Archive for the ‘Business’ Category
So what happened to my blog? I know I use to post more than once a year, but School and a new start-up at AppliedAwareness.org, have monopolized my time.
The good news is that some of the classes I have taken at school are adding a multi-media dimension to my skill set. This doesn’t mean I’m ready to start a new career as a photographer or video editor, but it’s gotten me up and over the hardest part of the learning curve so that I can figure the rest out.
One of the things that wasn’t part of my course work was how to take all the footage I’ve recorded with my DSLR and break them down into Vines.
Lucky for me, the Vine Client extension for the Chrome Browser, had all of the settings listed so it wasn’t too hard to figure out and adjust settings once I knew the basics of video editing terminology and where the features were in KdenLive.
If you’d like to do the same, the first thing you’ll need to do is create a new project profile that matches the Vine parameters. I started by going into the settings and selecting the “Manage Project Profiles.”
Then I went about modifying one of the included profiles. I chose to modify the “HD 720p 29.97 fps” profile. (note: the profile drop down shown below already says “Vine” because I saved it before I took the screen shot.)
To change the boxes from gray to white for editing, you’ll need to click on the icon with the green plus sign.
- the size to 480×480 px (Vine’s square)
- the aspect ratios to 1:1 for both Pixel and Display aspect ratio.
Finally I saved the profile using the floppy disc icon.
Next I chose a video that I thought might have a good 6.5 second sound bite in it since the Vine can’t be any longer than that. (With the frame rate specified above, the maximum length will take you out to to time code 00:00:06:14 – aka 6 seconds and 14 frames)
Then to make sure I had my new profile in effect for my video I went to Project > Project settings and selected it.
Once I had my clip, I wanted to get rid of the letter box effect that happens when shoving a 16:9 rectangle video into a 1:1 square.
- Right-click on the clip you want to center
- Add Effect > Crop and transform > Edge Crop
Once that’s done, there’s a high probability that the subject isn’t centered. However, there will be a new dialog box in the Effect Stack section in the top center portion of your screen. While you can fiddle with each of the top, left, bottom and right settings, an automatic center-crop and center balance might be all you need to get things lined up correctly.
The last thing to do is set up and save a render profile. VineClient.com’s upload dialog suggested MPEG-4/AAC but with a reduced audio and video bit rates of 64 and 1200, respectivly. Since I plan on making more Vines with my DSLR footage, I created a render profile with these settings as well.
I started by selecting MPEG-4/AAC and just like before I clicked on the page icon with the green plus to “Create new profile” and changed the settings to give me a Vine-friendly output.
Now, whenever I’m ready to render out a video I just have to look for my Vine profile in MPEG-4 > Vine. The better news is that these little movies only take about 30 seconds to render and were a little over 1mb when done.
To upload your video from your PC you’ll need the Chrome/Chromium browser with the Vine Client extension. If you don’t have the extension you can download it from http://vineclient.com. Instructions on how to do that are available on the Vine Client website.
Once the extension is online, simply log into your vine account and with the drop down menu located under the head and shoulders icon in the upper right corner of the screen, choose “Upload” and follow the instructions given. At this point I’m really happy I figured this out. I never liked the video quality that my phone put out…
And when I tried to make a video to upload before I knew any of the video editing vocab I got this…
Now, though, they’re starting to look like this…
Good luck turning your videos into Vines.
Tuesdays are for RAP (Random Acts of Patterns)! http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/friends-of-knitpurlgurl/2319615/1-25#24 Please join in!! #knitting #crochet
Although I didn’t quite catch the marketing implications of random patterns until after I had gifted nearly 20 copies of my designs, Random Acts of Patterns is just brilliant on so many levels. Here’s why…
The premiss is along the same lines of Random acts of Kindness, but in this case the idea is to find a neat pattern and buy it for another Ravelry.com user using the “send as gift” function that’s part of the check-out process.
There are 2 functions of this process that are very intriguing to me. First, it’s a way to help generate income for independent designers. The second is that it’s a great way to advertise your own designs by sending them out to random knitters.
