Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Are we in a tech bubble

Are we in a tech bubble? Yes, but you shouldn't worry. Tech is always going to be here and it isn't going anywhere the only thing that will change is the feel good aura that surrounds it. Lot's of people come to tech because it's popular not because they like tech.

The talk about a bubble happens when kids sell their apps for millions of dollars. If the bubble breaks you can still your app for tens of thousands to hundred of thousands. Instead of thinking about tech as a make or break industry think of it as an industry with highs and lows. Tech is too entrenched in our society to go anywhere. The only difference is that apps like instagram will not be worth 1 billion dollars it might only be worth a few hundred thousand.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The tech world is not small business friendly.

Right now it is very fashionable to be an entrepreneur these days. It is also fashionable to be a nerd and technology oriented. Put these two together and you should have a recipe for success. However, the tech world is not small business friendly. When you make software you have to sell it a low price and that means you have to push a lot of volume. Small business usually sells less product for more money.

One other thing that small businesses do is make something and put it out there. What small businesses do not do is try to raise millions of dollars and try to get a fashionable lifestyle. Usually small business people work very hard to make their money. It seems like tech entrepreneurs want to get a Tim Ferris 4 hour work week lifestyle but what they do not want to do is to work.

Let me take a little bit of fun out of the equation. If you really want to be an entrepreneur here is a simple thing you can do. Go to Costco and buy a whole bunch of buns and hotdogs, cook them, then sell them on the street. Chances are you will make more money on that day than you will with your app or game or whatever. This is a very standard entrepreneurial exercise but what it is not is a fashionable lifestyle without six figure salaries and a Jacuzzi in the office.

The point is that if you really want to start something today just go and do it. If you want to make a game get the art, do the programming make a game. If you want to make an app, get the artwork do the programming make an app. Just go and do it. Don't waste time trying to get funding that may or may not come.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ultimate frisbee is the most underrated sport

Ultimate frisbee? Isn't this a blog about tech.

Yes it is, but I like to talk about activities that make you a better person as well. I always tell people to get involved with music and to keep your body in shape. Surprisingly when I play ultimate I network a lot with tech people.

Anyway, ultimate is underrated sport. It is really fun to play and it is arguably much of a lower impact on your body than soccer. If you are like me and get injured a lot this becomes a big factor.

The best part about ultimate is that you run a lot so it keeps your heart in shape and you get the other benefits of sports such as competition and "reading and reacting".

I used to always tell parents that if you want to give your kid a good chance in life you should put them through music lessons and get them to play sports. They don't have to be super talented or super athletic but going through the motions will lead to a happier life.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

When did hiring people right out of university become charity work?

I hire people to do small jobs time to time. Usually the job is really small and usually I like to hire people who are either in their last year of college or have just finished college. For whatever reason this seems to work really well for the people just out of college.

Finding a job right out of university can be tough, real tough and for the kids coming out finding a job is ridiculously hard. The main reason why it is hard is because bigger corporations want you to have experience. This is the most frustrating situation a person out of university can find themselves in. Circular logic is flawed and it seems like most companies like this when hiring people. This wouldn't be so bad but when you come out of a 4 year degree you pretty much have no experience. This could easily be fixed but it seems like post secondary institutions don't want to change. This is fantastic for me because I make courses that fill this void. Also most post secondary institutions teach theory more than practice and while that may be good for an 18 year old coming out of high school it is not good for a 22 year old finishing school.

Remember that if you want a job you have to apply your skills. From my experience theory is about 10% of the equation and the rest is all application.

Let's turn back to me hiring people to get experience. What I do is throw a wrench in the gears of circular logic. I give people a small amount of experience so that they can get a better job. It doesn't take a lot of money or time but it makes a difference in their lives. One person I hired now has a fantastic job at a hospital because I gave him some experience. When I hire people it makes a difference.

Companies have a lot of money to spend they just don't want to spend it. They can spend it on people who help them make more money. The biggest problem is that they are not spending the money on people they are just sitting on it because they are scared to lose it. I understand but it does create a problem.

So if you have a degree and you want to get a job without experience you are out of luck. Luckily people like me know how much that sucks and know how to fix the problem. So like I hire people and it feels more like charity work than actual work. When I walked into a Starbucks and they had a create jobs program I was amazed that it came to having to create a program to hire jobs.

As wrong as it feels to create a charity to create jobs it has come to that. If my company was bigger I would hire more people and really expand that. This would be a great theme for a kick starter campaign.

