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.

Also from this author

  • The Itinerant Geek

    Conference season travel stress is the fun-killer, the health-killer, and the stealer of concentration. Veteran traveler Rachel Andrew has some tips to help you maintain equilibrium—and productivity—on the road.

  • The High Price of Free

    Our industry is remarkable for how many of us do unpaid labor—sometimes for exposure, other times to give back to the profession and help our peers. We’re all grateful for the free software, learning, and support made possible by this generosity. But in coming to depend in it, we can’t forget that people need time to pay the bills and assure a secure future for themselves and their families.

  • It’s the People They Know

    Chance can play such a vital part in your career. You may be unexpectedly exposed to technology that becomes central to how you make a living. People you meet who seem to have nothing to do with your work, or who were potential clients or colleagues that didn’t pan out, can end up connecting you to someone who turns out to be central to the next phase of your career.

  • 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.

  • 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. Amin Al Hazwani
  4. Lea Alcantara
  5. Dean Allen
  6. John Allsopp
  7. Pär Almqvist
  8. Joe Alterio
  9. Brian Alvey
  10. Stephen Anderson
  11. Rachel Andrew
  12. Jake Archibald
  13. Chris Armstrong
  14. Lance Arthur
  15. Faruk Ateş
  16. Peter Balogh
  17. Artas Bartas
  18. Jennifer Bassett
  19. Johanna Bates
  20. Tim Baxter
  21. Dan Benjamin
  22. Scott Berkun
  23. David Berlow
  24. Tobias Bernard
  25. Mark Bernstein
  26. Carrie Bickner
  27. Kate Bingaman-Burt
  28. Mark Birbeck
  29. Alex Bischoff
  30. Niklas Bivald
  31. Roger Black
  32. Margot Bloomstein
  33. Jason Blumer
  34. Nate Bolt
  35. Jina Bolton
  36. Scott Boms
  37. Bert Bos
  38. Maurizio Boscarol
  39. Mark Boulton
  40. Clarice Bouwer
  41. Cennydd Bowles
  42. Douglas Bowman
  43. Wayne Bremser
  44. Harry Brignull
  45. Ryan Brill
  46. Mike Brittain
  47. Mandy Brown
  48. Tim Brown
  49. Sunni Brown
  50. Tiffany B. Brown
  51. Dan Brown
  52. Marlene Bruce
  53. Laura Brunow Miner
  54. Carlos Bueno
  55. Jory Burson
  56. Paul Burton
  57. Jim Byrne
  58. Tony Byrne
  59. Marcos Caceres
  60. Jeffery Callender
  61. Lachlan Cannon
  62. Michael Cardenas
  63. Norm Carr
  64. Ryan Carson
  65. Lawrence Carvalho
  66. Meghan Casey
  67. Elizabeth Castro
  68. Dan Cederholm
  69. Tantek Celik
  70. Steve Champeon
  71. Caio Chassot
  72. Hui Jing Chen
  73. Jack Cheng
  74. Kevin Cheng
  75. Dana Chisnell
  76. James Christie
  77. Patrick Clancey
  78. Joe Clark
  79. Chris Clark
  80. Josh Clark
  81. Andrew Clarke
  82. Josh Cleland
  83. Curt Cloninger
  84. Geri Coady
  85. Scott Jason Cohen
  86. Michael Cohen
  87. Georgy Cohen
  88. Anthony Colangelo
  89. Brad Colbow
  90. Simon Collison
  91. Angela Colter
  92. Marie Connelly
  93. Craig Cook
  94. Patrick Cooney
  95. Joscelin Cooper
