Episode Number 34

2014 Year in Review

Dec 11, 2014 @ 11AM MT

Another year, another year in review! We introduce our Bright Umbrella intern Erin Lewis, discussing why we needed an intern, while Erin talks about what she’s learned from the experience. Each of us also look back at what we learned in 2014, sharing our top resources for design, development and social media tools. We then take a closer look at our rapid-fire 10 questions and the common responses from our 2014 guests, before answering the questions ourselves!

Tags:
year end
tech
business
quality of life
learning
insights

Episode Transcript

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[Music]

Lea Alcantara:  You are listening to CTRL+CLICK CAST.  We inspect the web for you!  Today we’re taking a look back at 2014 in our annual year in review, and we have a very special guest joining us: our Bright Umbrella intern, Erin Lewis.  I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host:

Emily Lewis:  Emily Lewis! 

Lea Alcantara:  Today’s episode is sponsored by Visual Chefs, a versatile web development agency with expertise in content management system and custom web application development.  Through partnerships with designers, agencies and organizations, Visual Chefs’ propels the web forward. 

Speaking of forward, Pixel & Tonic has just released Craft 2.3.  The big, new feature is that you can now perform actions on your elements from their index pages.  For example, you can edit entries using a modal window or delete a batch of them at once.  They’ve made several other improvements throughout the system that made Craft more scalable and improved the UX.  Check out buildwithcraft.com for a video overview of the new feature and full release notes.

[Music ends]

Emily Lewis:  Since this is our year in review episode, we couldn’t do an honest look back at 2014 without talking about our intern, Erin, so it is serendipitous that we’re recording this episode during Thanksgiving week while Erin is actually here in Albuquerque with me.  We convinced her to join the show so that she could share some of her insights from the past year.  But before we get to that, let me introduce Erin. 

She’s a private school librarian back in her home state of Maryland, but she’s always had an interest in the web and technology.  She joined the Bright Umbrella team in April of this year as an intern so she could explore new career path and expand her skills, all while helping Lea and me with everything from social media to business development.  She’s become absolutely invaluable to us.  Oh, and she’s my sister. 

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Welcome to the show, Erin.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Thank you.  Thank you for having me. 

Lea Alcantara:  So Erin, can you tell our listeners a bit more about yourself?

Erin Lewis:  Sure.  When I’m not working, I’m usually at the park with my dog or going for a run.  I like to play music and paint when I have time and inspiration. And I love watching trashy TV with my friends and eating good food.

Lea Alcantara:  Nice.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  So my life is very simple, but it’s good.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Sounds fun.  So let’s get started.  How about this internship…  So Em, why did we even consider an intern?

Emily Lewis:  Well, to just put it frankly, free help sounded really good to me.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  I have a friend and colleague in town who runs his own screen-printing business, and there’s a local arts and tech school that has students that take on internships with different businesses, and he was telling me about it. And I was really interested in it, but I was a little concerned that a high school student would have the kind of work ethic that I wanted.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  Not to mention someone I could trust because, specifically, we really wanted some help with social media to start.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  And so giving a 17- or 18-year-old access to our podcast and Bright Umbrella social media accounts kind of freaked me out a little bit. 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  And so I think Erin and I were just talking at some point, and I just sort of thought, “Would you be interested in doing something like an internship to see if you find something of interest to sort of take your career in a new direction?”

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  And I talked about it with you.  You were like, “As long as you trust your sister, I trust you.”  So it was really a chance to get some help with our workload, and particularly some of the tasks that you and I really don’t like to do. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, yeah. 

Emily Lewis:  Social media…

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I think there’s going to be a lot of that discussion throughout this episode, trying to figure out like what are we actually wanting to do, and how do we focus on our business. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So how about you, Erin, why would you take on an internship when you already have a full-time job. 

Erin Lewis:  Well, my job in the library has some tech aspects to it.  I maintain our website and blog and do a little bit of design with promotional materials and stuff like that.  So those are the parts of my job that I find most interesting or that I’ve grown to find most interesting. So the idea of interning for you guys sounded kind of awesome because it’s a way for me to explore and find out some new things and then develop those skills that I can’t really develop much further at work.  Being Emily’s sister, the tech world has always been close to me.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  But not something that I’ve really delved into with both feet, and so it just seemed like a good opportunity for me to try it out and help you guys at the same time. 

Emily Lewis:  So how has the experience been for you?  And I’m totally sitting an inch from your face right now.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Right.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  You’re very close to me right now. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  I love it.  It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  No, really, it’s been a huge learning experience for me so far.  When I first started out, a lot of it seemed really foreign to me, and I was kind of hesitant and unsure and not very confident in what I was doing, particularly with social media.  I am familiar with using social media, but hadn’t really done a tremendous amount of it personally.  So taking on your guys’ social media accounts, I was a little nervous at first at making sure I’m saying the right thing and that I capture your vision and your voice.  But through the whole process, I feel like I’ve become a better writer.  I’ve become a better analyst, I guess, of our data, and I’ve just become more comfortable with what you guys do.  It’s been a really great experience so far. 

Emily Lewis:  What about you, Lea?  What’s been your experience having an intern, having Erin specifically work with us?

Lea Alcantara:  I love it.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  I mean, it’s one of those things where I knew we needed help mostly because we have a lot on our plate.  Especially when you’re just working by yourself, you kind of just do everything. And then adding even just one other person, so just now it’s you and me, that added a lot of extra things that we needed to do.  It was becoming really kind of burdensome that we both had to do it when we just wanted to focus on design or development work. But there’s the reality of running the business and the reality of marketing.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And there are some things that I like about that, but there are other things that I’m not so crazy about.  So when you first came to me and said like, “Why don’t we try to get Erin to do some of the stuff that we don’t like to do about those aspects?”  I was like, “Yes, let’s see how it goes.”  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  It’s like she’s like Mikey… she’ll eat it.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Yeah.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, exactly, and then when we finally got Erin and throughout this experience working with her, it’s just been so great in terms of a huge weight off of our shoulders .And the fact that she learned so quickly, too, to the point where she started giving us suggestions on how to approach the social media and all that stuff that we just didn’t stop and think about, especially because when you’re in a business, sometimes you just need to execute. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And that doesn’t always necessarily mean we’re executing the absolute best way because we don’t have a 100% of our attention or interest on it.  So an easy comparison is with this podcast’s tweets:  It was just you and me, and we tweet and we’d retweet and just like do the typical things, but something like posting a new episode, we’d be like, “Okay, so this episode is up.  Thanks everyone.” 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, exactly.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  And that was our tweet, like there was no necessarily creativity.  It got the job done, but it took someone like Erin who has this objective, outside perspective and also because she’s focused on the job to be able to tell us, “Perhaps we need to explain to people what the episode is about.”  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  “Perhaps we need to give them a tidbit as to why they need to listen to the show as opposed to just broadcasting.”  So things like that, I’ve always thought, “Wow, we needed that.”  We just didn’t have the time or the motivation to do it and having Erin have all of that has been great.

