The Ruby Freelancers Show 052 – Big Company Layoffs: Should I Worry?

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Panel Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up) Discussion 00:57 - Wanna be a regular Ruby Freelancer Panelist? Tweet interest to @rubyfreelancers02:12 - Big Company Layoffs ...

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[Are you a busy Ruby developer who wants to take their freelance business to the next level? Interested in working smarter not harder? Then check out the upcoming book “Next Level Freelancing - Developer Edition Practical Steps to Work Less, Travel and Make More Money”. It includes interviews and case studies with successful freelancers, who have made a killing by expanding their consultancy, develop passive income through informational products, build successful SaaS products, and become rockstar consultants making a minimum of $200/hour. There are all kinds of practical steps on getting started and if you sign up now, you’ll get 50% off when it’s released. You can find it at nextlevelfreelancing.com] [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 52 of The Ruby Freelancers Show. This week on our panel, we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from devchat.tv. As you can tell, we've had been a little bit short staffed here in the last weeks. So I just want to go out first thing and to let you know that we are looking to add one or maybe two new panelists to the list. In addition, we're also changing our recording time and hopefully we'll free things up for some of our regular panelists that are already on the show. But if you have recommendations or would like to volunteer to be on the show, just send a tweet to @rubyfreelancers and we'll check it out and we'll make the best selection we can to hopefully have a little bit more discussion on this show. I'm torn between asking how things are going and just jumping right into the topic. So how are things going, Eric? ERIC: Good! Tired, but good. (I'm) working on a lot of other projects right now and getting out of my comfort zone quite a bit on things, but just good especially (with) the projects I'm working on because they should be pretty good things over the next year. But it's -- you get scared and have to pull back every now and then. CHUCK: Yeah. That makes sense. I've been working on a lot on my marketing and things. It's keeping me busy, but yeah, I know you have that big client stuff going, too. Well, let's get into the topic. Here we've got -- basically, I wrote in the calendar "Big Company Layoff: Should I Worry?" Where it came from was, there was somebody on Twitter, his handle is @thatRD, (and) his name is Ryan (I'm not even going to try...) D-L-U-G-O-S-Z. Anyway, he tweeted "Next week on the Ruby Freelancers Show: How the flood of unemployed LivingSocial developers may impact your rates and how to prevent it?" There was a little bit of discussion about what we were talking about next, so he was saying "well, LivingSocial is laying off a bunch of people and they're all going to be unemployed. So how does that impact your rate? How do you keep it from impacting your rates (and) things like that?" I'm not sure if he was totally serious, but it's something that I thought would be interesting to talk about. First off, I'm wondering does the higher number of unemployed Rubyists really affect your rate? ERIC: I think it could; it's a couple of steps away. I don't think it like directly affects your rate because your rate is the value you're offering to a client so your value doesn't change. I mean this is basically an economic change where there's a larger supply so you might have to compete more, which means that if you do low your rate, too -- that's how you're going to compete with these new developers -- then yes, it could affect your rate that way. But that's more of your business processes and how you’re handling "you're not getting projects". Like do you handle it by dropping your rates? Do you handle it by cutting scope? Or do you handle it by like you're marketing more and just having a better choice of projects? So, I don't think having a larger supply of developers that can do freelance stuff is going to directly affect your rate, but there is a potential that it will. CHUCK: Yeah, that's where I was at. I mostly have to say, it's not really going to affect my rate, at least not immediately. I mean these people are coming out at LivingSocial and I think a lot of them aren't really looking do a freelance. And I've heard employed Rubyists actually say something to the effect of "well, if I ever get laid off, I'll just go find a contract until I can get another job", like you just walk into Kmart and pick one up. ERIC: Yeah. And that's the thing, like a layoff -- especially like a significant size employer -- it's going to make competition a bit more difficult, but that's kind of hard face for like the low-end like these are people who yesterday were unemployed and now they're freelancers. So unless they have a brand name or like people have been wanting to hire them as soon as they disappear from their company, they're going to have to scale up their marketing or start talking to people and all that. So they're not going to directly compete with like someone who's been established freelancer for a couple of years. It's kind of a different market there. Now, if you give like the ex-employee a couple of years to get on their feet and all that, then yeah it's going to be a direct competitor. But that may or may not affect you and who knows, like you said, if they want to jump back into employment