It wasn't for lack of business, father was a master tailor trained in Italy and capable of elite bespoke craftsmanship. They had as much business as they could handle. The problem was that they were charging what they thought the work was worth rather than what their customers were willing to pay.
At some point, during the Reagan years, my mother had an epiphany and jacked up the prices massively, far beyond what my father thought was remotely reasonable. The result? Even more business, more pressure, more return customers. That put me and my brother through an expensive college.
There's something about high rates that makes customers feel more important, it's a status-thing and it also propels them to take you more seriously even if they have you do low-value stuff.
>> Frew, who apprenticed with a Savile Row tailor, can — all by himself, and almost all by hand — create a pattern, cut fabric and expertly construct a suit that, for about $4,000, perfectly molds to its owner’s body. In a city filled with very rich people, he quickly had all the orders he could handle.
> You don't have to be Wall Street to figure out the bleedingly obvious solution to being a starving artist who has so much work they have to turn work away. Raise the prices. Then raise the prices. Then when you're done with that, raise the prices.
> At some point you'll be too expensive for the typical businessman, which will make you absolutely crack for a certain type of person common in New York, thus defeating all efforts at being less busy. So it goes. I guess you will have to raise prices.
Nobody will follow that up with "but what does it taste like", they'll say "oh that's very interesting I'll take it", despite the fact that the whole point is the taste.
By the way, there's nothing wrong with this. Experience is HUGE in how you perceive something. Consider your favorite wine from your honeymoon.
Let's say you're at a restaurant on the beach in Greece, the sun is setting and the weather is perfect. There's a light breeze, and you can hear the waves gently breaking on the shore. You take a sip of the wine and it's wonderful, so you buy a bottle and take it home. You rave to your friends and when you finally crack it open, they're not nearly as impressed as you were. It's not an uncommon story, and it's because half of the enjoyment was the perfect day, the perfect weather, the perfect setting.
People will definitely buy stuff JUST because it's expensive.
It is question of marketing.
> Nordstrom is selling “mud-stained” jeans to the tune of $425. They’re called the “Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans” and come with some sort of fake mud substance caked all over them. (It’s not clear what that substance is.) The knees, pockets and crotch of the jeans appear bear most of the faux brown muck.
The other day I saw Nike started selling dirty looking ones new. There truly is something for everyone!
Long story short, a jeweler was trying to move some turquoise and told an assistant to sell them at half price while she was gone. The assistant accidentally doubled the price, but the stones still sold immediately.
Turns out there's a phenomenon where humans automatically associate price to quality. So getting charged more means we think we're getting better quality, regardless of the actual quality
"Veblen goods are types of luxury goods for which the quantity demanded increases as the price increases, an apparent contradiction of the law of demand, resulting in an upward-sloping demand curve. Some goods become more desirable because of their high prices."
The suits are expensive, so they must be good. It's also a status signal to others that you can afford such goods. (Edit minor typo).
The author describes how they had to drive 50 miles every day, use the corporate laptop (or install shady software on their own one), not get a response for many days. Basically, their rate (and the total cost) covers not just the work they do, but all the frustration that comes with the work.
Now, if you treat your staff better than that — remove all the hurdles, answer their emails promptly etc. — then there will be many talented people who'd prefer it over a meaningless-but-highly-paid alternative.
Non-profits get free labor and the devs get real world experience.
I guess you are frustrated because your company doesn't make much money on technology. If the company has a positive ROI on tech, then you wouldn't be frustrated, because more you invest, more you get out. Most companies doesn't need made-to-measure technology solutions.
There's no easy solution, in market terms at least. Maybe you get lucky and catch someone who doesn't need the money and thinks your cause is good enough to put effort towards, but that's not reliable. I wish I had a better answer. Upskilling someone else is potentially viable, depending on what exactly you need. The problem is that things such as static sites and basic sysadmin stuff that are (relatively) easy to skill up in, are also quite cheap in the marketplace for that exact reason. So I'm guessing that's not exactly what you're talking about.
There's quite a bit of effort these days towards upskilling people into more web app developer roles. Lots of bootcamp graduates and a few self taughts floating around. And in my last hiring exercise I found there's quite a large pool (in my area, ymmv) of devs looking for their first real FE/BE job. There's probably some real good value there but the trick is in sifting through the mud. The quality varies wildly, and some of it is shocking. You could get lucky though. I think the go is university graduates, but I hear a lot about grads in the US going straight into high-ish paying jobs so that may be area-specific advice. I was on $45k my first job out, which I thought was fair at the time. But now that I understand the market better and can see just how sub-par a lot of the work out there is, it's obvious that that was a bargain.
The other problem with that is that you're at a big disadvantage when building a team from scratch. A lot of the new devs coming in that will accept lower wages will turn out to be great coders and deliver great value, but a much smaller subset is going to be able to do that on their own with no guidance. That's part of the reason I suggest looking for graduates. I know it's an unpopular opinion here but I think a strong theoretical understanding of software development will help a self-starter more than the equivalent practical knowledge, since without a lot of mentorship they're going to get much more of the practical side from working for you. My first job was straight in the deep end, full responsibility for everything and very little help (one back-end dev who was in the same position with only a tiny bit more experience). I'm super greatful for it, and I think it made me a far better dev than I would have been if I went with a different (bigger) company. Maybe that could be a selling point?
tl;dr if you can't compete with the market then you need an edge that gives you more value than you'd otherwise get. That means people that aren't in it for the money (needle in a haystack, as I'm sure you know, given your position), and people that will rapidly (and successfully) upskill above what the market expects.
