Stuff & Nonsense. Website designers in North Wales

And all that ‘Malarkey’

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Unfinished Business episode 104: ‘The taco incident’ with Stephen Hay and Trent Walton

The best podcasts listen to interesting people having interesting conversations about work, and life and for episode 104 of Unfinished Business I’m joined by two fascinating folk. Trent Walton and Stephen Hay.

Unfinished Business episode 103: ‘House of Fools’ with Paul Boag and Jon Hicks

Back for episode 103 of Unfinished Business is my favourite comedy duo, ‘Pipe and Pyjamas,’ Paul Boag and Jon Hicks.

Unfinished Business 102: ‘The most rubbish superhero ever’ with Rachel Andrew and Zoe Gillenwater

A little later than advertised (and by “a little” I actually mean a week) I’m joined on Unfinished Business. Episode 102 by Rachel Andrew and Zoe Mickley Gillenwater.

Unfinished Business episode 101: ‘Two old farts looking at their calendars’

We’re back. Back in business. Unfinished Business. Episode 101. For this, the first episode of 2015, I’m joined by two of the best well-known writers about how to implement CSS on a large scale Harry Roberts and Jonathan Snook.

Some things about Unfinished Business will be a little different this year.

If you’re a fan of my Unfinished Business podcast, you’ve only a few more weeks to wait until the next episode. It will be back (with episode 101) on the ninth of February and when it does, things will be a little different.

Unfinished Business episode 100: ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ with Anna Debenham

This week is the one-hundredth episode of Unfinished Business and who better to join me than the person who helped me start it all, almost two years ago, Anna Debenham. We celebrate by talking about what went right and wrong in 2014 and our resolutions for 2015. Then we talk about meetings and how we can improve them.

This being the final episode of the year, I’d like to say an enormous thank-you to everyone I’ve spoken to on Unfinished Business, this year: Ashley Baxter, Benjamin Hollway, Brendan Dawes, Christopher Murphy, Cole Henley, Clare Symons, Harry Roberts, Jeremy Keith, John Davey, Jon Hicks, Jory Raphael, Laura Kalbag, Liz Elcoate, Paul Boag, Rachel Andrew, Relly Annett-Baker, Sara Souidan, Sean Johnson and Trent Walton.

I’d also like to say thank-you to all the companies who’ve helped make Unfinished Business possible through their sponsorship. Antetype, BigBoard, dConstruct, DeviceLab, DotYork, Espresso, GatherContent, Ghostlab, Forge, Hover, Logical Elements, Native Summit, ShropGeek, Simply FixIt and Shopify. I want to say a special thanks to Perch and Perch Runway for supporting the show from our very first episode. Please continue to support Unfinished Business by supporting them.

Unfinished Business will be back in February 2015 and I hope you’ll all join me then. Until then, thanks for listening and I’d like to wish everyone a happy Christmas holiday and a prosperous new year.

Unfinished Business episode 98: ‘Geoff, can I have my records back?’ with John Davey

Conference impresario John Davey joins me again on Unfinished Business this week. We talk about anticipation and scarceness, how some cinemas create an experience around watching a film, how looking at album artwork in a record shop enhanced the experience of buying music and whether the experiences we’ve lost were valuable enough to revive in new and different ways.

Unfinished Business episode 97: ‘Made in Scotland from girders’ with Ashley Baxter and Laura Kalbag

It’s a special week this week on Unfinished Business as I’m joined by not one, but two regular co-hosts, Ashley Baxter and Laura Kalbag. In a bumper episode, we talk about cakes, brightly coloured fizzy drinks and Yorkshire pudding burgers. We discuss podcasting, sounding good as a podcast guest, then whether we allow Christmas decorations in our offices. Finally we talk about what we’ve achieved this year and what our goals are for 2015. It’s a fast and fun episode. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Like the sound of podcasting?

People sometimes ask me about what I listen for when I’m choosing guests to talk with on Unfinished Business.

Unfinished Business episode 96: ‘Ain’t no party like an S Club party’ with Brendan Dawes

Artist and designer Brendan Dawes is back on Unfinished Business this week. We get started by talking about past popular pop princes and princesses S Club 7, The Handsome Family and Bren’s one day trip to Argentina. For the remainder of the show, we talk about when it’s acceptable to give our time for free and when we should say no? Why every project should include a ‘goodwill’ budget and what the heck are those party paper and whistle things that come out of Christmas crackers called?

Unfinished Business episode 95: ‘Hysterically sticky children’ with Relly Annett-Baker

A complete change of subject for this week’s Unfinished Business, Relly Annett-Baker and I talk about parenting and education and specifically how she’s homeschooling her two young children.

Unfinished Business episode 94: ‘Shall I fetch the memory worm?’ with Paul Boag and Jon Hicks

This week on Unfinished Business, Paul Boag, Jon Hicks and I dispense with any pretence that this is a show about business and spend 90 minutes talking about something much more interesting. Peter Capaldi’s first series as Doctor Who. We talk about our thoughts on Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and the best (and worst) episodes of the season. Then we finish up by discussing the series finale, Clara and Danny Pink and of course Missy. If you haven’t seen the final episode of this season, there are spoilers galore.

Unfinished Business episode 93: ‘Live from The Web Is… as part of Geek Mental Help’

The week’s Unfinished Business was recorded live at The Web Is… conference in Cardiff, as part of Geek Mental Help week. I was joined on-stage by Christopher Murphy, Cole Henley, Relly Annett-Baker and Dr. Clare Symons to talk about a wide range of mental heath and mental illness issues.