At the end of the day the whole system of getting a job right now sucks. The schools don't prepare you, the employers don't want to train you. There is a major gap that throws a wrench in the system and it really hurts the economy and human progress.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sim City 5 review from a game designer

If you are like me and loved playing Sim City in the past then you were probably like me excited to hear about Sim City 5. It sounded awesome, it looked awesome but at the end of the day was not awesome.

You have probably heard about the online only DRM and massive server problems. But there are some gameplay elements that make the experience frustrating.

1. The square in which you build the city is too smal.. You get a small square to build stuff in Sim City. It frankly should be 9 times what it is. You seriously get no space. This wouldn't be a problem but you always need much more money than you have and then you run out of space.

2. You have no money ever. I assume this is like running a real city where funds are tight but everything in the city is about 30% too expensive. You are constantly cock blocked when it comes to money. You never have enough of it so you spend your time just dicking around until you have enough money. It isn't until later where you find out how to make more money. What you should be able to do is just build more houses and industrial zones. As stated before, you run out of room really fast and then you can't do anything at all. You then have to figure out how to build up instead of out. Which is fine and I wish more real cities would do this but you don't get enough residence to make the game enjoyable.

3. Your resources are cock blocked. You need certain resources to build bigger industrial buildings. Resources like plastic and aluminum alloy. On top of that you can buy sewage services, power and other utilities from neighboring cities. This sounds like an awesome idea but you can never buy enough resources and you can't get enough on your small little land. What would be awesome is if you could take resources from anywhere on the server. That way you always would have somebody to buy it from.

4. All of the other crap that you hear about sim city. Always online DRM, server problems etc. Basically, it is a step backwards.

All they need to do is fix the city box and the cock blocking of resources and the game would be much much better.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Artists and startups

Imagine you have 2 friends. One of them says they want to be an artist the other says they want to be in a start up. Think about the situation for both of them. Think about your gut reaction to those two life styles....



Are you finished thinking about it? Most people have a reaction like this. For the artist they think something like "You will be constantly living in poverty. There is almost no chance for success. You are wasting your life". For the start up people tend to think about something like this: "Wow perhaps they are the next instagram and will be billionaires. What a cushy job they might have. I wish I was in a startup".

Believe it or not these two paths are almost exactly the same. The only difference is that startups are in and art is out. There are several similarities between choosing a path in art and a startup they include.

- Low probability of success
- Low or no money
- You will always be asking for money
- You are more about the cause than the product
- You may or may not do any work
- Substance abuse

Yep, being in a startup is a lot like being an artist. The only difference is that starups get more funding. I am also not joking about the substance abuse either. I recently went to a startup meetup and I swear one of the people there was high.

Not that any of this is bad I just find it funny that people tend to think of both of these paths as different. If you want to be an artist or in a startup go for it.

Sometimes I see a startup get a ton of money for something that could literally be accomplished in a month with a few thousand dollars. Why do these ideas get so much praise? Furthermore, Im not sure what people do all day. Im assuming a lot of these startups as for money so they can have a trendy work environment. This means that employees show up when they want, they have a cool and trendy office and they want a work environment similar to Microsoft google or Apple. Fair enough. I understand that you can't work in your mom's basement and I also understand that environment does affect productivity. Maybe it's because I love the work part of my day better than any other part so this rubs me the wrong way. 

There is a fine line between working to hard and working too little. When I start work it's go time. It is time to work and it is time to work hard. It's no surprise when millennials run the show it work becomes sponsored by Disney (I'm a millennial by the way). 

Being a musician in a band is a dream experience. You get to make tons of money while paying music, you get laid, you are famous. Obviously music and art is not as respected in the past so if you were born in the 80s then what else is there for you to do? Well, you can think up an idea, go get some money and bam you are living a rockstar like lifestyle. Of course this is better than going to school and trying to find a job.

Maybe Im the kid who turns down the music at the party but at the end of the day you should work. It would be nice to go back to the notion where you could go and work hard at a degree and then find a job instead of finding a weird asymmetrical way of making money. 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Working for multiple companies better than working for one

Imagine that you have one or two degrees and still cannot find work. You are working as a server or another dead end type job and you hate it. You wish that you could get a 50k or 60k job but it seems so far away. You slog away at your job wishing and pushing for the best.

Why not work for several companies by selling a product?

You can make a product and get many channel partners to sell your product. Your product can be marketed to several different lists that any company has. You can sell your product in many different store. All of a sudden you have 50k coming in from each channel partner.

I should also add that making a product and selling to several different outlets might be less work than a job but the financial benifit is much more.