as soon as possible; they're not going to be around in the long-term. CHUCK: Yeah, that's another point. So the first point was, immediately know because, like you said, they have to ramp up their marketing, they have to get the engine going, they have to feed the business and off to work and self-sustain. And then yeah, in the long run I think there maybe a few of them that wind up being able to go freelance and make it work. It seems like there's a lot of work out there, so where this really comes in is how much that dwindles to supply of work. This is the supply and demand again, and whether or not I'm competing over the same clients that they are. And even then, if some new Rubyists comes on to the scene and starts their freelance business, I still don't know that it's that big a deal because the only reason that's going to affect my rates is if they're offering lower than I am - and I'm competing with them. ERIC: Right. And like I said, if you're competing only on price, which is a bad thing to do in general, then yeah. I mean it's the idea of "if you have a thousand people selling a sticky gum for 1 cent cheaper than you, people are going to buy that sticky gum because it's the exact same sticky you sell", and so you have to low your price. But developers and software applications are not sticks of gum, like there's almost no way to really compare them apples to apples. So if you only differentiate on price, then it could. But if you differentiate it on anything else, I don't think it's going to be a big of a deal. CHUCK: Yeah. And the other thing is this: an experienced freelancer versus an inexperienced freelancer, you are competing on more than just price. And you're competing on more than just your ability to write code; you're competing on your ability to actually handle a client and make them happy. And so you can actually communicate to them "look, I've been doing this a long time and I have these systems already set up so that when you have a problem, when you have a new feature you want, when you have any of these things that are common on a freelance project, I already know how to handle them". So you're basically offering a higher level of experience; not just a higher level of experience necessarily with the code or the problem that they want to solve. Does that make sense? ERIC: Yeah. And that's like I was saying, if you're a freelancer and you wrap up all your client projects and you have no work, during that time you know there's a bit of time, you have to scale up your marketing and get back into attracting clients. For me, it takes maybe a month, maybe two months to saw how'd it work, and I know what I'm doing; I have all of the administrative stuff already handled. If you're a fresh employee starting a new company, it's going to take you way longer than that (with few exceptions), like they have to scale up and it's going take them two months, three months, it could even take six months to get their first real client. And if you're a freelancer now, like think back to when you started and how long it took you to get to where the stuffs are stable and you're actually competing against other freelancers; it's the same thing if that you're a fresh employee. CHUCK: Yeah. And when I was a fresh employee or a freshly laid off employee, that's exactly what happened with me. There was a local company that sub-contracted some work to me and I gave him a, what I now realize, is a killer rate. I mean they even didn't think twice about hiring me as a sub-contractor because my rate was so low. I work for them for a few months and then I finally got what I would consider a "real" client (I'm doing air quotes here) - somebody that hired me directly to do work for him. And yeah, it did took me 2 or 3 months, because I got laid off in September, I got that client November. I still didn't know what I was doing really for another handful of months; it was just, I had money coming in and I could deal [laughs]. ERIC: Yeah. I'm trying to think because mine -- I think it was about 6 months. I got a project right away or couple of them because I've actually contracted back to my previous employer. After that I got my first real freelance client, but I think it took about 6 straight months before I was making a stable income. But this other side was -- I've done Rails for years at that point and I was actually billing out for doing PHP work -- so even though the income was stable, I wasn't actually doing what I want to do and what I was best equipped to do. I think it took about a year or maybe a year and a half before I was actually only doing Rails stuff. So I had to go through a couple of transition periods myself and I think everyone's going to have to do this. If there's a big layoff -- I mean I'm just looking at another like say there's 400 new Rails developers on the market, ex-employees -- they're all going to be competing for the very same projects. They're basically a new freelancer; different levels of Rails experience, but they’re going to have "comfortable business" experience, kind of "comfortable selling themselves to a client" experience.  