I put the lower audio quality this week down to everyone wearing lapel, not using condenser microphones, (sorry about that,) but recording live in front of an audience was fun, and I’ll definitely do it again. Thanks to Craig and Amie Lockwood for recording this episode from the mixing desk for me.

There are no sponsors this week, as it didn’t seem appropriate.

Unfinished Business episode 92: ‘You can blow off a kebab’ with Liz Elcoate

This week is Geek Mental Help week and on Unfinished Business I’m joined by Liz Elcoate, one of the people who helped to spark the idea. We ask if our industry attracts people with issues or cause them, does our working environment add our problems and what we hope the outcomes from this week will be? But not before we talk sport, Liz’s obsession with wrestling and my Uncle Haystacks.

Unfinished Business episode 91: ‘A brioche and a frothy coffee’ with Benjamin Hollway

Brighton-based developer Benjamin Hollway loves a burger in a brioche bun and joins me on Unfinished Business this week to talk about how young people feel excluded from some industry events and how conferences and meet-ups should cater for people who don’t want to or are too young to drink. Benjamin was shortlisted for ‘emerging talent of the year’ at the Net Awards and oh, did I mention that he’s only sixteen?

Unfinished Business episode 90: ‘Makes Transformers look like Citizen Kane’ with Brendan Dawes

Designer and artist Brendan Dawes is back on episode 90 of Unfinished Business this week to talk about his recent commission by Mailchimp, Six Monkeys, which explores interactions with email through physical objects named after six famous chimpanzees. Before that though, we talk more about what’s happening with Geek Mental Help Week, including whether the word ‘geek’ takes something away from the project and is somehow derogatory.

Unfinished Business episode 89: ‘Burger in a donut’ with Laura Kalbag

This week’s an emotional episode of Unfinished Business. After talking about why a burger in a donut should never, ever have become a thing, Laura Kalbag and I discuss mental health issues in our industry. We talk about my own struggles with depression and depersonalisation disorder, issues that stem from my father’s own mental health issues and suicide.

Unfinished Business episode 88: ‘A cage full of hungry dogs’ with Harry Roberts

This week on Unfinished Business, Harry Roberts and I have some pretty big, Boag-shaped, boots to fill after last week’s episode. Harry takes the opposite view to Paul about sharing personal struggles in a work context and worries about the impression that sharing give to prospective clients. Then we talk about how clients’ commissioning process for creative services is largely broken, the differences between an open conversation starter, an RFP and a brief and how we, as designers and developers, can help clients to commission what we do better.

Unfinished Business episode 87: ‘I thought you were Kid Jensen’ with Paul Boag

This week on Unfinished Business, I had planned to talk with Paul Boag about client briefs and managing expectations. But when we sat down to talk, we were both in the mood to talk about something much, more personal. We discussed how we feel about how Twitter has changed, Erin Kissane’s ‘Ditching Twitter,’ Dan Edwards’ ‘Treading through treacle’ and our general sense of melancholy about our industry. Then we talk about how, contrary to what we often hear, our industry is filled with acts of kindness.

We discuss how we maintain our optimism and the steps we take to protect ourselves emotionally. If you think you know Paul and I from our public personas, I think that you’ll be very surprised by this episode. If you haven’t listened to Unfinished Business for a while (or at all) I urge you to listen this week.

I joined Troy Dean on his WP Elevation podcast

We don’t develop with Wordpress, I’ve never used Wordpress and I can’t see myself starting this late in the game. So I was surprised when Troy Dean asked me to talk with him on his WP Elevation podcast. I was sure that he’d confused me with someone else, but he convinced me that he hadn’t and we spent a fun hour talking about designing content/mobile first, why we write content for our clients and ultimately why I don’t use Wordpress.

Troy normally hosts video podcasts, but my internet connection is so poor at home that we had to switch to audio only. We recorded at 8:30am so that was probably a blessing. If you’re not already sick of the sound of my voice on Unfinished Business, I think you might enjoy this one.

Unfinished Business episode 86: ‘Night of the long shadows’ with Jory Raphael

In the second part of our icon designer double bill, this week on Unfinished Business, I’m joined by designer, illustrator the and iconographer behind Symbolicons, Jory Raphael. We talk about how we feel about the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus announcement, the design of the Apple Watch software and whether it looks at home on the watch’s hardware. We discuss Jory’s illustration work including his artwork for the 5by5 podcast network and of course, those long shadows. Finally we talk about making a business from making and selling icons.

Unfinished Business episode 85: ‘An energy drink for Time Lords’ with Jon Hicks

Icon designer Jon Hicks joins me this week on Unfinished Business to discuss our experiences of recent conferences including dConstruct (me) and An Event Apart (him.) We narrowly avoid talking about our predictions for the upcoming Apple event and instead discuss how to keep work and home life separate, whether it‘s right to be connected to work outside work hours and how having an office can help with work/life balance.

Of course, all of this is just a thinly disguised ruse for what we really want to talk about, Doctor Who. In the after-show section, we look back at Matt Smith’s final episode, talk about Peter Capaldi’s new Doctor so far and if Doctor Who needs longer than one hour per episode to tell a good story. Oh. And Clara bloody Oswald.