When I price out eg contractors, I know roughly what a senior SE should cost. Where I live, that's $150/hour.
If you come in at $75, I don't assume you're a bargain. I assume there's something wrong with you. Either you're not good, or are just starting out, or whatever the case may be.
In this case, just like I bet the tailor, the point isn't paying more for status. The point is that a service should cost X, so someone going way under cost worries the buyer.
Conspicuous consumption is undeniable when looking at some goods and services, but what about the ordinary, say university?
I've worked alongside him a few times on projects that his clients had which required coding work alongside the hardware and sysadmin stuff, and each time I've had to badger him into charging double or more than what he wanted to charge. And of course the customers paid for it, because it was still a good deal and I could show them a conservative estimate that said the system would pay for itself in savings in under 2 years. When freelancing, those are my favorite contracts. Where you can show to the customer up-front that you will be saving them money in the long run. It's always much easier to sell them at that point, and I think the amount its going to save is a pretty good proxy for the value of the work.
If his prices are that low he could likely increase by 25% or more and not lose any clients - and even if he did lose some odds are good that they'd be his cheapest and worst ones.
If you double your rates and lose half your customers, congratulations! Now you have the same revenue plus available time to go find more customers fine with the higher rate.
For example say I want some shelves built. If my shelf-builder charges $X that's fine, but what if I would happily pay $2X?
On the one hand, I might be personally miffed to know I'm paying 2X instead of the X someone else is paying. On the other hand, I'd probably be the more satisfied customer if I don't know (or have the discipline to ignore) the price gap, because the shelf-builder is probably going to give extra effort in hope of getting more jobs from the 2X clientele.
It would be interesting to explore what would make your 2X client feel good even if they know they are paying double. And would that scale to 4X or 40X clients?
The $300h one looked like a piece of art. The $20h looked like sea gull crap landing randomly around the piece.
My parents never advertised their tailor shop, it was all "word-of-mouth" business. After the pricing jack-up, every customer got charged what my mother felt they could pay (with a very loose regard for consistency and some allowance for negotiation).
I used to think that was sketchy. It wasn't until much later that I realized that B2B enterprise sales people do that stuff ALL THE TIME even with their onerous kpi's, forecasting and fiscal quarter expectations!
Depending on how it's done, it still is, and enterprise salesmen doing it doesn't make it less so. As a customer, I don't necessarily seek absolute minimum price, but I want it to be a fair price that I can agree on voluntarily - that means, I don't want to be subject of a bunch of manipulative sales techniques during pricing negotiations. Moreover, individual pricing used at scale makes it impossible to compare prices, or even develop a sense of what price is fair price. I actively prefer buying from vendors who list prices publicly, so by going the individual price route, you might be losing business of me and people like me.
> I don't want to be subject of a bunch of manipulative sales techniques...
There's a reason why sales people in enterprise sales can pull in MM's per year, it's a different level than, say, retail or car sales.
As for dynamic pricing on-line, AFAIK only airlines do that to significant extent so far. Once other people start, I might start opening in different browsers or not keeping cookies or whatever.
I see it like advertising - one part of the chain of value, and ensuring that a responsible and fair transaction occurs
Production: control of how something exists
Project management: control of when something
Advertising: control of how you become aware of something
Pricing: control of how you take ownership of something
I suspect with advertising profiles and amazon purchase histories (and possibly amazon visa card applications requiring household income)... this wonderful "service" previously only available to the rich will be democratized for everyone!
Offering coupons through the mail, online ad codes etc. You are reaching out to different demos using different marketing techniques and offering or not offering discounts accordingly.
The actual paper: http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/cbw/static/pdf/imc151-hannak.pdf...
"As shown in Figure 11, Travelocity alters hotel search results for users who browse from iOS devices." (In particular, alters the prices shown to the user).
I get most honest prices.
It's a pretty stable increase, and adjusting for inflation it's actually a fairly low increase for a product that has improved over time.
I can understand when it comes to physical goods.
Welcome to marketing!
Most of the time the problems I had to solve where easy ones. Install printer, update software, remove toolbars, email settings, etc. All 5 minute work jobs, seldom totalling to more than an hour or 2 an evening. Not even worth asking money for in my opinion, because it was so easy en quick for me to do. But my neighbour always insisted I accept his money. Because for him, having to solve these issues himself would cost him multiple evenings. So the money he was giving me, which felt like too much to me, was stil a bargain for him.
Also in his words it was easy for me because I had spend years in training to acquire this knowledge, or as others might call it: wasting your time behind that computer playing video games.
