Well now that Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference is in full swing I have had time to digest the initial announcements and take a slightly deeper look at what has been revealed. 

Professionally and personally speaking there is a lot to be gained by looking at these announcements, some which includes:

  • New software: this provides some key insights into what Apple considers important and is often the result of a combination of customer input, enhancements and future vision. So these "little" things can be quite important.
  • New products: while it is true that no single company can produce products that everyone needs, Apple comes pretty close to consistently producing products that appeal to customers and create impacts in unimaginable ways. So any new product announcement is generally interesting to review. 
  • Metrics: One of the best parts of keynotes at WWDC happen to be the numbers that they present such as market size, profits, application downloads, and the like. These numbers are not merely summaries of existing numbers, but often times contain new information on previously unmentioned metrics. The metrics are important because they help to establish a proper baseline for competitor analysis. 

Anyways some of the things that I noticed from the keynote... 

1) Mac Pro Refresh - Finally

The long awaited Mac Pro refresh is finally here. To be honest, while I the technically saavy professional and personal consumer was quite impressed my brother who is an artist and many other friends that I know in the entertainment industry were happy but not what I would call "blown off their feet".

These individuals pointed out that while the refresh was quite impressive, many key features such as supporting 4K monitors, the GPU throughput, and other things were actually just a tad behind the higher end PC workstation world specification wise. 

Additionally their opinions were quite split about investing in the new Mac Pros. Based on current, generally available information from Apple, it is about 50/50 in terms of investing in the product. For some it was a worthwhile investment to continue on their projects, others saw it as not quite enough and given Apple's past history at higher-end pricing for the Pros they saw it as not compelling enough. I think the difference also lies in the changing of the technology and tools available for these creatives. Many who work in larger organizations have access to cloud infrastructures and computing clusters that do the vast majority of the work. For their individual creatives it is the price point that makes the difference in that if priced "appropriately" they may be enticed to continue using these workstations, otherwise they have been making due with MacBook Pros. 

Generally speaking I like the design such as the heat sink, the round shape, and as always Apple's design aesthetic around the overall unit. From someone used to working with desktops and workstations a lot, Apple's units never felt cramped or crowded. They have always been easy to manage, easy to work with, and easy to expand.  

2) iWork.com - Web-based Applications

This little product nestled in the keynote was what had me fascinated the most. Not only by what was delivered, but what could be a great promise hidden within the keynote presentation itself. All right I do admit I loved the web-based demo because the applications looked elegant, simple, easy, and functional.  

There are some obvious concerns of an all, web-based application service that Apple demonstrates with iWork as well: 

  • What about offline use? This is pretty typical right such as on long train rides or airplanes or heck even out in a park sitting enjoying the sun. People work best in odd places most which are NOT connected in anyway to the internet. So hopefully Apple continues a desktop or native version such that work can continue. 
  • No internet/no cloud - So this is a another big issue. When I lose my internet connection I no longer be functional and productive. This is a huge issue with cloud-based services of any type. A storm knocks out power, someone cuts the cables at the local network node, or any other number of issues. So we will have to see how the desktop and web-based versions work out.

The concerns can be addressed by maintaining a desktop and mobile version so hopefully that will continue :)

3) iRadio - Radio the Apple Way

In terms of a new service this was not bad. I can see a lot of use for this especially for those who may not be able to regularly get radio for other reasons. I am not certain how well this service will do overall.  

4) iOS7 - Flat Design and more

The new iOS appears to have dramatic changes both from a consumer perspective such as the flat design and functions, but more than likely under the hood as well from a developer perspective. As with prior iOS previews, once the developers have helped to "test drive" the SDK details will become publicaly available. From past experience Apple has done a lot within the SDK that makes developing high-performance, resource-efficient and user-pleasing applications. I expect nothing less in the iOS7 version.

5) Mac OS X - Mavericks

While many people were looking forward to iOS7, Mavericks is another operating system upgrade that people were looking at as well. I would characterize the Mavericks update as a worthwhile one incorporating many nice features that users have been requesting and many additional changes under the hood for stability, performance and efficiency. While some of the functions demonstrated such as the "smoother scrolling" seemed somewhat "bleh" to many of the audience members, those small touches are what makes using the Apple Macs so nice in comparison to other operating systems. When doing work with images, videos or any digital asset in fine detail being able to see things smoothly and consistently is pretty darned important.  

Summary

Overall the keynote for the 2013 WWDC was another excellent way for Apple to communicate some of their more notable products from a developer and consumer perspective. As with past conferences, many of the nitty gritty details remain under their program restrictions until their offering goes public. However the public announcements gave enough information to let the average consumer what Apple has coming out for the remainder of the year.

At least until the next press event :)

Posted
AuthorAltan Khendup

Those who have known me realize that the recent push by professionals to insure that they have a comprehensive and coordinated brand, message, and identity in the digital space especially social media is something that I have been recommending for many, many years. 