Unfinished Business episode 84: ‘Basketball with jetpacks,’ with Cole Henley

This week on Unfinished Business, I’m joined by Cole Henley, technical director at Mud. We discuss his latest Freelance rates survey, how the results have changed over the last three years and what he’s learned from making the survey. I admire Cole’s Mud very much, so we talk about how to grow a business, when to hire new people and the importance of regular advice from someone on the outside. If you like the business side of Unfinished Business, you’ll love this episode.

What’s an episode of Unfinished Business without some talk of comics or films? In an after-show special, starting at 1:11:30, Cole and I talk about vintage 2000AD comics, Harlem Heroes, Flesh and of course, Judge Dredd. I want to know if Stallone’s Judge Dredd film a guilty pleasure and why, oh why, doesn’t Hollywood make films from classic 2000AD stories?

Unfinished Business episode 82: Love a good pep talk

Last year, when we took a month-long holiday away from work, Anna Debenham was still a regular on Unfinished Business and she and guests took over the podcast. Since Anna left I’ve steadily built up a small group of regular, rotating co-hosts including Ashley Baxter and Laura Kalbag. So it made perfect sense to leave Unfinished Business in their capable hands for the three weeks I wasn’t around to record because of this year’s holiday.

Unfinished Business episode 81: Do you have a dinosaur onesie?

While I’m away in France, Ashley Baxter and Laura Kalbag are back again for this week’s episode of Unfinished Business. They talk about the common myths around working for yourself and working from home. Then they answer listener questions including what they both want to achieve before they retire, which, considering they’re both only 27, is a very, very long time away.

Unfinished Business episode 80: I wonder why he trusts us?

As much as I love being en vacance en France, I also miss making Unfinished Business, but this year I thought I’d leave the show in two very capable pairs of hands. (When they weren’t available) I asked two of my regular co-hosts, Ashley Baxter and Laura Kalbag to taking over the running of the Unfinished Business for the next three weeks.) What could possibly go wrong?

This week is a really good episode. It’s more business focussed than my normal episodes and a refreshing change for that. They talk about business insurance, including public liability, professional indemnity, business contents and copyright infringement. “C’est un bon épisode” as we say in France.

Unfinished Business special: Rumpus On The Planet Of The Apes with Brendan Dawes and Jeremy Keith

Before we go any further, I need to let people know that there is absolutely zero business content in the show this week. (Thousands of people are thinking now, “when is there ever?”) That‘s because this is a spoiler filled ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ cinema special episode with my guests and film buff friends Brendan Dawes and Jeremy Keith.

It’s a wild show. We ask whether there should be a new Oscar category for performance capture and if Andy Serkis should win everything? We talk about the other seven Planet Of The Apes films, starting with the original five and if Tim Burton’s 2001 reimagining is a guilty pleasure. Then we get in deep with the new ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ before asking ourselves the important questions; When will apes wear clothes? When and how will humans become mute, and why should you avoid watching an apes film in Rhyl?

Even if you’re not an Apes aficionado, I think you’ll enjoy listening to this episode of Unfinished Business as much as we enjoyed making it, which was a lot.

The Business Of Web Design podcast #8

Unfinished Business episode 78: Beirut by Bus

I’ve been looking forward to speaking with Sara Soueidan on this week’s episode of Unfinished Business for a long while, not least because I’m a huge, huge, fan of her work. She’s been writing what I consider to be the best articles about CSS and SVG. We talk about those, yes, but we also talk about what it’s like for her, living and working as a web developer in her home country of Lebanon. We discuss the preconceptions and misconceptions that people in the West have about Lebanon, its people and its customs. I think you’ll find what she has to say fascinating. I know I did.

Unfinished Business episode 77: Dirty, filthy, paid ads

Ashley Baxter’s back on Unfinished Business this week. We talk about the reasons why she’s speaking in public more and how it may help her to promote her new business. Speaking of promotion, we discuss her $99 tweet sponsoring experiment, how buying tweets works and whether it worked for her. We also talk about how to move on when you feel like you’ve reached a plateau, in business as well as in the gym.

Unfinished Business episode 76: Two old farts Googling

This week on Unfinished Business, impresario, organiser of Flash On The Beach and more recently Reasons To Be Creative, John Davey offers me some fatherly advice on how to handle a personal dilemma and what not to wear at Alex’s upcoming graduation. We talk about the Reasons To Be Creative conference, how he finds and why he chooses so many new speakers and his unusual elevator pitch approach.

Swearing: I mostly bleep out swearing on Unfinished Business, but I think that this week’s episode is funnier with our cussing intact. I hope you won’t be offended by a couple of ‘f’ words, one ‘b’ word and a dozen jokes about Brighton.

Unfinished Business episode 75: Bourne, but your Dad

Designer and artist Brendan Dawes joins me again for the 75th episode of my “one-sided, biased, poor quality personal soapbox.” We talk about the people who have inspired us the most in our working lives and Bren tells me all about how the famous designer and filmmaker Hillman Curtis helped him to get started. It’s an inspiring story.

I’ve also reinstated the after hours film talk spot that Anna and I started in the early episodes of Unfinished Business. This week Bren and I talk about briefly about Her, the fabulous Stalingrad (2013) and Luc Besson’s totally terrible 3 Days to Kill starring Kevin Costner. It’s a funny segment although I’m clearly no Mark Kermode and this show is obviously nowhere near as good as something on the BBC.