Emily Lewis:  I echo that sentiment.  You know how I feel about social media.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah. 

Emily Lewis:  And so having her do it for us and do it so much better than we were doing it, it’s not only an annoyance off my shoulders, but I feel like we’re still connecting with the community that we want to connect with in the voice that is us, you know?

Lea Alcantara:  Yes.

Emily Lewis:  There’s nothing fake, it’s all still us.  Erin and we collaborate really regularly on what we’re putting out there and how we’re communicating and what we can do to connect more with our listeners and promote our guests and promote our sponsors.  So I couldn’t be happier. And now we’re getting her to help us more with our business development with proposals and lead generation, and I’m just really excited about how much she learned, how much she’s picked up, and what else she can do for us and for herself.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and I want to also iterate that Emily and I still jump in on all our social media. 

Emily Lewis:  Oh, we’re paying attention, absolutely. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, and sometimes we also still execute the replies and all that fun stuff.  The point is that anyone who listens to our social media should not have any idea which of us is doing it because we’re all like one voice.

Emily Lewis:  And just to plug a recent blog post that I wrote about Bright Umbrella’s messaging and how we try and have a really consistent voice for both Bright Umbrella and CTRL+CLICK CAST, I mean, that’s a good example of how the three of us are able to stay on the same page and how we’re communicating.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely. 

Emily Lewis:  All right, so before we get to our year in review, I just wanted to quick mention to our listeners that Erin will be blogging about her internship experiences on Bright Umbrella’s blog in 2015, so please be sure you’re following @abrightumbrella on Twitter, or are subscribed to our RSS which we’ll link to in our show notes. 

All right, we’re going to follow the same format we followed in past years where we’re going to talk about the tech things we’ve learned this year, some of the business things we’ve learned this year, quality of life personal things, and then we’ll sort of sum up with what we want to do better or learn next year.  So Lea, why don’t I start with you?  What was the top tech-related thing that you learned this year? 

Timestamp:  00:10:10

Lea Alcantara:  I feel like people have been talking about documentation and version control over and over again, but I think 2014 was the first year where I was actually very diligent in doing both. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And by doing so, it saved my butt several times this year.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  So there were a few times, obviously, I don’t know why I strayed from documenting or properly pushing the changes.  I think as soon as you get into the workflow and you’re like, “Oh, I don’t need to push or whatever.” 

Emily Lewis:  Right.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  And each time I did that was a regretful mistake, but every time I documented or push something to Beanstalk, it’s always managed to be a good thing. And I have to say that most of those issues were related to upgrading ExpressionEngine

Emily Lewis:  That’s interesting, especially because you can’t version control the database, so it wasn’t even just database related. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, so it was just remembering to even export the database and every time you make control panel changes and stuff like that.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And most of it was related to add-ons and things like that, but it would have been all alleviated if I had documented properly or pushed at each change, and I think after those learning experiences and because I was diligent the last couple of times that we did it again, that we knew what to look out for, you know?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And we were able to even communicate that with each other with our upgrading document. Like after I had all my issues, I’d actually tell you about, “Okay, so when you’re going to be upgrading that other site, look out for this, this, this and this.”

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  The other tech thing I have to say speaking of version control, since the new Tower 2 — that’s the GUI-based system that we use for version control instead of command line — Tower 2 has been great.  Originally, when it when it was Tower 1, it was so weirdly buggy that every time I tried to commit something, it would hang and people who follow me on Twitter will know I kept saying like, “Why is it hanging?  Does anyone have any issues or whatever?”  And I eventually had to use command line, and that’s always scary for me because even though it works, it’s one of those things where it’s like I feel like I need a GUI bar to show progress to see that it’s working.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So if you’re into a GUI-based easy version control workflow, that just clearly shows you where things have changed, how it’s going, et cetera.  Tower 2 has been excellent, and working with Tower and Beanstalk — which is our repository — has been a game changer.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  And finally, this final tech thing might seem really trivial, but Emily and I went to CSS Dev Conf, and my favorite talk out of the entire thing was Wes Bos’s Sublime Power User. presentation. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, it was so good.

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, so a lot of the things he pointed out at that presentation was everyday things that affect our work and had immediate impact.  It was one of those things where after the first five minutes of his talk, we could leave that room and already do things better day-to-day, which reminds me we need to buy his book.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]  You need to send me a reminder. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah. 

Emily Lewis:  We’ll make sure we link to his book in the show notes.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah. 

Emily Lewis:  All right, so how about you, Erin?  What has been the top tech stuff you learned this year?

Erin Lewis:  Well, most of what I’ve done for Bright Umbrella so far has been social media related, so I’ll share what I’ve learned in that arena.  I found that when it comes to tracking social media, there isn’t an end-all, be-all solution that’s just going to spit out the perfect report with everything you need to see.  I was kind of on the hunt for that when we first started collecting data, but I found that you kind of got to muck around a little bit to get a full picture of at least what we’re trying to look at.  I’ve learned to take bits from a number of different spots and piece together a snapshot of our presence and engagement, and that helps to inform what we’re going to do in the future.  But it definitely took me a minute to find where I could get which information, you know?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  Some of it is from outside apps.  I get some analytics from within Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn.  I just really kind of piece it all together. 

