Small Business Malarkey

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Small Business Talk

I’ve worked with many small businesses throughout the years and for the most part the experience has been beneficial to me in realizing GA certain salient point – I either don’t really want to work with them or makes me want to focus on my own business (which is small). By definition, ‘small businesses’ are exactly what their title implies – so this causes resources limitations, and more annoyingly the hustling by them to try and get you to do work for free – which I hear to often. Small Businesses can at times use the tactic of “do this job for us, and down the road it may open up the opportunity for more work” – I’m sure that many entrepreneurs and creative professionals have heard this line in many ways and forms:
– You know if you do this for us, well it can be the start of a partnership
– If you do this and it turns out well, I know several other businesses that may require your services

The ‘Dangling Carrot’ works as you (the rabbit) is susceptible to chasing this carrot because we want to be successful – and we want more carrots of course.

Now don’t get this post confused with myself not understanding that small businesses are the backbone and core of this economy – and heck, I’m a small business owner myself, though I haven’t really tried to exploit others to work for free for me, guess my thing with ethics and doing the ‘right thing’, kinda gets in the way.

If you have a small business story to share, please post in the comments.

.::LiBM::.

Mind bets

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Reward & Punishment Techniques for the Mind

I realized I did this (Mind bets) all the time, but I wasn’t aware of the succinct term until recently, due to listening to an interview with Ray Romano (of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ fame). Apparently, Ray constantly challenges himself with these bets; as quote in a New York Times article:

 he referred to as “mind bets,” a reward and punishment technique he developed to replace his own wagering habit. “I set a personal goal, like, ‘If I don’t break a 90 at golf, then I can’t watch TV for a week,’ and I get as pumped up as if I had $1,000 on a bet,” he said.
New York Times, 2009

In comparison, I do these mind bets in order to really test my Will power at the end of the day. To challenge what I can actually go through and manage – maybe I am testing myself for one day becoming tortured for information by Guerillas in a desolate jungle and resisting the interrogation methods of my captors (Yes, I’m extreme). But in more probable terms I believe that I conduct these mind bets in an attempt to keep the mind in a state of readiness; to not be so complacent – the future is unpredictable and I may have to go through something that will take a lit of units of Will power to get through. And with anything, practice is a necessity for success.

If you have any Mind bets that you’d like to share, please share in the comments.

. : : LiBM::.

Platform Specific Businesses

smartphone-wars

There are many tech start-ups that aim to solve a problem by utilizing technology. Most of these start-ups emerge from ‘The Valley’ out in California where Venture Capitalists and wealthy folk throw money hoping to have the next FaceBook or Twitter on their hands – businesses with no real solid business model that makes no money outside of advertising (but I will save that rant for another post). A lot of the start-ups are uber niche – niche is a good thing as a small company does not have the resources to take on a big sector of an industry or market. But I always often wonder the logic that some start-ups take when they support their Web app native app from one platform over the other – especially when the barrier for entry is very low – very low. (Instagram and Vine are examples of apps that were iOS first before Android)

I’m not necessarily talking about the 1-3 start-ups that are working on their apps out of a Coffee house or Momma’s business, but I’m referring to the start-ups that have some funding such as Airbnb, Instagram, Uber, etc.. The dominant mobile platforms are Android and iOS, and many start-ups will usually embrace iOS before they go to Android (though that is slowly changing). But let’s look at how much it costs to publish an app in iOS App Store and Google Play:

  • Google Play – $25/year to publish app
  • Apple App Store – $99/year + SDK/NDK fees ($250)

It is actually cheaper to publish an app on Android than on Apple – now, there isn’t much of a difference there in my opinion, and I would postulate that most sane people would say the same. So the other important factor is programming – and let’s be honest there are many tools that devs can use to port their code OR they can code in HTML5 and JS and use many wrappers. Or if you really want to go native, then there is not a big hurdle in finding native developers, and to be honest most start-ups should have at least 2 devs that can cross-program iOS and Android.

So then if that isn’t the answer, we have to look at the psychology of targeting specific platforms (or at least I choose to ‘take it there’).  To be blunt, there is a perception that iOS is perceived as ‘high class’ in part due to its pricing from Apple. For this article’s sake, let’s just say a snobbery attitude exists hat has been cultivated quite cleverly by Apple that posits something to the effect of “Apple products are for those that prefer the finer things in life with”. From a marketing perspective that is not necessarily that bad because as humans, well in Western society especially, we have a desire to attain opulence and the finer things in life – from as a child with our fascination with Barbie’s and Hot Rods to our adult wishes of BMW’s, designer clothing, big houses, we have been receptors of marketing messages that promote this message. Some of us will spend our money, even when we don’t even have it, to go line-up at the Apple Store at the launch of a new iPhone or iPad. Developers tap into this murky technological psychology of brand perception and exacerbate this phenomenon – as technically, there is nothing that separates what an iOS vs an Android app can perform (the arguments even suggest that you can do more with an Android app). So the issue boils down to something that may seem confusing to someone that is rooted by economics of scale – though there are technically more Android devices out there, let’s produce an app for the platform that ‘appears better’, because we look down on the other platform.