I talked with Jen Simmons on The Web Ahead #75 about advertising and creativity

I really enjoyed recording episode 73 of Unfinished Business, when I talked with Jeremy about advertising and creative work. But listening back, I didn’t articulate my thoughts anywhere near as well as Jeremy did.

Unfinished Business episode 74: Cheating at cross country

This week on Unfinished Business, Sean Johnson and I talk not only about Laura Nevo’s “Dear Visual Design” letter but also how wrong the people who thought I’d criticise Laura are. While I disagree completely with Laura’s message, I appreciate her writing it, not least because it helps sum up everything that I think is wrong about how we talk about web design today. Sean’s not just along for the ride, he has plenty to say about user experience, the Net Awards and why he hates football. The berk.

Unfinished Business episode 73: We’ve reached peak burrito

Jeremy Keith joins me on this, episode 73 of Unfinished Business. Although I try to steer clean of provoking him by not talking about moon landings, we disagree about just about everything else. Fish tacos, things that scientists haven’t done yet and I think they should’ve and what makes advertising fascinating to me and hateful to him. It’s a lively show. There are sparks. I think you’ll like it.

Hide sharp objects

Regular Unfinished Business co-host Laura Kalbag’s started to work with her partner Aral Balkan on their Indie Phone project. She wanted to hear about Sue and mine experiences of working together for sixteen years, so she emailed her some questions. I hadn’t heard her answers until Laura read them on the show, but I think that made for interesting listening.

We didn’t get through all the questions and answers on the show, so here are her complete answers. I think they offer some insight into what it’s like working together at Stuff and Nonsense for as long as we have.

Unfinished Business episode 72: Big Bad Boy Breakfast Bap

A slight change of format for this week’s Unfinished Business. Laura Kalbag wanted to know our experiences of working with our partners—she’s just started working with hers—so she emailed Sue some questions. I hadn’t heard her answers until Laura read them on the show, but I think that makes for interesting listening. I’ll publish Sue’s full answers on Stuff and Nonsense later on in the week.

Unfinished Business episode 71: President Cheese

Ashley Baxter is back on Unfinished Business this week and we start the show by talking about why she started a podcast with some other fella. We discuss how businesses should be authentic on Twitter and if a brand can justifiably spend 45 days planning a tweet about cheese. (Mmmm, cheese.) We round off this week by talking about how working with other people can affect your fitness and diet and why working from from home might be the best thing for some people. And let’s not forget Ashley Baxter’s Scottish Slang Word of the Week. “Heffer.”

Unfinished Business episode 70: Cycling is just sitting down

Illustrator Josh Cleland joins me for episode 70 of Unfinished Business this week. We discuss about how I’m struggling with an idea for the next version of the Stuff and Nonsense header and I baffle Josh by talking about vintage British adverts, including the PG Tips chimps and Cadbury Smash’s famous Martians.

Unfinished Business episode 69: King Arthur didn’t like machines

On Unfinished Business this week, I’m joined by designer and artist, the one and only Brendan Dawes. Bren and I talk about data inspired art and his Cinema Redux pieces. As we can never get together and not discuss films, so we talk about the greatest westerns of all time, the True Grit remake and Django Unchained. Plus, being ‘men of a certain age’ we reminisce about childrens’ TV from the seventies and why the writers of The Banana Splits must have taken a lot of drugs.

Unfinished Business episode 68: Rubbish at podcasting

On Unfinished Business this week, and with us both fresh from the Net Awards, Laura Kalbag and I talk about our experiences there. I explain why I don’t feel at home in the web design industry as it is today and how its conversations no longer reflect my interests in design.

After last week’s ‘giant’ misunderstanding about speaker fees, we also talk about the responsibilities that speakers have to themselves, to an audience and to an event and the people who’ve organised it. It’s a lively discussion. We talk about swearing, why private agreements between speakers and conferences should remain confidential and why speakers should play their part in supporting an event, before, during and after it.

Laura, I and everyone who makes Unfinished Business, wants to say an enormous “thank you” to everyone who voted for our show and put it in the final five top podcasts of 2014 at the Net Awards.

Unfinished Business episode 67: The Great Train Robbers got less

On this week’s (early) episode of Unfinished Business, Ashley Baxter’s back to talk about her brand new business, Insurance By Jack. We talk about why she started the business and some of the challenges she’s already faced. No ‘Ashley’ episode would be complete without her “Baxter’s Scottish Slang Word of the Week.” What is it? You’ll just have to listen to the show to find oot.

Unfinished Business episode 66: Replaced by a fibreglass rhino

Dan Davies is back on Unfinished Business this week to talk about what he’s learned in the five months since he switched from front-end development to user-experience design. We discuss how his agency is improving communication between designers and developers, his interview series about workflow and more and how he was once replaced by a fibreglass rhino.

Unfinished Business episode 65: This swimmer is reversing

This week on Unfinished Business I’m joined again by Elliott Kember to talk about Speedos, fitness tackers and—one day before Nike announced they’ve stopped making hardware—my Nike Fuelband. We discuss Cennydd Bowles’ Letter to a Junior Designer and if there are differences between designing a website and designing a digital product. I ask if designing with data is just an excuse for not having enough confidence in an idea and suggest that banging on about ‘empathy’ deserves a punch in the face.

Unfinished Business episode 64: A great big dollop of hindsight

Everyone involved in making Unfinished Business wants to say an enormous thank-you to all of you out there in podcast land who voted for us for Podcast Of The Year at The Net Awards. You helped us make the shortlist of the final five that’s full of brilliant podcasts and put a very broad smile on all our faces.

