Friday? Is It Friday Already?

Written Friday, January 11

Missed the Thursday update. Stargate Atlantis and Fallout 3. Need to take my mind off of things.

Did a few calls on Thursday, went interesting enough. Apparently my demo game is so on point, even my boss had nothing to complain about. Now I need to get on reacting faster to the stuff “they want” right there on the call. Yeah, enterprise sales isn’t my forte… yet 🙂

One more Thursday realization – I need to get back to editing photos soon, otherwise I will drown myself in unedited shoots again. Start with at least those I am really excited about and work my way through. Maybe use my time away next week – won’t be able to play games, so I could edit the shit out of it.

Also – 24 years since I came to US. Happy anniversary and all that.

Friday was just like Thursday, only I have finally made it to the gym. And was working until 9 PM. And my boss decided to send his chunk of updates right after midnight.

Written Saturday, January 12

And just like that – I miss posting this at the end of the day. Was so immersed in reading crap all over the internet (but mostly reddit) that I fell asleep and forgot I wanted to post it. Good job.

Outcome of the first day at the gym after holidays and being sick for a week is my back hurts from doing abs. Yep, not from weight lifting – from doing fucking abs. I’ll take it easy for the next few days now, but at least I am going back at it.

Easy morning, bacon, eggs (omelet, actually) and some easy reading. Some people on the Instagram were actually very nice to me yesterday and today. Felt really good about it too. Will have to make some adjustments to the plan I had for next week. I’ll have to set it up today and tomorrow, although it depends on whether I get around to edit more pictures or not. I feel lazy today.

This was slow? Really?

Thought this would be a slow Wednesday. Fuck that shit.

Started working at 8:30 AM – questions, back and forth, send me this, answer me that. Tons of emails, calls, meetings. I love marketing that has month-long sprints. You know who else likes one-month sprints? Archeologists. Shit ain’t going anywhere from six feet under. While I was at it – fixed my sales pipeline spreadsheet. Turned out I fucked up the column number in the macro and one of the most important tabs wasn’t updating. And as always – nothing is good enough. Seems like everyone’s waking up by end of January. “We’ll update in a couple of weeks”. Which is what I thought they’d do, but hey – who cares, right?

Added myself to a some of PA model/photographer groups but they’ve been slow with approvals, so I only got three or four so far. Will post the casting call tomorrow – if I ever get to that. At least one responded to my MM casting, so that should be fun, I guess.

Did some research to see if I can afford to upgrade my 5-year-old video card. There are some good choices between $170 and $270 on Nweegg, so I’ll just wait until President’s Day to see if any of that will be on sale. That Sapphire NITRO+ RX 590 with 8GB sure looks tempting. Too bad there’s almost nothing interesting from nVidia in this range, so I’ll have to stick to Radeon.

Decided to do a little research, to see if I can justify buying a new video card for anything I do on my desktop. Found this comparison, courtesy of Puget Systems (they sell computer systems tailored for Photoshop performance). Not sure how honest these guys are, but here’s an interesting observation.

The lowest scoring video card on this chart – we’re not considering SoC Intel thingy – GTX 1060 6GB costs approximately $215 on Newegg. The highest scoring RTX 2080 Ti 11GB costs about $1300. The $1000 difference buys you about 10% performance increase. Funny how things turn out sometimes.

Photoshop CC GPU Comparison

Totally Not Depressing Tuesday

I need to start coming up with less creative titles for my posts. Really.

The morning started with work, then more work, then even more work. Figured out this, talked to that, did a few phone calls, yada yada yada. Really, most of the day was just work, then slight driving here and there, then work again.

Registered for training next week – it would be cool to hear the real people talk about real product management. Not that I use any of that in my current line of work, but a good brush up on skills never hurts. And I will be in Pennsylvania for 3 days, so might as well have some fun there.

Which reminds me – I need to post a bunch of casting calls for PA. Knowing how shit usually goes down I’d be lucky if I get at least one photo shoot out of the 3 nights I’ll be spending there. Not that I would mind just spacing out for 3 evenings, but I’d rather stay productive. Also, the place has a fitness center, if it’s at least half-way working it would be nice. Yogurt and free weights, here I come.

