Aetles + business   80

Argue with your customers - Rockstar Coders
I see this same method of debate in play in our customer conversations here at Rockstar. When we get on a phone call, and a potential customer asks for X, Y, and Z. There's a natural inclination to just say yes. Saying yes, means we can get to sign that contract sooner. Checks get cut sooner.

But we don't just say "yes."

Before anything gets signed, we actually participate in some good natured debate with our customers about what they want built. We'll interrogate why X and Y are important. What assumptions have been made? What assumptions haven't been tested yet? Can we do something other than X and Y that are easier, cheaper, and quicker to build before we get to X and Y? Can we skip doing Z altogether?

Asking all these questions results in risk for us. It gives our customers more time to chat with competitors. It elongates the time until checks are cut. And it often results in projects that are smaller and cheaper than a client had originally budgeted for. That's not how agencies typically like to make money :)

But from years of doing this, we know our best work comes from challenging our customers assumptions to better articulate what they need. And the result is better projects that meet and often exceed expectations because they have our customers' most creative thinking behind them.
development  business 
12 weeks ago by Aetles
How Much Should a WordPress Theme Cost? Hundreds of Themes Analyzed
Pricing is one of the most important traits of any product. To this end, WordPress theme cost should be a crucial sales factor. Yet, looking at the state of the WordPress market today, there’s a bewildering array of different approaches to pricing models.

This post takes an empirical look at what’s going on, explores how much different themes cost (with analysis from hundreds of themes) and considers what the best route forward is for theme vendors in this extremely competitive market.
WordPress theme pricing (April 2017)

Where do we stand with WordPress theme prices today? Long story short, I made a list of as many WordPress themes as I could find, put them into a big spreadsheet, and did the sums.
wordpress  themes  webdevelopment  business 
april 2017 by Aetles
45 Best WordPress Theme Companies/Shops for 2017
In the world of WordPress, your chosen theme will determine the way your website looks — and to some extent, the way it works. All of your site’s style — the layout, the images, and the typography — come from your theme’s code. As such, choosing the right WordPress theme provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make.

No pressure then.

And to make matters worse, choosing a theme isn’t as simple as picking your favorite design — a lot more goes into the decision than that. In fact, there’s rather a lot to consider: the quality of the code, the built-in functionalities, how easy the theme is to set up, is it optimized for speed and SEO, can you integrate it with your favorite third-party plugins, is support provided, etc, etc, etc.

Let’s get all the bad news out the way first. Indecisive users, look away now: there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of good theme developers out there.

Of course, not all theme providers are created equal, and that’s where a little insight can help, which is exactly why we’re here today: to line up 45 of the very best WordPress theme companies out there.

Chosen based on quality, reputation, popularity, longevity, size, and a little bit of sentiment. Here goes…
wordpress  webdevelopment  themes  business 
april 2017 by Aetles
Why large companies acquire small companies – @ASmartBear - WP Engine
Large companies don’t acquire small companies for their financials.

Revenue multiples, profit multiples, premium over the previous financing — these are metrics used by sellers to help determine a minimum acceptable price. That’s the price that “pays for” enough foreseeable upside that it’s not worth rolling the dice against future troubles or the unlikelihood of an exit.

Large acquirers don’t care about small-company financials because mathematically those won’t affect the growth or value of the acquirer.  A company with $100m/yr in revenue growing 30% annually won’t go through the effort, risk, and distraction of buying a company with $1m/yr in revenue growing 100% annually, because that’s only a piddly 1% or maybe as much as 2% of additional growth.

Rather, buyer behavior is rooted in their strategy — a combination of product thesis, their theory of their market’s evolution, how they need to position for customers and against competitors, their long-term brand development, geographic expansion plans, and so on.

From this foundation, they’re constantly asking: “How can we execute our existing strategy, better?”
economics  business  startup 
march 2017 by Aetles
ThemeForest By The Numbers - WordPress Themes Analysis
Evato’s ThemeForest and CodeCanyon are de-facto the leading marketplaces for WordPress plugins and themes. With a growing community of over 7 million subscribers, both marketplaces sound like a lucrative place to start selling your digital products.

We’ve all heard of the amazing success stories of the Avada theme and the Visual Composer plugin. Those exceptional stories are what attracts developers to join the ship, but is it really possible to “make a living” from selling WordPress plugins/themes on CodeCanyon/ThemeForest? If so, what type of product will yield a better ROI – is it a WordPress plugin or a WordPress theme?

Those are some of the questions this series of 3 posts will answer based on rock-solid unit economics and numbers analysis, pulled directly from Envato’s public API. This first post in the series will focus solo on ThemeForest.
wordpress  themes  business  webdevelopment 
december 2016 by Aetles
MailChimp and the Un-Silicon Valley Way to Make It as a Start-Up -
No venture capital, no Bay Area presence, no crazy burn rate: MailChimp’s founders built the company slowly by anticipating customers’ needs and following their instincts.
october 2016 by Aetles
10 Ways To Run Your Business More Like Taylor Swift
I just witnessed a 25 year old woman entertain a stadium of 56,000 people in Atlanta, Ga. I've never been a Taylor Swift critic, but last night I moved from casual fan to raving fan. For those of you familiar with the Net Promoter Score, I moved from a 7 to a 10! Before you make the mistake of dismissing Tay's (we're BFFs now!) business acumen, her current tour numbers are now crossing $200 Million, and that's just box office revenue, not merchandise! The tour only started in May. She's the only female act in the world able to sell out a stadium, and she's doing 31 of them! 

I had the amazing opportunity to give my daughters, and enjoy for myself, an up close and personal look at the 1989 Tour machine including a meet and greet with Taylor, a backstage tour with Taylor's mom, Andrea, and amazing seats. I was able to pull it off as a surprise for my 9 and 14 year old daughters too. (Yes, I'm officially the Dad of the Year!)  I'm going to try and dig into some practical ways I saw Taylor intentionally guiding her business to better serve her fans and build customer loyalty. Isn't that what we all want?
business  music  work 
october 2015 by Aetles
Cushion - Peace of mind for freelancers
Cushion will help you manage your unpredictable schedule and bring a calm to your unsteady income.
freelancing  work  business  finance 
july 2015 by Aetles
Just Don’t Hire 0x Engineers
Their About page may say otherwise, but — drumroll, please — the average company is pretty average. Not everybody can hire exclusively top-tier people. And you know what? That’s fine. Quality of individuals is only one part of what makes an organization great. Sports is rife with examples of the nimble, well-connected team triumphing over the team of individual superstars.
business  hiring  culture  workplace  organization 
may 2015 by Aetles
How successful people work less—and get more done - Quartz
The study found that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that there’s no point in working any more. That’s right, people who work as much as 70 hours (or more) per week actually get the same amount done as people who work 55 hours.
Successful people know the importance of shifting gears on the weekend to relaxing and rejuvenating activities. Like Spencer, they use their weekends to create a better week ahead.
This is easier said than done, so here’s some help. The following list contains 10 things that successful people do to find balance on the weekend and to come into work at 110% on Monday morning.
productivity  work  life  business  family  stress 
april 2015 by Aetles
To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home - HBR
The study: Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang, who is also a cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip, gave the staff at Ctrip’s call center the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.
work  remote  productivity  business  workplace 
april 2015 by Aetles
The full-stack employee — Medium
What is a full stack employee?