On this week’s Unfinished Business I’m joined by not one, but two guests to keep me out of trouble, Laura Kalbag and marathon runner Rachel Andrew. We talk about the fallout from last week’s news that publisher Five Simple Steps has closed, what this means for other niche publishers and for the authors who write for them.

We talk about how the abrupt announcement of the closure could’ve been handled better and the lessons we might learn to help us in the future. Finally, we break down how advances and royalties work differently between small and large publishers and the reasons why authors might choose a publisher over self-publishing their books.

Unfinished Business episode 63: From those wonderful folks who gave you Pearl Harbor

Special guest Jeffrey Zeldman joins me on Unfinished Business this week to talk about how important is it today for designers to be able to tell stories and sell ideas to clients. We talk about whether designers need empathy or strength of character and conviction in their ideas, whether the web needs ‘account’ menpeople and what it feels like when people you’ve mentored go their own way.

It’s a packed show and as we both love advertising and Mad Men, we end by talking about my Don Draper depersonalisation disorder theory and what we expect and hope from the final season which starts next week. Even if you’ve not seen Mad Men, I think you’re going to like this episode.

Unfinished Business episode 62: Scotland went mad for donuts

New regular Ashley Baxter joins me on this week’s packed Unfinished Business to talk about eating well and staying fit, my goal to lose 14lbs and why my competition with Paul Boag is spurring me on.

We also talk about how happy I am that Stuff and Nonsense has been shortlisted for Agency Of The Year at the Net Awards. Last, but not least, there’s Ashley’s Scottish slang word of the week. I’m also over the moon to learn that Unfinished Business has been shortlisted for Podcast Of The Year. When you listen to the show, you’ll hear I obviously wasn’t expecting that.

Unfinished Business episode 61: Adonis kebab

On this week’s Unfinished Business, Laura Kalbag and I talk about the business of speaking at conferences, why it’s essential to be paid to speak and the importance of contracts that cover the paying of expenses, who owns the content of a talk and what conferences can do with that content after the event.

Unfinished Business episode 60: Where’s the Strepsils? I need to hallucinate

Illustrator Josh Cleland is back for this, the sixtieth episode of Unfinished Business. We talk about Milton Keynes, losing my voice and what can go wrong if you suck too many Strepsils. (Spoiler: diarrhea.) We discuss how we’re both trying to achieve a better work/life balance and what’s been driving us to work all the time.

Unfinished Business episode 59: Use it to call your doggy friends

Despite possibly the worst Skype connection in history, I chatted with Ashley Baxter on Unfinished Business this week about her semi-professional photography business. We talked about the photo walk and workshop that she recently organised in her home city of Glasgow and why conference organisers should host more photography workshops at their events. Aye. And let’s not forget Oor Wullie!

Unfinished Business episode 58: Cowabunga!

Laura Kalback, Kalbang, Kalbung, Cowabunga! Kalbag is back on Unfinished Business this week and we talk about her troubles at her bank and how changing your name once you’ve built an online persona might be a challenge. We follow up on our previous conversation about business ethics, then discuss how much time is reasonable to spend on researching requirements to provide a client estimate.

Unfinished Business episode 57: Michael Parkinson on the adverts

This week on Unfinished Business, Elliott Kember and I talk about how Director Lottie Dexter introduced the Year Of Code initiative and most importantly the message we think it sends about our industry and what we do.

The Big Web Show 111 with yours truly and Jeffrey ‘Thundercloud’ Zeldman

If you haven’t got sick of the sound of my voice on Unfinished Business yet, last night I spent a very enjoyable hour in the company of Jeffrey ‘Thundercloud’ Zeldman on The Big Web Show.

The last time I spoke with Jeffrey ‘on the air’ was back when The Big Web Show was on the 5by5 network, episode 27, when he and Dan Benjamin still hosted video interviews. That time I had a book, Hardboiled Web Design, to promote. This week it was just two old friends talking about what matters to us; business, design and people. There’s some personal stuff in there too, about my therapy and being called Andrew again.

I rarely listen back to my own podcasts once they’re edited, but I listened to our chat this morning and it made me smile just as much as I did while we were recording it.

Listen on Mule Radio

Unfinished Business episode 56: A hair stylist’s 4x4

This week, Josh Cleland is back on Unfinished Business. We talk about updates on our various piracy issues and whether it’s necessary to add copyright notices or watermarks to our work. We also discuss why people at large put a low value on creative work.

Unfinished Business episode 55: The elephant in the room

This week on ‘Net Awards Podcast Of The Year’ nominated Unfinished Business, Liz Elcoate, from some other podcast, joins me to talk about why it’s acceptable to admit when we’ve availability and to ask people for work. We talk more about having flexibility in our rates and why it’s reasonable to quote different rates to different people. We also touch on whether web designers should charge ‘rush rates’ and why working for free can be good for the soul.

Speaking of the Net Awards, did I mention that Unfinished Business has been nominated for Podcast Of The Year at the Net Awards? No? If you’ve liked what you’ve heard over the last 55 episodes, please vote for us. After-all, this is the only podcast where you hear about the things that are really important. Apes (obviously,) soap, weeing in kettles and of course Purple Rain.