So they're actually going to be competing in their own little bubble for the same project, whereas established freelancers are going to be in a different market where they're already working and already have all their stuff set up. There's going to be some expectations like some people might have been freelancing before and can jump into the big market right away, and all that. But in general, I think of them as almost different markets at first. CHUCK: Yeah I think that's mostly true. I mean if I had been laid off and I'd had some friends that needed code work done; it would have been pretty easy to fall into that. But other than that, if you don't have an established, like we're saying, you don't have any established marketing plan, you don't have clients that you can go to, or a former employer that you can contract back to, you really are in a place where you're going to be -- I don't want to say scraping the bottom of the barrel -- but you're going to be looking in the same place as everybody else because people aren't coming to you, so you've got to go to them. So you're going to be going to the job boards, you're going to be going to all of these different places, and just like you said, so as everybody else. ERIC: Yeah. I know a few developers that got stuck on Elance, Rent a Coder, or all those kind of low-end job or its sites. They're making an income there, but they're hating it. I mean they're making a fifth, maybe even a tenth of what they actually should be in the open market, and they just can't get out of it like they have to keep working in there to pay their bills and make the income, but they can't get enough time to get their marketing scaled up to get out into the more open market. A couple of them emailed me for advice and there's not really much you can really say or do. The other (is), if you go kind of the really low-end route, you could actually get stuck in a long-term project for client where you're not making enough, you're in a bad environment, maybe with a bad team, and you're not going to able to get out. It's basically like employment without all the "security" around it. CHUCK: Yeah. So you're that rotten wheel, so to speak, and you have to spend all your time making the wheel turn, and you don't have time to actually go out and find the bigger wheel. The other thing that I really want to point out, and I kind of alluded to this before, was that most of these people are still conditioned to the "I have to have it" job with the company. Some of them think "Well, I may go do freelance in the interim until I find the job I want", some of them probably aren't in a position; they're living paycheck to paycheck so to speak. They're really aren't in a position even with a severent to go too long without finding another job, and they're much more accustomed to finding another job than they are to finding a client. So even if there are several hundred developers that LivingSocial is laying off, I think a lot of the rest of the employing market will absorb a lot of those people. And it's just the people who either want to go out on their own, or can't find the job they want and fall into freelancing somehow, are really going to compete. So, I'm thinking that that's a reasonably low percentage of people who we really actually have to worry about coming in and competing with us if that becomes an issue at all. ERIC: Exactly, yeah. Let's be honest, not everyone can do freelancing and not everyone can do business. I don't mean that in that they don't have the skills; I mean the personality's not there, they don't like working that way, all that stuff. My wife right now is not good at doing the business because she likes a lot of the social aspect, and so working at a larger company is good thing for her because she can work with co-workers; she has a team she can depend on and all that. Some people need that sort of support. Like I've said before on the show, I probably won't be hiring employees at all or for a long time just because I don't actually work good in the manager-employee relationship. I work good with peer stuff and I work good as I'm helping the team, but that's just how I work and how I function right now. CHUCK: Yeah. And I've seen that as well; not necessarily always for the social reasons, but I know people that are perfectly happy in their job and they would never consider freelancing just because they like the environment that they're in, they like the company they work for, they like whatever it is about their job that they like. The other thing is this, as you've said, some people either aren't good at business or some people don't have the skill set, though I think just about anybody can learn to do that. In a lot of cases, they just don't want to work that hard. What I mean is, in the freelance business you have to go and figure out your own benefits; you have to go figure out withholding all your taxes, what you can deduct, what you can't. You probably going to wind up paying somebody to do your bookkeeping, paying somebody to manage all this stuff, file your taxes what have you...I mean all this stuff that the business takes care of for you in the sense that they withhold your taxes, they buy your health insurance, they do all the money-munging, and all you do is collect the check and then get a tax return every year. ERIC: Even simpler than that! I mean the business makes sure you have electricity going to your laptop and makes sure that you have air-conditioning or a heater. There's a lot of simple environment things that you don't really realize, and when you go freelance you have to consider it. If do home office at your house, some of it are already handled. But if you don't do home office, where are you going to work? It can be at a coffee shop, you got to get co-working space, you're going to rent your own office; some of them aren't hard decisions to make, but there's thousands of them. And if you're not used to that kind of environment, it can be shocking. CHUCK: Yeah. And by the same token, you mentioned power to your machine or whatever, but you actually have