Time spent on story and storyboards will cut costs in half or two-thirds, while making it far more likely people will like the final result.
I’ve just had another very poor licensing experience with independent software. It’s encouraged me to share some general guidelines on how to license open source software.
Choosing a Cloud Hosting to store all your videos on and stream them to your website may seem like an easy-to-do thing but the reality is often a totally different story.
Netflix has just enjoyed an amazing price run from about $190/share to a high of $333/share. The share price has fallen to about $290 now. It’s still wildly overpriced.
Let me explain. Profit is $559 million. There are 432 million shares outstanding. Earnings per share is $1.25. That’s a peak P/E (price to earnings) ratio of 264! As a comparison Walmart’s P/E in 2017 was 20.7.
The situation is more serious than I initially thought when I wrote this article. IBM has repeatedly savaged governments around the world for sums up and over $1 billion dollars for systems which don’t work and have to simply be discarded.
Winning megaprojects with low initial bids and then turning a $20 million project into a billion dollar con of the client appears to be an artform at IBM. Governments all over the world have suffered, tax payers have paid for senior IBM bonuses. Ordinary citizens have gone six months or more without their paycheques.
This behaviour appears to be IBM policy and not an accident. This very grave situation cries out for a deep investigative long form feature. Together the governments of Canada and Australia and Pennsylvania (just the ones I’ve found so far) likely have a case of deliberately malicious business practices.
Apparently IBM has made USD $780 million building a payroll system for the Canadian Government which does not work.
Potential Savings on Payroll
The idea was to save money by eliminating jobs. Canada has about 260,000 public servants. Over 1200 people were working on payroll (accountants, bookkeepers and managers mainly with some IT guys thrown in to make it work). This is about half of one percent on payroll. Payroll is about one third the cost of accounting in our company. I’m unable to bring our accounting costs much below 3% of turnover on a sub-million dollar turnover despite strong efforts and automated software like Freshbooks.
SoundCloud’s Shrinking Revenue, Real Estate and Headcount
SoundCloud had way too many staff members for what is a fairly simple website. Their headcount was 422 out of which 173 have been given their walking papers.
SoundCloud was also maintaining offices in Berlin, New York, San Francisco and London. For expensive real estate they only needed to add Paris and Tokyo for a perfect score. Fortunately, SoundCloud will cut back to Berlin and New York now. Someone needs to negotiate with the Americans (New York) while production and code and IT can all be done in Berlin.
There’s a need for some kind of design and marketing input from New York as Germans can be really clueless about marketing to anyone except Germans. Germans in a way don’t really believe in marketing, they believe in the product. I’m a German at heart that way myself. Heaven knows I could do a better job with the FV Player marketing1 while with Martin we’ve done a great job on the software architecture. While Mercedes no longer makes cars which run 400,000 km without major service (I owned one), many German products remain very high quality.
Editor’s note: Service interruption notifications are the unloved sibling of newsletters and welcome emails. They just don’t get enough love—and for the most part are fairly terrible, anonymous, vague and menacing messages, often from a no-reply address. There is a better way.
While software is our main business now, we have some hosting clients for special services. Every once in a while of course there is either expected or unexpected downtime. We strive to let our clients know about these issues in advance (planned) and in real time (unplanned). We don’t try the tricky move that many hosts do of just trying to hide downtime.
I recently received an email about our FV Player Pro plugin licensing and pricing. filmmaker Paul Moon‘s questions were good ones. Here are my answers.
Thanks for your email and your questions. I’m delighted to answer your questions.
I am very bothered by what appears to be a surprise limitation on my purchase: https://prnt.sc/gerwa6. That is a screenshot of my license upon purchasing FV Player Pro. THERE IS NO PLACE ON YOUR WEBSITE CLARIFYING A LIMITATION ON MY LICENSE. For you to add this only after I paid, is unacceptable. I’d like to understand what happened. A product is completely worthless when it expires after 1 year.
Your license never expires. You can continue to use the last version indefinitely forever. The main sales page clearly states: ”All updates and support free for 1 year.”
During the last year, we added Stripe for payment of FV Player Pro. We’ve had many more fraud issues with Stripe than Paypal.
One case is the company Intranet.red of Patagonia. With an email address firstname.lastname@example.org and name Matt C., Intranet.red purchased an FV Player Pro license. On 12 July, the credit card owner disputed the charge. We sent a courteous email to email@example.com about the incorrect charge but never heard back.
Many of you may know that Foliovision began as a client service agency and not a software company. Our first big service was migration from Typepad to WordPress. We were literally doing dozens of migrations a month at one point. Project management in bulk was essential to the premium client experience we wishes to offer.
We started with Basecamp but eventually outgrew it (there’s a long post about our Basecamp to Teamwork migration) and moved to Teamwork (back then TeamworkPM). Teamwork Projects at the time had a much worse design than Basecamp (latest version looks pretty good and even allows CSS customisation) but lots more tools (recurring tasks was a big one for us) at the time. As happy as the upgrade in features made us at the time, there was still one key feature missing. Later we called this feature Observer Status.