Unfinished Business episode 54: Stalinist bus station

Laura Kalbag is back on Unfinished Business this week to talk about how far in advance we book client projects and what we you do if a client wants more work done, but we’ve other work booked for the next few months? We discuss upping our day rates and how Laura’s client suggested she charge more.

No Unfinished Business would be complete without talk of pirates and smugglers and the Milton Keynes Geek Night All Dayer conference which took place last week.

Unfinished Business episode 53: A bedroom and no social life

It’s a really good, funny episode of this week. I’m joined again by Elliott Kember to talk about whether being acquired is just a poncy way of saying that you’re taking a job at a big company. We discuss Google buying a nest thermostatNest Labs for $3.2billion when they could’ve got one for a hundred quid at B&Q and why some people have reacted very negatively to the deal.

Best of all, we start and end this episode with a song that sounds absolutely nothing at all like Purple Rain. You don’t get singing like that on The Freelance Web or The Big Web Show, I can tell you.

Thanks to our sponsors this week, they were Espresso and Shopify. Please support our show by visiting them.

Unfinished Business episode 52: Famous for falling off things

This week on Unfinished Business, I’m in a relaxed mood as I’m joined by Josh Cleland to talk about how we filter enquires from potential clients through our websites and emails. We also try really, really hard not to talk about moviesfilms.

Unfinished Business episode 51: One big knob

For the first Unfinished Business of 2014 I’m joined by my really good friend Dan Davies to talk about film marathons, what we’d hoard for the apocalypse and Dan’s totally unrelated career change from front-end developer to UX designer.

The fiftieth episode of Unfinished Business: Trapped in a jar

For this, the fiftieth episode of Unfinished Business, I’m joined by regular guest Laura Kalbag. We talk about ethical statements and whether we, and the companies that people work for, should set out what they will and won’t work on our websites.

I would like to say an enormous thank-you to Anna Debenham for helping me get started with this podcast. To all our guests and sponsors for making the show possible and to you, our listeners for being lovely people. I’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas holiday.

Some news about Unfinished Business

This year’s been a really good year for British web industry podcasts and I’ve loved making Unfinished Business. It’s become a great way for me to wind down from work on a Friday afternoon and has been my main outlet for the things I’ve had on my mind, largely replacing me writing on this blog.

A week of Christmas crossover podcasts

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time. If you haven’t been keeping up with this week’s Christmas crossover podcasts, we’ve just wrapped up the week with yours truly and Sarah Parmenter guesting on Boagworld with Paul And Marcus.

We talked about what we all want for Christmas, whether we can switch off from work during the break, how we deal with clients who insist their site be live by some arbitrary point and what our web design new years resolutions are? (All made up questions, obviously.)

Jingle all the week with our Christmas crossover podcasts

We thought that getting together with friends to record a series of Christmas crossover podcast episodes might help us, and you, get in the mood for Christmas.

Unfinished Business episode 49: Ups and downs, downs and ups

The wonderfully generous Sean Johnson joins me twice on Unfinished Business this week to first answer a listener’s question about competitive payment terms, then to talk about our downs and ups of 2013.

Unfinished Business and The Net Awards

The Net Awards returns for 2014, but unlike previous years, this time I’d actually appreciate your vote.

Unfinished Business episode 48: Enjoy those potatoes!

Illustrator Josh Cleland is back on Unfinished Business this week to talk about his work on the new Stuff and Nonsense go, go, go, rillas header, the difficulties of designing our own branding and how we can make visits to our sites more memorable by improving the design of pages we often forget.

Nominate Unfinished Business for the Net Awards 2014

One way you can say thanks for the time we take making our podcast every week is to nominate Unfinished Business for Podcast Of The Year at the Net Awards 2014. We’d love, love, love you if you did that.

Unfinished Business episode 47: A mobile phone is not a Tardis

This week on Unfinished Business, I’m joined by Elliott Kember. We talk about listening to feedback and the differences between client feedback on design projects and customer feedback about apps. Then I amuse Elliott with my adoration for LINGs CARS and that I think Ling is a marketing genius.

Unfinished Business episode 46: Let zygones be bygones. A Doctor Who 50th anniversary special

In this week’s extra length special episode of Unfinished Business, Jon Hicks and I talk exclusively about Doctor Who, so there isn’t a single piece of business advice anywhere in the show — not that there’s usually much.

In particular we talk about the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode, so if you haven’t seen that yet — spoilers! Before that we talk about ‘An Adventure In Space And Time,’ the story of the First Doctor William Hartnell and ‘The Night Of The Doctor’ mini episode that set the scene for the 50th Anniversary last week.

Unfinished Business episode 45: The sharpest knife in the drawer

This week on Unfinished Business, I’m joined by James Young to talk about his recent, first conference presentations and why confidence in front of people is as important as a designer’s skills with Photoshop. We discuss his knives business and how a side business can improve the work we do on the web and give us more varied content to talk and write about.

Unfinished Business episode 44: Love me like a reptile

On this week’s Unfinished Business, regular co-host Laura Kalbag and I talked candidly about hosting workshops and whether they make commercial sense and how we make money from them. Laura asked me about choosing Stuff and Nonsense for our business name and we talked about how people can make the best, first impression when you write to us. (Sorry for Laura’s audio quality. We’ll try to do better next time.)

Unfinished Business episode 43: Hanging out at truck stops

This week on Unfinished Business, I’m joined by CSS hero Harry Roberts to talk about being typecast (literally,) going Keynote commando and Harry’s first week on the dole. We talk about how people can improve the way they think about sending and dealing with email and why we’re both obsessed with the backends of vans.