Emily Lewis:  Let me interrupt you, so I know we use HootSuite.

Erin Lewis:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  How much was that helpful in the data analysis?

Erin Lewis:  I really like using HootSuite for sending out our tweets and managing all of our outgoing communications. But with regards to analytics, there are some that I get from HootSuite, but it does not have everything that we need.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  And beyond the basic plan — which is what we have — it gets pretty pricey to add on more reports, and I’ve even looked at some examples of those reports, and it’s not necessarily what we need. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  So it provides some, but not a full picture by any means.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  A mixture of HootSuite, Google Analytics, the native analytics that are in the different social media platforms, a couple of other apps…  I mean, it really is all over the place, but I’ve sort of got it streamlined down to a system. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  We’re just checking each of those at certain intervals throughout the month … you get a good picture.

Lea Alcantara:  So were there particular tools you found useful then?

Erin Lewis:  Yes, outside of the analytics that are inside the apps, I like Topsy for tracking where tweets have come from.  I found it on some blog … I wish I could remember who it was, but I used the Topsy Trackbacks bookmarklet, which makes it just a click to see who has tweeted a particular URL.  That’s really helpful if I see that we’ve gotten some flow to the site from somewhere on Twitter, but I don’t know where that tweet came from. 

I’ve also started using SharedCount, and that gives you stats on URL shares from all of the different platforms in one spot, so it gives you a really nice overview, and I found that one particularly helpful with LinkedIn, because LinkedIn offers real spotty analytics so using SharedCount to track our LinkedIn shares has been helpful for me. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  And the good thing of using HootSuite is they use those shortened URLs.  You can use those shortened URLs to track within those outside apps, so you see the specific shares of those tweets on the larger picture.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  I don’t know if that make sense.  So I don’t really know if what I’m doing is the best way to do it, but it works for me.  I feel like it works for us.  I’m always trying to learn.  I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and reading articles to see if there’s a new and better way to do what I’m doing.  I really like the Social Media Examiner podcast.  I’ve gotten a lot of helpful tips from those guys, and there’s good info out there, you just have to be willing to take time to find it.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah. 

Lea Alcantara:  So how about you, Em?  How about your top tech stuff?

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I’m kind of pleased to say that this year mine are all front-end related because as you know, Lea, front-end is my…

Lea Alcantara:  Your jam.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  It’s my jam.  So yeah, it’s all front-end related, but interestingly, not stuff that’s brand new to me, it’s more like 2014 was a process of mastery.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  The first is that I’ve just gotten better with Sass.  I have a lot left to learn and experiment with, but I was reading our transcript from our Year In Review last year, and I’m light years of where I was, particularly knowing what not to do. 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  Because there’s all this stuff you can do in Sass that you think you’re being efficient, but it’s actually causing code bloat. And then the second thing that I feel like I’ve kind of mastered a little bit more is my approach to CSS, particularly in terms of naming and use of classes.  For example, making a decision for our Starter Files with using a single or multiple class method and sub-classing.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  And all of that is true inspiration from Jonathan Snook’s SMACSS.  I don’t follow SMACSS to the letter of what he described, but he just breaks everything down so simply and gives you food for thought that lets you sit back and think, “Well, what’s going to work best for me?” 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  And then you pick and choose what you want to use.  Then the third thing front-end related that I feel like I’ve been mastering this year is keeping my HTML chops tight.  Two things particularly stand out for me in that regard.  The first, Aaron Gustafson, who we had on the show a long time ago, he did a really great presentation on forms.

Lea Alcantara:  Yes.

Emily Lewis:  I’ll link to it in the show notes, but I just went through his presentation, and I created a base form module with all of the optimizations that Aaron recommended.  I tested them all out on the devices and browsers and different assisted technologies, and decided what was best for me, documented the hell out of it. And this was the first time I took extra time to focus on my forms.  I mean, it’s been years since I really thought about them.  So where I am now, thanks to Aaron’s tips, I feel it’s a really strong place to start for any form that we have. Not to mention that I styled everything so as to have base styles for all of our forms, which is efficient.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  Then the last thing and the other HTML-related thing that I’m glad I started focusing on again this year is structured data.  Some of our listeners may know that I have a bit of a thing for microformats, but I hadn’t really been focused on them in a long time, so I’ve been incorporating microformats into all of our modules for our starter files along with Schema.org, which is the microdata library, I guess, you could call it from Google, Yahoo and Bing, and I think Yandex as well. And so I’ve been adding both of those and getting more familiar with what’s required for each, how they can work side by side to help me further define whether I’m going to pursue microformats for client projects or Schema.org or keep both of them together. 

Timestamp:  00:19:54

Lea Alcantara:  So it sounds like you really like dove deeper.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  You dove much deeper into what you do day-to-day this year.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, and also the Open Graph metadata and Twitter Card metadata and G+ metadata.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  I’m trying to put that in all of our projects, having it be part of our Starter Files, and sort of getting familiar with how those work and how to optimize them so that our sites, the podcast site and Bright Umbrella site, as well as our client sites have great social media previews. 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.  So alongside all the tech stuff that all of us were learning this year, we had a lot of business things to also learn about. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  So Em, since you’re the owner of Bright Umbrella, why don’t you get started?  What did you learn this year about business?

Emily Lewis:  It was an interesting lesson and kind of a hard lesson to learn. But the lesson is, it’s all about the hustle. 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  It’s been a really tough year for the business and the podcast financially, just to be straight about it.  To be fair, we didn’t pursue as many new opportunities in the first half of the year because of our Bright Umbrella rebrand, so new work was slow and somewhat narrow in scope than we would normally like, and then from the podcast’s perspective, we had a harder time attracting sponsors than we had experienced previously.  So when that’s the reality, the only thing we could possibly do is hustle.  We emailed people we know.  We emailed people we don’t know.  We emailed regularly. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  We followed up on every possibility.  We responded to more RFPs than I ever thought possible or wanted to. We blogged a lot.  We were aggressive in our social media and totally thanks to Erin. And of course, we really focused on making the relationships with our current customers stronger.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  But that meant more calls, more emails, more thinking about what we could do for them. And to me all of this falls under hustling.  In a good year we barely have to do any of this, but when a year is slow, hustling means I can pay my employees.  Even if I’m not paying myself. I can pay all of our bills. And most of all, and this is what’s really important, that hustle, it keeps me optimistic about the coming years, because why else why I bust my ass this hard if I didn’t believe it was possible to achieve success in the long term?