  96. Stacey Cordoni
  97. Kevin Cornell
  98. Amanda Costello
  99. Jim Coudal
  100. Abby Covert
  101. Nick Cox
  102. Chris Coyier
  103. Brian Crescimanno
  104. Jeff Croft
  105. Shaun Crowley
  106. Chip Cullen
  107. Nathan Curtis
  108. Liz Danzico
  109. Anil Dash
  110. Justin Dauer
  111. Glenn Davis
  112. Anna Debenham
  113. David Demaree
  114. Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek
  115. Shane Diffily
  116. Geoff DiMasi
  117. Nick Disabato
  118. Hannah Donovan
  119. Nandini Doreswamy
  120. Rory Douglas
  121. Dmitry Dragilev
  122. Jarrod Drysdale
  123. Seth Duffey
  124. Colin Eagan
  125. Jeff Eaton
  126. James Edwards
  127. J. David Eisenberg
  128. James Ellis
  129. Jessica Enders
  130. Bjørn Enki
  131. Elika Etemad
  132. Felicity Evans
  133. Garin Evans
  134. Meryl K. Evans
  135. Christopher Fahey
  136. Todd Fahrner
  137. Dug Falby
  138. Derek Featherstone
  139. Scott Fennell
  140. Andrew Fernandez
  141. John Ferrara
  142. Daniel Ferro
  143. Alex Feyerke
  144. Nick Finck
  145. Richard Fink
  146. Detlev Fischer
  147. Jonathan Follett
  148. Shoshannah L. Forbes
  149. Nathan Ford
  150. Clinton Forry
  151. Jack Franklin
  152. Dean Frickey
  153. Daniel M. Frommelt
  154. Brad Frost
  155. Lyza Gardner
  156. Steven Garrity
  157. Peter Gasston
  158. Janice Gervais
  159. Anne Gibson
  160. Jarrod Gingras
  161. John Gladding
  162. Porter Glendinning
  163. Kevin Goldman
  164. Brian Goldman
  165. Devan Goldstein
  166. Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron
  167. Jeff Gothelf
  168. R. Stephen Gracey
  169. Dave Gray
  170. Adam Greenfield
  171. Brandon Gregory
  172. Matt Griffin
  173. Patrick Griffiths
  174. Jason Grigsby
  175. Andrew Grimes
  176. John M. Grohol
  177. Tobias Günther
  178. Aaron Gustafson
  179. Andy Hagans
  180. Young Hahn
  181. Erika Hall
  182. Jessica Hall
  183. Kristina Halvorson
  184. Naz Hamid
  185. Jessica Harllee
  186. Brett Harned
  187. Cyd Harrell
  188. Matthew Haughey
  189. Stephen Hay
  190. Steph Hay
  191. Julia Hayden
  192. Dominique Hazaël-Massieux
  193. Val Head
  194. Christian Heilmann
  195. Hal Helms
  196. Ben Henick
  197. Claudia Hernández
  198. Alan Herrell
  199. Graham Herrli
  200. Lisa Herrod
  201. Whitney Hess
  202. Perry Hewitt
  203. Jenny Lam / Hillel Cooperman
  204. David Hillis
  205. Andrew Hinton
  206. Tingan Ho
  207. Craig Hockenberry
  208. Robert Hoekman Jr.
  209. Andrew Hoffman
  210. Kevin M. Hoffman
  211. Lara Hogan
  212. Emma Jane Hogbin Westby
  213. Anthony Holdener
  214. Ryan Holsten
  215. Molly E. Holzschlag
  216. Sara Horton
  217. Byron Houwens
  218. Ross Howard
  219. Greg Hoy
  220. Belinda Hulin
  221. Bill Humphries
  222. Lachlan Hunt
  223. Mark Huot
  224. Phillip Ikuvbogie
  225. Ryan Irelan
  226. Makiko Itoh
  227. Ida Jackson
  228. Charlotte Jackson
  229. Denise Jacobs
  230. Bob Jacobson
  231. Troy Janisch
  232. Scott Jehl
  233. Neil Jenkins
  234. Leslie Jensen-Inman
  235. L. Michelle Johnson
  236. Andrew Johnson
