M&M’s Musings

We have an M&M’s-filled candy machine at work and we wondered:

  • What do you call it when you get exactly 6 M&M’s in a single turn of the dispenser, one of each color?  M&M Yahtzee?  Full House?
  • And how about when you get more than 6 M&M’s in a single turn of the dispenser, with at least one of each color?

Suggestions?  Please leave a comment!

PS: the 6 M&M’s colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and brown.  See for yourself.

Google closing Austin office

It seems like just yesterday Google was celebrating the opening of their new office in downtown Austin, Texas – actually, it was mid-October, 2008, according to the Austin American Statesman (google has the story in their cache, but the Statesman’s link doesn’t work).

But today Google announced that they are closing the Austin office, along with offices in Trondheim, Norway and Lulea, Sweden, in order to “build larger and more effective teams, reduce communication overhead, and give engineers increased options for future projects” :


Google says they’ll try to keep people from those sites at Google, but of course the employees would have to move to larger Google sites.  That makes sense for Google in terms of managing tons of projects, sites and people, but that’s a real bummer for the Austin Googlers.

Again, from the Statesman:

“We really do like Austin, we like the engineers in Austin, we like the town, we like the geography, but there just wasn’t any way in the short term or medium term to really grow the office to the size that Austin deserves,” [said Alan Eustace, Google senior vice president of engineering].

Hopefully Austin tech companies can pick up some good talent from those who don’t want to leave Austin.

Book Review: Blog Blazers

I just finished the book “Blog Blazers” by Stephane Grenier. My three word review: “Not too shabby.”

I have to admit this book wasn’t exactly on top of my “to-read” pile. I’m not usually a big fan of blogs/books about blogging, podcasts about podcasting, etc. – it’s all too meta for me. But Ian Landsman was offering a free review copy on his blog, and I’m a sucker for free books, so I gave it a shot.

“Blog Blazers” consists of 40 interviews with popular and successful bloggers, including Andy Brice, Bob Walsh, Dharmesh Shah, Eric Sink and Jeff Atwood. Stephane asked each person the same questions, including:

  • What defines a successful blog?
  • Do you have any tips or advice on writing?
  • How do you market your blog?
  • What is your best monetization method?

Because each interview followed the same form it became a little monotonous to read in one sitting. I could only take about ten at a time. Many of the answers were repeated by several of the interviewees, which was a bit boring, but the repetition confirmed that their advice is probably good. Or they’re all suffering from groupthink, but I’ll go with the first reason.

As I read the interviews I asked myself, “So what? Will this change anything I do?” I came away with these thoughts:

  • Original content vs. commentary: try to write as much original content as possible, as opposed to just commenting on others’ content. For instance, don’t write book reviews. 🙂
  • Use your own domain, instead of myfreeblog.wordpress.com or myfreeblog.google.com. That’s next on my to-do list.
  • A lot of bloggers get found through StumbleUpon – I haven’t used that in a long time, maybe it’s time to check it out again.

Nothing earth shattering, but it’s a lot of good blogging advice. The book also included a number of blog(er)s that were new to me, some of which are now in my RSS reader.

My favorite quote was from Eric Sink. When asked “How long does it take to become a successful blogger?” Eric answered, “The time varies so much that any answer would be incorrect. I’ll just say this: Some things are not under your control. Persistence is.” (emphasis mine)

Becoming internet-famous overnight probably ain’t gonna happen – the best way to develop a good blog is to be persistent about writing good content.

So there you go – it was a decent read, well worth a trip to the library, and maybe even purchasing if you want advice on building your blog.