Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Stop with the confusing / controversial endings.



Right now there is a trend to end a project with a controversial / confusing ending. If you don't know this already, these are done on purpose to get people to talk about it. The more people talk about it online the more popularity the project has. But it really has to stop. Let's have an ending that makes sense.

Most notably is the Mass Effect 3 ending which felt like a real curve ball. Almost nobody liked it and it spawned a lot of chatter. Mission accomplished.

Weather it's a TV show, game or movie the formula is as follows:

1. Write a script with characters we like
2. Develop a fan base
3. Make unpredictable plot choices
4. Rinse and repeat.

Let's have an ending that makes sense. In the case of video games you can have multiple endings but if you do do not look at Mass Effect as an example. The game Catherine had a wonderful set of endings that MADE SENSE!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mistakes

Yesterday I was making an iPhone app. It was really simple and most of the time I try and find an easier solution to any problem. I wanted to play a video so I added the code and everything worked. The video could only be played in landscape as the aspect ratio for the landscape iPhone is very similar to the 16:9 ratio. Watching the video in portrait would not be good.

What I originally wanted to do is have the main screen in portrait and the video in landscape. This would require some extra code. Not that device rotation is hard but the Objective-C code for this is more complicated than it needs to be. It would be much easier to just make the entire app in landscape. This is a technique I use all of the time. If it is easier to do it another way then just do it that way. There really isn't a good reason to have the app in portrait then move to landscape. It is better to have the entire app in landscape.

Now it was time to design the app in photoshop. I think I took a lunch break in between and I forgot to design the app in landscape. I spent all of this time making the app look amazing in portrait.

When I rendered all of my images and went back to Xcode, I quickly realized that I had spent all of this time designing in portrait versus landscape. So I did some quick UI changes and I made my graphics work in landscape. I had to re-render one image.

The best part is that the design in landscape is actually much better than I had hoped for. Now Im actually quick happy that this little accident happened. Now my design is much more creative. What can we learn from this.

1. Make sure you always check the screen resolutions
2. Accidents happen and you need to deal with them
3. You have to get your project done no matter what.



Saturday, 14 September 2013

How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

This is a fantastic article about the demise of the music industry.

http://rocknerd.co.uk/2013/09/13/culture-is-not-about-aesthetics-punk-rock-is-now-enforced-by-law/

The short answer is that people do not really care about quality when it comes to music and over supply kills everything. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Instead of making more money, try cutting expenses

There are two ways to have more money. The first way is to make more money. The second way to spend less. Most of the time you have much more control over the second option versus the first option.

Living today can be expensive. In most places you have the expensive options right next to the cheap options. The best part is that you have the option of going to either.

The easiest way to tackle this problem is to look at the big picture and ask yourself, do you really need this particular item. If you rate it out of 10, 10 being you absolutely must have it and 1 being that you do not need it at all.  When you buy things it should be at least an 8.

The other thing can do is wait to see if you really need something. If you want to buy something then wait a few days to see if you really need it and if you don't need it then simply don't buy it. Waiting can take away the impulse of what you want to buy.

One tactic that really works is buying something that only has the features you want. Try to avoid the least expensive and the most expensive products. The least expensive is usually not worth buying because it will break. The features in the most expensive product will cost more. If you buy something in the middle of the road the features will be reasonably priced and will probably have the most value. There are very few times when the most expensive product is the product you should buy. The only time you should buy the more expensive product is when you use that item multiple times a day.

The best thing you can do is live with less. The less stuff you have and the less stuff you buy the more you will save.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Making your own experience

Imagine that you have applied to over 100 jobs and you haven't been able to land one. The only thing that would resemble a job is an unpaid internship at a small company and the job title says "Assistant". It doesn't say what kind of assistant, it just says assistant. 

Suffice to say that you don't want that internship for the reasons I stated in the last blog article. Imagine that it is Sunday night and you want to wake up tomorrow and get some experience with your job and put all of the knowledge you acquired in your undergraduate degree to work, then what do you do?

The answer is actually surprisingly simple. You start freelancing or you start your own business. This is by far the better option for these reasons.

1. You get to do actual work related to your degree and the work is important. If you are upset that you cannot find a job doing work that is relevant to your career you can start freelancing and do the important work. 

2. You start to make money almost right aways. While landing the first few clients can be hard if you grind enough you can do it and guess what you are getting paid to do something which is much better than not. While it might not be as stead as a job if you are good enough the first few clients will lead to more business.

3. You are more in control of your career. If you truly want more work then you will grind for that work.

4. It will teach you to take initiative if you already do not take initiative. Every employer says they want initiative and they do for higher level position but not entry level position. If you want a higher paying job then initiative is what you need. 

5. You get to build your portfolio with relevant works. If you freelance for a year then you will not only make money from your projects but you will have more projects to put on your resume and LinkedIn. The more you do this the better you get.