Snobbery exists everywhere – even with something as simple as an ‘app’ – there are social complexities that exist.

.::LiBM::.

A Research Study into how much do Research Studies really cost

Research into Research

Everyday news networks and the blogosphere report either the findings of a research study or state that a research study is about to commence(funded); usually the research comes from a branch of the government or an education institution. A recent study I heard was a municipal government conducting a ‘Feasibility Study’ for transit improvements – which was going to run a few millions of dollars; it got me thinking – why do research studies cost so much? A primary factor for the costs is that research companies are overpaid consultants that charge a lot of money to pretty much tell an organization of what they already suspect is occurring (within their own organization). In this day of age of SurveyMonkey and Google Docs, you’d figure that research costs would subside, but that doesn’t appear to be the case – in my opinion. As Research institutions/firms are sprouting up like its spring in farm country.

A lot of the research studies that you may find may be one of those ‘duh’ and ‘obvious’ things; which begs the question whom thought it would be useful to waste their time and somebody else’s money in this endeavor? Here are a few examples:
– Surgeons Perform Better with Eye Movement Training
– Abstinence-Only Education Does Not Lead to Abstinent Behavior
– Relaxing Can Make You Fatter
– Under Money Strains, Some Older Adults May Turn to Alcohol

As you can see, some of these research studies fall under the Common Sense realm, which unfortunately is not at all that common. I was trying to do some research into why the costs seem to be so much, but I couldn’t find anything, kind of ironic isn’t it? Or maybe I need to spend a bit of money to conduct some research into the matter …

.::LiBM::.

Smartphone Unawareness

smartphone-wars

Not Realizing that your smartphone is a P.I.M. on drugs

I come across many iOS, Android, BlackBerry users that love and champion their device as if they own stock in the company (and they don’t). They claim they are #Team(Insert mobile OS platform), and are very passionate; which one has to find very perplexing – because besides mobile phones, I don’t think there are any other electronic devices where the consumers develop a ‘cult-like’ persona. I’ve never heard any debates on social media about #TeamSharp TV’s vs #TeamRCA, but I guess we have to think Apple for entering the mobile OS arena back in 2007 and bringing their cult persona to the mobile game. Regardless of what ‘team’ you may claim, all smartphones share universal principles of P.I.M. (Personal Information Management); which was a cornerstone of the classic Palm Handheld era back in the late 90’s to mid 2000s. P.I.M. Doesn’t get much mention, albeit because it is not ‘flashy’ or ‘sexy’, but it is an integral component of using your mobile device to keep organized & to strive for greater efficiency.

What is shocking to me though, is that most smartphone users are not aware of P.I.M. functions and are often amazed when I show them some simple (to me) features. So I thought I would share them:

Calendar
– Appointment Invites
– Google sync

Contacts
– Google sync

Hidden Files
– For those on the creep, hide certain pictures from your partner (Android & BB)

USB Storage Mode
– Turning your phone into a Portable Hard Drive

 

.:: LiBM ::.

The Missing Women Project

The Missing Women Project

Video of Ilene Sova’s Exhibition “The Missing Women Project” at Creative Blueprint Gallery in March 2013. I did the videography & editing. The Missing Women Project is a socially important project as Ilene has created paintings of Missing Women from the OPP Missing Women Database. Each painting represents an unsolved case.

Missing Women Project

.:: LiBM ::.

5 Days of Therapy Trailer

When Therapy goes Wrong, for the Therapist

Please check out my Trailer for ‘5 Days of Therapy’.  I thought it would be interesting to explore the therapeutic process from the Therapist’s point of view. Everyday they sit and listen to various problems & issues that gripe the mind & heart – this film explores what happens when a Therapist is unable to separate her work & personal life. Everyday she has a new patient, a new problem; which she tries to solve in her own personal life, and with her own personal relationships. It becomes increasingly apparent throughout the days that even though she is helping patients, she needs help herself.

This abstract trailer was shot to illustrate and showcase the direction of where the film will be heading, and the subsequent issues that will be explored.

I wrote the original screenplay, and shot the trailer in late 2012, and I am looking for funding avenues.

To find out more information about this project and how you can contribute, please visit: http://igg.me/at/5days/x/2289489

.:: LiBM ::.

Producer of Things