The Ruby Freelancer Show 014 – Finding Clients that Can Pay

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Panel Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Summer Camp) Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Evan Light (twitter github blog) Jeff Schoolcraft (twitter github blog) Discussion Elance Odesk Start local Be involved in the community User Groups Subcontracting Go to conferences RailsConf Get involved in Open Source projects Screencasts Ruby DCamp Join Mailing List Speaking at Conferences Write an ebook Freelance Switch Blogging Comment on other People's sites Join and participate in forums Podcast List everyone you know and tell them you're freelance Referrals John Jantz - The Referral Engine Michael Port - Book Yourself Solid Build systems around your marketing Set the expectation at the beginning that they will give you referrals Do a retrospective or review Survey your client and if they're happy then ask for referrals Deliver underbudget and early Ask for referrals on milestones 33 touches (Real Estate) Be specific BNI Project Rescue Communicate well Set accurate expectations The quality of your website Make it easy to contact you Put together a well defined persona the represents the market you're trying to reach Talk to other freelancers Talk to local companies that need staff augmentation Never Eat Alone Picks It's not what you read, it's what you ignore (Eric) Cats trying to knock things over in my office (anti-pick) (Evan) CloudApp (Evan) RubyVis (Evan) RubyMotion (Jeff) Worth Every Penny amazon.com GitlabHQ (Jeff) Never Eat Alone (Jeff) Doctor Who (Chuck) Users' Groups (Chuck)

Transcript

ERIC: I'm a little teapot. CHUCK : [laughs] Oh, no. EVAN: The show is never going to start. This is going to be the show that never starts. Forty five minutes of this. I’m sorry to any of the listeners out there. I apologize. We could not get it started today. This is going to be the whole show. [laughter] [This podcast is sponsored by Harvest. I use them for tracking work and invoicing clients. You can get a 30-day trial at getharvest.com. Use the offer code RR after your 30-day trial to get your 50% off your fist mont.] CHUCK: Hey everybody, and welcome to the Ruby Freelancers Show. This week on our panel, we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello. CHUCK: We also have Evan Light. EVAN: Yes, I am still here. CHUCK: We also have Jeff Schoolcraft. JEFF: What's up? CHUCK: And I'm Charles Max Wood from teachmetocode.com. And this week we have two requests that we are going to try and cover here. The first one is, “Where do I find clients that can afford me?” and the kind of subtext on that is “I’ve had a lot of success starting up freelancing on Elance. Now that I’ve raised my rates significantly, it seems like nobody can afford me. Doesn’t seem like oDesk clients can afford me either. Now what?” And then the other one that we are going to try and get into as well is, “I’ll be interested in hearing how you get your first clients.” So for me, Elance and oDesk, it’s just kind of to me feels like you are looking in the wrong place. EVAN: It’s a counter indication of how to be a freelancer. It’s the race to the bottom. CHUCK: Right. And I also hear people talk about oDesk and Freelance, and its like, “Hey, if you want to get some work done for cheap, they you go to oDesk or Elance and you hire somebody off of there.” To me, the thought of going to one of those places, yeah, it is, it’s a race to the bottom because people are going there to figure out how to get the job done for the least amount of money possible. And that is their metric. EVAN: They are not interested in quality -- which is a lot of us would like to turn out -- quality product. And if you don’t care about quality product, great; try Elance or oDesk. If you do care about quality product, then you probably don’t wanna be on there because you are being associated with other people who are just trying to do cheap. CHUCK: Exactly. So then, where should they be looking? We talked a lot about doing marketing and kind of building our online presence and stuff, but let’s say you don’t really have any of that, you don’t really have a marketing funnel yet, what can you do? EVAN: You think local right? One of the things you start with is and if you are a Rubyists and if you are involved in the community. If you are not involved in the community first, you should be. Second, if you are involved in the community, you’d probably go to a user group, you talk to the people in the user group and say, “Hey, who has work that needs to get done?” There are invariably lots of companies who are looking to hire full-timers. If they can’t get full timers, often they will take a contractor for some finite period of time. So that's a place to start. ERIC: We talked about before like a good way to start is try to sub contract. I mean, don’t necessarily try  