to buy a machine. I know a lot of folks that they do most of the personal stuff on the machine that has furnished to them by their employer. So they never go buy the laptop or buy the desktop machine at their home. And if they do, they don't use it that often because it's usually nicer machines that’ve been provided by their employer. So again, it's another expenses; another thing to worry about. Which one do I get? Do I really need 4gig of RAM? Or do I need 8? Do I need 16? It'd be nice to have 16, but do I need it? All of these different decisions, and then there is all the extra work that you have to do just to make your business run. And if you're not good with money, if you're not good with keeping track of what you're spending, that can get you into real trouble, too. Some people are worried that they don't have the discipline to take care of that either. Anyway, it's really kind of an interesting discussion and problem, but I'm just not convinced that there are going to be that many people that come out of the LivingSocial or group on layoff or name your large Rails company, that are really going to come out and compete in the freelancing space. ERIC: There's one topic I want to kind of get into if we can wrap this one up. CHUCK: Yeah, go ahead. ERIC: The whole idea of this topic is: should you worry about a flood of new developers coming in? The other way to look at it is, that's actually an opportunity for us to have freelancers. If you have 400 people who know Rails, know the technical side and can produce, that don't have a job or don't know if they can start freelancing, they make really good sub-contractors. If you have the client side, like managing the client getting the projects down, you can hire some of these people. That's an interim solution while they're looking for another job, and you can get some really skilled help, and actually help out your business. So for me, I see like 5-10% of them might become freelancers and might compete, but there's probably a larger percent that are actually willing to do sub-contracting or moonlighting their stuff on the side, that you can bring on as a sub-contractor to help your client projects going faster. CHUCK: Yeah and the other end of that is, if they don't have to take on somebody overhead like managing the client or things like that, and all they have to really do is basically do more or less the employee stuff plus a little bit of overhead to run their own sub-contracting business. If you can provide them enough work at a reasonable enough rate, they may not go back and you may be able to take advantage of that relationship for a long time, giving them exactly what they want and they need and at the same time benefitting your business on a longer-term than just one project. So I really do like that idea. ERIC: Yeah. And most people who get laid off are going to get re-absorbed into workforce somewhere, sometime especially highly-skilled people like developers. They might not get back in as like a Ruby Rails developer, they might go to like Java or JavaScript or something else kind of not the exact same job title they had, but it's a highly-skilled workforce; they're going to be working somewhere. Mostly for a freelancer, I think you just have to concern yourself with kind of waiting it out, seeing what happens. If there's an opportunity, like I said, to hire someone as a sub-contractor or if you're taking on employees, look for those opportunities. And also kind of just watch yourself and make sure you don't panic and drop your rate and try to compete with them or do any of these things that kind of you hear about like the economy's crashing, another dot-com bubble's appearing, and all that stuff. Try to watch for that stuff and just look at it from the long-term and see if this is actually just panicking mania or if that actually is a longer-term trend. CHUCK: Yeah. I think you bring up a really good point and that is, that more programmers on the market really shouldn't impact your rates. What I mean by that is, you shouldn't be lowering your rate because all of a sudden there are more people out there. You should be lowering your rate to capture a contract that you really need. Or lowering your rate because you have to make some compromise to benefit the business in one way or another. So for example, if you've hit a lean time and you're reaching the end of your savings and you still can't find the work at whatever rate but you can find work at maybe a slightly lower rate, that's when you think about lowering your rate. Or if somebody asks you to compromise on your rate one way or another and you deemed that to be the right move, then you do it. You don't do it because it looks like there are going to be more developers out there on the market. ERIC: Yeah. I don't do this very often, but I'll adjust my rate if I'm doing something that's not going to deliver out as much value to the customer. Say like they want me to work in a technology exclusively that I don't know that well, so I'm not like as advanced in Rails because I am in Java for example, then I might lower my rate for Java. But at the same time, I would have to even want that project only if there's no Rails project at my main rate or even Rails project at a lower rate. I don't see that happening too much...and if you think about it from like the Macroeconomic point of view, basically the market's getting more of a supply and the only way that that's going to affect prices is if all of these new suppliers are substitutes of each other. So like I said in the beginning, if developer A and developer A's code is