coffee.

That’s the kind of feature we’ve always expected from Apple. In fact, most of us have wondered why this wasn’t included years ago. The introduction of the Mac App Store would have been a great opportunity. Now that I have it, I find it difficult to live without it.

The One We Dreamed of but Dared not Hope

But let’s consider Extensibility. The collection of features lets an app extend its functionality into another app. 1Password uses this to great effect in iOS 8 to extend the password manager’s services into Safari. Rather than using 1Password’s built in browser[2] I can tap the “Share” button and select the 1Password icon.

I never expected Apple to ease up on sandboxing[3]. This was especially true when Apple introduced the Mac App Store with a sandboxing rule for apps. Apple isn’t throwing off every constraint, though. They are opening the door just enough to provide enhanced functionality for the apps in the app store.

The Payoff

Both of these additions to OS X and iOS 8 will alter the way we use our computers. They remove one more barrier between us and our work, letting us work on the things we need to work on regardless of the device we’re using. We’ll dig in to some of the other features that enable this sort of behavior in the coming months.

What’s you’re favorite feature in the new operating systems? Let me know what you think of Yosemite and iOS 8 in the comments below.


  1. Sometimes you need an emergency latté.  ↩

  2. Or worse, copying and pasting passwords like previous version  ↩

  3. Sandboxing is the way apps work in iOS and OS X(in some cases). Each application runs in it’s own “sandbox” and has access only to the features provided by the operating system. This is a more secure way to run apps so that they cannot interfere with the rest of the system. The downside is that it prevents any interoperability between apps that’s not expressly allowed by the OS.  ↩

Snapchat Breach

From Techhive

If you used a certain third-party Snapchat client, photos you received may be among the over 100,000 photos allegedly taken in a major privacy breach, according to Business Insider.

SnapSaved was the culprit in this case. The service is no longer active. This incident is just another reminder that what we do online is never truly private. If you are using online services there’s always a chance that your data is vulnerable. Use strong, unique passwords and think about what you’re uploading.

Snapchat Photos Get Leaked but Snapchat Isn’t to Blame:

Are You Still Using Google Apps?

From imore.com

While compiling the list of apps on my iPhone 6 Plus I realized something — I’d listed not a single one from Google. It was something of a shock. Previously I’d had Gmail and Google Maps, Google+ and Hangouts, YouTube and Google Search. I’d even been using apps they’d acquired, like Snapseed. After setting up my iPhone 6 Plus as new, however, and downloading apps only as I needed them, after close to 3 weeks, I still hadn’t needed a single Google app.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been slowly drifting away from the Google Apps proper, myself. I’ve started using Mailbox for email on all platforms and I don’t use Google Calendar for much. Because I use a Nexus 5 I still use Google Hangouts a lot on that device, but I hardly touch it on my iPad. I use Google+ a lot because I like it.

Do you use the Google Apps more or less than you used to? Are you drifting to other services that work better for you? Let me know in the comments.

Why I’ve Stopped Using Google Apps on my iPhone 6 Plus:

Be a Goat

Don't be just a follower
Don’t be just a follower

There’s a crowd of followers out there. It’s not wrong. They’ve found someone who’s work they love. They like the way that someone has set up their website or built their platform[1]. But look at the image above. The goat is certainly following the cows ahead of it. The cows are providing some measure of guidance. But the goat is doing it’s own thing.

There’s a collection of websites out there that look identical. Sure, the pictures are different, the words are different, the products are different. But there’s a sameness to the design, to the layout, to the language.

In a sense, that’s how the web operates. When someone finds something that works, others will emulate. But that tires me after a while. I lose interest in the work these people are doing. I start wandering. I start searching for producers[2] with their own voice and sense of style. People who have their own way of saying something, not the sanitized, SEO conscious form of the followers.

This isn’t to say that I don’t fall prey to that form of imitation. It’s easyto do. When I find a producer’s work that I really love, it can be easy to let that consume my own work for a while. It’s natural to emulate others.

But what if we studied a great producers work rather than copy it? What if we took the time to understand what makes that work great? Why not take the theory behind the work and emulate that rather than copy the work itself?

This stuff is important. Don’t be like everyone else in the space. Consider using Squarespace, rather than WordPress; archive.org, not libsyn; Audio Technica AT2020s, not Heil PR40s.

While I’ve spent a lot of time over the past week writing about how to find the right tools, make sure you’re spending time creating. If you have tools that will get the job done, don’t wait. Start writing, drawing, podcasting.

Start producing. Be a goat.

Do you ever hold off on a project because you don’t have the “perfect” tool? What helps you keep focused on the content rather than the production tools?


  1. This is not necessarily a commentary on Michael Hyatt’s Platform specifically. There’s a whole lot more to this phenomemon.  ↩

  2. Producer is a term I’ve started using to describe musicians, writers, artists and other creators that do their work online. I’ll be publishing a book in the next couple of months with some more thoughts on the idea. Keep an eye out for that here and on my Twitter feed  ↩