Just as there are full-stack engineers and full-stack startups, the full-stack employee has a powerful combination of skills that make them incredibly valuable. They are adept at navigating the rapidly evolving and shifting technological landscape. They make intuitive decisions amidst information-abundance, where sparse facts mingle loosely with data-drenched opinions. Full stack employees are capable of speaking design lingo, know that using Comic Sans is criminal, and are adept at making mocks in Keynote, Sketch, or Skitch (if it comes to that). And they know the difference between UI and UX.

They can cross the aisle to talk to engineering and can make sense of algorithms, programming, and instinctively understand that scaling the backend isn’t the same as scaling the frontend. Though they may not code for production, they understand what GitHub and StackOverflow are for, and can brute force a copy-paste script to perform basic analysis on a CSV file. If they must.
work  business  workplace 
april 2015 by Aetles
Sustainable Indie Software — Helftone
We have seen a large shift in the app economy over the past 7 years which has had a huge impact on indie software. In many ways, we have regressed to state which is simply unsustainable in the long term. If you only look at the highly publicised successes, you might assume independent developers are rolling in cash. Do not be fooled, the situation on the ground, especially on iOS, is actually very different – many indies are struggling to make a living.

Making software costs a lot of money and it has to come from somewhere. Broadly speaking, apps can be:

Subsidised. Just because you might not be paying for it directly, you still are or someone else is. But most indies are in the business of selling directly to their customers without any such schemes, so we will ignore subsidised models in this post.
Paid Directly. With such software, either the price has to be sustainable or the developer will go bankrupt.
We have seen large amounts of abandoned software in the App Store which is a clear symptom of unsustainable pricing. It's impossible for the market to support 1,000 new sustainable apps every single day.
appstore  business  apple  software 
march 2015 by Aetles
Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up - Page 314
Ah, Amazon. One of the biggest opportunities for a start-up manufacturer, especially one that’s avoiding traditional distribution. If you can keep it from eating you, that is…
Disclaimer: This chapter will most likely irritate many an Amazon devotee, since it looks at things from the seller side, rather than simply the buyer side.
However, to be clear, this isn’t an Amazon-slamming screed. This is a realistic, eyes-open guide to the pluses and minuses of selling on Amazon. This is especially important for companies primarily doing direct sale, and are looking to expand their sales channel. For companies selling through distribution, especially those selling through large chains, none of this will be a surprise. In fact, it will probably seem like amateur hour to them, since they’ve probably undergone much larger trials and tribulations than any that Amazon seller can imagine.
“Wait, what are you talking about? Trials and tribulations with big retailers? What are you talking about?” you may be asking.
So, before we dive into Amazon, let’s talk about the alternatives first—looking at both the good, and not-so-good aspects.
amazon  business 
february 2015 by Aetles
At some start-ups, Friday is so casual that it’s not even a workday - The Washington Post
Carson, who is originally from Colorado, started his first company in 2004 in the U.K., thinking it would give him more freedom with his time. But he soon found himself working that same intense pace until his wife asked him why he was working more and making less. She suggested taking Fridays off.

“At first, I thought, ‘This is insane; We’ve got way too much work to do,’ ” Carson said. “But the more I thought about it, really, running your own company is about creating your own universe. So why not create a universe you’d want to live in? That’s when the idea went from stupid and crazy to, maybe we should actually do that. So we tried it one week, and never looked back.”
life  work  culture  workplace  business  family  health 
february 2015 by Aetles
Maintaining Company Culture in a Distributed World – Part 1 - Fog Creek Blog
You can imagine that, as a company famous for these values (not to mention the opportunity to work with really smart co-workers and take part in our other awesome benefits), it was never hard to find talent. Every time we posted a listing, or Joel tweeted “We’re hiring!” we’d find ourselves with an absolute flood of resumes – we weren’t complaining!

Nearly fifteen years later, however, the landscape has changed. While we still meet more talented candidates than we can reasonably hire, we’re no longer the only player in the great-place-to-work game, and competition for hiring the smartest developers has become significantly more fierce across industries and locations. Massive changes in the landscape may create panic in some companies. At Fog Creek, however, we live to solve challenging problems. Besides, we’ve overcome way worse!

And so we’ve taken this opportunity to grow and adapt to our new, more competitive environment. Our first and biggest initiative: allowing remote employees to join our ranks.
business  workplace  work  office  remote 
february 2015 by Aetles
Why We (Still) Believe in Private Offices « Blog – Stack Exchange
There was a time where it seemed like we barely even needed to talk about this: Joel had won the argument, the Internet agreed that private offices were the future, and only incompetent management (or a tight budget) was still putting developers in cubicle farms. A glorious future lay before us.

The original Fog Creek Bionic Office, way back in ye olde 2003. We
didn’t have iPhones, but at least the offices had doors.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it turned out. Open plans have been surprisingly hard to kill, despite research showing that they’re unpopular, decrease employee satisfaction, and hurt productivity. The response so far seems to have been to double down and make it, if anything, worse: cubicles are now decidedly un-cool so no-wall open offices are all the rage, and Facebook brags that its new building will be the largest open floor plan in the world, consisting of a single, ten acre open room.

The result is that today Stack Exchange is decidedly lonely if not quite alone in offering private offices to our developers (at least the half who work in the office; the other half work remotely). Suddenly we’re the ones who look a bit old-fashioned: isn’t that the old-school Microsoft approach? Doesn’t it make us less creative? How can we stay fast and agile if people keep disappearing into offices to do work?

We’re pretty sure it doesn’t do any of these things, and in fact we believe it has a lot to do with how we think about work and our developers.
management  work  office  workplace  business 
january 2015 by Aetles
Dan Counsell | The Benefits of Selling Software outside the Mac App Store
When you get swept along in the shininess of the App Store it’s easy to forget that you no longer know who your customers are. You don’t have any of their details, you can't even respond to them when they leave a review on the App Store. The fact of the matter is they are really Apples customers, not yours.

