Category Archives: General Rants

My Hopes for Open-Hearted, Strong America

I usually don’t mix politics and business. However, I feel this is an extraordinary election. I encourage you to get out and vote.

I am hopeful that tomorrow we will have our first woman president. I am hopeful that America can rise above the hate, fear and pettiness that has defined Donald Trump’s campaign. I am hopeful that we can live up to the words on the Statue of Liberty… “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We are a nation of immigrants. That is one of the things that makes America great. People of all cultures want to come here not to change our culture but to live it! Perhaps add a bit of their culture as a flourish, but they come here because they believe, as I did when I used to say the pledge of allegiance in school, that America represents equality, freedom (including freedom of religion), and opportunity for everyone. Perhaps that’s not as true as it could be but I’ve always felt we at least aspire to that.

I am hopeful that America still wants to aspire to that… and not the racism, xenophobia, and small mindedness that Trump represents.

I am pro-business, but I am also pro-people. Trump is neither. Good businessmen don’t bankrupt companies on a regular basis, screwing employees, investors and partners. Even in Silicon Valley where failure is sometimes a badge of honor, Trump’s record is dismal. This is why Mark Cuban offered Trump $10 million to give details on his policy proposals.

Any entrepreneur that’s run a business knows you aren’t going to succeed without a plan. Trump has no plan.

I want to see America continue to succeed and continue it’s greatness. I think we can do better for those that have not benefitted from an increasingly global world. I think we can integrate immigrants, as we ALWAYS have, giving them opportunities while benefitting from the skills and perspective they bring. I think we can educate all Americans, poor as well as rich, black/brown as well as white, so they can take advantage of the opportunities the world has to offer.

Hillary may not be perfect (none of us are) but she has a plan and knows how the government and the world works. I have far more faith in her to achieve what needs to be done than I do in Trump who will likely bankrupt the country like he has his companies.

I care about America and I care about her people. I think this country is already great. I think we can aspire to be even better. But it requires compassion and acceptance as well as dedication and hard work. It is time for a woman to lead this country, someone who can bring all those qualities to the table.

I sincerely hope that we can be the open-hearted, strong country that we’ve usually been and not succumb to fear and close-mindedness. I believe we can.

Customers That Piss Me Off

Let’s say you did some work for a client 3 or 4 years ago. A promotional video featuring upper management or something. They come back now and want you to redo the video with current management but everything else can stay the same. Just re-shoot a few people and drop them into the old video. Of course, because this is clearly so easy and they paid you once before, they want you to do it for free. What would you tell them?

We have people do this to us all the time. People who buy a new Mac, upgrade to FCP X, and get all pissy when we tell them they’ll have to buy an upgrade from us. Then they threaten to run off to BitTorrent because, you know, they paid us once four years ago.

It requires a TON of work to keep software working with all the changes Apple, Adobe, Nvidia and everyone else keeps making. Most of this work we do for free because they’re small incremental changes. Every time you see Beauty Box v3.0.1 or 3.0.2 or 3.0.7 (the current one)… you can assume a lot of work went into that and you don’t have to pay anything. However, eventually the changes add up or Apple (most of the time it’s Apple) does some crazy thing that means we need to rewrite large portions of the plug-in. As happened when FCP went from 7 to X. It’s too much work to do for free. We still need to eat and pay rent.

We want to support our customers. The reason we develop this stuff is because it’s awesome to see the cool things you all do with what we throw out there. However, shelling out $199 does not mean we can support you indefinitely. How much money has that software made you or how much time has it saved you in the three or four years since you bought it? We want to support you, but if we go out of business, that’s probably not going to benefit either of us.

We realize most of our customers understand what it takes to keep our software up to date. We are very grateful to you. We also realize forced upgrades suck and understand the frustration that goes with them. (we buy a lot of software too) Just understand that as a third party/plug-in developer we’re highly dependent on other companies. When one of those companies makes a big change, it usually takes a lot of work to keep things running.

Sorry for the rant, just something that needed to be said (and probably won’t be read by the people that need to read it). Just a little blog therapy that breaks most of the rules of Marketing 101. ;-)

It’s a 4K World! … or not.

A survey released lately seem to indicate that, despite all the marketing, there’s little consumer interest in 4K… or UltraHD as it’s now called. It’s estimated that it’s going to take until 2017, at least, for 4K televisions to make up more than 5% of the market.

Having just got back from CES and seeing all the latest and great 4K stuff, it’s fairly obvious as to why. It’s not that much better. Manufacturers are touting all sorts of crazy things to justify 4K… you can have the picture spread across two screens! You can look at more of your surveillance cameras on one screen! All sorts of great ideas that try to get around the fact that the one thing you don’t want to do is buy a 4K TV just to WATCH it. The picture is a little better than standard HD, but on a screen of less than 90″, it’s just not that noticable. I can see the eyes of the quarterback just fine in HD. I don’t need to see his nose hairs.

Of course, showing all that skin detail is great for stuff like Beauty Box, so we’re looking forward to the 4K revolution. However, if you’re worried about producing 4K content, you can probably relax. It’s going to be a long while before anyone can watch it.