Watched SGA: Vengeance today. Every time I rewatch this episode I can’t help but notice it’s the same place where half of the underground episodes were shot – SG-1, SGA, and even SGU. Also, Sheppard’s team really looked stupid in this episode – every time the plot required one of them just suddenly ventured into one of the rooms with steel doors. Just because. Without alerting or even prompting the rest. I mean – I am not a military person, but even I would have said something.

And to wrap it up – another image that’s not social media acceptable

Continue reading “Totally Not Depressing Tuesday”

Monday With The Case of Mondays

Woke up early and tried to do some work in between coffee, Reddit and other shit. Didn’t finish much because distraction and procrastination. Need to cut this out, takes too much time and makes me feel tired constantly.

Got my ass chewed up again for not selling. As if my job is sales. I mean – on some higher plane of existence it is, but what about other 90% of the stuff I am supposedly qualified for. On the other hand, I should really be pushing these guys, because why not? I don’t feel much sympathy for anyone there, really, so why not. Called a few people, sent some emails, got some more useful stuff done. These ass-chewings are more demoralizing than the “scat work” I got to be doing.

Set up the Instagram schedule for this week. Will try to rethink the strategy and instead of cutting it to 3 images per week on the same concept/shoot/whatever it will be 6 images per week of the same shoot/concept/whatever. I am thinking – I am at 295 images for 2018 as of right now, only 45 of them are from the event, which leaves me with 250 total, out of which I probably posted about a third. Should suffice me for another couple of months while I will catch up on old stuff (I estimate another 50 images at least – from 12 shoots I still need to edit) and start setting up new shoots. And I can repost the old stuff easily – actually should be doing this with the stories now.

The model I’ve sent the images to yesterday has dumped half of them out to her Instagram in one day – I think as an album. I am not sure how this works, but she’s got a decent following and about 150 – 180 likes per image. I’ve got nothing, even though she credited me properly. Lesson learned – Instagram credit means shit.

Some dude on FB is setting up a new magazine for boudoir photographers. I promised a write-up about being a male boudoir photographer, but got swamped with work stuff and hadn’t had a chance to make it happen today. Was hoping to get it done at night, but this will have to wait until tomorrow now. Quite honestly, I am very doubtful the dude will survive through putting first three issues together, but we’ll see. It’s always good to have someone else do your marketing anyway.

Watched SGA:Submersion tonight. Basically similar concept as in The Return, Part 2 – first the audience are led to believe something bad is unfolding, then we “roll back” and see that it’s an elaborate (to a degree) subversion plan. I don’t remember this or SG-1 show pulling this trope ever again, which is a good thing because it gets old and a bad thing, because it’s yet another twist in a short, 43-minute episode.

As I am writing this I am contemplating the idea of adding one of the images I cannot put on social media to these posts. Fuck, why even make them if I cannot share them?

18+ more

Junk Food Sunday

Okay, I actually did something productive today – in addition to buying junk food and eating it all by myself.

Started the day by reading Reddit – at least there are more fresh topics than in Russian FB groups. I am pretty sure people enjoy those 3 topics immensely and I would have too – if I had more time and less intellect, but I just can’t go over same 3 topics over and over and over. Seriously, I understand how they are being used just as a conversation starters, but really…

Got that stupid idea into my head about figuring out what’s a Reddit bot and how one would go about building one.

Tried to dissuade myself from spending any time on the bot – my thought was that it’s probably some sort of Python script that needs to talk to reddit’s API and blah-blah-blah. Spent almost an hour making bacon for breakfast and thinking up all the crazy use cases for a bot. Turkey bacon is awesome.

Checked with the model that I had sent 20 edited pictures yesterday instead of 15 she was asking for. She was pretty good about me being an asshole of a photographer and delivering images from the August shoot all the way in January. I did apologize, of course, but still – I shouldn’t have sat on these for so long. Got a good 20 images from that shoot, and she seems to be happy – even remembered she promised to pay for them. Which is always welcome.

And of course, I gave in to temptation and went to figure out the Reddit bot thingy. I was right about API and of course, someone has already put together a sample bot script in Python. I’ve decided that I am extremely lazy and don’t want to look up the code in other languages, I set up Python on my desktop, googled a couple of Python things I never knew (hey, I am not a developer) and went to have a lot of fun with BDSMpersonals subreddit.