Unfinished Business episode 42: My favourite Belgians

This week, I’m joined by fabulous designer Veerle Pieters to talk about whether cycling or eating toasties is the best exercise, when working on retainer for long-term projects makes sense and the right questions to ask in our customer enquiry questionnaires.

Unfinished Business episode 41 Rush and the tragically hip

On Unfinished Business this week, Designer and author of A Pocket Guide to CSS Animations Val Head joins me to talk about practical uses for CSS animations, how small publishers have made publishing books more accessible to first time authors and, of course, The Sooty Show.

Unfinished Business episode 40: 100% satisfaction guaranteed

This week, illustrator Josh Cleland joins me to talk about how far we can go using a movie or TV character’s likeness, the differences between an illustrator’s and a web designer’s contract and Josh’s “100% satisfaction guarantee.”

Using pro-bono design projects as example files

On this week’s Unfinished Business, Alex’s friend Brad Frost and I talked about designing in the open, pro-bono projects for great causes like the Pittsburg Food Bank and the open project he and Melissa are starting for them.

Unfinished Business episode 39: You could be Snake Plissken

In this week’s show, Alex’s friend Brad Frost, who having survived his trip to Brighton, returns to talk to me about designing ‘in the open’ and what the benefits for us and the people and organisations we’re working for can be.

Listen now

Unfinished Business episode 37: Kangaroo with an AK-47

Special guest Dan Cederholm joins me on Unfinished Business this week to talk about making money by making things, how making great schwag makes a great impression and what happened to Foamee. We discuss why on Dribbble it’s important for business to not get in the way of a great service and with Dan’s new book coming up, we talk about the process of writing and whether second editions are worth it.

Unfinished Business episode 36: Take regular dumps

On this week’s show, Designer, icon artist, author and possibly Doctor Who’s next companion Jon Hicks joins yours truly to discuss differences in the ways that Jon approaches different types of clients, how publishing his day rate and availability on his web site has improved the ‘quality’ of his enquiries and who ultimately owns the work that we do. As you might expect we couldn’t spend an hour together without talking about Doctor Who. Quite a lot.

Unfinished Business episode 35: Mad as a box of ferrets

In the latest episode of your favourite soap ‘apera,’ Anna and I go off on a tangent (no really) about the winner of out ‘Daft Proposal Of The Week Award.’ We talk about how to respond to proposals and whether it’s ever appropriate to not respond at all.

It’s not Narnia, you can get there by train

Back from my holidays, all tanned and gorgeous (obviously,) I rejoined Anna to talk about Laura Kalbag’s ‘Good Designers, Good Clients’ article on A List Apart. We discuss how I was inspired by Seth Godin to start speaking again and the best bits from the last three episodes including our ‘double our day rate Fridays,’ Sarah’s approach to handling low budget enquiries and the problem of doing work under NDA and having little to show for it in your portfolio.

Unfinished Business episode 33: 400 Likes and someone will win an elephant

My friend Sarah Parmenter co-hosted this week’s show with Anna while I was driving back from holiday. This week’s topics are money related — Sarah and Anna talk about fair pricing, taking payment before site launch and educating clients with unreasonably low budgets. Anna also asks Sarah about her new venture and what drove her to start a completely different business. They discuss the importance of honesty and how working on side projects can help with motivation.

Seth Godin on Happy Monday

I cannot pass up this opportunity to link to this week’s fabulous Happy Monday interview with Seth Godin.

Unfinished Business episode 31: Almost as controversial as putting the milk in first

I’m generally bored of interview shows, that’s why we have guest co-hosts instead of guests and this week on Unfinished Business, my CSS hero Harry Roberts steps in while I’m on holiday. Anna asks him about his sudden decision to leave his full-time job, the events that led up to it, and what he plans to do next. Harry shares his advice for people struggling to balance work and personal projects. They also have a sneaky chat about object oriented CSS at the end even though it’s not really business related but something had to replace the usual ten minutes of banter about soap and apes.

Unfinished Business episode 30: Spongebob bloody squarepants

In the final chapter of the contract episode trilogy, Anna asks me about writing a contract for working with agencies, we discuss which browsers and devices we should mention, termination fees, and who owns the content at the end of the project.

Unfinished Business episode 29: I went to Norwich once and it was closed

It’s episode 29 of Unfinished Business and part two in a series about contracts and the Contract Killer. Anna and I talk about how a good contract sets the tone and lays the foundations for a mutually good business relationship. We get down to the nitty gritty of the first few Contract Killer clauses including specifying deliverables, price and payment terms.

Oh. And I mentioned ze Chermans but I think I got avay viz it.

Unfinished Business episode 28: You can’t keep a pistol in a Kinder egg

Finally, yes finally, Anna and I get around to the first of two, maybe three, episodes about contacts. We talk about the ‘Contract Killer,’ why we think it’s important to always use a contract and why some people think otherwise. We discuss the essential elements that should go into every contract and why, on top of any legal benefits, how a good contract says a lot about how you do business and why writing yours should be a creative challenge you should relish.

(Don’t miss the gag wheel and ice-cream banter after the show. It’s a scorcher.)

Liz and Sean talk about contracts on The Freelance Web

Contracts seem to be the topic of this month and I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that. Anna and I are covering contracts in detail over the next two or three episodes of Unfinished Business, starting with episode 28 out on Monday. Not only will we be talking about ‘Contract Killer,’ we’ll be explaining why writing your contract should be a creative activity and how that says a lot about how you do business.

