Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".

@gskinner

gskinner.com Hits 3 Years and 10 People

I’m pretty excited that my little company recently reached 10 full time people. We’re just entering our fourth year as a company, and it’s been a wild ride. I have an awesome team, we have a lot of fun, and we get the opportunity to work on great projects in addition to building out some of our own internal ideas.

Our continued growth means we can tackle bigger and more interesting projects, as well as broaden the scope of the services we offer. But, it is a little weird to be running a company that offers benefits. πŸ™‚

It is also kind of cool to finally be able to select the second option on those “company size” dropdowns (10-50), though I’m not that interested in ever making it to the third option (51-500?).

Thanks to my team (present and past) for being such all round great people to work with, our clients for challenging us to push the boundaries and giving us such awesome projects, Adobe (and the not to be forgot Macromedia) for the tools/platform and the openness with developers, and everyone in the community that has helped make it such a cool space to work in. Cheers!

It’s an exciting time in this industry, and I’m really looking forward to the next 3 years.

Great Pumpkin Showdown v3.0

Another year, another pumpkin massacre at gskinner.com. Following our tradition of beer-and-candy-fueled jack-o-lantern carving, we broke into 4 teams of two based on seniority, and proceeded to hack up the innocent squash.

The results are actually pretty decent, imho. Not pro quality (the beer doesn’t really help), but better than our last couple of years (GPSD2004, GPSD2005). After a couple of hours of carving and smack talking (in about equal proportion), we wound up with FrankenFriends (Frankenstein and some spider pals), Jack Skellington (from the Nightmare Before Christmas), Grumpkin (one angry pumpkin), and PumpkInvaders (Space Invaders meet squash)

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Adobe Goes Green, Makes Green (and Platinum)

I just read a Business 2.0 article on Adobe’s environmental efforts, and all I can say is “wow”! In five years they’ve reduced electricity consumption by 35% and gas use by 41% while increasing staff by 80%. If those numbers are accurate, that’s a roughly 65% decrease in energy use per employee. Very impressive. At the same time, they’ve switched to environmentally friendly cleaning products, helped build parks, reduced water usage, and are instituting a company wide composting system.

All of this has led them to receive the first platinum rating for a corporate building from the U.S. Green Building Council. Perhaps more impressively, it has resulted in an increase in profitability. For a $1.1M initial investment, Adobe is seeing a savings of $1M per year. What a great example of environmentalism and capitalism being mutually compatible.

Kudos to Adobe for doing the right thing and proving it can be profitable. Beyond the financial and environment gains, I’m certain this move will win the brand some mental marketshare, and consumer goodwill (it worked for me).

Can’t wait to see them roll some of these ideas into 601 Townsend and the other Macromedia buildings.

[UPDATE: More kudos to Adobe here]

Great Pumpkin Showdown II

Ahh.. the age old tradition of hideously mutilating rotund orange squash. Hallowe’en just wouldn’t be the same without it.

Last year we started a company tradition of having a pumpkin carving competition, and putting the finished products online to let you, the abhoring public, vote on them. The victors won glory and many baked pumpkin seeds, whilst the losers brought burning shame upon them and their families (along with the burnt pumpkin seeds).

We’re posting this a little late this year, but dang it, we’ve been busy. Here are the competitors this year (3 this time, gskinner.com has grown). Who will reign supreme, and who will be, uh, squashed?

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Blog back up (almost)

As many of you have have noticed, we recently experienced a run of server difficulties, and I have just now managed to get the blog back up and running. We have successfully moved our sites to the ever-popular Media Temple, and are really looking forwards to utilizing their excellent (by reputation) services. I’ll give you an unbiased review after a month or two of hosting with them.

Despite the problems I have had with Netkeepers, I would still like to thank them for hosting us for the past 2 years, and in particular for helping us to make the move to Media Temple as painless as possible. You know a host is trying hard when they are willing to help you even after you’ve let them know you are moving on.

Updates on glic, upcoming conferences, etc will be coming as soon as we have successfully moved to Media Temple. Sorry for the inconvenience to everyone who has been waiting for news!!

The Great Pumpkin(s) Showdown…

To gear up for Hallowe’en, we here at gskinner.com had a little pumpkin carving contest, whilst munching on ghost festooned brownies (yum). The results are, uh, amateurish perhaps, but we had fun and thought we’d share the experience. We also couldn’t agree on a winner, so we thought we’d open it up to the public to pick one.

Here they are, and a snifty little voting tool we whipped together for the occasion. Feel free to drop some comments below, too…

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New gskinner.com site launches

The gskinner.com v2.5 site has launched. Why 2.5? Because it’s a stopgap between version 2 and a (hopefully) much cooler version 3 of the site that will go up when we have more time to devote to it. Right now, we’re way too busy with client projects and glic to put up a site that does justice to our capabilities, but I wanted to put up some materials that reflected the new focus and structure of gskinner.com.

IMHO the most interesting part of the new site is the dynamic vector drop shadow engine – it automatically blurs, offsets and fades shadows based on the _z value of the panes. It also scales the complexity of the shadow automatically, so it might draw 2 vectors for a sharp shadow, and 8 for a blurrier shadow.

I’m also happy that it consumes this blog’s RSS feed, so that the news stays updated without any extra work. πŸ˜‰

For something that got tossed together while I was on the road on the FlashInTheCan 4 city tour, I think it’s ok.

New Authors at gBlog

I’d like to give a warm welcome to the very talented members of the gskinner.com team who will now be posting to the gBlog as opportunity presents:

Phil Chung (of PhilterBlog fame)

Ryan Matsikas (of ChewTinFoil blog fame)

Lanny McNie (not famous, but still cool πŸ˜‰

This should help keep the blog a little more active then it has been lately – I have lots to post, but we have been crazy busy lately, with some very cool client work and glic (news on that soon).

Keep an eye out for their posts, and be sure to say hi in the comments.