< prev 19 Feb 2015 to 10 Feb 2015 next >

Posts tagged 'marketing'

  • Marketing; Or: The Cost of a Product

    The more your name is out there, the more interest you can get and the more you can identify your market value. It's analogous to a stock market: a low-volume symbol will likely have a large spread, which is (analogous to) the margin of error.

    I'm not intending to tip my hand too much, and worst case I can make some of these entries private in case I feel that they put me on a weaker footing in my search. But the cost of not marketing yourself, in my case, may turn out to be about $15-20k/year.

    I know who I am, but without marketing, no one else is going to know that I've got a lot to bring to the table. But the fears that I have—of being judged, of not having others see me the way I see myself—while not precisely abnormal, are doing me a disservice in this process.

    All I want to do is to work on coding projects, because I'm not my own best advocate, but I know somewhere out there is a company that really wants me, they just have no way of knowing it yet.

    In related thinking: I am not as virulently against marketing as a lot of people out there. It's nice to just be able to research the thing you want, look through objective(ish) reviews, and then make an informed decision, but I honestly believe that only works for the barest minority of products. There is some threshold, before which a product is not getting enough people using it who honestly would want to. Tracking information about consumer preference and demographics is part of a process of getting sellers in contact with buyers who would lean in their direction; I think the common (unstated) fear is that the established brands have the money to drown out more fringe companies.

    In turn, though, and especially when some fringe company is trying to generate network effects, sometimes no one wants the minority player. In the internet age there's not a ton of room for another full OS, because each one siphons off talent, and it's really hard to develop all the features people have come to expect without an existing technology base. I suspect the next major OS will supplant someone.

    Similarly, anyone could have seen the Seamless/Grubhub buyout coming. I don't want to have to figure out which company my local delivery joint uses; I just want some damned food. And there are a lot of Grubhubs out there. You haven't heard of most of them, and they'll probably die, or stay marginal for a long time.

    Which might not, after all, be such a bad thing. Most regions have at least two grocery stores, and those grocery stores have operating regions… fragmentation isn't always bad. They are a highly commodified market, though: every single one of them sells Cheerios, bananas, and Ajax, so they're not that different, whereas two different websites in a similar field might have completely different interfaces and data models, as well as corporate partners/networks.

    I don't know what an area of technology that can support true competition over a long period of time looks like, or if it can even exist. And I don't know if I really want to work for a will-have-been… but I know that engineering jobs are so transient that it probably doesn't matter in the end.

    The next two years are for straight up learning. Don't forget that.

  • Searching in earnest

    After a weekend-long breather, I'm searching for work in earnest as of (let's be honest) 11 this morning. Twelve hours later, I left the office, feeling not significantly better than on arrival.

    I did a little work on my final project, but nothing of significance. I honestly thought of implementing authentication using Devise—it seems a lot more robust than my home-rolled solution—but I quickly recognized it for what it was, a way to put off taking the next step. Maybe I'll prioritize that down the line, once my app is more feature-rich and I have applied to a few more places. There are a lot of things I can see I could do better; using jQuery's modals in place of Backbone.Modal, for instance… but really, I just want this app to feel like a complete app. In time.

    The job search is… well, it feels like the last couple times I've gone looking for work. There are a lot of companies whose missions are practically opaque, and a couple dead-ends—companies that were bought out or maybe even went out of business since they were added to whatever list I'm looking at. But overall, the feeling I get is that there are a lot of companies that are funded to the level they are simply because it's easier for someone to throw a couple mil at a lot of long shots than to get in early on a few sure things. I do wonder about the status of venture capital: are there really that few interesting problems left, that all there is to fund are yet another X?

    And yes, if any future hiring manager bothers to read this blog, I understand that I'm pissing on the hand that might want to feed me, and I'm sure there are all sorts of interesting problems that I could find at any employer, but it at seems kind of … pointless? Everyone's doing the same things, at least on the surface, and their marketing copy doesn't do a good job of differentiating them from the competition. Hell, at least half the sites I've seen are using templates or libraries I've seen elsewhere, and it's just like… do you even believe in yourselves? I'm not sure anyone cares how many redbulls you drink per week at your office, and the fact that all your testimonials come from the same thirty day window, eight months ago, says a lot about how dynamic your business is.

    Sure, writing copy about yourself is hard—this is something that I'll have to face, on a personal level, in a couple hours or days—but isn't there something meaningful you can say? Or are you all, like the company that specializes in popups on outbound links, just plain evil? I wonder what their conversion rate is?

    The strangest things is that I actually believe in marketing, I just don't see a lot of firms that are targeting what seems to be meaningful, reasonable, or sustainable avenues in that area. It's much easier now, with cloud hosting and quick launch templates and tools, to generate a respectable (looking) online presence, and as such it's not as clear now when a company is two bros and a scam compared to the late 90s. And I'm sure that a lot of it has to do with a (relative) lack of creativity and a (somewhat) saturated marketplace; the next real game-changer will probably come out of left field, where no one else thought to look.

    Great, now I'm thinking of how to make a better marketing platform. I have some weird ideas, but nothing of any substance; they're all fleeting, like ghosts. Does it merit thinking about? At this point, with basically thirty days of expenses left, probably not. But the money is not going out of advertising any time soon, and I don't have the knee-jerk revulsion for it, conceptually, that others seem to.

    I don't mind finance or marketing or mobile app development, per se, but there's just so much crap.

    Back to sifting tomorrow.

< prev 19 Feb 2015 to 10 Feb 2015 next >