Tips and tools: Optimize your forms; understand machine learning; become a Google Sheets ninja; and more

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Last updated: November 2019

Here are some great resources we have recently shared with one another

(We don’t profit from recommending things. We just love sharing things we think you’ll appreciate. You can see our other Tips and Tools articles here.)

Understand how machine learning works—by reading these comics from Google

Google has partnered again with Scott McCloud, who in 2008 created the comic that was used to announce Google’s new browser, Chrome.

Google’s latest comics are about how machine learning works and how federated learning works. You’ll find them useful if you have a vague idea that machine learning might be helpful for your business (or career), and want a high-level understanding of what it can do.

Optimize your forms

Adam Silver’s Form Design: From Zero To Hero contains excellent advice for optimizing forms.

Adam uses Andrew Duckworth’s shorthand for creating forms using plain text. It’s like Markdown for forms. The following image shows how we used it for our book funnel:

An example of a form designed in plain text

Get more from Google Sheets

Ben Collins’ website is our go-to guide for learning how to do smart things with Google Sheets (and Apps Script and Data Studio).

Ben’s detailed beginner’s guide promises to take you “from newbie to ninja in no time.”

Another chatbot tool to convert your visitors

We previously mentioned Continual.ly, a chatbot builder tool. Landbot is another chatbot builder. It integrates with other services like MailChimp and Stripe.

Determine which glue to use for any situation

The nicely named ThisToThat tells you what glue to use to stick things to other things. (It also has possibly the worst logo we have ever seen.)

Get the best programming books

Your developers might be interested to see this list of the books that get mentioned most on Stack Overflow. The link is sometimes down, so here are the top 10 books from it:

  1. Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael C. Feathers
  2. Design Patterns by Ralph Johnson, Erich Gamma, John Vlissides and Richard Helm
  3. Clean Code by Robert C. Martin
  4. Java concurrency in practice by Brian Goetz et al
  5. Domain-driven Design by Eric Evans
  6. JavaScript by Douglas Crockford
  7. Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler
  8. Code Complete by Steve McConnell
  9. Refactoring by Martin Fowler et al
  10. Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman, Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates

Discover new ways to run your company

We are interested in companies that are managed in novel ways. We suspect that companies in fifty years will be managed more like Wikipedia than Encyclopedia Britannica. The consulting company Crisp has a Holocracy-style open management system—a self-organizing “operating system”—rather than a formal hierarchy.

Crisp’s “DNA” describes how the company operates. (We have added the page to our list of company handbooks of the world’s most sophisticated businesses.)

Even though such attempts to reinvent management can be faddish, and sometimes fail, we suspect there’s a lot to learn from them.

Use keyboard shortcuts in Google Docs to highlight text

Thanks to feedback from our subscriber Joel Shetler, we have updated the bottom of our article “How we manage our personal workflows” to include keyboard shortcuts to highlight text in Google Docs.

If, like us, you use highlighting to keep track of your goals, you’ll find they save a lot of time.

Play MP3 files offline on iPhone

We described how the podcast app Castro could be used to play any MP3 on iPhone.

Well, we have since discovered that you can play MP3s offline without using third-party software. From Safari, you just open the MP3 (so it starts playing), then click the “Send To” icon and then click “Save to Files.” Then, you can play the MP3 directly from the Files app. Unlike Castro, though, your place in the podcast isn’t remembered if you leave the audio and return later.

News from within Conversion Rate Experts

“Past the seven-figure mark of increased revenue,” for affiliate network MoreNiche

We are excited to have just published a great new testimonial. It’s from MoreNiche, an affiliate marketing company that specializes in the health, beauty, and fitness industry.

“Our experience with Conversion Rate Experts has been brilliant from day one,” says Sandis Viksna, Digital Strategist for MoreNiche.

See the video (and a transcript of it).

You can see all 86 of our testimonials and success stories here.

We’d like to do the same for you

If you’d like us to help you hit your ambitious targets, visit this page to request a free strategy session.

And finally…

Beware of these words

Autoantonyms are words that have two, opposite meanings.

For example, the word dust can mean remove dust from (“I dusted the furniture”) or add dust to (“I dusted the surface with flour”).

Fun With Words has a list of autoantonyms. It’s surprising how many there are. Most of them are harmless, but some are genuinely ambiguous.

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