to chase clients, the actual end clients but try to find other developers who are freelancing and who might have overflow work or where they might need just an extra hand on something. Become buddies with them and see if they can kind of toss you a project here and there. A lot of times, from the groups that I am in, it will be like really short term, quick turn out work like, “Hey, I need something done in the next two or three days. One of my developers is sick. Can anyone fill  ten hours of work?” Stuff like that. Being in good contacts and kind of being a business associates with a few of them, that's a good way to kind of pick up a little bit of work here and there. And it will also kind of expand like your knowledge and your network. CHUCK: Yeah. In fact, my first client after I went freelance full time, that's basically what happened was, I went to lunch with the other guy that got laid off from the same company at the same time, and a few other folks and we were all chatting and it came up that there was a local company that was looking for somebody to come and help them on a contract that they were trying to fill. So yeah, it worked out real well. I was able to work with them for a few months. I mean, it definitely works. In fact, I have people in the local community now who are considering going freelance, who are coming to me and asking me if I have stuff that I can still contract to them. EVAN: And that is kind of how I got my first work too. From going to Ruby DCamp and from running Ruby DCamp. I mentioned, “I'm starting freelancing, I'm looking for work, does anyone have some?” And sat down with a few different people who were attending and out of that, came sub-contracting. That was my first gig. So, being in a place where there are other developers or being in a place where there are businesses who have work, so user groups, conferences, that sort of thing. CHUCK: That's another thing was really interesting, I was talking to Mike Moore, he runs Mountain West Ruby Conference out here and does a lot of stuff in the community. And he went to Rails Conf and spoke on presenters and decorators. And the interesting thing was, I was talking to him before the conference and he was saying, “Well, I have this sort of part time client that I am doing work for now that I have had lined up before I lost my last job.” He was talking to me and a few other people saying, “I could really use some work.” When he went to Rails Conf, by the time he left he was so flushed with work, that he now has more work than he can handle. I mean really, you go out to these events, you talk to people, and if they have a work and they have an urgent need to get it done, they are not going to screw around bringing you on board. And so they’ll bring you on and they will pay you what you want. ERIC: One thing I wanna point out, like we are mostly talking about local stuff like get out and meet people and that's good. But if you are in the area that doesn’t have Ruby developers or maybe you are in a different country, and there's not many programming jobs out there, but you don’t wanna be doing the Elance or oDesk thing, you can do some of these actually. You can get involved with Rails open source projects, you can try to do some screencast or the general marketing stuff. That might work. It can take a little bit longer just because it’s not a face to face contact, but don’t be dismayed if you are like in Antarctica and there's no other Rails developer there and there's no user group in Antarctica, like Antarctica RB or something. CHUCK: Now, isn’t Antarctica in the middle of Maryland, Evan? EVAN: Yeah, basically. I was obviously going to talk to that one because I spent my first two months looking for work, and it’s because I live way out here where I'm disconnected from a lot of folks. So it was really Ruby DCamp that help me find work. But it was go to DCamp, tell people I'm looking, get work. That simple. If I have more events, I probably would have found a work faster. CHUCK: One other thing that occurred to me when Eric was talking about getting involved in the community virtually is just join some mailing list and help people out.  