When you sell directly outside of the Mac App Store you get the contact details for every single person that buys your products (and rightly so), this is often overlooked but it’s key to running a healthy and sustainable business. Lets take a look at three of the reasons why not limiting the availability of your software to just the Mac App Store is a sound business decision.
apps  macappstore  osx  business 
january 2015 by Aetles
Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace. - The Washington Post
These new floor plans are ideal for maximizing a company’s space while minimizing costs. Bosses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees, ensuring clandestine porn-watching, constant social media-browsing and unlimited personal cellphone use isn’t occupying billing hours. But employers are getting a false sense of improved productivity. A 2013 study found that many workers in open offices are frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance. Nearly half of the surveyed workers in open offices said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem for them and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy. Meanwhile, “ease of interaction” with colleagues — the problem that open offices profess to fix — was cited as a problem by fewer than 10 percent of workers in any type of office setting. In fact, those with private offices were least likely to identify their ability to communicate with colleagues as an issue. In a previous study, researchers concluded that “the loss of productivity due to noise distraction … was doubled in open-plan offices compared to private offices.”
health  work  workplace  business 
december 2014 by Aetles
Timely – Scheduling and Time Tracking, Simultaneously
Scheduling and time tracking, simultaneously
The time tracking app to end time tracking.
apps  tracking  timetracking  work  business 
december 2014 by Aetles
5 reasons why your company should be distributed |
I’ve noticed a new trend in Silicon Valley. More and more startups are beginning life as distributed companies, and investors and partners are starting to accept it as normal. Our company Automattic is distributed, and I’m ready to sing the praises of running a business in this way. BTW, I think distributed (“evenly spread throughout an area”) is a better description than the more commonly used virtual (“nearly real or simulated to be real”) for a company that has people working from all over the place instead of a centralized office. In Automattic’s case, we currently have over 50 employees spread across 12 US states and 10 countries.

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should consider the distributed model for your company:
management  startup  work  business 
december 2014 by Aetles
Porsche: The Hedge Fund that Also Made Cars
At that moment, the hostile takeover of massive Volkswagen by little Porsche seemed inevitable. But just five months later, Porsche’s plan fell apart: just before completing the acquisition, the global financial crisis worsened and the company ran out of money. Porsche had gone severely into debt to buy out VW; all of a sudden, banks were very anxious to get their $13 billion in loans repaid.

Porsche was left scrambling for a white knight to save it from its financial woes. In a stunning turn of events, that white knight ended up being Volkswagen, the very company Porsche had attempted to acquire.
business  cars  finance  europe 
october 2014 by Aetles
This is why you never end up hiring good developers - Quartz
You are bad at giving technical interviews. Yes, you. You’re looking for the wrong skills, hiring the wrong people, and actively screwing yourself and your company. Without changing anything about your applicant pool, you can hire different people and your company will do better and you will enjoy your job more.
I realize these are bold claims. In the ten years since I became senior enough to be asked to interview people, I have conducted a great number of technical interviews, been part of a lot of teams at companies big and small, and watched the effect that different types of hires have had on those companies. I’m not claiming to be perfect at hiring — at various points, I have done nearly all of the things wrong that I’m about to tell you not to do. But here’s what I’ve learned so far.
management  hiring  business 
september 2014 by Aetles
Tickets for Restaurants | Alinea
It’s been interesting to field the recent influx of emails and calls from the press, app developers, established software companies, and a handful of VCs.  Ticketing for restaurants – and more generally variable and/or dynamic pricing – is something that we’ve been wrestling with for years.
And the press articles have been frustrating to read, simply because they never include real data and they miss the differences between ‘tickets’, ‘reservations’, and ‘pay-for-access apps’… all of which are very different and have different implications for restaurants and customers alike.
This is my attempt to outline exactly what we’ve done with restaurant tickets, why it’s interesting, and the results of the experiment… along with real data from our restaurants.  People tend to treat business data as something that shouldn’t be shared, but I don’t really see the harm in openly examining the data.  So the numbers provided are the real numbers from Alinea, Next and the Aviary.
First, some background and psychology.
business  economics  food  restaurants 
june 2014 by Aetles
About Wave - Makers of Online Invoicing, Accounting and Payroll Software for Small Businesses
We make...
awesome, cloud-based, integrated software and tools for small businesses. So far, that includes Invoicing, Accounting, Payroll, Payments and more, plus Personal Finance Software, too.

We’ve been recognized with various industry awards, and have secured nearly $20 million in investment from some of the smartest investors in Toronto, Boston and Silicon Valley.

We make it for...
people running businesses with 9 employees or less. Which is to say, when we zero in on what to include in our features, it's freelancers, contractors, entrepreneurs, and owners of companies with 9 employees or less that we keep in mind. (Happily, bigger companies love Wave, too.)
business  accounting  smallbusiness 
january 2014 by Aetles
Out of the picture: why the world's best photo startup is going out of business | The Verge
On Thursday, the team packed up their office in SoMa. Today, they will post their shutdown notice from borrowed office space elsewhere in the city. One or two employees will continue to maintain the service through the end of the month.

In time, Latour hopes, the lessons of Everpix will become more clear to him. Where had it all gone wrong, exactly? Maybe there was something obvious that everyone had missed. Maybe it was ahead of its time. Maybe not. In any case, Latour said, he would be fine. “You look at all the problems that we’ve had, and it’s still nothing,” he said. “I have more respect for someone who starts a restaurant and puts their life savings into it than what I’ve done. We’re still lucky. We’re in an environment that has a pretty good safety net, in Silicon Valley.”
startup  business  entrepreneurship  photography 
november 2013 by Aetles
Ian Gent's Blog: The Petrie Multiplier: Why an Attack on Sexism in Tech is NOT an Attack on Men
Men are no more sexist than women in this thought experiment, but women's experience is sixteen times worse than the men's.
business  gender  politics  sexism  feminism 
october 2013 by Aetles
This is how a Helsingin Sanomat journalist tried to save Nokia - Kuukausiliite - Helsingin Sanomat
He also told me that when the iPhones came out in the United States in the summer of 2007, the situation was followed closely at Nokia. A courier immediately brought a large number of iPhones to Nokia's head offices in Espoo.

The director brought his own iPhone home that same evening. He studied it so enthusiastically that his four-year-old daughter also became interested.

As an experiment, he gave the telephone to his daughter, and she learned to use it immediately.

In the evening as the parents were going to bed, the drowsy four-year-old appeared at their bedroom door with a question: "Can I take that magic telephone and put it under my pillow tonight?"

