flash intro pages – a useful analogy

Just a short one today before I get back to work. Completely unrelated to law.  If you’re building a website, and thinking of using flash, and, moreover, thinking of having a flash splash page, you may want to consider this sage advice:

Jared said, “When we have clients who are thinking about Flash splash pages, we tell them to go to their local supermarket and bring a mime with them. Have the mime stand in front of the supermarket, and, as each customer tries to enter, do a little show that lasts two minutes, welcoming them to the supermarket and trying to explain the bread is on aisle six and milk is on sale today.

“Then stand back and count how many people watch the mime, how many people get past the mime as quickly as possible, and how many people punch the mime out.

“That should give you a good idea as to how well their splash page will be received. That’s the crux of it.”

MarketingSherpa: Uproar over Anti-Flash Intro Survey Results by way of The Oatmeal.

feld on directors meetings

Helpful piece by Brad Feld on the characteristics of effective board meetings. A small excerpt:

What I mean by this is that most board meetings are 80% status updates, 10% strategy / issues, and 10% administration. I’m fine with the 10% administration, but the 80% / 10% split on status vs. strategy should be reversed. There are plenty of different ways to organize the “strategy” (I’m using “strategy” as shorthand for “forward looking discussion”) and strategy includes a blend of short, medium, and long term issues, as well as plenty of “tactical stuff” (for those that think “strategy” is too specific a word), but I imagine you get the idea.

He also sets out a detailed list of steps that contribute to successful meetings which certainly is worth a read.

One suggestion in particular that he echoed from Fred Wilson was that board meetings should be in person to be most effective. I’d perhaps go a bit further than that – wherever possible and where the issues to be discussed warrant the time and expense I always recommend that any meetings, discussions, negotiations, etc. be done in person or alternatively by videoconference and only by teleconference as a last choice. I recall reading somewhere in the past about studies that have concluded that the vast majority of communication at such meetings are non-verbal in nature – gestures, expressions, body position, etc. In my experience this is definitely the case. And perhaps for this reason negotiations done face to face typically yield better results – greater relationship building, fewer arguments and, generally, more diplomatic behaviour. My own personal theory on the latter is that people are much less inclined to be rude, snarky, argumentative or simply impolite when meeting with someone face to face – it’s much easier to behave that way to a disembodied voice. In addition to the fact that people are more likely to focus and less likely to “multitask” in face to face meetings than they are in teleconferences.

On a somewhat related note, on several occasions where I have seen board minutes drafted by clients, they have gone into a significant amount of detail regarding what was discussed, by whom, who agreed, who disagreed and so on – almost a blow by blow transcript of the entire meeting. Not recommended. Minutes should be short and concise, not a complete record of the discussion. A note that a discussion occurred is sufficient. Of course, if a decision is made, then the resolution should be recorded, including those voting in favour, against or abstaining. Consider picking up a copy of Wainberg’s Company Meetings, or ask your lawyer for sample minutes if you plan to record minutes yourself. You’ll likely be glad you did a few years down the road, when a small army of lawyers comes in to do due diligence before your major financing, IPO or acquisition, and crawls through each and every sentence in your minute book.

(hat tip to @RuddockMH for pointing me to the feld piece)


This one isn’t quite law related or quite technology rated, though it sort of touches on both. Just wanted to share something quite remarkable I saw this evening.

I was riding home in a cab with my wife and young son, going down Bay St. at about 8 pm this evening. While stopped at the lights, I casually noticed a gentleman, sitting in the car beside us, obviously very preoccupied with something, looking at his Blackberry  with some degree of concentration and furiously typing away with his thumbs It was quite easy to see given the backlight of his BB was very bright.

After a few seconds the light changed, he sped onwards, and so did we. And he continued to type, with some degree of vigour, apparently fully preoccupied with his urgent e-mail.

So, you ask, what is so remarkable about this, you ask? Surely this isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone tapping away on a BB in a cab, right? And the answer to that would be no. Definitely see it all the time. In fact, do it myself sometime. Great time saver.

So what’s the big deal? He was the one driving! Certainly understand perhaps taking a quick peek at your BB when stopped at the lights. But amazingly, this fellow that I saw simply continued to tap away busily while pressing the accelerator and speeding away. Neither of his hands were on the wheel, and it was quite clear to me that his vision was focused on his BB and not the road (though admittedly he did see the light turn green). I couldn’t tell if he perhaps was guiding the wheel with his elbows.

The stretch of Bay St. we were on is fairly straight, so I imagine someone could just take their hands off the wheel for a stretch and continue relatively unscathed. But do so, and at the same time also try to write an e-mail to someone? What sort of e-mail could possibly be so important to worth risking your life (and the lives of those around you)? Moreover, what kind of person would be so pressed for time that the could not let the e-mail wait a few minutes until they pulled over somewhere to compose it? I can’t imagine that he did a very good job at either.

While nothing much happened this time (he managed to make his left a bit later – too out of range to see what happened to his BB (but obviously with at least one hand off of it) I do wish him the best that karma may have in store for him.