And then make sure that when you sign the emails, just let people know that you are a freelancer. You can even put something in there that says, “I’m looking for work. I have time available right now” or something. And if somebody has something that can fill that time, then by all means. It seems like, at least for me, most of my leads come through the networking and community involvement that I’ve got. EVAN: Jeff just wondered off for a second. It got quiet. Yeah, this is usually where you change the topic. CHUCK: We talked about this before. We talked about keeping the pipeline full and things like that. What kinds of things do you guys do for marketing? I know we have gone over a lot of these before, but just give people the idea of some of the things they can run, and do and build things up that way. EVAN: Well, let’s  see. I’ve tried to start a user group out here, but they are just aren’t enough nerds of any kind. Although frankly, that wasn’t for marketing; that was, “Please, please I wanna find some people  remotely like me.” And DCamp also didn't start from marketing purposes at all, but it has been incredibly helpful that way. Speaking at conferences is a great way to get your name out there. One of the really popular ones lately -- I have not participated in but Eric can talk to -- is writing an eBook. And Eric doesn’t have to unmute himself or anything and talk about that. ERIC: No. it’s hard when you go to big project of writing an eBook because that could end being like, “Oh, I can’t freelance and start my business and start my marketing until I finish this book.” There’s a story of everyone has a half-finished novel in their desk drawer. I mean, what I did when I got started is I got involved in a forum. I think it was the Freelance Switch forum back when it got started, so it’s actually really small. Just talking to people, trying to help out, asking questions and then from there, you kind of wander off to a couple of bloggers and freelancers. And basically, I got connected to a couple of people that need some work and one thing led to another and they ended up hiring me for a couple of projects. A couple of years later, I’m still working for them on things. I mean some of them are kind of the serendipity stuff but you know, you got to get out, put yourself out there and do things. And for me, I was blogging a little bit here and there, and I actually went to another sites and would comment on stuff or try to help people in forums. And all of these things are actually really easy to do. They are going to take a bit of your time, but when you get started, like you have more time than you have work, so that's actually something to get started off. CHUCK: Yeah, that's definitely true. You just get people’s attention and hopefully you get the right people’s attention. One thing that I have seen too is with the podcasts, I get a lot of work from those. Interestingly enough, one of the podcast that has yielded me the most work, and the most lucrative work is actually the Rails Coach podcast, which is one that I do by myself. The thing that is interesting about that is that I tend to get people who are trying to move from some other technology  to  Rails. And so what they do is they start thinking, “Well, I'm  smart technical person.” And so they go and they start listening to Rails coach and they start to realize that, “Well, it’s going to take me a little bit of time to come up to speed. And so if I bring somebody in that already knows Rails, I can work with them, then I can get up to speed more quickly and at the same time we can get the project moving.” And so that’s worked out for me in the sense that obviously, if they are listening to my podcast and thinking that, they are going to call me up and say, “Hey, do you have some time to either coach or mentor me as I build the project” or they’ll call and see if I have time to just work on the project. And then when they have a few free cycles, we sit down for half hour or an hour and go over some of the stuff that they are doing on the parts that they are working on. I mean, it’s really paid off for me. JEFF: So I’ll go back to I guess to what Eric is saying. I mean in the beginning we are talking about getting our first client. I have like a déjà vu, I feel like we’ve done this before but getting first client, (and I forgot who says it) but write down a list of everybody you know, and tell them what you are doing and somebody in your network or your friends of friends’ network, will have work for you. And that’s if you are a social outcast, haven’t done anything and don’t know where to start, that's  where to start type thing. Podcast and screencast and organizing on conferences, and speaking at conferences, and all these stuff, I mean that is well beyond first client type stuff. So you have exhausted your friends of friends network, and I think Eric is sort of where I’d start next. I mean pick an open source project or hang on stack overflow or one or the other question sites, Quora or whoever, and just help people and demonstrate that you have an ability to solve a problem and understand what people are asking even if they don’t ask it the right way and you will get attention that way. So I mean, that is an easy way to start. You look at Stack Overflow and you look at some people that have reputation scores of like a hundred bazillion or whatever, and you are starting out with nothing at one point because you registered or whatever. I mean, it’s got  to be a regular activity. You have to schedule it on a regular basis. ERIC: It’s something that I heard is, “Marketing is not an event, it’s a process.” So