That was the moment when the Nokia executive understood that his company was in trouble.
iphone  nokia  business  apple 
october 2013 by Aetles
Trials And Upgrades Are Still Dead — carpeaqua by Justin Williams
Every year, we have another dust up about developers and power users wishing for the return of upgrade pricing in the App Store age. And every year, it becomes even more obvious that upgrade pricing is another relic of the past.

Apple is more interested in developers either offering free updates indefinitely, or offering a completely new SKU at the same price for every user: old or new. Given that pricing in this new App Store age have hit rock bottom, on iOS that usually means somewhere under $4.99 and OS X somewhere under $29.99.

One price for all. Is that a raw deal for existing customers? If you’re comparing it to the way software used to be sold, yes, but not in a lot of other industries. I’m not getting a discount on FIFA from EA each year just because I bought it last year. I’m going to drop another $60 on the new version.

I just bought a new TiVo Roamio to replace my existing TiVo Premiere. It cost me the retail price of $299. There was no discount for upgrading to the new version, even though I owned the previous one.

The sooner developers accept this, the less painful it’s going to be. We’ve spent half a decade debating the merits of trials and upgrade pricing, and every year Apple remains silent. If you still believe it’s in Apple’s playbook to offer, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
apple  appstore  business 
september 2013 by Aetles
An App Store Experiment - Part 2
As promised here is part two of my App Store experiment. If you haven't done so already then it's probably best to read part 1 of this experiment first.
appstore  ios  business  marketing 
august 2013 by Aetles
Gamasutra: Ramin Shokrizade's Blog - The Top F2P Monetization Tricks
A coercive monetization model depends on the ability to “trick” a person into making a purchase with incomplete information, or by hiding that information such that while it is technically available, the brain of the consumer does not access that information. Hiding a purchase can be as simple as disguising the relationship between the action and the cost as I describe in my Systems of Control in F2P paper.

Research has shown that putting even one intermediate currency between the consumer and real money, such as a “game gem” (premium currency), makes the consumer much less adept at assessing the value of the transaction. Additional intermediary objects, what I call “layering”, makes it even harder for the brain to accurately assess the situation, especially if there is some additional stress applied.
business  games  psychology  appstore  iap 
july 2013 by Aetles
Alex Payne — Letter To A Young Programmer Considering A Startup
I regularly get emails from young people, usually those with an interest in programming, who are trying to make decisions about school and/or their professional futures. This post is for those young people.

If you’re in your late teens or early twenties, you’ve grown up in a world that has come to idealize startups, their founders, and the people who go to work at them.

If you’re in school, maybe you’ve felt pressure or been incentivized to drop out and join or start a company. If you’re already out in the working world, perhaps you feel that your non-startup job is in some way inadequate, or that you’re missing out on valuable experience and potential wealth.

The generation you’ve grown up in has, for the past few years, teetered on the brink of being “lost”. Jobs are scarce, and going to university offers no assurance of landing one. Big, old corporations are no longer guaranteed safe havens in which to build a career. Startups seem, through the lens of the media, like the only sign of life in an otherwise dying landscape. I understand their appeal.
life  startup  business 
june 2013 by Aetles
The Tyranny of the Taxi Medallions
Medallions require that drivers get permission from someone else to drive a cab. This power asymmetry gives the medallion-holders a lot of leverage over drivers and it appears that they abuse it.

And Here Comes Disruption Like a Frigging Train

A number of mobile phone apps, however, are replacing taxi dispatch services and allowing anyone with a car to become a taxi driver without needing access to a medallion. Increasingly, if you want to become a taxi driver, all you need is a car and an app that tells you where to pick up passengers. 

In the last half decade, two trends conspired to end the taxi medallion regime.
economics  business  usa  taxis 
april 2013 by Aetles
The untold story behind Apple's $13,000 operating system | Apple - CNET News
CNET looks at newly surfaced contracts, design specs, and page after page of schematics and code, revealing how Apple created its first disk OS, a chapter of Silicon Valley history critical to its later success.
apple  history  business  dos  startup  wozniak 
april 2013 by Aetles
Put the logo below the fold: Breaking design rules for profit. | Studio Fellow Blog
I’ve had to relearn certain aspects of design now that I’m running my own business. I’m making decisions I’d have considered a major error only a short time ago. Like putting the logo below the fold. Or using a color that doesn’t match the rest of the palette on purpose. On purpose!
design  business  webdesign 
march 2013 by Aetles
How to work with me on a low budget - BARK & LOG
I got some enquiries recently from people with little or no money to get their work done. So I thought I would jot down a few notes on what I think about that and what I want in those situations.
life  business 
march 2013 by Aetles
The rise and fall of Andy Zaky - Apple 2.0 -Fortune Tech
FORTUNE -- In the late 1990s, an ad agency creative director I'll call Joe Smith to protect his privacy bought several hundred shares of Apple (AAPL) at $60 apiece. Last fall, at age 42, he found himself out of work and increasingly dependent on the value of those shares to make ends meet.
Following the lead of a 33-year-old investment advisor named Andy Zaky who had written that Apple was going to $750 by January and to $1,000 within a year, Smith converted most of his Apple common stock -- more than he should have -- into high-risk Apple call options. When those options expired in the third week of January with Apple trading below $500, they were worth exactly zero. Smith had lost roughly $400,000 and all his Apple shares.
A lot of people lost a lot of money when Apple went into the extended downward slide that just entered its sixth month. And there were plenty of other experts saying all along that the stock was undervalued and ready to bounce. But Smith's story -- and the story of hundreds of other investors who were following Andy Zaky's so-called Apple model portfolio last fall -- hold a special poignancy for me. Not only did these people get some spectacularly bad advice, but they got it from someone whom I helped make famous.
I'd been writing about Zaky since the fall of 2008. I'd covered his earnings predictions, his buy and sell calls, his critiques of competing fund managers. I'd eaten dinner with him, toured him around my Brooklyn neighborhood, introduced him to my wife.
So I feel a personal and professional obligation to find out what went wrong.
apple  money  business  aapl 
march 2013 by Aetles
Inside Amazon.. - Imgur
Inside Amazon.. images from Amazon warehouse in holiday seasion
amazon  photography  business 
december 2012 by Aetles
Subcompact Publishing — by Craig Mod
Subcompact Publishing tools are first and foremost straightforward.

They require few to no instructions.

They are easily understood on first blush.

The editorial and design decisions around them react to digital as a distribution and consumption space.

They are the result of dumping our publishing related technology on a table and asking ourselves — what are the core tools we can build with all this stuff?

They are, as it were, little N360s.