I know it likely won’t ever happen, but if you get fed up of hearing our voices, Contract Killer also got plenty of mentions on that other podcast Liz and Sean’s The Freelance Web podcast this week too in an excellent episode about contracts.

Unfinished Business episode 27: Moccasins? Is that a type of seashell?

In this week’s episode, Anna and I discuss Motorhead and motorcycles and how I’m too much of a ‘wendy’ to lift one. Really. We talk about how Stuff and Nonsense’s pattern of weekly working sometimes doesn’t work and how to deal with competing client demands when you have limited time available.

Unfinished Business episode 26: What kind of chickens are endangered?

In this week’s episode, lycra wearing, tightrope walker* Anna Debenham and I ask “who would win in a fight? Boba Fett or Batman?” “If the world was ending tomorrow, which endangered species would you eat?” and other important business questions. More importantly we talk about reviews and how they can help improve your business.

* We lied about the lycra.

Unfinished Business episode 25: James McKechnie and the 30lb frozen turkey

In this, the 25th anniversary episode of Unfinished Business, Anna and I talk about working in a supermarket (a while ago, obviously) and how my professional level skiving almost lead me to a career in supermarket management. We talk about selling an experience as well as selling design or code and how creative services are as much about putting on a show as they are about doing work.

Unfinished Business episode 24: Go to Brighton in body armour

This week, while Anna’s away, I talk to (Alex’s friend) Brad Frost about iOS7, dropping pretzels and chocolate Hobnobs. (Spoiler: Brad had no idea what they are.) In between we talk about speaking and contributing and what you gain by giving away information freely.

Unfinished Business episode 23: It’s the way he tells ’em

In this week’s episode of Unfinished Business, Anna and I talk about me being robbed of my iPhone in Geneva and the implications, both personal and business of what happened. We talk about the importance of ensuring that insurance is up-to-date (spoiler: mine wasn’t) and how to secure your iOS devices and Mac in case of theft.

Unfinished Business episode 22: I don’t need it bloody moussed

If you’re an ‘everyday’ web designer or developer — instead of one who’s perhaps made of plastic or maybe carved out of soap — we think you’ll love this week’s episode of Unfinished Business.

Anna and I talk about being nominated for awards and being made into action figures and how that’s made us feel. We discuss whether it’s acceptable to make you or your company look bigger than you really are and whether sites such as Agencies Rated can really help freelancers.

Unfinished Business episode 21: They were making a noise that only dogs can hear

In this week’s episode of Unfinished Business, award winning Anna Debenham and I talk about our worst business mistakes and disasters, what went wrong on the worst client projects and what we learned from them. I also wants to know why Albanians steal my soap, plus there are confessions galore about shampoo and Taylor Swift.

Unfinished Business episode 20: Like Brighton, she’s peerless. What? Oh.

In this week’s episode, Anna and I talk about secrecy, about what we can say about the business we do and what we can’t. We talk about non-disclosure agreements and why it’s important for everyone to sign one, plus why I wrote and published my plain speaking Three Wise Monkeys NDA. I gets all emotional about Alex’s twenty-first birthday and can’t quite believe that Anna’s never heard of Blackpool illuminations.

Unfinished Business episode 19: Would you like a little more Star Trek with your lens flare?

While Anna’s away in Amsterdam, I talk with designer Laura Kalbag about Star Trek Into Darkness, how we name our wifi networks and whether location really affects our businesses. We discuss about how to find good sub-contractors and the differences between working for clients direct or via third-parties.

Unfinished Business episode 18: It would’ve been better if they’d heckled

In this week’s episode of the nation’s favourite creative business podcast, I tell bad Dad jokes and Anna doesn’t laugh. We answer listeners’ questions about charging expenses and project assets to clients and when it’s appropriate to charge for ‘learning’ time. We talk about making the transition from a steady job to running a new business and why it’s important never to burn bridges, and how to compete with bargain basement website designers.

Tip: Renaming or moving a shared Dropbox folder

On this week’s Unfinished Business, I mentioned how I ask our clients to name our projects’ shared Dropbox folder so that we don’t end up with dozens of folders called ‘redesign’ or ‘stuff-and-nonsense.’ It turns out I needn’t worry as Dropbox lets you move or rename any folder without breaking sharing.

You can rename or move your shared folders just like you would any other folder on your hard drive or via the website. Even if you rename it, the folder will still remain shared. However, changing the name of the shared folder or its location will not change its name or location in the Dropbox of other members.

I did not know that. Thanks to listener Steven for writing to let me know.

Unfinished Business episode 17: Beautiful and talented and makes you sick

This week on Unfinished Business, Anna and I talk about biscuits and business software. Anna explains how she uses FreeAgent to keep track of her finances and berates me for not trying it. We talk about back-up software and how Stuff and Nonsense use Dropbox to collaborate with clients during projects. I run through my favourite design tools including Gridset and Typecast and no discussion about software would be complete without bemoaning how Adobe are abandoning Fireworks.

Unfinished Business episode 16: You can’t put a grown man on a sheep

In this week’s sillier than normal episode of Unfinished Business Anna and I exchange notes on our workplaces and the tools we use, from hardware to software. I get distracted by Mutton Bustin’ (but honestly, who wouldn’t?)