if you really think about that. And even if your process is only like ten minutes a day, doing it every day, that’s kind of build up over time. Don’t try to like, “Oh, I'm going to spend Friday and market all day Friday,” because that won’t work. Trust me, I tried it. It doesn’t work. EVAN: You are going to blow up the book club here because that's part of Get Clients Now. CHUCK: Maybe we should bring that up. I was going to bring it up at the end of the show, but we can bring it up now. We are going to start doing a book club and the first book that we will be reading is “Get Clients Now”. We’ll probably do the review sometime in June. We are hoping to be able to get the author C.J. Hayden on, but we haven’t been able to contact her yet. We’ve reached out, but anyway we’ll let you know. It may be just us talking about it, but still I think that will be beneficial and interesting. One other thing that I wanna talk a little bit about is, what do the clients that can pay you your rate look like? I mean, are they bigger companies? Are they the guy with the idea that has a little bit of money? JEFF: They are referrals. CHUCK: Right. JEFF: And they are none of the other stuff. I mean, they could be but I don’t know. I forget who said it, John Jantz maybe in The Referral Engine or Michael Port, I mean everybody says it. It’s about when you are referred to someone by an external source, then you’ve already jumped the stage off having to be vetted. A friend is telling another friend, or a colleague is telling another colleague that “Hey, you got to get this guy. He did something for me and it was awesome.” At that point, it should be no brainer for them to basically pay you what you want or what your value is. CHUCK: Yeah. I think that is a really good point. So part of the marketing is doing your best work in providing a high quality product. How do you approach clients in order to get referrals from them? Do you just ask them if they know anybody or does it usually happen more organically than that? JEFF: It shouldn't happen organically. I mean, it can but it’s a process like everything else. You need to have systems and I'm horrible at these systems but, I read a lot so I know what I should be doing even though I can’t or I’m not doing it. But so, you can set expectations in the beginning of the relationship. Say, “I wanna do this project but if things work out, I’d really like to get two or three colleagues of yours that might need a similar service to what I am doing.” So it’s one way to do it is to set the expectations in the beginning. Another way to do it is sort of when you wrap other projects… there have been a bunch of articles last month or so about like project review or retrospective. You do review, you do customer survey, find out what you did right, what you did wrong or what you should do differently, so you get better, but, at the same time, if they are happy. That’s got to be a caveat. If they are happy with what you’ve done, then that's the perfect time to ask for referral too. I mean, you just deliver their project and it’s under budget and early, they are going to recommend you to anywhere they can think of. And then milestone is really the same type of deal. It’s like, we’ve hit this. So milestone is another thing. And I have seen somebody else say to scheduling your marketing. Like if you have clients even if you are not working with them… the real estate people will call it like “24 touches” or something or 12 touches a year for prospects. And so you send like a postcard about something, and then you send one month and a couple of weeks you send something else. But it’s the same idea online; if you put people in a newsletter somehow that doesn’t look like a newsletter on your clients or email them individually, however you wanna do that but, so you pick out a link that drive in to them. I’ve had a client in photography space, and he host a ton of stuff on Easy2, so I'm sure he’ll see the email from Amazon and said the S3 rates just dropped another fraction of a cent or whatever, but I just forward the email, forward the link and said “Hey, I know this will affect your bottom line. I just wanna make sure you are aware of it” or whatever the case maybe, you find a link that is relevant to them, send it over. It doesn’t just have to be a link, but as you keep the communication with them, then you can schedule in “Hey, do you have heard anybody recently that is looking for x?” And give them a specific x, because people don’t do well with generic x’s. CHUCK: I like that point too where you are being specific, so you are effectively trying to prompt them for specific things that they may have heard or been aware of. JEFF: Yeah, I mean, if you have ever been to BNI, it’s basically a lead group and it had some interesting requirements, but part of the thing is it’s supposed to be very specific. Like if you are a landscaper and