  237. Bronwyn Jones
  238. Glenn Jones
  239. Colleen Jones
  240. Natalie Jost
  241. Jonathan Kahn
  242. Laura Kalbag
  243. Chris Kaminski
  244. Harvey Kane
  245. Avinash Kaushik
  246. Jeremy Keith
  247. Scott Kellum
  248. Sally Kerrigan
  249. Alla Kholmatova
  250. Kate Kiefer Lee
  251. Crawford Kilian
  252. Andrew Kirkpatrick
  253. Greg Kise
  254. Erin Kissane
  255. Martin Kliehm
  256. Breandán Knowlton
  257. Thierry Koblentz
  258. Peter-Paul Koch
  259. Cameron Koczon
  260. Michelle Kondou
  261. Mattias Konradsson
  262. Jordan Koschei
  263. Nishant Kothary
  264. Jason Kottke
  265. Katie Kovalcin
  266. Scott Kramer
  267. Una Kravets
  268. Michael Krisher
  269. Eric Krock
  270. Andrew Kuhar
  271. Olivier Lacan
  272. Keith LaFerriere
  273. Diana Lakatos
  274. wk lang
  275. Wren Lanier
  276. Simon St. Laurent
  277. Art Lawry
  278. Kristofer Layon
  279. Tina Lee
  280. Sharon Lee
  281. Antoine Lefeuvre
  282. Jeff Lembeck
  283. Inayaili León, de
  284. Debra Levin Gelman
  285. Matthew Levine
  286. Donna Lichaw
  287. Håkon Wium Lie
  288. Colin Lieberman
  289. Dave Linabury
  290. Margit Link-Rodrigue
  291. Caren Litherland
  292. Mark Llobrera
  293. Ian Lloyd
  294. Paul Lloyd
  295. Sue Lockwood
  296. Michael Lopp
  297. Rachel Lovinger
  298. Michael Lovitt
  299. Daniel Ludwin
  300. Jenn Lukas
  301. Erin Lynch
  302. Patrick Lynch
  303. Kelsey Lynn Lundberg
  304. Chris MacGregor
  305. Jeffrey MacIntyre
  306. Dougal MacPherson
  307. Søren Madsen
  308. Dennis A. Mahoney
  309. Dan Mall
  310. Rosie Manning
  311. Ethan Marcotte
  312. Matty Mariansky
  313. Mat Marquis
  314. Samuel Marshall
  315. Lisa Maria Martin
  316. John Martz
  317. Mehdi Maujood
  318. Cassie McDaniel
  319. Justin McDowell
  320. Gerry McGovern
  321. Karen McGrane
  322. Randall Snare and Elizabeth McGuane
  323. Nellie McKesson
  324. Drew McLellan
  325. Mica McPheeters
  326. Pete McVicar
  327. Timothy Meaney
  328. Garann Means
  329. Shawn Medero
  330. Tim Meehan
  331. Jens Oliver Meiert
  332. Aaron Mentele
  333. Erika Meyer
  334. Eric Meyer
  335. Justin Mezzell
  336. Bojan Mihelac
  337. Robert Miller
  338. Robin (roblimo) Miller
  339. David F. Miller
  340. Chris Mills
  341. Wilson Miner
  342. Craig Mod
  343. Cameron Moll
  344. Mike Monteiro
  345. Sam Moore
  346. Peter Morville
  347. Trenton Moss
  348. Alice Mottola
  349. Lee Moyer
  350. Lyle Mullican
  351. Rebecca Murphey
  352. Brendan Murray
  353. Timothy Murtaugh
  354. Rachel Nabors
  355. Sarah B. Nelson
  356. Mark Newhouse
  357. Jorunn D. Newth
  358. Chris Noessel
  359. Paul Novitski
  360. Matthew O'Neill
  361. George Oates
  362. Brandon Oelling
  363. Brandon Olejniczak
  364. George Olsen
  365. Ross Olson
  366. Mark Otto
  367. Nick Padmore
  368. Sarah Parmenter
  369. Rick Pastoor
  370. Dana Pavlichko
  371. Alan Pearce
  372. Jason Pearce
  373. Shane Pearlman
  374. Ross Penman
  375. Nathan Peretic
  376. Yesenia Perez-Cruz
  377. Dorian Peters
  378. Jon Peterson
  379. Veronica Picciafuoco