exactly the same as developer B and developer B's code, then they could be substituted and are interchangeable parts. But for the most part, software and developers and client projects are not interchangeable like that; they're not going to be identical. So we're kind of each little unique snowflakes when it comes to this sort of stuff. CHUCK: Yeah, exactly. I think some people see this thing and they start to panic and I really just want to head that off, if it all possible. The other thing is, I thought it was just an interesting thing because overall the point of view from freelancing is where's the risk? And this isn't something that has risk. People have this idea about freelancing that it's higher risk and therefore higher reward, but I really don't see it that way. I mean you build in whatever you build into to overt the risk, and then when things like this come up, you can accurately evaluate it and decide what the risk is. But in this case, I really just don't see it there. So are there any other pieces of advice that you would give to people if they are worried about this or if they've been working in maybe the lower-end of freelancing where some of this folks might come in? ERIC: Well, if you work in a lower-end or a lot of like contracting type stuff especially if it's a shorter term contracts that you keep picking up -- and by contract I mean where you're basically doing stuff augmentation or you're just a 'cog' in a larger project -- in those cases, you might have some competition. I would just suggest (that) you try to move to a larger market, like bump up your marketing and bump up your skills, try to pick up non-technical or non-developer skills. Because if you're seen as a higher value because say you can give speeches to actual business audience and you can actually communicate effectively, you're not going to be competing in those lower-end market and you would actually probably pick up larger projects or higher quality projects that would affect your rate and other things, but you would move away from the market where a lot of the new freelancers would start in. CHUCK: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think the first thing that came to mind when I asked the question was, raise your rates. But effectively, while I was thinking what you just said, move to a different market. And raising your rates is definitely part of that, but it doesn't encompass the entire thing. ERIC: Yeah. I'd say raising the rates is kind of the end effect. CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: Anyone can raise their rates like I can bump my rate up a thousand times; I won't get it, but I can do it. You have to actually have justification and where that comes from is showing the business value and all that stuff. And so raising the rates is like the lust; it's like the symptom of what happened. And what's really happening is you're increasing value for the client, and that's letting you raise your rates effectively. CHUCK: Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing is this, if you can make the time, then you can start to build that marketing funnel to get you into that new market. You can start learning whatever skills or whatever that you need in order to move up into that new market. Or maybe you already have the skills and you just need to find a client that will get you there. But whatever it is, sit down and really think about where you're at, and where you want to be, and what the path is to get there. And if you have specific questions about that, we love to hear about those because then we can cover those on the show and help you move along to the next level. ERIC: I think there's one last thing I wanted to cover. The idea is, there's a big company layoff, a lot of the developers hitting the market, should you worry? Like I said, I don't think you should worry about your rates and depending on where you're at, you probably won't have to worry about the competition. What I would actually not worry but kind of take a step back and think about is, if this company is going under, how's that going to affect the economy? If 3 large tech companies who have employed a lot of developers are going under or getting acquired or any of that stuff, how's that going to affect the landscape? One thing I'd like to think about -- I mean GitHub's a great company; they're doing great, have a lot of great people -- but what if GitHub went out of business tomorrow? What would happen? How would things be affected? How would the employment market be affected? How would the overall economy be affected? It's good just kind of think about that and do like some 'what ifs' stuff to see what could happen and watch for it. I've watched for this kind of little blips and see if there's some trend going on because this could be like the dot-com crash, too; it might not be and probably isn't, but this could be. And if you want to stay in business, you need to think about that and set yourself up for it. So if you're already worried about this sort of thing happening, maybe that means you start trying to take on more clients now because there's a lot of work now and you can maybe pick up some stuff; maybe build up your savings account so instead of being say 6 months, it's now 12 months. Or maybe you try to cross-train in different skill like maybe you want to look up doing some automation in Microsoft office or something like that; that's going to be used more if there's like a recession or a depression. But what I would actually recommend is look at a bigger picture and see if there's any areas that could actually trick