Lea Alcantara:  Right, right.

Emily Lewis:  And so the lesson is that hustle is and has got to be present all the time during a good year or bad. Period.

Lea Alcantara:  Yes.  How about you, Erin, what have you learned?

Erin Lewis:  Well, working for you guys, Bright Umbrella, I’ve learned that it’s meaningful for me to work for a company that takes part in its community and cares about its clients in a real way.

Emily Lewis:  Awww.

Erin Lewis:  It might seem like an obvious thing.  I don’t know, there’s a big trend out there right now for folks to be authentic almost so much that it negates the idea of authenticity.  It’s like a trend, which seems silly. But I get to see the real thing in action every day working for you guys, and it’s become something that I really value in what you do. 

It just wasn’t something I had really considered before.  I used to think, “Well, a job is a job, and if you make money, cool.”  But you guys work really hard to contribute to your community and I like that.  It’s something I’m proud to be a part of and it’s something that I want to seek out to continue to be a part of either with you guys or through another company that shares similar values.

Lea Alcantara:  Awww, Erin.

Emily Lewis:  That makes me feel really good. 

Lea Alcantara:  Hurray!

Erin Lewis:  I’m being authentic. I swear.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  How about you, Lea, what was your business lesson this year?

Lea Alcantara:  I feel like we learned to make decisions faster. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Not that I think we languished before, I think that was something both you and I are very good at, we’re very decisive. But more so this year 2014, time is money and that becomes more clear when working in a team.  When I was just working for myself, no matter how long or how short I worked, in the end I was only affecting myself. But now that Emily and I are a team, it meant that we can’t be leisurely testing things out all the time, like we can’t just be like, “Oh, let’s try this.  Let’s try that.” 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Anytime we do that, we might be potentially wasting time.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And we just didn’t have the luxury for that. And anytime you don’t spend on billable hours/billable work or earning money, that means we have to actively pick and choose where that other research time or an experimenting time was spent. Because it is important to do that because otherwise all you’re doing is just spinning your wheels or just doing work but not moving forward, and we wanted to move forward.  I also wanted to talk about your hustling … but it made it very clear that we needed to be comfortable with communicating more frequently. 

Emily Lewis:  Right.  I never was comfortable with being aggressive on social media.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I’m going to annoy people.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Right.  So I feel like part of the reason why I think we hesitated before is because we didn’t want to be intrusive.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  But here’s a surprising thing, we found actually that by reaching out, people put us back on top of mind. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  When we weren’t before, I think the dangerous assumption that we had was that people will just automatically thought of us, and that is not the case.  I mean, a lot of people know who we are.  We have the podcast.  There are a lot of people listening to us on a regular basis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always thinking of us top of mind or that we’re available. 

It makes sense that because we have all busy lives, that we value everyone’s time. But if you don’t actually reach out, no one will think of you explicitly, especially if all our peers are in the web design development industry if we don’t out and out say, “Think of us.”  They might think of somebody else.

And I feel like this year, we’re still trying to find the balance regarding how to be personable while succinct.  So businesswise for me, the thing that I think I’m trying to still learn is how to have business communications that are short and sweet while conveying the information that I want, and it’s always hard because I want to be able to convey as much as possible so that there’s no…

Emily Lewis:  Nothing is left to assumptions. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, exactly, exactly. And I want to also do that while still keeping my voice.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And feel where people understand that it’s Lea talking to them, not just business form letter. So that’s something that I think we are still ongoing.  I know I’m still ongoing trying to figure out in terms of business how to communicate better.

Emily Lewis:  So moving from business, let’s shift now to talk about the personal or quality of life things we each learned this year.  How about you start, Erin?

Erin Lewis:  I’m very excited about this section because it gives me yet another opportunity to talk about running.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  And everybody who knows me has heard a million times this year, 2014 was all about running.  I trained for and ran my first marathon. 

Emily Lewis:  Woohoo!

Lea Alcantara:  Yay!

Erin Lewis:  It was the hardest and more rewarding thing that I’ve ever done.  I think of all the education I’ve gotten and all the different life experiences I’ve had that running the marathon just did something for me mentally and physically that I just never experienced before.  I had to focus in ways that I’ve never even tried. 

If you’re on some crazy 20-mile run, you need to just get your mind right, quiet your mind, and work on your goal, and not think about whatever other little noise tries to come through. And I don’t think I’ve ever truly been able to do that before, but I feel like I can do it now and I can do it in other areas of my life, just professionally and personally.  So just getting that focus and really just concentrating on the goal, setting goals that seem kind of impossible and then going for it.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  Cool.  Very cool.

Emily Lewis:  I know I’m so, so proud of Erin.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  I have to say I always admire people who go for those types of goals.  My sister and her husband are those marathon-runner-type-adventure people too. And her husband more so than my sister, and so the fact that she hasn’t trained all her life unlike Mark, her husband, and that she’s still like, “I’m going to go try it too,” it’s so like that’s cool, man.

Erin Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Like that takes a lot of effort and gumption and just finishing, especially when you don’t have as much as training as others, and it’s like, “Wow, that’s crazy.” 

Emily Lewis:  Well, and I think it’s also important to mention, you had a major injury a couple of years ago. 

Erin Lewis:  I did.

Emily Lewis:  And so the fact that you were able to like … you proved to yourself that your body and your mind were capable of overcoming that.

Erin Lewis:  It’s true.  Yeah, three years ago I couldn’t walk for like six months, and then I ran a marathon, and there’s just something magical about that for me. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]  All right, how about you, Lea?