I propose Subcompact Publishing tools and editorial ethos begin (but not end) with the following qualities:

Small issue sizes (3-7 articles / issue)
Small file sizes
Digital-aware subscription prices
Fluid publishing schedule
Scroll (don’t paginate)
Clear navigation
HTML(ish) based
Touching the open web
Many of these qualities play off one another. Let’s look at them in detail.
design  business  publishing  ios  newsstand 
november 2012 by Aetles
• Chart: Apple's Astonishing Profit in Context | Statista
What went by nearly unnoticed however, was the fact that Apple had just wrapped up its fiscal year 2012 with a record profit of $41.7 billion on $156.5 billion revenue.

How huge these numbers really are becomes more evident when compared to the results of Apple’s competition:

• From October 2011 through September 2012, the combined net profit of Microsoft, Google, eBay, Yahoo, Facebook and Amazon was $34.4 billion. Apple alone made $7 billion more.

• In the same period, Dell, Asus, Intel, Acer, IBM, Lenovo and HP, i.e. virtually the entire PC industry, made $19.3 billion or less than half of Apple’s profit.

Seeing these numbers, it is no surprise that, despite its recent dip, Apple is still the most valuable public company in the world. All its recent shortcomings notwithstanding, Apple’s business remains incredibly profitable.
apple  business 
november 2012 by Aetles
Rands In Repose: Innovation is a Fight
The word that worried me the most in the press release was in the first sentence. The word was “collaboration”. Close your eyes and imagine a meeting with Steve Jobs. Imagine how it proceeds and how decisions are made. Does the word collaboration ever enter your mind? Not mine. I’m just sitting there on pins and needles waiting for the guy to explode and rip us to shreds because we phoned it in on a seemingly unimportant icon.

As someone who spends much of his time figuring out how to get teams to work together, the premium I’m placing on volatility might seem odd. I believe Apple benefits greatly from having a large, stable operational team that consistently and steadily gets shit done,  but I also believe that in order to maintain its edge Apple needs a group of disruptors.

Love him or hate him, Scott Forstall’s departure makes Apple a more stable company, and I wonder if that is how it begins.
apple  scottforstall  business 
november 2012 by Aetles
Frictionless Books
Freelancing isn’t easy. And the friction we encounter through our mistakes, inexperience and broken systems can hold us back from the success we know is possible. With Frictionless Freelancing, veteran freelance designer Aaron Mahnke reveals years of valuable tricks and secrets.Learn how to:
    • Take the friction out of your productivity methods
    • Craft successful client interactions
    • Get a firm grasp on your financesEveryone knows their business methods need to be tweaked; Aaron helps you discover where and how to make that happen. You could spend years battling frustration in your business, or you could start fixing the problems today. Frictionless Freelancing is your ticket to a head start.
business  freelancing 
november 2012 by Aetles
Some advice from Jeff Bezos by Jason Fried of 37signals
Jeff Bezos stopped by our office yesterday and spent about 90 minutes with us talking product strategy. Before he left, he spent about 45 minutes taking general Q&A from everyone at the office.
During one of his answers, he shared an enlightened observation about people who are “right a lot”.

He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds. He doesn’t think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait. It’s perfectly healthy — encouraged, even — to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.
He’s observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary.
amazon  business  success 
october 2012 by Aetles
FJP - Apple avoids the temptation of jetpack design
Watch the Yawns Roll In

We're conditioned to think that more features are better. That "innovation" means "no one has ever seen this idea before". That new ideas always win in the marketplace.

As product designers, we could learn a thing or two from the way Apple ships "boring", "passé", "me-too" features once a year, like clockwork, and "makes them look pretty".
apple  business 
september 2012 by Aetles
Before Apple introduced the iPhone… « counternotions
This list too could go on. But it’s sobering to remember that a single device by a company with zero experience in the industry and against all odds caused such a tidal wave of change. Change didn’t come because of Nokia, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, RIM or any other player in the market for the past 15 years bet their company on it. Android and webOS weren’t there before the iPhone. But it’s convenient to forget all this when the meme demands Apple to be smeared with the evil brush.

Yes, “Apple’s evil”…except for all the others.
apple  history  iphone  business 
september 2012 by Aetles
App Cubby Blog - The Sparrow Opportunity
Since writing “The Sparrow Problem” I’ve felt a bit of pressure to follow it up with a grandiose piece about the future of apps. To that end, I’ve spent many hours researching, thinking, and talking to fellow app developers. Turns out, the core of what I’ve learned has been written about for years and can be summarized rather simply:
The future of sustainable app development is to give away as much value as possible and empower those who receive more value to pay more for it.
ios  business  appstore 
september 2012 by Aetles
iPhone: The bet Steve Jobs didn’t decline « counternotions
Suppose you were the CEO of Apple in 2005 when a couple of intergalactic visitors with time-warping technology offered you this bet:

Design and manufacture a small mobile device that seamlessly combines the functionalities of a cellular phone, a web surfer, an audio/video player and a small PC, and your company will double its market cap and establish a third mass-market computing platform after Windows and Macintosh.

Would you take it?

Before you say, “Are you nuts, why wouldn’t I?” ponder just a few of the issues involved:
apple  iphone  business  stevejobs 
august 2012 by Aetles
Workers, Take Off Your Headphones - Anne Kreamer - Harvard Business Review
The image of legions of headphone-wearing employees sitting silently at their workstations, oblivious to the flesh-and-blood community around them but actively engaged with a virtual world, seems like a dystopian future envisioned in movies like Minority Report. But that future is here. A Wall Street Journal piece on the "officeless office" had a sidebar with six new rules for office etiquette which included #1, no sneaking up; #5, limit chit-chat; and #6 use headphones. That may increase a certain kind of productivity, but at what cost?

Management professors Sigal Barsade at Wharton and Hakan Ozcelik at Cal State Sacramento are among the pioneers in studying how employee isolation correlates with organizational outcomes. In a recent study, they found "because they feel more estranged and less connected to coworkers, lonelier employees will be more likely to experience a lack of belongingness at work, thus decreasing their affective commitment to their organizations." Something to think about before you decide to limit social chit-chat or put those headphones back on.
productivity  business  work  workplace  office 
may 2012 by Aetles
The PA Report - The ugly side of Kickstarter: the risks in backing game dev campaigns are greater than you think
I once asked Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney what smaller teams should focus on during development, and he said polish. “The area where most teams fail is insufficient polish. Cliff [Bleszinksi] always says there’s the first 90 percent of the project, and then the second 90 percent. Because once your game is completely playable and it works, you’re really only halfway,” Sweeney explained. “It takes an incredible amount of tweaking to get to the level of polish where people take your game seriously.”