it’s April or something, I wanna know about any of your neighbors that have an entirely brown yard or something. So it’s “Oh yea, this person,” instead of, “I'm interested in somebody that wants some lawn work done,” because then there's too many people. CHUCK: Right. You have any neighbours with broken sprinklers. JEFF: Yeah. CHUCK: That makes sense. So what kind of specific things can we shoot for as freelancers? Do you have any examples? JEFF: No. Not at the top of my head. I mean, an interesting place, especially if you try look for like Ruby slant on things or Rails slant on things because then it’s, the project rescuing that a lot of us do (at least Evan and I do a lot of them) that's not something that people brag about generally. EVAN: I don’t know, I kind of enjoy it sometimes. JEFF: I mean not our side of it. EVAN: Oh, the clients. JEFF: The client doesn’t wanna brag that their project is in the drain for whatever reason. EVAN: They don’t wanna brag about the poor business decisions that resulted in poor engineering decisions. JEFF: Poor management and poor communication, all that stuff. So you have to come up with the more clever way. I wanna know if of anybody that you have heard bitch about slow their developers are to get something done. And that's something that people would complain about. It’s like, “Oh, this thing is taking forever. I needed to deliver this thing two months ago” or something. And that’s a cue that something is going on, product communication problem. We may or may not be able to help them, but  you are going to be able to zero in on that a whole lot faster; you are going to find somebody to admit or even talk to somebody about “Is your project dead yet?” EVAN: That's the discussion that I had with a lot of my rescue clients, that they become rescue clients because they are dissatisfied with their current developer. Usually the corner of their dissatisfaction is that they have poor communication with their contractor. They just don’t recognize that its poor communication, they are not just getting feedback of any kind, they are not seeing software coming out, they don’t know why they are not seeing software coming out. And I think a lot of it is not knowing, although the answer might be that the contractor is not doing work, but the answer also might be for a very legitimate reasons and people and the contractor just isn’t communicating effectively. So very often, I will get people clients or the leads who talk to me, people who might become clients and ultimately it comes down to making them feel comfortable to the fact that I will communicate with them effectively. And I try very hard to do it with my clients. I wanna make sure they know how things are going. But we talked about this in the last podcast, (which Chuck may have lost entirely by the way, so you may never get to hear it.) CHUCK: We’ll have to re-record it if I can’t find it. EVAN: Re-record the whole thing. Right. ERIC: It’s a lost episode. CHUCK: Yeah. Communication is a big deal too. EVAN: It’s a huge deal. CHUCK: And not just in maintaining a client relationship, but in setting it up in the first place. If you can’t communicate well what you offer and what you are going to be providing  to your client, then it makes it really hard for you to land the sale. And coming back to the oDesk and Elance stuff, these systems aren’t really set up for communication. They are set up for you to just find that guy that's cheap and rapid fire instructions at him. “I need this done.” “This is what I don’t like, go fix it.” And that's about it. It really doesn’t open up the channels that you get when you are going out of your way to make sure you understand what they need and things like that. The expectation isn’t there in those systems that you have that. EVAN: So, in terms of getting clients that can afford you, part of it I think is also a matter of setting the clients expectations before they even communicate directly with you. For example, that doesn’t mean necessarily telling them your hourly rate directly before they’ve meet you or put it on your website (though you can do that too), but that can also be by indicating past clients you've worked with in your websites. The quality of your website itself, and I mention “website” a lot because oddly, I’ve gotten a lot of good hits from my website lately and I haven’t done much to optimize it for search engines or what have you. ERIC: I’ve seen some great developers with really shitty websites, and they do pretty good, some have done really good but, I have a contact form on my website that sends me an email and then . . . EVAN: Are you saying my website is shitty? ERIC: I don’t know. [laughter] But the thing is like I have a contact form and it has like a little thing for like, this is the 50 or 60th time someone has contacted you. 80% of the time when people contact me their leads and I think right