A List Apart



>Image of Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew is the founder of edgeofmyseat.com, the company behind the CMS Perch. She regularly writes and speaks about the work she does, and can be found via her blog and personal site and on Twitter.

Contributions by Rachel Andrew

  • Offering Feedback

    If you only interact with users when they need support or have a feature request, you’re only interacting with the minority of your customers. The ones who don’t reach out to you may be creating their own workarounds to a problem you’d love to hear about, or they may have a use case that would lead to a brilliant feature. Are you guilty of the same developer shyness? Do you build things to enhance a tool or service for your own use, and assume the developer is too busy to want to hear about it? Don’t wait until there’s a need for support: ask your happy customers what they do with your product, and tell developers how you’re using their product.

  • Creating Process to Free up Time for Creativity

    There’s merit to keeping your small business nimble by keeping process to a minimum. But even in the tiniest one- or two-person operation, it’s plain that not all business tasks are improved by being hand-crafted. Rachel Andrew powers through business routines with checklists that free her mind for more compelling things. Remove friction from the rote tasks, so you can be at your best for the creative work that can only be done you.

  • Software Audits for the Tiny Business

    Routine software audits sound like just about the most boring thing in the world. But losing access to a DNS server, missing important alerts from a developer, or paying for a forgotten service are adventures nobody needs. Often, a contractor or an employee sets up an account or buys software for company use. When that person moves to another role, important license or login information can get lost in the shuffle. Rachel Andrew wants you to love the drab old software audit. It’s your best ally for preventing nasty surprises.

  • On Being King of a Shrinking Castle

    Being your own boss is awesome. You’re the sovereign of your fate—and with that autonomy comes responsibility for making your business thrive. Your time management skills are more important than ever as you continue to get your to-dos checked off. The thing is… if you get an unexpected call from a friend, can you get away from that tyrannical boss of yours to do something unplanned? Are you able to schedule time with friends or family without feeling that you’re falling behind on work? If you can’t afford to take time to strengthen your connections with others, you’re at risk of being the monarch (and the serf) of an impoverished kingdom, indeed.

  • Sass Talk

    Sass. Less. Compass. Grunt. Gulp. If you’re overwhelmed by tools like preprocessors and taskrunners—not to mention all the complex setup advice out there—you might be wondering: can we even write vanilla CSS anymore? In this event from Wednesday, May 6, 2015, we asked a panel of developers to share their stories, strategies, and case studies.

  • Looking Outside

    Partners in a small, close leadership team—such as in a family business—often know each other’s minds very well, and agree on most things. That’s great to keep things running smoothly (though sometimes there’s awkwardness when business disagreements intrude on home life). On the other hand, it can also lead to stagnation. Rachel Andrew is finding that an outsider’s perspective can help when partners can’t quite see eye to eye—or when they agree too much.

  • The Challenge for the Tiny Global Business

    Long ago, a company had to grow to a certain size before it could embark on international trade. With digital goods, that’s no longer so. Learning all the applicable laws and taxes can be daunting, but that’s what allows the small business owner to stay independent as an exporter.

  • The Ways We’ve Changed—and Stayed the Same

    A perusal of the article titles in the seasonal magazine 24 ways shows how the things we’ve needed to learn and keep up with have changed since 2005. Amid all this change, one thing that remains evergreen is the generosity of web people in sharing their knowledge.

  • Managing Feature Requests

    You’re proud of your product, and welcome user suggestions on making it even better. Will you be able to make everyone happy? Should you even aim to accommodate them all? Before you start coding, think about how to prioritize feature requests, and even say no to some.

  • Seeing Past the Highlight Reel

    When we’re physically together, even in public, glances and side conversations help us understand what’s going on below the public personas others wear. But when we’re interacting with friends mainly online, it takes a little more effort to see behind their highlight reels to get the full story.

  • Getting to the Action

    Was that conference worth it? There were smart tips and awesome people. Should you buy a ticket this year? For a freelancer or small business, it can be a significant expense. Wouldn’t it be great to know if the investment in time and money is likely to move the business forward?

  • Lessons Learned by Being the Client

    Great ongoing business relationships are good for both sides. But often developers aren’t in tune with their client’s day-to-day business needs and where their work fits in. And clients’ focus on immediate practicalities can make the developer’s work stressful and unsatisfying. Well, what better way to learn about the needs of the other than by becoming the other?

  • Our Enclosed Space

    We tend to forget that the boots-on-the ground web generalists who do great work for small businesses can’t spare the time to implement an entire suite of best practices when they’re trying to solve one sticky problem on a tight deadline.

  • Making Time for Side Projects

    What’s holding you back from finishing that side project? It’s valuable, but how will you ever find time for it? The secret is…drumroll…real goals and deadlines, and a realistic plan on how to fit it into the open spaces in your schedule. Time to get it on your to-do list and feel the motivation kick in.

  • Your Side Project as Insurance Policy

    You’re never too young and healthy to make sure you can keep income coming in if sudden misfortune strikes. Often our livelihood depends on our physical abilities—such as typing code. Having a product as a side project can offer security if your daily work is disrupted by illness or injury.

  • Does Our Industry Have a Drinking Problem?