From a strictly business standpoint, when I buy ad placements, I take a chance that I won’t have enough sales to break even. For example, I purchased Ravelry ads a few months in a row. The fist run I did better than break even on the cost of the ads by also making enough money to cover the cost of the materials used in the pattern. In the second run, I didn’t do quite as well, but broke even on the ads. The 3rd and 4th times were a bust putting me in a position where I needed more pattern sales to break even on all of the expenses.
There are many reasons why the same ads didn’t do well over time. Summer months aren’t always considered as Knitting months. People may have been tired of seeing the ads. Or any number of things. While it is possible to hone in on the winning combination the idea of Random Acts of Patterns presents a whole new twist on marketing.
The main consideration with #RAPatterns, for the indie designer, is that patterns, once created, don’t represent revenue until someone buys them. The next consideration is although you might be running at a loss with materials and time put into the design, giving away promo, electronic copies, doesn’t create additional expenses. I always say that word of mouth has to start somewhere and this is a great way to kick it off.
The bonus of Tuesday’s being for #RAPatterns are the limits designed into the practice. Coupons, door busters, annual sales and all the rest are just ways companies train customers not to pay full price, for anything. But a random pattern given only on Tuesday is more along the lines of winning a prize. There is no expectation that waiting will result in a discount so people buy when they’re ready to.
By participating in Random Acts of Patterns on Tuesdays you have a great way to get some patterns out in the wild where they might generate some buzz for your work all while keeping people guessing about your next move. It also doesn’t hurt to be seen as generous either.
The next question is how this process can be adapted for other business models. Are there businesses this wouldn’t work with? Why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment, below.
PS, don’t forget to thank Kerrie for this amazing idea. Click either knitter to visit her site.
Hand knitting has to be one of the most tedious ways to create fabric, but like so many others, I’m addicted to it and fuel my addiction by sharing the patterns I have created. Now that I’m writing up patterns, one thing I don’t understand is why some designers annex their copyright saying that you’re not suppose to use their pattern if you’re going to sell the finished item.
When I create a pattern, I have time on my side. Although I put in hours of work to develop the pattern and knit a prototype, I can count on reselling the same pattern many times and many visits to my blog to see the free patterns. In theory, I’ll eventually break even and may even profit as long as people keep coming back.
However, when someone buys a hand knitted object, they have no need for a pattern. Regardless of skill, or time, if the buyer could knit the object themselves they would and since they’re not, the pattern used isn’t even a consideration.
Therefor, if people are going to create items for sale from my patterns, I’m going to encourage them to do it.
Here are my caveats (AKA help a Sista out)…
- Do not redistribute patterns. After all, selling patterns and blog visitors is what keeps me going. If you sell the yarn I used in one of my patterns and want to redistribute it, please contact me. My bulk rates are reasonable and I’ll even personalize the PDF with your shop address and logo so it will look snazzy for your customers.
- If you have helpers knitting finished objects for you, please buy a copy of the pattern for each of them. Again, selling patterns keeps me going and my bulk rates are reasonable.
- You must include attribution with the object. If you’re selling online, please include a link back to either the blog post, here, or the Ravelry pattern. Or if you’re selling at a craft fair, a note safety pinned to the object with pattern name, Karlie Robinson Designs and KarlieRobinson.com is the way to go.
- If you like the pattern well enough to create finished objects to sell, would you do me a favor and post pictures and details at Ravelry? I’d love to see your work.
So here’s to all the budding fiber arts entrepreneurs. I hope my patterns contribute to your success.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what my blog should be about. I just can’t pump out business topic posts like a machine because I’m lucky enough to have so much flexibility that I’m not slaving away at… well anything and that means business isn’t always at the front of my mind. While I’m still working in my own businesses, helping others with theirs and testing new business ideas, business isn’t the only thing I do.