a lot and affect your business in a larger scale. CHUCK: Yeah. We talked about a lot of the things that you can do in our episode on Managing Risk, but yeah, absolutely. One other area that came to mind while you were talking was not just the overall economics of the company going under -- and I might come back to that because I have another thought about that now that I mentioned it, too -- but the local economy is something to think about, too. I have a lot of contacts here in Utah, and if one of the major tech companies that does Ruby on Rails went out of business here, it might affect my prospects or finding prospects just in my local area because some clients like to have somebody that they can basically call up and say "Hey, let's go get lunch and talk things through with". So the local areas where LivingSocial has offices might be impacted; Washington, DC, I think they have one in Portland, where the Portland area, Seattle area. So those local markets might get saturated for a little bit until those people get re-absorbed back into the economy because people out there will know that "there are skilled people out here that I can hire that maybe at varying levels of desperation to find work to get them through while they find another job". The other thing is, you were talking about the economic impact of one of the major employers going under or going out of business, like LivingSocial doesn't provide the service that people really depend on to live or depend on to do what they do, but GitHub does. So the other consideration that came to mind was not just in the people that would come on to the market -- and GitHub has some really smart and skilled people -- but what would the impact be if their service went away; how does that affect things? So you can think about that when you're measuring risk as well. ERIC: Yeah, and that's something that I harp on a lot. If you depend on other services or other pieces of software or other companies, you need to be very careful because you're sharing in their risk; like I have stuff at Rackspace, for example, and I basically share in Rackspace's risk. If RackSpace goes down like they have a couple of times, that affects me directly; it affects my stuff. I used GitHub, but I don't have a paid GitHub account. I put on like I get stuff on a server I control that's near to off and all that so if GitHub goes out of business, yeah it would affect me like (if) I want to bill and find a lot of stuff and it take me a bit to get reacquaint of that stuff, but most of my code is sitting somewhere else. With Git, it's really easy to do that, but that's just an example. CHUCK: Yeah, absolutely. But again, that's not really super pertinent to our discussion. I just mentioned it because it was of interest to me. I think our conclusion on this is there's not a whole lot to worry about unless you're directly in the market that new people would be competing in. And even then, it's probably a short-term thing. If you're at the level that I think Eric and I are at, there aren't too many people at these companies that are going to come out of the gate and be able to compete directly with you for projects. ERIC: Another thing to think about is, a company laying people off -- and by the time you hear about it, it's already happened -- is completely out of your control. So if you're like worried about it, you're worrying about stuff that you have no control over; and that's going to actually affect you psychologically and stuff. It's better, like I said, if that happens, evaluate it, see if there's an opportunity or risk, and just make a decision about what you need to do. But you have to be careful not to let the panic and worry emotions to take over and guide your decisions that way. CHUCK: Yup. Do you have anything else to add on this? I know it's going to be a little bit of a short episode, but I'm not sure if I have any other directions that we can really run with this particular topic. ERIC: No, not really. Don't worry about it if you can; if you're going to be competing like if you're in that low-end market, then try to get above, which is just good advice to do in general. And if you can take advantage of 'that there's people that actually need work and need some stock up employment', if you can take advantage of that and help them out, that might be a good thing. CHUCK: Yeah, absolutely. Alright well, let's get into the picks then. What are your picks, Eric? ERIC: Okay I got two. One is a presentation by Chris Williams from "JSConf EU 2012", it's a short presentation and it's really interesting. It's on YouTube so you can get to it pretty easily, I'll put a link in the show notes. I watched it a couple of hours ago and I was really impressed by it. The second pick is -- because me and Chuck on the pre-show were talking about some things we're doing -- this one is a post on the Duct Tape Marketing blog called "How to Create a Total Content System". Basically it talks about making -- figuring out in planning ahead what kind of content you're going to be building, how you're going to build it, all that stuff. The big things that I got out of it was basically having like an editorial calendar. So say it's starting 2013, you want to say "January - I want to focus on this topic, February - I'm going to focus on this topic, March - is this other one", and also thinking out like you have these topics, but how you're going to actually carry the content like you're going to do blog post or you're going to do a podcast, you're going to do a screencast, that sort of thing. But it's really interesting because I've planned