Now what happens after this process? Well there are two things that happen. The first is that you go back and apply for your dream job and get it. The second is that you make more money than a company will pay you. You have to decide which is better for you. You might not be able to retire as a freelance graphic artists so maybe this job is temporary. You could perhaps retire on a fancy new web app but event the the chances are low. 

Making your own experience in most cases is much better than an internship. Besides if you tell yourself you really want to work you will take up the initiative and just do it. 

Lastly, when you take initiative you put yourself in a far different category than everybody who is not taking initiative.

Monday, 9 September 2013

The plight of interns

We have all heard about what interns have to go through to actually get paid for work. Most interns have to go through unskilled work and minimal if any pay. What most companies do is leech off the passions have for the job and therefore they can pay less. But now it seems like the culture around internships gets much darker and much more sinister. In the story below an intern was killed because he fell asleep at the wheel.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/09/06/bc-interndeath.html

Unfortunately, most young people have to work at an internship to get ahead in their career. What is even more unfortunate is that the jobs are actually not that hard and don't require that much talent to actually do.

So are the interns really getting the experience they need? Well some interns do but I suspect most do not. What should you look for if you are an intern? Well there are a few things you ask your employer.

1. Are you doing work that you would actually be doing at the company? Even if it is a low level job make sure it has something to do with what you want to do. For example if you are working as a graphic designer make sure you are actually doing graphic design in some way. It could be low and boring work but make sure it has something to do with graphic design. What you do not want to have is to fetch coffee all day. If you want to fetch coffee all day go work at Starbucks

2. Is your company that you are interning for a big company. Make sure that your company that you are interning for is a big company that most people will know the name of. Most HR people skim the resumes and if they see a big company on your resume they won't even know if it is an internship. Lots of times they will just assume that you have the experience there. Plus bigger companies might have more opportunity.

3. Look at what you are doing and ask yourself will it help you in your career. First of all realize that the work you do in 4th year university is way better than what you will be doing at your first job. Just make sure that the internship will put you on the path you want.

While the interns death is tragic, it is probably an extreme case.

Tomorrow we are going to talk about what you can do if you do not have an unpaid internship or internship. We will talk about how to make your own experience.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Tips for being self employed and staying self employed

I have essentially been self employed or a contractor since I was 17 and still in high school. Here is what I have learned:

1. Always have more than one source of income. The more sources you have the better chance you have of staying a float.

2. Diversify these incomes. This is key. Make sure that the incomes can be related but not dependent on each other. This way if one side of the market fails then you can still pay the bills.

3. If at all possible save half of your money. I am personally used to living off of very little so I can save a lot of my income. If you can save half of your after tax income then you are in good shape. This way if something major happens you can weather the storm financially.

4. Learn about investing and invest your money in a diversified portfolio. This one is really important, in fact I could make another list of rules just on this one alone. Investing is the one true way of keeping your money and making a lot of it. If at all possible you should put half of your income into a diversified portfolio.
- Also if you didn't know this you can make money off of falling markets and commodities by either shorting the stock or investing in a bear ETF.

5. Make connections for the future just in case. I go to meet ups occasionally and I make sure I meet all of the recruiters and add them to linked in. Having this large base of recruiters can help me out in some way shape or form if I need it in the future. Recruiters need to fill spots and sometimes those spots can be very advantageous to you in the future.

6. If possible have an exit plan. Having an exit plan like selling your business can be beneficial. Often times the country you live in has a tax advantage for selling your business. This could be difficult in some cases. For example it could be hard to sell your Udemy courses to another person.

7. Try to legally pay the least amount of taxes (please note the word legally). There are always small thing you can do that will have an impact on how much you take home. These things might be putting as many expenses on your credit card or paying yourself in dividends. Whatever the reason make sure you hire a great accountant to help you save money.

8. Plan for retirement early. If you save half your income and put in a diversified portfolio then you should have no problem with your retirement. But make sure you start saving your money sooner rather than later.

9. Try very hard to not upgrade your gear and keep expenses low. I grudgingly upgrade my gear. I think I might have to upgrade my MacBook Pro and it's going to be hard for me to purchase it. Remember, it's about 5 times as easy to spend money versus make it. I personally try to make do with what I have versus buy a new solution. Take into account what you use the most and what you use the least. In the future try to buy less of the things you don't use.

10. Learn to live with less. Personally, I love the minimalist lifestyle. In fact I love having less stuff. I try to give away or sell all of the stuff I don't use. I love this process. For me less is so much more.

11. Try to stay out of debt. I personally have no debt which is awesome. But I had to make some very large sacrifices to do it. Sacrifices such as: living in a less desirable place, not going on expensive vacations, sacrificing my personal life (because life is expensive) and more. Remember when you are in debt everything you do costs more, so if at all possible try to stay out of debt This is mostly consumer debt, mortgages do not count.

I hope this helps. If anybody has any other comments about what to do please let me know.

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