In fact, over the last few weeks, my focus has been devoted to developing a knitting pattern for a book submission and the 2 acres of lawn just outside my office window, tease me like a blank canvas teases a painter. But, while I was hearing the seed stash, pictured above, begging for some organization, I downloaded my banking statements and filed NY State sales taxes. I also did a cost analysis of fencing versus hedges and outlined a new business plan, in my head. Then I shucked more than 3000 accounts from my tweet stream and nagged my husband about cutting down the hollow, bug-filled Hawthorn tree in the front yard.
I’m a modern woman with a Family, Home, Business, and a slight inability to say no to my distractions. Though I think I’ll have more to say, here, if I don’t limit myself to being so single minded about business and let my other passions spill out onto the Internet now and then.
Besides, Google Analytics doesn’t lie and after importing my old blog posts and re-directing my Blogger visitors, I found that more people want to see my Buttercup Bag knitting pattern than want to know about Social Media for TV news.
Which makes sense. Social Media advice is a dime, a dozen, but a unique knitting pattern only has one source. (Well it didn’t hurt for me to do a little SEO for the pattern either.)
But anyway, look for a wider variety of posts coming out of this blog as I continue my adventures as a 21st century woman.
No I hadn’t seen it yet, but MS is losing ground to companies like Google and their “Don’t be Evil” stance on business. So how does a company become less evil? They start finding projects for the good of the order and shout it from the rooftops every time they do something that’s even a little bit generous.
It’s actually very cleaver of them from a marketing point of view. They know that they still have market and mind share and while the majority of their clientele isn’t looking at FOSS, they’re adopting some FOSS like programs to soften up their image.
The biggest thing to consider is the basics of business. Throwing money at a problem isn’t usually an effective solution. Yes, MS has lots and lots of money to solve problems with, but FOSS has enough momentum now that no matter what MS does they can’t regain the ground they’ve lost. Their only hope is to slow the exodus now that there is a public awareness of alternatives and that the choices aren’t half bad.
My best advice – remember there is choice. When things like this come up, remind people that the HFOSS project has been doing this same thing for a while now. When MS wants to talk Education, bring up OLPC and such. Yes, it’s good that they’re putting money to good use, but they didn’t invent some of these ideas, nor are they the only players on the field.
It no longer has to be about how FOSS is like commercial, but it can be about how commercial has to be like FOSS and behave like human beings to remain relevant in the changing tech environment.
Here’s the thing, I’ve been having reservations for a few days and had sort of hoped that the FOSS talent pool was so deep that my lack of Software Engineering experience and my hit-or-miss involvement in the Fedora Project would filter me out rather quickly.
Then a couple of things happened today. First was an email from Paul Frields, the standing FPL, trying to nail down a time for a Phone interview with someone at Red Hat.
The second was a cattle call IRC ping for a meeting that was taking place face-to-face somewhere else.
So why should that lead me to withdraw? Let me explain…
Knowing my prompt rejection was off the table, I had to get myself in gear and prepare for wowing everyone I met in the interview process. That means running through possible questions and answers… etc.
That process, for me, can be a lot like a psychological test. The first thing that comes to mind as I begin the Q&A practice is very enlightening for me because it’s not always the answer I would or should give, but it’s usually very accurate as to how I really feel about something.
So while I’m reading and prepping for the call, I got another pointless IRC meeting ping from the guys at Open Video Chat.
So as I’m getting myself polished and sorting through proper answers, I was getting pissy and telling OVC to stop wasting my time… well if my other insights didn’t tell me anything this did. And what it said was “this is a bad fit.”
You see, FPL is not about what I can do, it’s about what I could help the community do and it just doesn’t seem like I should be so cranky about a pointless meeting ping.
In this case, the right answer would have been to go over to RIT and
slap the guys around politely explained that they need a lesson on transparency and IRC meetings. Instead, I had the eureka moment I needed to have. I finally could see that I’m ok letting the opportunity slip by. That I’m ok with not being one of the few women leading FOSS projects. I’m also ok not trying to be a rising star.
It’s not failure, it’s just the right thing to do.