    The social events surrounding conferences are an integral part of the experience—and they mostly involve getting together over drinks. But as the industry becomes more inclusive, we gain more people for whom drinking isn’t a good option. It's time to add more ways to party and meet up that give us a chance to network with all of our peers—and maybe even leave us feeling up for that second-day morning workshop.

  • Pricing Underpins Everything You Do

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing—I can now see that many of the difficulties we experienced as a service business could have been avoided with a different pricing model. Yet what was ultimately one of our biggest mistakes gave us experiences we could draw on when deciding on a pricing model for our product.

  • How Do You Go on Vacation?

    The idea that everyone should get time off away from their business, perhaps even completely disconnected from the internet, is a pervasive one.

  • The Local Shops of the Web

    A local shop is part of an ecosystem — here in England we call it the High Street. The owner of a local shop generally has no ambition to become a Tesco or WalMart. She’d rather experience steady growth, building relationships with customers who value what she brings to the community.

  • You Can’t Do Everything

    In any given day I can find myself reading up on a new W3C proposal, fixing an issue with our tax return, coding an add-on for our product, writing a conference presentation, building a server, creating a video tutorial, and doing front end development for one of our sites. Without clients dictating my workload I’m in the enviable position of being able to choose where to focus my efforts. However, I can’t physically do everything.

Browse Authors

  1. Ida Aalen
  2. Senongo Akpem
  3. Lea Alcantara
  4. Dean Allen
  5. John Allsopp
  6. Pär Almqvist
  7. Joe Alterio
  8. Brian Alvey
  9. Stephen P. Anderson
  10. Rachel Andrew
  11. Jake Archibald
  12. Chris Armstrong
  13. Lance Arthur
  14. Faruk Ateş
  15. Peter Balogh
  16. Artas Bartas
  17. Johanna Bates
  18. Dan Benjamin
  19. Scott Berkun
  20. David Berlow
  21. Mark Bernstein
  22. Carrie Bickner
  23. Kate Bingaman-Burt
  24. Mark Birbeck
  25. Alex Bischoff
  26. Niklas Bivald
  27. Margot Bloomstein
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  29. Nate Bolt
  30. Jina Bolton
  31. Scott Boms
  32. Bert Bos
  33. Maurizio Boscarol
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  35. Cennydd Bowles
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  45. Marlene Bruce
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  49. Paul Burton
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  51. Marcos Caceres
  52. Jeffery Callender
  53. Lachlan Cannon
  54. Michael Cardenas
  55. Norm Carr
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  59. Elizabeth Castro
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  167. Stephen Hay
  168. Steph Hay
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  170. Dominique Hazaël-Massieux
  171. Val Head
  172. Christian Heilmann
  173. Hal Helms
  174. Ben Henick
  175. Alan Herrell
  176. Graham Herrli
  177. Lisa Herrod
  178. Whitney Hess
  179. Perry Hewitt
  180. Jenny Lam / Hillel Cooperman
  181. Andrew Hinton
  182. Tingan Ho
  183. Craig Hockenberry
  184. Robert Hoekman Jr.
  185. Andrew Hoffman
  186. Kevin M. Hoffman
  187. Lara Hogan
  188. Emma Jane Hogbin Westby
  189. Anthony Holdener
  190. Ryan Holsten
  191. Molly E. Holzschlag
  192. Sarah Horton
  193. Ross Howard
  194. Greg Hoy
  195. Bill Humphries
  196. Lachlan Hunt
  197. Mark Huot
  198. Ryan Irelan
  199. Makiko Itoh
  200. Ida Jackson
  201. Charlotte Jackson
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  203. Bob Jacobson
  204. Troy Janisch
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  207. Leslie Jensen-Inman
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  209. Andrew Johnson
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  211. Glenn Jones
  212. Colleen Jones
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  245. Keith LaFerriere
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  306. Robin (roblimo) Miller
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  323. Jorunn D. Newth
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  353. Shelley Powers
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  357. Jim Ramsey
  358. Aza Raskin
  359. Jim Ray
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  361. Aaron Rester
  362. Sam Richard
  363. Stephanie Rieger
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  365. Matt Riggott
  366. Daniel Ritzenthaler
  367. Christopher Robbins
  368. Stuart Robertson
  369. Susan Robertson
  370. Rich Robinson
  371. D. Keith Robinson
  372. Jason Rodriguez
  373. Marco Rogers
  374. Mike Rohde
  375. Pepi Ronalds
  376. Stewart Rosenberger
  377. Lou Rosenfeld
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  379. Dave Rupert
  380. Andy Rutledge
  381. Richard Rutter
  382. Joseph Ryan
  383. Gian Sampson-Wild
  384. Jason Santa Maria
  385. Cédric Savarese
  386. sbritt
  387. Alex Schmidt
  388. Christopher Schmitt
  389. Adam Schumacher
  390. Erin Scime
  391. Paul Sciortino
  392. Thomas Scott
  393. Ryan Seddon
  394. Al Shaw
  395. Dave Shea
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  403. Kim Siever
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  419. Hallvord R.M. Steen
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  423. Walter Stevenson
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  432. Drew Thomas
  433. Emmanuel King Turner
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  447. Sophia Voychehovski
  448. The W3C
  449. The W3C QA Group
  450. Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  451. waferbaby
  452. Aarron Walter
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  471. Jack Zeal
  472. Jeffrey Zeldman
  473. Ping Zhu