out my content stuff adhoc here and there, and I've always liked it having a plan so I know where I'm going and I'm not just like every Monday panicking because I should write a blog post this week. So it's a good post; it's a lot more detailed than what I'm saying here. If you are trying to get some marketing going and you're having a hard time building a system around it or understanding how it ties together, I highly recommend doing this. It shouldn't take too long to think about it plan it out for yourself. CHUCK: Yeah, I like that...really like that. Alright well, I've got a couple of picks here. The first one that I'm going to put in is "videohive.net". It's basically video effects that you can purchase for either Apple Motion or for Adobe After Effects, I actually know them both. What's nice about it is -- I've been working with this marketing guy and we're actually talking about doing more than just helping each other out with tech stuff and marketing stuff and trading. One of the things that he recommended to me was that I enhanced my video in certain ways; I have a video up on railsrampup.com, which is the course I'm teaching now -- registration's closed so I don't feel terrible like I'm pushing a product or anything. But anyway, they have these logo effects so that it can like come in in different ways. So if you see one of my videos, and it has some cool effect that brings the logo in or does some other effect on the screen, just think of me as like a video editing expert and just forget that I mentioned that I got it off of videohive.net. Most of them are about $8-15; the only thing that I ran into that I was a little bit upset about was that -- and this totally my fault, but it was something that bothered me a little bit -- I bought an effect for bringing the logo in and looked really cool and I tried to pull it into Adobe After Effects and what happened was, it turned out that it needed a plugin for After Effects. So I went and found the plugin online and it was like $400. I probably would have on that paying somebody that much to make the logo effect, but I wasn't really willing to spring for this effect plugin. So I just went back on and in the list, it actually says whether or not it requires a plugin. So I just found the one that I liked that said "requires plugins - no". That worked just fine, (I) pulled it in, put my logo in it, it took me 10 minutes to watch the little video that the guy put in that explains how to use this effect. Anyway, it's going to be in all of the Rails Ramp Up videos now; this little thing that brings my logo in the way that I like, so I really really like that. And they also have another website that has short music segments and things so that you can basically have something if it swings around and whips around and then stops and plays; they have sound effects that can go with some of that or music that'll go with it, too. So I really like that as well. You can go to videohive.net and they gets "audiojungle.net", I'll put links to that in the show notes. ERIC: I've actually used "ThemeForest", which is website templates, and I actually found "PhotoDune", which is their stock photography, I found that pretty good because iStockphoto prices are just outrageous now. I mean I get stock photos stuff for just like blog post that's like very low value of things, and I wasn't want to pay $35 of blog post just for stock image. So I actually used to quite a bit on PhotoDune, and found a couple of images (that) works pretty good. CHUCK: Yeah, I looked at PhotoDune, too. The thing that I like about them over iStockphoto besides the difference in price is that they seem to have a lot more of the photos that aren't the 'man in suit with paste-on smile' doing whatever it is that I searched for; they seem to have a lot more variety of the other stuff. And so -- ERIC: Yeah the one in headsets, smiling at camera? CHUCK: Yeah sitting in front of computer, yeah exactly. Those just drive me crazy because it's like "who's going to use this?" Nobody wants to see that on whatever it is you're -- it just makes it feel too commercial and I'd rather have it feel more organic. So in a lot of cases, yeah it really fits and I really really liked some of the quality with it; they do offer the same variety and size of the image and things like that. So, definitely worth checking out there. It looks like they're all owned by the same company Envato, but -- ERIC: Yeah they've run FreelanceSwitch and quite a few other properties. CHUCK: Oh, okay. That makes sense. That's why some of these are so nice. I haven't loved everything I found on ThemeForest, but VideoHive has been fun to play with and I'm definitely going to be digging into AudioJungle to see what I can find that's not too expensive. But I liked that the pricing was something where I could just go and buy it, try it, play with it. And the one thing that didn't work out for me, well I was out $10 and I don't feel terrible about that. Anyway, those are my picks. Next week, we're going to be talking to Farnoosh Brock. She's the person behind "prolificliving.com", I think, and she's going to be talking to us. She gave me some excellent advice when I was first trying to market Rails Ramp Up, on how to get the word out for it, so we're going to be talking about that kind of stuff; how to get the word out about the product you're launching. So look forward to that next week and thanks for coming Eric! ERIC: Yeah! It's good to be here. CHUCK: Alright, we will wrap this up and like I said, we'll catch you all next week.

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