Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good Enough

Things have been a bit crazy back at work this week, but in a good way. Reality set in on Monday that we are launching our new website at work on Friday. Friday! Everyone seems to be in good shape for their specific area for launch, so it's really just adrenaline. We've only been working on this for about 18 months taking a static HTML site and transforming it into a dynamic, CMS database driven site with a complete design and functionality overhaul. It's been a major undertaking and it's exciting to finally see it come to fruition.

I'd love to post links to it, but I am trying to maintain some distance between work and this blog. (I will probably send out an email to you that I know in the flesh, though.) But I can't not talk about it in some way because it has been 18 months of my life, 8 or more hours a day, 5 or more days a week. I'm sure there will be plenty of bugs to work out once we take it live this weekend, and then there's always the next stage of development and content rollout, so it's not as if there will magically be no more work to do after Friday.

With all the giddiness at work, I realized I've been sitting on more than a few links for the blog. First things first. I think it's pretty safe to sweep out all those holiday shopping links at this point. Talk about a day late and a dollar short. I will pass along this one though.

So after my initial panic when I learned about one week before Christmas that we were exchanging gifts this year after all, I headed out that weekend for some marathon shopping. I had planned several stops, but I ended up finding a little something for everybody at Big Lots! I was honestly surprised at the variety of things they had and I'm happy to have rediscovered the store. Apparently, I'm not the only one. The Budget Fashionista has posted some helpful tips to keep in mind when shopping Big Lots!, the biggest of which may be to keep and open mind and be patient.

Before we completely leave the subject of shopping, I ran across this project today. This person has plotted the location and date of each and every Wal*Mart opening in the continental United States. It starts out slow but then it kind of resembles what I imagine blossoming bacteria in a Petri dish might look like. Funny, I think about the immediate backlash to even the rumor of another Wal*Mart opening out here on the West Coast, then I look at the concentration of stores in the East and realize that we really just have no idea what a significant influence Wal*Mart must have in the lives of so many. Here's hoping they use that power for good.

Okay, stepping away from shopping, but not entirely (I think I may have a problem), I spotted this article about decision making almost a month ago and it really rang true. It actually reminded me of something else I'd read a long time ago about being happier by learning to let got of perfectionist tendencies in favor of satisficing, but I can't remember where I read that.

I try to embrace satisficing a lot now, but how this relates to shopping is actually kind of key in our house. Scoob is an optimizer. He wants to know everything about every product and compare them to make sure he's getting the most perfect product at the best possible deal. Me, I'm a satisficer. I'll figure out what it is I need the product to do, find 2 or 3 that meet the criteria, read a few reviews, and make a decision. If it does what I need it to do and it is reasonably priced, do I really care that there's this other model that also glows in the dark? No.

On more than one occasion Scoob's optimizing behavior has stalled a purchase. Take, for example, the purchase of our vacuum cleaner. It's not accurate to the day, but it's also not a gross exaggeration to say that it took us 2 years to buy a new vacuum cleaner. Mostly because he would wait long enough between doing the research and making the purchase that he would either forget what model he decided to purchase, or newer models would come out and he needed to redo all the research. We don't play that game anymore.

To be fair, we actually balance each other out. I help him realize when enough is good enough. But on more than one occasion he has helped me see that something really wasn't good enough when I had thought it was. So because we're together, I usually end up giving decisions more thought and he usually gives them less than we would have on our own.

Another couple items that caught my attention, then I'm off to bed. Wired rounded up some of their favorite tech-related cartoons as part of their end-of-the-year wrap up. #9 is funny, #7 is unfortunately true, and from what I hear, so is #4.

I've been paying a bit more attention to photography articles since getting the new camera. This one is noteworthy in that it give a lot of non-photography tips for getting more out of your digital camera by using it in unexpected ways. Some of them are kind of out there, but several are surprisingly practical.

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