Most novice developers don’t understand the enormity of game development, and the act of creating a good game is herculean, no matter the size of your team or the scope of your game. If you haven’t shipped at least one or two games, or if your team lacks someone of sufficient experience, you could look like a very bad bet to the eyes of the investor—or Kickstarter backer.

“Overall, I want to ‘invest’ in a game that I want to play or made by a guy that I adore,” Dent said. “I spoke to/begged David Jaffe recently about using Kickstarter to make a game. I have no idea where he is on that or if he is going to go down that route. My point is that I love Jaffe’s games, so if I were to see that he was setting that up in Kickstarter, I would instantly support it.” This might be the best, or at least safest, use of Kickstarter: The service allows proven talent to create games with a large audience but limited appeal to traditional investors.
business  games  kickstarter 
april 2012 by Aetles
The One Product That Makes Apple a Trillion-Dollar Company Overnight - LAUNCH -
Apps are the new Starbucks. Apps are our new guilty pleasure.

A daily "pick me up" that gives a longer and more fulfilling dopamine rush than a frappuccino -- and without the calories (y'all heard on "60 Minutes" that sugar is now toxic, right?).

If you're going to burn $3 to $5 a day consuming something, an app is the perfect little fix.    

Apple's neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has trained us to solve our problems with apps.

You have problems? We have solutions.

"There's an App for that" is a cult manifesto on par with "live your best life!"

Bottom line, we've been programmed that "installing" the latest app will make our lives better. The progress status bar at the bottom of an app icon is an emptying syringe.

We're all app junkies, and for good reason: they're a delightful rush and cheap.

There's a reason why crack and apps are the same price.
apple  business  money 
april 2012 by Aetles
Call Me Fishmeal.: The Mac App Store Needs Paid Upgrades
The Mac App Store has been a huge boon to Mac software developers, but has an enormous flaw: it needs to allow developers to charge existing customers a discounted price for major upgrades.

Right now developers selling through the Mac App Store face a lose/lose choice: either provide all major upgrades to existing customers for free (thus losing a quarter of our revenue), or create a “new” product for each major version (creating customer confusion) and charge existing customers full price again (creating customer anger).
apple  appstore  macappstore  business  price  upgrades 
march 2012 by Aetles
Coding Horror: How to Hire a Programmer
How to Hire a Programmer
There's no magic bullet for hiring programmers. But I can share advice on a few techniques that I've seen work, that I've written about here and personally tried out over the years.

1. First, pass a few simple "Hello World" online tests.
I know it sounds crazy, but some people who call themselves programmers can barely program. To this day, I still get regular pings from people who tell me they had candidates fail the most basic programming test imaginable.

That's why extremely simple programming tests are step one of any sane interview process. These tests should happen online, and the goal is not to prove that the candidate is some kind of coding genius, but that they know what the heck programming is. Yes, it's sad and kind of depressing that this is even necessary, but if you don't perform this sanity check, trust me – you'll be sorry.

Some services that do online code screening (I am sure there are more, but these are the ones I know about) are Interview Zen and codility.
programming  hiring  business 
march 2012 by Aetles
Dodgy Coder: Every software project I’ve worked on has used the "Spanish Theory" of project management, and its likely yours have too
The "Spanish Theory" says that management's job is to extract the maximum resources (= developer effort)  from the smallest amount of money (= developer salary). In practice what this often means for the developer is unpaid overtime (also known as "crunch time"), something very familiar to game developers, and also common in traditional software development, as the project nears its deadline. But those unpaid hours are actually costing you, the developer, because you can't get them back. You've sacrificed time in your personal life with your family and instead have chosen to work on the company's project - something of large value has been sacrificed for something of lesser value. If this imbalance continues past a reasonable level and unpaid overtime becomes the norm, then many developers will become dissatisfied and leave the company, increasing the company's staff turnover (churn) rate.
business  management  work 
march 2012 by Aetles
The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy - Forbes
In one corner of Manoj Bhargava’s office is a cemetery of sorts. It’s a Formica bookcase, its shelves lined with hundreds of garishly colored screw-top plastic bottles not much taller than shot glasses. Front and center is a Cadillac-red bottle of 5-Hour Energy, the two-ounce caffeine and vitamin elixir that purports to keep you alert without crashing. In eight years 5-Hour has gone from nowhere to $1 billion in retail sales. Truckers swear by it. So do the traders in Oliver Stone’s 2010 sequel to Wall Street. So do hungover ­students. It’s $3 a bottle, and it has made Bhargava a fortune.
february 2012 by Aetles
The Curious Case Of The (Cr)apps That Make Money | PandoDaily
Take, for example, the case of iOS developer Anton Sinelnikov. By looking at the screenshot taken a few weeks ago, you are faced with an incredible feat. Sinelnikov has managed to create not just one popular iOS app, but several! Hits like Plants vs. Zombies, Temple Run, Tiny Wings and Angry Birds, all coming from one developer!

Oh. Wait a second. My mistake, it turns out that instead of coming up with original ideas, Sinelnikov takes a different strategy. He copies other applications, takes a similar name, and then forces the application into the Top 100 list, where users mistake it for the original app. After a day or so, Apple notices that these apps aren’t actually providing they promise and kick the apps out, but not before users spend tens of thousands of dollars on the apps – money that the developers get to keep, as users rarely ask for a refund.

Of course, this wouldn’t be such a big deal if it was one developer, but the problem is that close to a dozen scam apps have made their way into the Top lists on the iOS App Store, netting a veritable fortune for the scammers. Some developers have been pointing this out for a while, asking Apple to fix the situation and be proactive. Apple has yet to respond with the needed force.
apple  apps  appstore  business  ios 
february 2012 by Aetles
Coding Horror: Meetings: Where Work Goes to Die
Since your meeting has a clearly defined mission statement, everyone attending the meeting knows in advance what they need to talk about and share, and has it ready to go before they walk into the room. Right? That's how we can keep the meeting down to an hour. If you haven't done your homework, you shouldn't be in the meeting. If nobody has done their homework, the meeting should be cancelled.
business  management  meetings  productivity 
february 2012 by Aetles
All or something - (37signals)
The problem is that most “exciting new company” lore is intermingled with that of Startup Culture™. This means it’s hard to find your identity when it doesn’t match the latest company write-up of How Those Crazy Kids Turned VC Millions Into Billions!!!

Most people will look at that and say that’s not me. I don’t have 110% to give. I have a family, I have a mortgage, I have other interests. Where’s my place in the startup world if all I have to give is 60%? What can putting in part-time give?

The good news is much more than you think. The marginal value of the last hour put into a business idea is usually much less than the first. The world is full of ideas that can be executed with 10 to 20 hours per week, let alone 40. The number of projects that are truly impossible unless you put in 80 or 120 hours per week are vanishingly small by comparison.