Lea Alcantara:  I know last year I mentioned I wanted to prioritize travel that had nothing to do with business. And I think I managed to do that this year, and I’m so happy, and I think I’ve only been able to do that without guilt or worry this year because I’m really no longer working by myself.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So I don’t have that burden of “Oh no, what’s going to happen?”  [Laughs]  And it’s something that I realized I definitely need to stay happy and healthy because it motivates me to also get back to work.  I’m definitely that type of person who can’t sit on a beach with a Mai Tai for like 12 hours. I could do that for a few days, but then afterwards, I’m like, “I got to do something now.”  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  I think it’s been great for you.  I get excited for you when you had your trips planned out.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Because I have not quite learned this lesson myself yet.  [Laughs]  But I agree, I think not only does it get you motivated back to work, but it keeps you happy. 

Timestamp:  00:29:52

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  I want you to be happy. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and I mean, it’s one of those clich├ęs, I guess.  Everyone knows or everyone says that you need to take a break and blah, blah, blah. And then it’s harder to actually do that, especially for someone with my personality. And then when you actually do, it’s like, “Oh my gosh, it’s so great.”  For example, the trip to Ecuador, I took this Swing at the End of the World.

Emily Lewis:  Oh, right.

Lea Alcantara:  And I was able to do that. I was able to meet my brother-in-law, my sister married an Ecuadorian. And we had local tour guide essentially because both of them live there, and that was so fantastic. And then I’m heading to Hawaii actually. 

Emily Lewis: Just like in a couple of days!

Erin Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, exactly, and I’ll be there to reconnect with some friends back from Edmonton.  So it’s one of those things where I feel like it’s emotional rejuvenation than anything. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And speaking of emotional stuff, another thing is I think it really matters that my husband, Rob, and I talked to each other frequently about what we’re up to regarding our careers.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So in terms of top personal quality of life, being interested in each other’s work is so important, I think.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And a friend of the show, Erik Reagan, has been giving presentations on business and marriage.

Emily Lewis:  Oh right.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and what kind of discussions you should have regarding business and personal, what the priorities are in life. And I think it’s important to have these discussions on a regular basis because I think one of the problems that some couples might have is your career might be your own thing, and it’s a silo, and even if your partner doesn’t do the same thing or is in the same industry, it’s important to know where they’re at because it’s something they’re doing the majority of their day, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And if you can’t have that discussion with your partner, I think that could lead to problems and issues, and in regards to that with us, it’s like how we want to move forward with our career.  For example, Rob has got a job at Amazon, and that made us leave Canada, you know?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And that’s a huge decision, and having to discuss that and to see where we’re at, to see where our next steps are and things like that, I think it’s really important.  I feel like I’m really fortunate that I have a partner that likes to bring it up, like he brings it up more than even I do, which is great. 

Emily Lewis:  We’ll have to sure to dig up a link to Erik’s presentation for the show notes.

Lea Alcantara:  Oh yeah, for sure.  And finally, the last personal thing I think that’s been really good for me, since moving to Seattle because I didn’t really know very many people … like I knew people that work on the web, but then there’s a huge gulf between acquaintances and friends, right?

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  And when you’re new in the city, especially as an adult, most people pretty much agree that it’s hard to make friends as an adult.  But when you’re new in the city, it’s like it forces you to do so, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  It forces you to reach out and continue to deal with those kinds of things, and I feel like having a good circle of friends that isn’t related to the web is great.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  I think great thing for quality of life and personal growth. And it actually does affect your career because I feel like speaking to like minds are great and I help with Refresh Seattle and obviously I speak to all my web friends too, but I feel like that can be an echo chamber after a while and speaking to someone who doesn’t have as technical a mindset, I feel like that raises my empathy towards those that don’t get what we do day-to-day.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  There are a lot of people that don’t get what we do, so yeah, I think having circle of friends that have no idea of what we’re doing is good.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, anything that’s going to make you more empathic is going to make you better at your job.  I mean, that’s what we talked to Whitney about for our last episode.

Lea Alcantara:  So Em, how about you, what was the top personal quality of life things you’ve learned this year?

Emily Lewis:  Well, just a little bit of background — and it’s probably obvious to anyone who’s been a regular listener — but this business, the podcast and Bright Umbrella, has been my main priority since I started working for myself almost five years ago, and I have zero regrets about that because I really love what I’m doing, what we’re doing, and I’m genuinely optimistic about our future. 

But that focus on business, combined with a period of general depression that I experienced in response to some challenges in my personal life, it led me to completely neglecting myself almost for some of last year and most of this year.  But I’m happy now that I’m sort of coming out of this depression, and I can see that while I need to keep the focus on the business, the only way to keep the focus on the business is to make sure I’m taking time for myself, particularly the “being active” type of time.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  So I brought activity back into my life, and my body feels and is stronger, and I’m getting back into shape, but there are no words for how much it’s helped me with the stress related to the business.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  I mean, the rebrand this year was a major, major…

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  I don’t even know what the word is, but change, transition, I don’t know, whatever it was, it was huge. And it was extremely stressful, and then to combine that with the very slow year, that’s even more stressful. And I ended up dipping into my savings and I hired back the personal trainer I used to work out with, and we’re now training together four times a week.  One of those days is with my boyfriend, Jason, when we do partner training.  I’m kickboxing again.  I’m getting in shape for a ski vacation early next year. And thanks to my sister Erin’s passion for running, I’m actually attempting to run which is exceptional in and of itself because I really thought I would never run unless chased.

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Unless zombie apocalypse, yeah.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Exactly.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Even then I would be one of the first to dies. 

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Oh my gosh.

Emily Lewis:  But it’s having that time that I take for myself each day.  Four times a week, it’s with my trainer, but I’m also trying to take time on the days that I’m not with her. And it’s a priority that I do not cancel.  I don’t reschedule.  I do it because I know it helps me deal with the business.  It helps me deal with the stress, and the business really is important to me, and so if this is what I need to do, it helps me and it helps the business.