now, I'm like 200 or 250 leads that I have never met. They found me somehow online or found my work, came into my website and sent me email through the contact form saying “Hey, I wanna hire you.” So having even a nice simple website with a contact form, can go a long way especially with the developers who have like a yahoo email address, don’t have a business name or kind of fly by night type thing. Because a website, kind of a professional site is going to be a really big trust builder. And if you are going to be after clients who are going to pay market rates, they need to be able to trust you as a business. CHUCK: I agree. You have to demonstrate that you are worth it. That if they pay you, they are going to get what they are paying for. EVAN: So this comes back to bragging to some extent, but in terms of finding customers that can afford you, there’s also the matter of finding the customers you wanna work with which is the subset of that is clients who can afford you. You don’t necessarily want all the customers who can afford you too. For example, I had a client that I was working with who I recently stopped working with, and they were uncomfortable with the name of my company “Triple Dog Dare”. They thought it was too silly and frivolous. That was about the time when I was realizing I'm not sure I wanna be associated with this client either. So in my case, I'm not really interested in the huge corporate clients, because I've worked with the US government, I far prefer working with small companies that, while they take their business seriously, maybe don’t take themselves quite so seriously. So to me, Triple Dog Dare sort of captures that in the name too. There’s a little fun there. So, it’s a little bit of a tangent of finding clients who afford me. I end up working with a lot of start-up clients (as I mentioned before) and I think that the name probably resonates with them to some degree even though I have no intent of that when I picked it. CHUCK: So one thing that you were talking about there is that you prefer to work with the start-up clients and one of the marketing exercises that I have done in the past is to kind of figure out who your ideal client is. So you sit there and you start to kind of flesh out who that one person is that kind of represents your market. And so, you may be doing that where you are basically saying… (Eric just posted in the chat and it made me laugh: “Buy tripledogdare.ly and you’ll double your start up projects”) [laughter] Anyway, so with most products, you are trying to figure out who that one person is. With companies, it’s kind of the same things because companies have personalities, but the other thing is figure out who the person in the company is who is going to come looking for you. So you can kind of narrow down, “Okay, it’s going to be this marketing manager that is in his late 30’s, does this kind of thing, he has two kids and a wife but at work, he’s dealing with these kinds of issues, these kinds of problems.” So then what you can do is you can start to market toward who he is and what he is after, and really put yourself in his position and figure out what problems he is trying to solve, so then you can market toward those. And so then those are the things that hopefully he is googling or working toward, and you can address those toward your blog and your marketing materials can draw him in. JEFF: That is basic cover writing right? I mean, don’t write to everybody because you reach nobody; write to a single person, one specific individual. CHUCK: Yeah, you are putting together a well-defined persona that represents the market you’re trying to reach. ERIC: So here’s the question; what can people do right now if they are getting started and they wanna either have their first client or kind of their first market client versus $5/hour outsource. What can people do right now to get started on that? CHUCK: That's kind of hard. I think one of the big things is just go talk to other people who are sort of in the market that you wanna be in. I mean, some of them are going to have overflow, some of them might be able to sub contract you, but those are the people that you want to be reaching out to. And also, go talk to some of the local companies that have people in your user group or what have you, and see if you can make a connection there. Because it’s amazing to me how many of these companies out here that Ruby or Rails that are desperately trying to find people to hire, and so you may be able to fill-in in the interim and just say, “Look, here is my rate. I can fill in on your team until you find somebody permanent.” Just chase the opportunities. JEFF: Chase the opportunities. That's funny, because I was going to say there's got to be business in picking up the slack that GitHub leaves by hiring everybody. [laughter] EVAN: Well, GitHub and Groupon and Living Social. JEFF: It’s like, so the ambulance