This is of course nothing new. We’ve been playing this bongo drum for years. But every time I see people crumble and quit from the crunch-mode pressure cooker, I think what a shame, it didn’t have to be like that. It’s the same when I read yet another story about someone who won the startup lottery, and the stereotypical startup role model is glorified and cemented again.
business  startup  work  life 
february 2012 by Aetles
Good Dad, Good Entrepreneur, Good Husband | PandoDaily
At this point in my life, I feel strongly that my three most important jobs are being a good dad, a good entrepreneur, and a good husband. Over the past year, I’ve found that it’s incredibly difficult to excel at all three simultaneously. Perhaps, for people better than I, it’s an easy task. I’m not a member of that club.
family  parenting  business  work  marriage 
february 2012 by Aetles
How Larry Page Changed Meetings At Google After Taking Over Last Spring
Every meeting must have one clear decision maker. If there's no decision maker -- or no decision to be made -- the meeting shouldn't happen.
No more than 10 people should attend.
Every person should give input, otherwise they shouldn't be there.
No decision should ever wait for a meeting. If a meeting absolutely has to happen before a decision should be made, then the meeting should be scheduled immediately.
business  meetings 
january 2012 by Aetles
Why do we pay sales commissions? - Fog Creek Blog
Among our many cherished verities and assumed assumptions is the widespread belief—nearly universal practice actually—that salespeople are to be paid commissions. It’s the way things are done. Stop signs are red. Salespeople get commissions.

But why?

This is a practice so deeply ingrained that almost everyone assumes that commissions are an unalloyed good, and that salespeople won’t work without them. I’ll return to that notion about work shortly, but it’s somewhat amazing that commissions are so widely lauded when they come laden with so many recurring problems. These issues pop up with distressing regularity.
january 2012 by Aetles
The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value - Forbes
In today’s paradoxical world of maximizing shareholder value, which Jack Welch himself has called “the dumbest idea in the world”, the situation is the reverse. CEOs and their top managers have massive incentives to focus most of their attentions on the expectations market, rather than the real job of running the company producing real products and services.
business  economics 
december 2011 by Aetles
Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond? - Magazine - The Atlantic
The diamond invention—the creation of the idea that diamonds are rare and valuable, and are essential signs of esteem—is a relatively recent development in the history of the diamond trade. Until the late nineteenth century, diamonds were found only in a few riverbeds in India and in the jungles of Brazil, and the entire world production of gem diamonds amounted to a few pounds a year. In 1870, however, huge diamond mines were discovered near the Orange River, in South Africa, where diamonds were soon being scooped out by the ton. Suddenly, the market was deluged with diamonds. The British financiers who had organized the South African mines quickly realized that their investment was endangered; diamonds had little intrinsic value—and their price depended almost entirely on their scarcity. The financiers feared that when new mines were developed in South Africa, diamonds would become at best only semiprecious gems.

The major investors in the diamond mines realized that they had no alternative but to merge their interests into a single entity that would be powerful enough to control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity of diamonds. The instrument they created, in 1888, was called De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., incorporated in South Africa. As De Beers took control of all aspects of the world diamond trade, it assumed many forms. In London, it operated under the innocuous name of the Diamond Trading Company. In Israel, it was known as "The Syndicate." In Europe, it was called the "C.S.O." -- initials referring to the Central Selling Organization, which was an arm of the Diamond Trading Company. And in black Africa, it disguised its South African origins under subsidiaries with names like Diamond Development Corporation and Mining Services, Inc. At its height -- for most of this century -- it not only either directly owned or controlled all the diamond mines in southern Africa but also owned diamond trading companies in England, Portugal, Israel, Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland.
business  money  diamonds  advertizing 
december 2011 by Aetles
A Rant About Women « Clay Shirky
So I get email from a good former student, applying for a job and asking for a recommendation. “Sure”, I say, “Tell me what you think I should say.” I then get a draft letter back in which the student has described their work and fitness for the job in terms so superlative it would make an Assistant Brand Manager blush.

So I write my letter, looking over the student’s self-assessment and toning it down so that it sounds like it’s coming from a person and not a PR department, and send it off. And then, as I get over my annoyance, I realize that, by overstating their abilities, the student has probably gotten the best letter out of me they could have gotten.

Now, can you guess the gender of the student involved?
business  gender 
november 2011 by Aetles
Watch a VC use my name to sell a con. | jwz
So if your goal is to enrich the Arringtons of the world while maybe, if you win the lottery, scooping some of the groundscore that they overlooked, then by all means, bust your ass while the bankers and speculators cheer you on.

Instead of that, I recommend that you do what you love because you love doing it. If that means long hours, fantastic. If that means leaving the office by 6pm every day for your underwater basket-weaving class, also fantastic.
business  life  startup 
november 2011 by Aetles
Dropbox: The Inside Story Of Tech's Hottest Startup - Forbes
Here’s that rare Steve Jobs story, one that’s never been told, about the company that got away. Jobs had been tracking a young software developer named Drew Houston, who blasted his way onto Apple’s radar screen when he reverse-engineered Apple’s file system so that his startup’s logo, an unfolding box, appeared elegantly tucked inside. Not even an Apple SWAT team had been able to do that.
dropbox  stevejobs  success  business 
october 2011 by Aetles
How to Change the World: What I Learned From Steve Jobs
Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him. I don’t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs.
stevejobs  apple  business  succes 
october 2011 by Aetles
The Man Who Inspired Jobs -
IN the memorials to Steven P. Jobs this week, Apple’s co-founder was compared with the world’s great inventor-entrepreneurs: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell. Yet virtually none of the obituaries mentioned the man Jobs himself considered his hero, the person on whose career he explicitly modeled his own: Edwin H. Land, the genius domus of Polaroid Corporation and inventor of instant photography.

Land, in his time, was nearly as visible as Jobs was in his. In 1972, he made the covers of both Time and Life magazines, probably the only chemist ever to do so. (Instant photography was a genuine phenomenon back then, and Land had created the entire medium, once joking that he’d worked out the whole idea in a few hours, then spent nearly 30 years getting those last few details down.) And the more you learn about Land, the more you realize how closely Jobs echoed him.
apple  business  stevejobs 
october 2011 by Aetles
Expensify - Expense Reports That Don't Suck!
Link a credit card
Log hours and track mileage
Manage your spending
Guaranteed eReceipts
Mobile receipt capture apps
Infinite storage
Create reports instantly
Reimburse expenses online
Completely paper free
business  money  tracking  receipts 
october 2011 by Aetles
Take Control of Your Paperless Office: Read Joe Kissell's advice in this book on using your Mac and scanner to reduce paper.
Take Control of Your Paperless Office

Learn the best ways to cut back on incoming and outgoing paper!

