December 2014

“At least you’ve got legs” – and other highlights of a rollercoaster year

There’s a blog post coming in the next couple of weeks about our resolutions for 2015 – our Pomegranite resolutions that is. Like trying not to dress the same unintentionally every time we have a client meeting. Seriously. Every. Time.

But before we start looking into the New Year, let’s maybe look at the one that’s just winding down. And when I say “winding”, I mean spiralling so bloody fast that the weeks seem to be collapsing into each other like babushka dolls on tik.

Here are my five highlights of 2014 (look I know I use five a lot but it’s a lot less than 10 and I like the number, ok):

1) Our random dance breaks and spontaneous karaoke sessions when it all just gets too much sometimes. Seriously – you have no idea how much they help. Not just because you can’t not laugh at Liz’s pseudo-twerking, but because it tends to put things in perspective.

dance

2) There have been a few moments this year when I’ve marvelled at our partnership and how we are finding our unique roles more and more as time goes on. For example, when I chat to clients, I tend to just dive right into the business side of things. Not Liz, though. She will sit down and say: “So how are the cats?” And that’s something I’m grateful for. Someone to have those kind of conversations for me. And to remind me to have them myself sometimes.

3) Happy clients. Man I love happy clients! When you’re able to deliver what you promised and then add a whole bunch of cherries on top of that – the reaction from speechless, squealing, dancing, crying (the good kind of tears, hey?) and generally thrilled clients is really why we do what we do. (Also – I love that we have the kind of relationship with our clients that they feel like they can actually squeal in front of us.)

4) Liz likes to theme her outfits, which I have mentioned before. One day she came to work in stylish black pants, a fitted black T-shirt, black leather pumps, and her hair in a chignon. She reckoned it was called “Chanel”. Having not yet had my first cup of tea, my filter wasn’t working yet. “Or backstage worker?”

5) I’ve just had a little scroll through memory lane (you guys also stalk yourself on social media sometimes right?). It’s one thing to have a sense of how far you’ve come in a year, but to actually look back and see the progression, to remember a lot of the crappy days and to know that they are so few and far between now – that is the biggest highlight of all for me. On 15 January, I tweeted:

“At least you’ve got legs.” Liz trying to look on the bright side for me.

Weirdly, this wasn’t at all related to the whole Oscar debacle. It really was Liz trying to think of positive things in my life. (I know.)

And now, on the other side of 2014, not only do I have legs, but I’ve used them to climb this freaking mountain (metaphorically speaking, guys – I know it’s hard to know sometimes in Cape Town). And the view from the top is bloody amazing.

2015, I see you! Let’s play.

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Code in two minutes: The internet is yours

I’ve been doing a night course on HTML and CSS coding through Friends of Design for the last few weeks. I’m doing it becuase I want better control of the websites we build and to be able make precise tweaks and changes to them. At Pomegranite, we build websites on WordPress which allows us to create slick, professional sites that are affordable for the client. Ninety-nine percent of the time, clients don’t need complex, custom-coded websites. And if they do, we hand them over to trusted agencies who can provide that service.

Self-hosted WordPress essentially comprises of two systems: the first is a content management system which acts as an interface between you and the website, saving your images and posts and giving you the tools to edit the website. The second is a theme or template which is like a ‘skin’ for your website and manages its design. This is where it’s handy to have some coding knowledge to manipulate these themes.

Learning to code (I say this with a pinch of salt because hardcore coders study for years) has been a pretty mind-blowing experience. For most people, the internet is another world, created and controlled by others, that we can only make a mark on through social media, which is itself contained separately within the greater world-wide-web. When I started editing the code of WordPress themes, Sarah and I referred to it as “entering the Matrix” and rejoiced when I did something and the site didn’t explode.

But the truth is, the internet is made by people, creating code. To scratch beneath the surface, all you have to do is right click and select “inspect element” to see the code that props up the site you’re viewing.

Coding is becoming more and more accessible to people other than nerdy hackers. Just check out organisations like Code for Cape Town which runs a three week holiday programme that introduces grade 10 and 11 girls to the world of web development for social impact. What’s also great is that you don’t have to wait for someone to teach you to code. There are tons of resources online to get you started.

Codecadamy is the one I started with. It’s super simple, fun and effective at teaching you code. They use a system where you’re walked through the code on one side of the screen and it shows the effect on the other side of the screen. So not only do you never feel lost, but you see instant results.

codecadamy

It’s free, it’s fun, you can login with Facebook and Gmail.

So go ahead, give it a go!

[Feature image source.]