Lea Alcantara:  Oh, I would have to say I totally, totally agree.  I mean, growing up I was never really the active one.  That was my sister, the one that I mentioned was the marathon runner, who does all the sports and stuff, and I was the reader-sitting-down-on-my-butt person. [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And I think I’m proud to say that I guess I’m a regular athletic-type person now, I consider myself. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  I exercise regularly and definitely, it took me years to get to this point where I don’t even think about it, it’s just part of my routine, you know? 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  It’s just part of my routine to work out.  It’s part of my routine to … I still love food as you know.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  I love it, and I’m never going to get into crazy ripped shape because of that, but it’s just a part of my life now to be active, and I enjoy it. And it was one of those things I didn’t use to enjoy at first.  It was one of those things where I’d gotten to a point in my body and my health that was not good, and so it was an emergency to do something about it.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  But you need to start with those baby steps, and I think the most important thing too is to do something you actually like, right?

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, absolutely. 

Lea Alcantara:  Because if you force yourself to do something that you absolutely hate…

Emily Lewis:  It’s a chore.

Lea Alcantara:  You’re absolutely not going to be doing it like, for example, I know you guys love running, but I hate it. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, don’t say “you guys.”  She loves running. 

Erin Lewis:  Yeah, I love running.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  You’re willing to give it a shot. 

Emily Lewis:  I’m trying to see if I can find some love for it.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, but for me, I like brisk walking.  I like hiking.  I like doing all this stuff, but running for me, unless it’s a short sprint, is not for me, but I love weightlifting.  I’m like the girl with pumping iron and doing all of that like crazy stuff.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  I’m not a CrossFitter, but I admire people who can lift heavy and are strong. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Especially because I’m 5 feet tall, tiny Asian woman being able to lift a lot of pounds just makes me feel like a superhero, you know?

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  It is feeling like…

Erin Lewis:  Like strong…

Emily Lewis:  Feeling strong, exactly. 

Erin Lewis:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  And I think if you are listening and you struggle with being active, which is kind of like where I was for a large part of this year, like Lea said, picking something you like.  But for me, it wasn’t like, “Oh, I’m going to do this to lose weight, or I’m going to do this to get into shape.”  Because those are things that I can justify skipping, but if I’m doing it because I need to manage my stress so I can be better with my business, like that’s my priority, I tied it to the priority that’s in my life.

Lea Alcantara:  Right. 

Emily Lewis:  All right, so we’ve looked back at this past year, and I think overall, it sounds like it was a really good year for all of us.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Despite some of the challenges….ending up pretty good.

Erin Lewis:  Oh, we’re all pretty good. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah. 

Emily Lewis:  We overcame! 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  So let’s talk about next year.  Erin, what do you want to learn or try or understand better next year?

Erin Lewis:  Everything.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Is that a possible answer?  I’m super excited about writing for the blog, so I’m hoping that will be an opportunity for me to find and develop my own voice through writing and a little longer than a 140 characters. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve never really delved into it, and certainly not in any kind of serious professional sort of capacity, so I’m psyched about that.  I’m also excited to learn more of the business development for Bright Umbrella, and then even some design or web development.  I just want to learn about all of it. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  I want to learn about everything and get really good at all of it. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  So yeah, that’s it. 

Lea Alcantara:  I think it’s a really good thing for the web, diving into the web industry. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  You can essentially dip your toes in everything. 

Timestamp:  00:39:45

Emily Lewis:  It is, and I think that’s one of the reasons just like not as a business owner wanting an intern, but as a sister wanting my sister to have professional satisfaction.  The web, you could do anything in it.  You can do social media, which is marketing and communication.  You can do analysis of data.  You can design things.  You can build things. Like you really can explore so many different facets of what you might be capable of, all within a single industry. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and you could either focus or you could do all of the above. 

Emily Lewis:  Generalize. 

Erin Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, exactly.  That’s like the best thing about this industry. 

Erin Lewis:  I think that’s what so cool about it too is that it seems pretty inviting, like people share their resources and you guys want to take me on board. 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Erin Lewis:  I mean, I know that I’m helping you, but you’re also teaching me a tremendous amount, so I think that the community and the way that it shares is really conducive to someone who’s brand new just kind of jumping in and seeing what’s what.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, totally.  I love the web.  We’re lucky. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yes. 

Emily Lewis:  We’ve very blessed people. 

Lea Alcantara:  I have to say that’s so true, especially when I look in my other sisters that aren’t part of our industry and some of the weirdness — or what I consider weirdness — of how competitive certain industries could be or close minded in terms of not sharing information.  It’s so weird, but that’s the reality for some other industries that isn’t the web.  So Em, how about you, what are you going to try to learn or understand for next year?

Emily Lewis:  In 2015 I want to wear my “mature business owner” hat. 

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  During Digital Biz Summit, Jason Blumer gave a really great inspirational talk about the top signs of a mature business owner. And from what he shared, I feel like I have a lot to learn, and so next year I want to be smarter and more strategic, particularly in setting limits for the business.

Erin Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  Because Lea, you know we both really get excited about all the things we can and want to do. But from a financial and productivity perspective, these things have to be prioritized, and sometimes that means we cannot do something for six months or a year.

Lea Alcantara:  Right. 

Emily Lewis:  So I’d like to reach that realization sooner than I have in the past to reduce the time I often waste going down a rabbit hole before I realize that it isn’t a smart use of our time or resources right now.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  And with the year we’ve had in 2014, I want 2015 to be all about focus and good use of our energies, so I’m hoping that we don’t do anything new or crazy. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  That we just focus on the business and doing the good work we do and keeping the great clients we have. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely. 

Emily Lewis:  So you, Lea, what about you?

Lea Alcantara:  For me, I feel like I’d like to open my mind to other design tools.  For me, I love Photoshop and I think a lot of people do, and I will probably always use it. But it might be time to set aside some time like I do with learning a CMS or design technique to newer software with something like Sketch or Macaw. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  I’m not a 100% about whether like when you speak about, “Okay, how do we prioritize our time that’s best used for our business and for our clients?”  So I feel like it may be a good use, but I’ll have to see. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  I’ll have to see. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I think when it comes to that, like it’s you and I both talk about it even with me trying something new, “Could we do it in this project?  With this project that we just won, do we have the room to try it out?” 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Like I mean, for example, you’re trying out Sublime these days.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, crazy.

Lea Alcantara:  And you are a hardcore Dreamweaver, right?