One of our more fun clients for our FV Player video player for WordPress recently wrote me:
btw.. i hope you invested in bitcoin like i told you…
Here’s my answer.
I don’t invest in systems where I have no control. Bitcoin could just disappear tomorrow and one fine day it will.
Here’s how it will go down:
- Bitcoin will be a threat to the USD
- the US Treasury will declare Bitcoin a means to conduct illegal business
It’s been a commenting kind of last seven days since Disqus started adding ads or charging what are extortionate rates for continued ad-free existence ($99/month for sites with from 50K to 250K visitors!). First some lively conversation over at WP Tavern about Disqus, wpDisquz (also very expensive at $29/extension), Postmatic, Replyable and our own Thoughtful Comments. Thoughtful Comments at free with Replyable at $3/month turned out to offer the best value in the advanced commenting sweepstakes to replace Disqus.
And now today I had one of our long time clients write in with a new issue which they hadn’t faced before: how to deal with overly prolific commenters who were spoiling the intelligent conversations about law on their website.
Hello! I’ve been digging into the documentation for “Thoughtful Comments”. Do you know if it’s possible in the plugin settings or in some other settings to limit the number of comments a single person (commenter) can leave either a) on a given post or b) in a given day?
We have a slight troll problem and we’re wondering if something like that could address it. Or, maybe there’s something else we could do short of manually flagging and banning individuals? Appreciate it!
Right now their website is open to any commenters, you don’t need an account. This is the most difficult situation as in this case you have no real history with your commenters. Anyone can write in an email address, anyone can spoof another commenter’s identity if s/he knows or can guess the email address of the other person. Guessing an email is not at all difficult if people are including a URL with their identity and a name.
If you are in video development and you are ever contacted by Curtis Allen from TunedInLive.com, you should know that he is highly unlikely to pay for work he commissions.
I should have known better looking at his website.
Foliovision’s office doesn’t have air conditioning. Normally it doesn’t matter. It’s about one week or ten days per year that the heat gets up to the uncomfortable level. It seems to be more and more days each year as this year we are now into the third week of heat right now.
In any case, last week was the second hot one. We had a birthday party scheduled for our programmer Riso and designer Janette on Thursday night. We moved it out to the banks of the Danube, opposite Devin Castle. For many on our team, it was the first time swimming in the might Danube, as in Bratislava the Danube is too fast and after Bratislava and into Hungary, the river is considered too dirty for safe swimming.
We use a lot of software at Foliovision. What we like are stable reliable solutions which deliver what they promise. What we hate is hypeware which overpromises and underdelivers. Often hypeware is delivered by companies which look for successful niches, clone the existing software (easy enough thanks to Matt Mullenweg’s and Automattic’s insistence that all code must be GPL). Cloned code is generally vastly inferior to the original (most often coded by a passionate coder with a deep understanding of the problem he is trying to solve).
What those copycat coders then do is market the heck out of “their” new product, often making sales where better code is available free or outselling a less expensive and better solution.
Christmas came early in 2015 for Foliovision. On St Patrick’s Day actually. I got the email from Teamwork to tell me Observer Status had gone into beta. Believe it or not, Observer Status is finally here in Teamwork and it’s awesome.
Observer Status will change the lives of smaller service driven agencies growing into larger agencies.
Let me start by telling you why we want Observer Status.
This essay originally started on Quora. I was so dismayed by the other answers, recommending startups spend many hundreds if not thousands of dollars every month on over-hyped sales CRM. Sales are not made by software but by people. Yes you need good tools but there are some very affordable ones out there. Here’s an overview of CRM software Foliovision have tried first hand.
If you are a startup, especially a bootstrapped one, you should care about the amount of money you spend. A lot of the contenders in this space want $50/month/user or more (Salesforce I’m looking in your greedy direction right now).is another one in that category ($59/month). While talking about greed, even Salesforce doesn’t hold a candle to the credit card hammerers over at InfusionSoft (do not even think about it).*
Hardly but that’s what the crows are calling Richard Branson over at LinkedIn in response to Branson’s post “Career Curveballs: Embrace Change or Become Stagnant”.
Branson talks about starting Virgin Airlines and selling Virgin Records:
I’ve often joked about the best way to become a millionaire – start out as a billionaire and launch an airline! While moving from the music industry with Virgin Records to aviation with Virgin Atlantic was a huge career curveball for me personally, it was an even bigger jump for the rest of Virgin, not to mention my friends and family. We went from taking on rival labels in the charts and in the clubs to challenging global airlines in the air – and eventually in the courts!
Our client and small business marketing expert Jeff Korhan published a timely post this week (surfing on current events) comparing internet marketing and the Super Bowl. But unlike the opportunity to hit the field for the Super Bowl, Jeff thinks it’s not difficult to get a chance to play on the internet.
in these Internet days anyone can reach a massive audience, and certainly Apple and other giant brands are capable of doing that on their own. This is the opportunity for Apple, eTrade, and mainstream small businesses like yours and mine….What’s interesting is it is actually easier for people than businesses to build an audience today, at least for small businesses. This says something about the future of brands
37signals don't do client work anymore and live in a bubble. If you face clients and billing, TeamworkPM is a much stronger solution.