Rock Star:INXS

I’ll pretty much repeat what everyone else is saying about this. However cheesy I feel it was to have a reality show to replace a frontman who commited suicide, this was one of the greatest reality shows I’ve seen in a long time. Granted, it had all the cliches of reality television including soap opera behind the scenes footage, dramatic music at all the right moments, and lots and lots of tears. However, something made this one feel more real than any of the others. While some just compare it to American Idol, it was on an entirely different level than American Idol. These kids have talent.

I’d been looking forward to the finale (which aired last night) since episode one, where I picked Marty to win. However, as the weeks went on, J.D. really began to show his stuff. And, while I like Marty so much more than any of the other contestants, J.D. was obviously the right choice for INXS. I seriously hope INXS was serious when they told Marty they’d like to take him on their world tour. Even The Wife could see that Marty would prove to be an amazing solo talent.

Ministering to the 80%

I have a post regarding relevance in Christianity in the works, but felt I needed to get something off my chest. In any industry, one must first define it’s market and meet the needs of that market the best that they can. It is common practice to shoot for an 80% success rate when discussing groups of people. If you can reach 80% of the people 20% of the time, you’re succeeding.

The same holds true in ministry as well. Too many times churches set lofty goals to reach their entire community for Christ, and they attempt to do so in only one or two ways. A block party here, a Christmas pageant there, etc. While these are great in Theory (I’ve always wanted to live there), there is no possible way to succeed with these goals in mind. While you may say “wait, dude, anything is possible with God, right?” I’ll respond with yes, but God also does things differently for different groups of people. The Corinthians, the Thessalonians, the Romans, all received very different messages that were relevant to their specific needs.

What we as A Church – a single group of God-fearing Christians – must do is to break the masses up into smaller groups of people and reach them in ways that are relevant to them. Church A then ministers to one group while Church B ministers to another. Why work against each other and expect Church A to be everything to everyone. It won’t work. If you encounter someone at Church A not being reached, let them know about Church B, or even better, Church C that just started around the corner.

We do this so well with international missions, breaking people groups up and providing materials in their language, storyboards, and dramatic presentations, how come we forget that there are multiple groups of people right outside our doors? Just because we all live in the same community doesn’t mean we all worship the same way.

If Church A happens to have two services, and is still missing their target(s – there could be more than one), maybe a third service, or modifying one of the existing two is in order. It isn’t about a single style of worship or about the music, it is how best to relate the message in away that is relevant to their target audience.

There has been an uprising of community churches with multiple campuses or satellites. This is not only to cover a larger geographic area (churches are all about numbers, you know), but is also to be more relevant to different groups of people in the community.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to be relevant in our presentation, because the distractions wouldn’t exist. Our vision of God would be clear and the desire to know Him would be inherent in all of us (it truly is, but we don’t realize it) from the start. Therefore we would already be at the point of “What can I do for Him” rather than the selfish, human “what can He do for me?”

The problem here is that the people we’re trying to bring into the church and minister to are not able to grasp a concept of “what can I do for Him.” That takes time. We must first be patient and understand that before they can get there, they need to understand “What can He do for me?”

Speak their language. Be relevant. Be passionate. Don’t be afraid to point someone in a different direction (not the same as turning them away) that speaks to them. Work together. If you want to be more things to more people, realize that it’s going to take time & effort and can’t be accomplished in one or two ways.

Gadget Watcher

Pretty cool, to-the-point gadget site at Gadget Watcher. I pay pretty close attention to Engadget, but they’ve gone a little wonky gratuitous on what they include in their articles. I only care about maybe 10% of the stuff I see at Engadget. I like the little boutique shops, hence my interest in Gadget Watcher. There’s no bloat; They focus on the cool and useful, not just the cool; And the favicon made me think I was looking at our current President’s site for just long enough to second guess myself.

Update: Engadget themselves said in a PSP-related article today

Yes, we’re aware this is entirely gratuitous given that we already knew the ceramic PSP was gonna be launching today. But, you know — we’re big fans of gratuitous. Whaddya want?

I couldn’t have said it better myself. “Gratuitous” is exactly the word I was looking for yesterday. Thanks, Engadget!

Increase or maintain accessibility?

Over at Digital Web yesterday, Christian Heilmann wrote a very insightful article on why clients don’t care about accessibility on the web. The article does a great job being rather pessimistic (in a good way) about explaining why our job as developers is a tough one.

I’ve been called an idealist – and am proud of it – when it comes to various ideas. One of these is innovation and technology. Web standards and accessibility are something you HAVE to think about. It makes things better. Get out of your comfort zone and jump on board now. It will make the rest of your career so much easier.

What gets me in his article is something he points out in his short list of bullet points on what we can do:

Make sure you’ve got your facts straight before releasing another “accessibility” article or blog entry (rounded corners in CSS do not increase accessibility, really, they don’t!)

I personally try not to write terribly technical articles here. One, because I don’t really have an audience for it. And two, because I typically don’t really care about the techniques as much as I do the theory behind the techniques.

However, to respond to the comment regarding round corners increasing accessibility, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read an article that said such techniques increase accessibility as much as they maintain accessibility. We all know there are solutions out there that actually make certain problems worse. Most of the techniques to incorporate rounded corners into a css-based design do so with ridiculous amounts of extra markup and do lessen accessibility as such. However, that does not mean that other techniques increase acessiblity, but they may maintain it.

Not a DDOS

I know most of you think that since this website is so popular, that it came under attach yesterday, but the LA power outages took down my web host. Why don’t these people have backup power. There were a very large number of websites that I regularly visit down yesterday, for reasons that I can only assume are related to the power outages.

Itching for a reason

Rarely do I actually get excited about a produt. As Scrivs has recently pointed out, hype is readily available on the web. From anything 37signals puts out, to Blinksale from Firewheel Design, you can’t click three times without seeing someone say “[Insert app name here] is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen – a life saver” or something very similar.

And each of the companies developing these apps build on that hype by saying “10,000 people signed up on day one.” Okay, great. Tell me how many of those were using the free version (read: trying it out), how many are at each level, and how many are still actively using the product 6 months, 1 year, 2 years down the road. That to me is what makes a solid product worthy of hype, not how many people you can get to sign up based on advance marketing.

However, there is one product that I just plain can’t wait to use. I read an interview with the company’s CEO this morning. I found the product when I was looking for some solutions for a company I used to work for. We were needing to better manage email newsletters and this looked like the exact answer to our needs. Too bad I couldn’t convince management of that.

Now that I’m in business for myself, I just can’t wait until I need to send out some material. I WANT to write a newsletter just to use the service. When someone wants to use your product so badly they’re looking for ways to do so, you’re doing something right. Kudos to the Campaign Monitor team.


Keith wrote an insightful article I felt I needed to link. Well put, Keith. Thank you.