While driving around during a second part of the day, decided to start reading Stargate books (a.k.a. Stargate Novels) – officially sanctioned fanfiction set in Stargate universe. I’ve finished the SG-1 book a couple of days ago and decided to switch it up a little and go for Stargate Atlantis. I am on a fence for now. It isn’t first-class literature, but it’s better than some of the official Star Wars drek I ended up reading at some point.

Finally ended up home and re-watched a couple of episodes of Stargate Atlantis – The Ark and Sunday. It’s a part of my rewatch anyway and this time around I went all in with books too. That’s where the junk food came in – I haven’t eaten Pringles in 6 months and I just had to eat two cans of that shit with ginger ale.

Next couple of hours were all about cleaning this blog and making the entries. Good day to start as any. Also, /r/ListenToThis is not half as bad as I thought.

Daily Log Started

I have read somewhere that it’s healthy and productive to do a daily log. Basically, just write down whatever the hell happened throughout the day. I was debating if I should do this privately or publicly. I figured – I want to do this publicly. It’s a content, I get to put my own shit out there and who knows – maybe someone else will, eventually, get a laugh from it. BTW, comments will be disabled, but if you feel like you can relate and want to talk – contact me. It’s 2019, figure it out.

Separating this from the actual entry, because it’s not.

Right Tools For Right Jobs

When choosing a Content Management system or a shopping cart for your web site it is usually a good idea to ask yourself – what is the problem you are trying to solve?

Choosing the right CMS (Content Management System) is very hard. Most people (as noticed on quite a few message boards) make same mistake – they try to figure out what software they need to make money online. “I want to create a community, what software do I need?”. First of all – what kind of community is it going to be? Writers? Photographers? Make-up artists? Everyone has different requirements, and different level of knowledge. Photographers are a little easier to please, as they are used to complicated and cumbersome camera controls, but try to cater same interface to a community of models and make-up artists (same industry, after all) and you will be hit with an outcry for mercy.

Choosing a shopping cart is just one notch easier. First – customers already knows that he wants a shopping cart solution. Second – he is aware that whatever choice he makes is going to affect him in the future. Uploading or entering inventory is a time consuming task and not many people have time to experiment with that. But the ultimate question remains the same – what kind of problem the customer has? What is he/she selling and in which quantities?

There are customers who’s only reasonable solution would be an eBay. Some people can use quick shopping cart options, like PayPal’s shopping cart or BuyNow buttons, or even CafePress. Some could benefit from ZenCart, osCommerce, VirtueMart or peers. Sometimes company grows out of bunch of Excel spreadsheet and starts using CRM, sales and inventory tracking systems, such as RegKeeper, some flavor of QuickBooks, Configure One’s electronic catalog software or other platforms. Certain clients order a custom web site with integrated CMS and shopping cart.

Using full-blown shopping system if you only need to sell two flavors of your widget is unwise. Using PayPal for web store with thousands of clients may cost you significant percentage of your business. Each tool has its own (limited) scope of use. Management 101: Before offering a service – think: what is the problem the service is going to solve? If you have the answer to this question – you will find tools in no time.

Five Major DON’Ts Every Business Should Know

Don’t be afraid of competition. Whatever you do (or decide to do) – there always will be a competition. Think of the ways you can do better then competition. Target market niches, provide more information then competitors, stand out. If you sell what everyone else sells (like knock-offs, replicas and such) – be one step ahead, write reviews, describe why people buy knock-offs, why yours are better then a shop next door. Build a social web around your store.

Don’t forget to follow-up. This way your customer will know that you are serious seller, even if you sell one dollar widgets. Sending e-mail is as inexpensive as it could be. Even follow-up e-mails can be automated (schedule sending of an e-mail in your e-commerce system to your customers, 7 days upon successful finalizing of the order).

Don’t force your customer to register in order to check-out. Always offer a no-registration check-out option. You still be able to collect all the information about a customer you need, but you will save them a minute or two during checkout process and (this is more important) save them a hassle of remembering their password next time they are at your virtual door. They will register once they realize they return often enough.