Emily Lewis:  Dreamweaver.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  And that’s kind of like where my thought process is, where I don’t want to be so tied and potentially stagnate my design skills if the tools that people are using now might help enhance them, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  But we’ll see, we’ll see.  Businesswise, I think we’ll probably take a more critical look at how to get in front of our potential clients better. 

Emily Lewis:  Yes.

Lea Alcantara:  So I feel like we’ve always focused on helping the web community.  We’ve gotten a lot of referrals through them, and we’ve lasted this long because of them. But I feel like it’s time to see how we can extend the same courtesy to the business community, to the small business community who we create the sites for, who we create our solutions for.  So I feel like that’s something that I want to try to learn and understand and do better for next year.

Emily Lewis:  Well, I certainly echo that.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  All right, so before we start finishing up this episode, with the new year around the corner, we’re actually planning on refreshing our rapid-fire 10 !uestions next year, and that sort of gave us a good excuse to look back at our past year of guests and their responses.  So our trusty intern Erin put together some data for us that we thought that would be fun to share.  So Erin, why don’t you share what you found?

Erin Lewis:  Okay, so these are very official statistics. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Don’t check them. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Okay, so on the like Mac OS or Windows question, there was one definitive Windows user, one that uses both, and then the overwhelming majority of Mac users. I’d like to note that when asked this question, the Mac users responded without qualifiers, typically they just said Mac, but the two that use Windows also added something about not evangelizing or just using what works for them.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  And I think that the Windows users feel like they need to defend themselves somehow and it’s a conspiracy. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]  With regards to the music that people like work or code to, 25% listen to ambient or instrumental, 15% love the 80’s but all different genres within the 80’s, but that was pretty strong.  One likes angry music.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  And then just one that likes to work in total silence. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  I thought that was — I don’t know why that was interesting.

Lea Alcantara:  Oh, that’s interesting. 

Erin Lewis:  Let’s see, Star Trek or Star Wars are also pretty even fight, 30% Trek lovers, 40% Star Wars lovers, 20% love both, and one person went out of the box and Blade Runner

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, that was Stef Sullivan.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Erin Lewis:  So I kind of love her for that. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  And one hates space. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs] I remember that. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Which you also have to respect…. 

Lea Alcantara:  So what else?

Erin Lewis:  Let’s see, for special talent, I think many of our guests have the skewed view of what qualifies as a talent. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  I just want to say that first.  But the standouts were “being tall.”

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  “Making a good cup of tea,” and “telling the time without a clock.” 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  Actually, that last one is pretty good. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yes.  It’s pretty cool.  That’s like a superpower. 

Erin Lewis:  Let’s see, for the least like to do professions, the winners were kindergarten teachers and medical professionals.  So I think it’s interesting that they both involve body fluids. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  And what’s the last one?

Erin Lewis:  Okay, one more, one more.  I know you’re waiting.  The profession that people would most like to try other than what they already do, 20% would like to work in the service industry like a chef or restaurateur, 35% would like to work in the entertainment industry, I think that’s pretty telling for the web.  I think that make sense. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Erin Lewis:  And 10% would still work in design or art, but in a different area, 15% would look to work in the sciences, like astronaut, engineer, biologist. And the rest said they would just be up for anything.

Lea Alcantara:  Very cool.  Very cool. 

Emily Lewis:  That’s cool.  That totally just made me smile the whole time.  I really love our guests. 

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I know.  It’s so much fun, and then I’m just totally not surprised about the entertainment industry one.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Because I feel like every other guest says, “I’d like to play guitar or I’m already in a band.” 

Emily Lewis:  All right, so speaking of our rapid-fire 10 Questions, let’s do our last round of questions for 2014. 

Lea Alcantara:  Oooo

Emily Lewis:  So originally, just Lea was on the hook to answer, but since we have Erin joining us, let’s have both of you answer.  We’ll start with Erin.  Are you ready?

Erin Lewis:  I’m ready. 

Emily Lewis:  All right.  So Mac OS or Windows?

Erin Lewis:  Windows, and I’m not ashamed.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  What’s your favorite mobile app?

Erin Lewis:  My favorite mobile app is the Camera Plus. 

Erin Lewis:  It’s a really cool app that you can get for your iPhone just to make your pictures look really awesome. 

Emily Lewis:  All right, what’s your least favorite thing about social media?

Erin Lewis:  I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say how people can get really negative and can be anonymous about that negativity. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So what profession other than yours would you like to attempt? 

Erin Lewis:  I’ve always thought it would be super cool to be a children’s book illustrator. 

Lea Alcantara:  Oh, very nice.

Erin Lewis:  I thought it would be a pretty fantastic job.

Emily Lewis:  What profession would you not like to do?

Erin Lewis:  I also would not like to be a kindergarten teacher, which is funny because I have a Master’s degree in elementary education. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Who’s the web professional you admire the most? 

Erin Lewis:  Emily Lewis and Lea Alcantara.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  No, I don’t know anybody else, so you guys are the winners by default. 

Lea Alcantara:  Whohoo!

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  But I think even if I knew everybody, I would still pick you. 

Lea Alcantara:  Awww. 

Emily Lewis:  Aww, she’s definitely being fed really well while she’s here this week…

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  So what music do you like to work to?

Erin Lewis:  I really love to listen to Duke Ellington, that old-timey jazz is fun for me. 

Lea Alcantara:  What’s your secret talent?

Erin Lewis:  I can light a cigarette lighter and actually a cigarette with my toes. 

Lea Alcantara:  What?

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  It’s true, I have pictures. 

Lea Alcantara:  It’s crazy.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]  So what’s the most recent book you read?

Erin Lewis:  I’m reading a book called Big Little Lies.  I can’t remember the name of the author, but it’s just a cheeky chick lit book that’s super fun. 

Lea Alcantara:  Lastly, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Erin Lewis:  So I would have to say based on like how good-looking the guys are. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  In the Star Trek movies, the new ones, I’ll pick those, but not the old like TV episodes. 

Emily Lewis:  Oh. 

Erin Lewis:  And then for Star Wars, the old school, I mean, Harrison Ford, come on.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees] Younger Ford.