  380. Mike Pick
  381. Jack Pickard
  382. Heydon Pickering
  383. Andy Polaine
  384. Christophe Porteneuve
  385. Joshua Porter
  386. Eric Portis
  387. Kevin Potts
  388. Derek Powazek
  389. Shelley Powers
  390. Till Quack
  391. Whitney Quesenbery
  392. Peter Quinsey
  393. Jim Ramsey
  394. Aza Raskin
  395. Eleanor Ratliff
  396. Jim Ray
  397. Our Gentle Readers
  398. Aaron Rester
  399. Sam Richard
  400. Stephanie Rieger
  401. Nick Rigby
  402. Matt Riggott
  403. Daniel Ritzenthaler
  404. Christopher Robbins
  405. Stuart Robertson
  406. Susan Robertson
  407. Rich Robinson
  408. D. Keith Robinson
  409. Jason Rodriguez
  410. Marco Rogers
  411. Mike Rohde
  412. Pepi Ronalds
  413. Stewart Rosenberger
  414. Lou Rosenfeld
  415. Chris Ross-Gill
  416. Dave Rupert
  417. Andy Rutledge
  418. Richard Rutter
  419. Joseph Ryan
  420. Gian Sampson-Wild
  421. Jason Santa Maria
  422. Cédric Savarese
  423. Sbritt
  424. Suzanne Scacca
  425. Hana Schank
  426. Alex Schmidt
  427. Christopher Schmitt
  428. Adam Schumacher
  429. Erin Scime
  430. Paul Sciortino
  431. Thomas Scott
  432. Ryan Seddon
  433. Jana Sedivy
  434. Tomer Sharon
  435. Remy Sharp
  436. Al Shaw
  437. Dave Shea
  438. Peter K Sheerin
  439. Robbie Shepherd
  440. Eric Shepherd
  441. Sophie Shepherd
  442. Nick Sherman
  443. David Sherwin
  444. Jeremiah Shoaf
  445. Daniel Short
  446. Orr Shtuhl
  447. Kim Siever
  448. Amber Simmons
  449. Jen Simmons
  450. Neha Singh
  451. Kendra Skeene
  452. Michael Slater
  453. David Sleight
  454. Kristin Smaby
  455. Jonathan Smiley
  456. Paul Smith
  457. Tim Smith
  458. Jonathan Snook
  459. Eric Sol
  460. Sara Soueidan
  461. Paul Sowden
  462. ALA Staff
  463. Ruth Stalker-Firth
  464. Russ Starke
  465. Alan Stearns
  466. Hallvord R.M. Steen
  467. Joe Di Stefano
  468. Bob Stein
  469. Bram Stein
  470. Krista Stevens
  471. Walter Stevenson
  472. Noah Stokes
  473. Elliot Stokes
  474. Greg Storey
  475. Brian Suda
  476. Rob Swan
  477. Allen Tan
  478. Tyler Tate
  479. Olivier Thereaux
  480. Drew Thomas
  481. Yael Tolub
  482. Emmanuel King Turner
  483. Dan Turner
  484. Russ Unger
  485. Nick Usborne
  486. Santiago Valdarrama
  487. Marc van den Dobbelsteen
  488. Rian van der Merwe
  489. Bobby van der Sluis
  490. Roel Van Gils
  491. Jeffrey Veen
  492. David Verba
  493. Lea Verou
  494. Corey Vilhauer
  495. Sergio Villarreal
  496. Casper Voogt
  497. Sophia Voychehovski Prater
  498. The W3C
  499. The W3C QA Group
  500. Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  501.   waferbaby
  502. Jeremy Wagner
  503. Aarron Walter
  504. Denice Warren
  505. Samantha Warren
  506. Dan Webb
  507. Eileen Webb
  508. Rose Weisburd
  509. Yoav Weiss
  510. Lisa Welchman
  511. Mike West
  512. Brian Williams
  513. Christina Wodtke
  514. Carolyn Wood
  515. Jeremy Wright
  516. Tim Wright
  517. Luke Wroblewski
  518. Mark Wyner
  519. Victor Yocco
  520. Indi Young
  521. Nicholas Zakas
  522. Jack Zeal
  523. Jeffrey Zeldman
  524. Samantha Zhang
  525. Ping Zhu