chasers we just follow around everybody got like hired in GitHub and look for the clients that are left crying or whatever. EVAN: Go to Relevance I guess because they are probably looking for contractors because Rob was saying,  “I've got hired by GitHub.” JEFF: I saw a bunch of people, they just announced like 3 or 4 people a couple of days ago. EVAN: Yeah I know. Rob was just one of them. ERIC: So they are slowing down the hiring? JEFF: Yup. EVAN: Wait, you guys don’t work for GitHub yet? JEFF: I can’t say. [laughter] CHUCK: So those are my ideas. Are there other things you can guys can think of that people can do right away? JEFF: You actually said a lot of stuff there, but I mean, the actionable thing is sort of to Eric's point. I mean, it’s not buy a domain, get a business card and write up a website with flawless marketing. Identify a user group to go to, 4 or 5 businesses in the area or 3 or 4 people that you haven’t talked to, and then talk to them. EVAN: Yeah, reach out to your current network. Reach out to people you know. Reach out to the local programming community. ERIC: Instead of saying “reach out” or “do this”, make it a thing where every day, you contact two people. Two new people, whether it’s through email, phone or going out and meeting them; contact two. EVAN: Yeah, yeah. You are just robbing from “Get Clients Now” already. JEFF: No, that's more “Never Eat Alone” than Get Clients Now. But the process is Get Clients Now; the contents, subject materials definitely Never Eat Alone. So have coffee or get lunch with somebody else new everyday. EVAN: Should we do split personality book clubs? [laughter] Simultaneously review multiple books at the same time. JEFF: No. We don’t need to do that. We just reference where all the ideas came from because none of them are new. CHUCK: “Never Eat Clients Now”? JEFF: Yes. EVAN: Unless you are in New Guinea maybe. Anyway. CHUCK: So is “Never Eat Alone” another book or you are just saying. . . JEFF: No. Never Eat Alone is another book. It’s basically about networking. I’ll find it for the picks. CHUCK: Speaking of picks, I think we are about out of time so we’ll go ahead and do the picks. Eric, do you wanna start us off? ERIC: Sure. So my pick is a recorded presentation from Webstock, it’s like Webstock 2012, Scott Hanselman did it. It talks about “It’s not what you read, it’s what you ignore”. It’s kind of like developer productivity stuff. I guess the biggest interesting part of it that I've heard was, he said that if you really sit down and think about it, you actually have a finite number of keystrokes before you die. So he was referencing the idea of that you have to reply to every email and basically writing like essays to every person privately versus doing a blog post. It’s kind of interesting in like, if you sat down and figure how many words per minute you typed times how old you are  and standard life expectancy, you have a number. This is how many keys you can press before you are dead. So it’s kind of a perspective thing for me and it’s kind of interesting. EVAN: Stop pressing keys. CHUCK: Cool. So we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. Do you have any other picks or is that it? ERIC: Just that. CHUCK: Okay. Evan, what are your picks? EVAN: Let’s see. First one is, sorry, cat trying to knock things over in my office. That's not my pick though. CloudApp which I’ll admit is partially maintained by a friend of mine, but it’s a app that I have been using very frequently this week to rapidly communicate screen caps to a client I am working with. One of the features I really dig is you can just on OSX cmd+shift+4 to get to the operating system screen grab utility, and just select an area and then what it will do is it will automatically upload whatever you selected to a cloud. And the next thing it does after that is it puts the URL that its available on in your clipboard automatically. So after you upload it, all you have to do is paste and it will paste in the URL. So I've been using that a lot to share screen shots of things I have been changing a lot to the clients. It’s pretty cheap too. So I recommend the app. And second thing is a lot of the screenshots have been drawn using something called which is “RubyVis” which is a wrapper around a library for JavaScript called is “Protovis” which is incredibly powerful charting library. It’s amazingly easy to use and get some really cool stuff out of it with very little work. And that’s it. CHUCK: Alright. Cool. What are your picks Jeff? JEFF:   Alright, so I'm surprised Evan didn't mention RubyMotion again after everything last week that happened with Ruby Motion. EVAN: Okay, RubyMotion. I’ve mentioned it. JEFF: Fine. I had it as a pick but I ignored it because I figured Evan already mentioned it. So there’s RailsFactory has collected a huge list of stuff that people have been playing with RubyMotion. It’s sort