Erin Lewis:  That’s my favorite and then the new ones, no, thank you.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Awesome. 

Emily Lewis:  All right, Lea, it’s your turn. 

Lea Alcantara:  Oh-oh.

Emily Lewis:  Mac OS or Windows?

Lea Alcantara:  Mac.

Emily Lewis:  What’s your favorite mobile app?

Lea Alcantara:  Oh, this is so hard because I’m addicted to my phone, but I think I’m going to go with WhatsApp, and that’s basically a chat app, and it’s because I get to talk to my sisters who all live across the world every day through it. 

Timestamp:  00:50:07

Emily Lewis:  That’s sweet.  What’s your least favorite thing about social media?

Lea Alcantara:  It’s going to go in that similar vein about like mean people and stuff, but I think part of the reason is you can’t really see the person.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And I think that’s part of the problem.  That’s my least favorite thing about social media.

Emily Lewis:  You miss the body language. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yes.

Emily Lewis:  What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? 

Lea Alcantara:  I would like Anthony Bourdain’s career. 

Emily Lewis:  Oh, that’s a good one. 

Erin Lewis:  Yeah, yeah, that is good.

Lea Alcantara:  Because he combined everything that I’d love to do.  I’d love to be paid to travel, paid to eat, paid to write, paid to basically host.

Emily Lewis:  You would love being behind the camera like that or in front of the camera.

Lea Alcantara:  Both! It’s basically like he gets to do all of the above that I want to do, so I’d like to trade places with Anthony Bourdain. 

Emily Lewis:  So what profession would you not like to do?

Lea Alcantara:  Oh, anything to do with cleanup of anything.

Emily Lewis:  Oh, yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, no, that’s not fun.

Emily Lewis:  So who’s the web professional you admire the most?

Lea Alcantara:  Would it be cheating to say you?

Emily Lewis:  Oh my god.

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  It’s a love fest podcast.

Lea Alcantara:  I mean, no, it’s true.  I mean, back when Ryan [Irelan] was going to move on from the EE Podcast, you were the first person I thought of.

Emily Lewis:  That so crazy. 

Lea Alcantara:  Because I wanted to work with someone I admired, and so it was Emily Lewis.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  And people, I pay her, but not to say that.  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  So what music do you like to code to?

Lea Alcantara:  It depends on my mood.  I actually want to plug this app that I love called Coffitivity, and it’s a free Mac app, because you know I work from home, and this is so lame, what Coffitivity does is it gives you ambient cafe noises.

Emily Lewis:  Oh, really?

Erin Lewis:  So it sounds like clinking of glasses and things like that?

Lea Alcantara:  And like people talking but very indistinct.

Emily Lewis:  Murmuring.

Erin Lewis:  Whispering.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, exactly.  So I like to turn that on when I really want to focus, so it’s like my focus background music.  If I just feel like relaxed, then I listen to whatever pop music Top 40.

Emily Lewis:  All right, so what’s your secret talent?

Lea Alcantara:  So I don’t know if it’s that much of a secret, but I love to sing, and I love to…

Emily Lewis:  It’s no secret, but it is a good talent.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah.  So I mean, I think that’s one of the things in terms of I guess a secret, I don’t know if that’s much of a secret, it’s kind of tied to the singing.  I was like in five musicals in high school. 

Emily Lewis:  Wow

Lea Alcantara:  I really liked to act.

Emily Lewis:  I think a talent you have that might not be known to a lot of people is that you’re really honest and direct, and I think that’s a really good talent. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I don’t know how to not be.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Erin Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  So…

Emily Lewis:  What’s the most recent book you read?

Lea Alcantara:  I’m still reading it, it’s called Yes Please, and it’s by Amy Poehler

Emily Lewis:  Oh.

Erin Lewis:  Oh my gosh, I want to read that book. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah. 

Erin Lewis:  I heard it’s awesome. 

Lea Alcantara:  It’s so good.  It’s making me fall in love with her all over again.  She’s the best.

Emily Lewis:  She’s like your spirit animal.

Lea Alcantara:  She is my spirit animal.  I love Amy Poehler, and she’s short too.  She’s 5’2”, so I feel like she’s like a scrappy little woman. 

Emily Lewis:  All right, so the very last question for 2014, Lea, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Lea Alcantara:  It’s got to be Star Wars.  It’s Star Wars, the classic, the first three. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, good clarification.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  So that wraps up our 2014 Year In Review.  Thanks for joining us, Erin!

Erin Lewis:  Thank you.  It was fun. 

Emily Lewis:  So in case our listeners want to follow up with you, where can they find you online?

Erin Lewis:  On Twitter @ernlew

Emily Lewis:  Do you want to spell that?

Erin Lewis:  E-R-N-L-E-W.

Emily Lewis:  Awesome, thanks, Erin! 

Lea Alcantara:  So before we sign off for the year, we want to thank you the guests who helped us deliver fantastic content, episode after episode, and of course, a huge thank you to our listeners.  Emily and I make the show for you so if you have any questions or topic suggestions for the show, please contact us on our website, ctrlclickcast.com/contact, or just @reply us on Twitter.

Emily Lewis:  And if you like this episode, please give us a review on Stitcher or iTunes or both.

[Music starts]

Lea Alcantara:  We also want to thank our sponsors and partners who make the show possible.  Thanks to Visual Chefs and Pixel & Tonic, and thanks to our partners Arcustech, Devot:ee and EE Insider for their ongoing support. 

Emily Lewis:  We’re going to be on a hiatus for just a little while, but don’t forget to tune in next year when we’ll be returning to our regular schedule on January 15th.  We’re still lining up guests so be sure to check out our schedule at ctrlclickcast.com/schedule and stay tuned to @ctrlclickcast on Twitter for updates.

Lea Alcantara:  This is Lea Alcantara …

Emily Lewis:  And Emily Lewis …

Lea Alcantara:  Signing off for CTRL+CLICK CAST.  Happy holidays, and we’ll see you next year!

Emily Lewis:  Cheers! 

[Music stops]

Timestamp: 00:54:59