Join Joe Kissell as he helps you clear up the chaos of an office overflowing with paper. With Joe’s guidance you can develop a personal clean-up strategy and choose your Mac-compatible tools—a document scanner and the software you need to perform OCR (optical character recognition), devices and services for storing your digitized documents, and tools to categorize, locate, and view your digital document collections. Once you have your gear in hand, Joe then shows you convert your paper documents to digitized files and gives you ideas for how to organize your office workflow, explaining how to develop the day-to-day techniques that reduce the amount of time you spend pressing buttons, launching software, and otherwise managing your war on clutter.
business  life  mac 
september 2011 by Aetles
Jobs made Apple great by ignoring profit | The Great Debate
I have come to the conclusion that what has made Apple so different is that instead of having a profit motive at its core, it has something else entirely. Many big companies like to pretend this is the case — “we put our customers first” — but very few truly live by that mantra. When the pressure is on and the CEO of a big public company has to choose between doing what’s best for the customer or making the quarter’s numbers… most CEOs will choose the numbers.

Apple never has.

As paradoxical as it is that the pursuit of profit is what causes the long-term failure of companies, I believe that Apple’s lack of focus on profitability has actually made it one of the most successful companies in the history of capitalism.
apple  business  stevejobs 
august 2011 by Aetles
The little-known secret of how to actually choose a web designer (in 5 easy steps) ~ Information Highwayman ~ expert advice on conversion-rate optimization, online marketing, attention-thievery
Folio Focus has an article up titled ‘How to Choose a Web Designer’. It talks a lot about using design galleries to find someone experienced, who fits your budget and has the right style and skillset.
But these questions are trivial compared to the important stuff. They’re questions to ask the designer himself after you’ve identified him as a likely candidate.
Here, in five simple steps, is how to actually choose a web designer:–
business  design  web 
august 2011 by Aetles
HP’s decade-long departure | asymco
Make no mistake, the changes of this week are deeply rooted and are based on pressures building for years. Nearly all the charts on this site are about these pressures. Like in an earthquake, pressure builds up gradually but is released suddenly.
apple  business  asymco  horacedediu 
august 2011 by Aetles
Why we gave up web design after 10 successful years
A decade ago I started a web design company. We grew and grew, and after ten years of hard work, I’ve finally been able to get rid of it.

Don’t get me wrong – we were successful, had fun and did good work. At our peak we had over 200 clients and 15 full time staff, making us the largest such company in our city. We’ve worked on great projects for some big name clients and we even made some money too.

Little by little however, the years ate away at my soul. This year we finally left it all behind and moved onto our own products, and I’ve never been happier.

So this is why.
business  webdesign  work 
july 2011 by Aetles
MetaLab: Re:DESIGN - Musings on design, business & the ampersand
We have to accept that we aren’t super-human. Too many designers pride themselves on hand-crafting everything they produce. They write their own code and insist on designing every screen of a project themselves. Designers like this burn themselves out within a matter of years. When your business grows, your time invariably gets split between doing the work you love and keeping up with email, sending invoices and estimates, banking, updating the books, and all the other minutiae that goes along with running a business.

When I started MetaLab in 2006, the idea of handing anything off seemed insane. Hiring somebody terrified me. It seemed like a risky expense to take on. Since then, the company has grown to 20 people. Hiring them has been the best business decision I’ve ever made. It’s freed me up to build incredible products, let me focus on the stuff that I love, and given me the opportunity to work on projects that would have been impossible without the help of a great team. Being a one-man-band is great at first, but it’s unsustainable. Perfection is impossible. If you focus on design, your coding will slip. If you focus on coding, you’ll get behind on email. You can’t wear ten hats, and you can’t be everything to every client - you need to focus on what you love most and let others pick up the slack.
efficiency  startup  business 
march 2011 by Aetles
BW Online | May 21, 2001 | Commentary: Sorry, Steve: Here's Why Apple Stores Won't Work
The way Jobs sees it, the stores look to be a sure thing. But even if they attain a measure of success, few outsiders think new stores, no matter how well-conceived, will get Apple back on the hot-growth path. Jobs's focus on selling just a few consumer Macs has helped boost profits, but it is keeping Apple from exploring potential new markets. And his perfectionist attention to aesthetics has resulted in beautiful but pricey products with limited appeal outside the faithful: Apple's market share is a measly 2.8%. "Apple's problem is it still believes the way to grow is serving caviar in a world that seems pretty content with cheese and crackers," gripes former Chief Financial Officer Joseph Graziano.

Rather than unveil a Velveeta Mac, Jobs thinks he can do a better job than experienced retailers at moving the beluga. Problem is, the numbers don't add up. Given the decision to set up shop in high-rent districts in Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, and Jobs's hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., the leases for Apple's stores could cost $1.2 million a year each, says David A. Goldstein, president of researcher Channel Marketing Corp. Since PC retailing gross margins are normally 10% or less, Apple would have to sell $12 million a year per store to pay for the space. Gateway does about $8 million annually at each of its Country Stores. Then there's the cost of construction, hiring experienced staff. "I give them two years before they're turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake," says Goldstein.
apple  business  history 
february 2011 by Aetles
How Steve Jobs 'out-Japanned' Japan
Jeff Yang muses on how Apple managed to beat the tech titans of Japan by playing their game, only better

The better part of a month has gone by, and most pundits have already weighed in on this year's CES -- the global gadget extravaganza that makes Las Vegas the gravitational center of the geek universe every January. The consensus? Meh.

That's because the cacophony and crowds and celebrity sightings -- is there a rapper who doesn't have an audio accessory line at this point? -- couldn't disguise the fact that Apple, the new king of the tech hill, had once again refused to participate in a gathering dominated by old-guard standouts like Sony, whose gargantuan 25,000 square foot pavilion is always the show's largest, and which traditionally pulls out the razzle-dazzle stops in its presser (last year: country pixie Taylor Swift; this year, the stars of "The Green Hornet" -- and their car).
apple  business  japan  sony  stevejobs 
january 2011 by Aetles
How I Made My First 100 Sales | StyleWorks
Five months ago, with no prior sales experience, I launched a new startup selling Photoshop Layer Styles. I've been building ad-supported sites for a few years, but this was my first attempt at actually creating and selling my own product line.

Last week I made my 100th sale. To celebrate, I'm publishing my sales numbers (scroll down if you want to peek) and sharing some lessons I've learned along the way:
january 2011 by Aetles

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