Don’t be afraid of Google, Yahoo and anyone else. It has been said numerous times – don’t think about search engines, think of your target audience. If you are in the business of selling widgets – write couple of good reviews on latest widgets, provide decent photos, build a reputation of a vendor who knows its widgets and not just sells stuff. Google likes good content as do your customers. One of major reasons why people prefer to shop at Amazon and NewEgg – is because they can read reviews (including those of customers) and see lots of pictures. Create web site that will be convenient to use and you will get ahead of your competition.

Don’t overwhelm your customers with all the current promotions and e-mails. Maintain a database of how many times you have e-mailed each customer. Try this trick: if you have sent out around seven promotions and a certain customer never visited any links from those e-mails – generate another e-mail that will ask the customer if he/she wants to unsubscribe from future e-mails. Unsubscribe automatically if no response is given. Chances are high that all your promotional correspondence ends up in Spam bin, so there is no reason to overload your servers or pay for e-mail delivery for this customer. On the other hand – it may alert customer and enact him/her to actually confirm subscription and look closer to your deals.

Hosted E-Commerce Solutions

Any entrepreneur get to deal with many leads. However, not all the leads become clients. Part of that non-converting crowd are people who choose hosted shopping cart software. The reasons why we should like those people are numerous, but I am going to list just one of them.

Reason 1: If they didn’t accept our services they can still spread the word. People have very different needs. One person could be happy with hosted shopping cart. Another would need a full-featured web store front. Some will need clustered server farm. So even if we suggested some third-party off-the shelf e-commerce solution – we still on good terms with our lead.

Reason 2: With most of third-party solutions customer may need unique design. This one is too obvious to complain about. No matter how good the solution is – people will have natural urge to tweak it to their heart’s content. While a customer is able to upload inventory from Excel file and couple of images, tweaking style sheets and design may get too complicated. It is boring, too.

Reason 3: Any off-the-shelf or hosted e-commerce solution have its limitations. While being useful and user-friendly, it falls short when you really need to grow. When hosting lots of pictures, like sample or product images, or when electronically delivering your products, like eBooks or downloads, then server load and bandwidth will become issues with your hosted solution provider. You will fall back to people who can build a custom solution for your business. People who you already know.

Reason 4: There is a steep learning curve at the beginning of using any software. When you just starting everything seems unusual and complicated. Once you familiarize yourself with the software of your choice – you’re the king of the hill. When you come to someone to design and develop your custom-fit business solution you already know what you want! The design and development guys spend tremendous time determining what is it that client wants. People with experience are a great gift, like a second free customer. What could be better?

Overall, the idea of hosted shopping cart or online web page creation tool or whatever else is there is very productive for consumers, solution providers and web design guys. Consumers acquire knowledge and understanding of what they want. Solution providers acquire a stream of customers. Web design guys acquire educated customers. Everybody wins!

Why .COM domain name is important

Running your company’s web site doesn’t really require .com domain. It almost don’t matter what business you are in. However, for marketing purposes, .com domain is almost a necessity, since most people are so much used to all domain names ending in .com. If you are running, it is whole another story and you wouldn’t need an advice in such a case.
Owners of web sites within .us, .biz, .info, and other domain zones are just marketing their web sites differently. Take a look at New York’s Transit Authority’s web site – Very easy to remember and almost everyone in New York with access to a computer does.
The alleged problem with uncommon domain zones is that not everyone knows they exist. They are also just a tad harder to remember. In the early days of .biz and .info domain names in these zones were offered at a huge discount, sometimes even for free. A lot of fraudsters, scam artists and spammers have grabbed nice looking domains in those zones which led to the common perception of these domains as “knock-offs”, “fakes” or businesses in third-world countries that shouldn’t be trusted. Currently it’s not exactly true, but that’s what we usually hear from prospective clients when choosing domain name for their web sites. Sometimes this myth prevents a very successful marketing campaign from starting – because this myth can actually damage the reputation of promoted brand.
Domain name in a .com zone is a must if you are running E-commerce web site. Same approach is suggested if you are running web hosting business. There are a lot of after market names you can buy for a very low price. If that’s too expensive – your business model must be wrong.