Any professional in today's market realizes that there is always competition for talent. In such intense contests, every competitor needs an edge and a way to stand out. Social media is an excellent way to communicate, network and exchange ideas, insights and you in general. Yet the most basic concept of "what to share" is rarely answered. 

Individuals on social media love to share what they eat, what they wear, some quick comments, and they connect and follow people that have similar interests, are "cool and hip" to their generation, or have something interesting to say. This is not just limited to personal perspectives but professional ones as well.

More experienced professionals all too often tend to over think and over plan what they want to say. It is simple really: just say it. Whatever "it" is. This is more than making a statement, it is about telling a story. And telling a professional story that captures the audience, makes it interesting, and something that your audience wants to engage in is something that takes thought. 

A big topic of conversation involves whether to seek out a service that can help not only create a resume, but manage LinkedIn profiles as well. Firstly any service that starts with a resume and profiles without speaking to fundamentals of "value" and "story" I would be hesitant about. I would also be hesitant about any service that has "served thousands of professionals". You are looking to stand out not blend in. So any service that has thousands of customers means to me anyway that there are thousands of similar styles running around that can be very similar.

The scenario is a very straightforward one. If for example someone would run a Bing or Google search with you as a the term what would they see? I am not talking about specifics such as pictures, etc. I am talking about a high level concept. What would they see? Would they see your hobbies, your family, your recipes? Would they have to sift through 10 pages of results before getting to "you"? Would they see your Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media as a cohesive, coherent story or a series of disjointed, unconnected instances? This does not even cover the idea of "inappropriate" data points that they may find. 

Looks like a lot of work? It is. Yet also a necessary one. What do I mean by this? With a little effort at the keyboard a variety of information that can be useful is easily uncovered. For example:

  • Digital Identity is almost exclusively LinkedIn: This demonstrates only a rudimentary understanding of social media and it's impacts. Typical professionals in this case have really basic information in terms of story and content. However so do the other say 1M+ LinkedIn members. So at this point the professional is simply "going with the crowd" and "blending in". Not really a great message to be sending out to potential customers or employers.
  • Digital Identity on Twitter: Not only can the amount of tweets be seen but so can the followers and those following. Followers or their types can be particularly interesting: are the followers other executives? well known industry entities? Can a pattern be seen in terms of types of professionals? The topics that are shared are also interesting as these can be used to determine what the representative topics of the professional are.  

And numerous other examples. Essentially anyone who is looking to be seen as an adaptive, saavy professional needs to have a digital identity and social media presence that reinforces this concept.

So circling back to the question of whether to engage in services that can help professionals create this product: yes but take the time to do some research and find the proper fit. Choose services that take the time to partner, that have a history of helping their clients, and while they should have a portfolio of works, be very aware you are trying to "stand out" and not "blend in" so be very sensitive of services that mention "thousands of customers".  

So take the time to invest in your digital identity. It will be well worth it in the future.

As a little plug, I have done a lot of work investigating and using a variety of services from large and small groups. Of all the ones that I have found, I like the services of CareerTrend. Admittedly this is a higher end service but if you happen to be in the market for this type of service, they have been the best by far. For the purposes of full disclosure I have been a past customer of their service.

 

Posted
AuthorAltan Khendup
CategoriesCareer Insights

One of the most common questions I get is how to set "rates" for projects, specifically consulting engagements.  

While it is very true to be aware of "market rates" be very wary of placing too much faith in such numbers. Why? Mostly because while these rates may be some what common, they are not necessarily very accurate in terms of what goes into them. For example, say a certain positions claims to be at a rate of say $30/hour. There are a lot of things to consider about a rate: 

  • Experience. Is this for a junior person? Someone with years in the industry? Be aware of what is being reflected in the rate based on this criteria.
  • Type of Work. Is the work simple or complex? Is it something fairly easy or difficult? If a client is asking for complex and difficult work but asking for lower end rates there is no shame in asking for a more appropriate range after properly setting expectations. 
  • Expenses. Often times rates are not all-inclusive which means they do not cover things such as travel, food, and benefit costs. These all have to be considered based on your situation and reflected appropriately either in the rate being asked or negotiated in terms of how the project is conducted itself.  
  • Urgency. Rush jobs command a certain premium because a professional is trying to accomplish a lot in a very short time for the client. Typically most rates assume a comfortable schedule. So be sensitive to how urgent the client wants their project completed.
  • Scope. In any project insuring deliverables in concrete terms is absolutely imperative. However do not neglect an option to allow for more work if possible but not necessarily at the same rate. It should be clearly worded how any additional work will be evaluated and rated before accepting it from any client. 
  • Specialization. While there may be in fact many professionals available for any type of work, it is also true that there are times that specialized skills are called for. If a professionals skills are elite/specific/specialized, and are also in demand, then common market rates may not be an accurate measure for a specific situation.

There are also many other factors that can come into determining a market rate as well based on the professional situations, organization, and workload.

Doing some basic homework with regards to any project can help determine what a fair rate can be for any engagement that will both fit within a client's budget and a professional's business.  

 

Posted
AuthorAltan Khendup
CategoriesCareer Insights