of an updated daily catalogue version of what runs and what doesn’t run on his machine. So if you are interested with RubyMotion and what you can do with it, that's definitely a cool place to check out. The second one is a different book than Never Eat Alone; it’s “Worth Every Penny”. I forget where I saw this at, but it’s basically to go against the mind-set that you have to charge less to earn more, basically to get more clients and all these other stuff. The idea that everybody, a freelancer, solo business, owner or whatever, it is a boutique shop and boutique shop, boutique rates. There's supposed to be more to it. I’m on page eight, so I’ll tell you more when I get through it. It was highly recommended from wherever I saw it but of course I can’t remember where I saw the recommendation. CHUCK: What's it called again? JEFF: “Worth Every Penny”. So I have two more, this is a busy week for me. GitLab, I don’t know if we’ve mentioned that here or not. GitLabHQ is basically an open source clone of GitHub, so where --- is an absolute freaking nightmare to even pretend to install. GitLab just works like a charm out of box. And it doesn’t do everything that GitHub does, but it’s pretty sleek looking, has a lot of same interface. I mean, you can add, manage it, really cool open source project. Well done. I have been using it with one of my clients. The first real exposure I’ve had to it working with it, not just playing with it on my own, just turned out to be a really nice tool. And so, the last one is “Never Eat Alone”. This is another book by Keith Ferrazzi. So, it’s basically how to keep in contact with folks. Don’t waste your time, blah, blah, blah. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but that’s where the idea that Eric and I mentioned come from, or similar idea. Be social, connect with people; that's where you will make your real connections. That's it. CHUCK: I guess I'm next. One show that I have been getting into lately, (I'm not sure if I mentioned it) I'm pretty sure I’ve not mentioned it on this podcast, it’s called “Doctor Who”. EVAN: Okay, I'm laughing because I've seen them. I've seen all of them including the old ones too. You are talking about the new ones right? CHUCK: Yes, I have been watching the new ones. The old one is on Netflix as well. EVAN: Yeah you don’t wanna watch the old ones if you started with the new ones. It would hurt. CHUCK: Oh really? EVAN: Yeah. BBC special effects from like 1970’s to 80’s, oh, it’s painful man. Oh its painful! And the costumes, you might die laughing. CHUCK: Yeah, the new ones are pretty good. I'm almost done with season two, so I'm nowhere close to caught up. It was funny, because I was watching it when I was at Rails Conf, I was just trying to unwind after one of the days of sessions and socializing and stuff, and David Brady saw I was watching it and so we wound up having this whole long discussion about it and he’s like, “Well, I really like when. . . Oh, wait you haven’t seen that yet.” It really went like that over and over again, “I don’t wanna spoil this for you but this episode is really good and this doctor is really good.” EVAN: Oh, I haven’t talked to Dave Brady about Doctor Who. Oh, geez that's a whole untapped area of conversation. CHUCK: Yeah. So anyway that's been pretty good. And the other one that I wanna point out is really just being involved in the community. So, that's one thing that’s really paid off for me. I actually have a lot of people that I respect here in the local community that are either looking at going freelance, or lost their jobs or something like that. And so its paid off for me in the sense that I get to find all these awesome sub-contractors that I trust to write great code. I still do the follow up and the code review, make sure that it’s the quality that I need it to be because I don’t want to sell crap to my clients, but at the same time, I find people I can actually drive down and smack up the side the head if they do something stupid too. So, it’s really, really paid off that way. And I think it works out well the other way too for them. You know, just get involved, and go find your local community. I don’t know if there is a good website that list all the users group and Ruby brigades that are out there. But if you can’t find one locally, and you don’t know any local Ruby developers, just go start one and hopefully you are in an area where you can get enough people together where you can just sit in a café, or sit in a coffee shop and just code with a couple of other folks. Anyway, those are my picks. And with that, just a quick reminder,  we are going to be doing the book club so start reading “Get Clients Now”. I just wanna warn you, if you go on Amazon and look at it, it does look like infomercial book, but it’s really good. Other than that, we will catch you all next week!

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