Probably my most wealthy client, with an oversized SUV in the driveway, had a home computer rendered unusable by malware--something I had fixed before. But she ended up asking me to leave. She decided she wanted "real professionals" working on her computer. She told me I didn't know what I was doing, saying 'are you really going to fix it for this much or do you actually need to just start searching the web for what you are doing? (she saw that I had performed a google search...).'
It took me way, way too long in life to learn most of it is just perception and learning how to manage dealing with less-than-ideal people.
I got scolded by my parents but at the end of the day: worth it.
"You're not paying me to search Google, you're paying me to know what to search for and how the results apply or don't to your particular situation."
Picasso is sitting in a Paris cafe when a fan approaches the artist and asks that he make a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso acquiesces, draws his dove and promptly hands it back to his admirer along with an ask for a rather large sum of money. The fan is flummoxed. “How can you ask for so much? It took you only a minute to draw this.” To which Picasso replies, "No, it took me 40 years."
translation: I expected to pay $5 for this napkin drawing, and later sell it for $10,000. Then you asked me $1000 for the drawing. That means you just tried to steal $995 from me. Outrageous! You are a thief, Mr. Picasso!
> "Oh, two days! The labour of two days, then, is that for which you ask two hundred guineas!"
> "No;-I ask it for the knowledge of a lifetime."
"knowing where to tap":
Still, it's a quick way to get a reputation for running up the clock.
Sometimes it might be worth it - maybe the plug would have been pulled sooner if he had invoiced regularly. But it's still a risk.
This is, why you leave a paper/email trail.
1 year contract.
6 months have gone by and they've done ... nothing. Their boss keeps saying "Don't worry we'll get to you, we're just swamped right now, you're good."
They're already talking about extending the contract.
-A team might have use-it-or-lose-it budget, so they have to spend it on something, and a contractor might be the lucky recipient!
-Spending a lot on a contractor gives them someone to "fire" when they need to explain why something wasn't getting done or something went poorly!
The list goes on!
All that being said, as a consultant myself, I consider those types of projects windfall, as they tend to be the ones that end abruptly. It's kind of a scary feeling getting paid without actual work to do. I have found I 100% prefer the projects where there are clear tasks, goals, and results to report, if for nothing else than my own sanity.
In my current role, there is no real roadmap or trajectory for what I should be doing or how I should report on it, etc. I have felt at times that I was just collecting a check, and that felt really scary. I expected I would love to have a job where I could kind of just do whatever I wanted on my own time table. But I have learned it's actually very stressful, and at best very boring. Luckily I got a roadmap created and prioritized, so I feel better. But it is an odd experience.
Corporate monstrosities can get away with being inefficient insofar as they can stay out of the red overall. Governments can get away with being inefficient insofar as we are forced to continue funding them via taxation. Note: giant, unaccountable, inefficient corporations usually became so large through monopolies created through government force (i.e. regulation).
If Whole Foods wastes their money and goes out of business, I don’t care. I’m not being forced to pay them to make up for it.
There are many reasons that Google and Amazon didn't exist a thousand years ago, and it isn't solely due to the lack of computing technology.
And so it is entirely sensible that everyone should contribute towards keeping the highly developed society functioning as best as it can.
Google wasting money is no different than my neighbor wasting money. The government wasting money is upsetting because it was taken from me supposedly to help the country.
Your perspective might be different if you pay very little in taxes.
It is a myth that corporations like free markets.
I'll correct my original comment then:
At least private companies that compete in a relatively free market are losing their own earned money when they're inefficient, not someone else's.
Private companies are losing money on behalf of their owners or shareholders.
If you don’t like your employer healthcare, quit and find another or buy it on your own. There is choice there and you just don’t like it.
I don't know what the fix is for that except to take a chance and trust folks but ... it doesn't seem to be a thing and instead they come up with easy systems to just make arbitrary decisions and there ya go.
It boggles my mind sometimes that "Like if you don't trust that guy to make decisions... why is he a director here?"
Sadly it filters down, I've been places where it was clear the director of my department couldn't do much at all... at that point why should I be there, it doesn't matter if he and I talk, agree, or anything then ....
Steve Jobs said something about it making no sense to hire people in decision making roles and not let them make decisions. Granted, Steve was also able to hire some fine people.
After all we were the ones taking in the dollars. Of course at an organizational level it was understood they need to invest in the next big thing even if it’s not making money right now.
Practice may not make perfect, but it sure damn helps. As long as we learn from our mistakes.
Another part is where if you get a hiring budget they expect you to use it because if you aren't spending it on personnel then it means you aren't hiring the best available people at that time.
Non-profits usually spend out their budget.
Regulated utilities can charge a % + the cost of hiring you if it is a capitalized cost, i.e. hiring a contractor to implement a project.If a contractor works 100% on a capital project it's profits especially in a low inflation economy or when the profits are not going to be as good due to forecasting issues it can pump the books.
There are probably other reasons I can't think of.
What I'm asking is, if the above system encourages managers to waste money, why hasn't anyone come up with a better system?
I used to manage a grocery department at a well-regarded supermarket chain. In retail, one of the only inputs you can affect at the store level that impacts the bottom line is labor, so metrics are usually organized around labor optimization. Each week, you would be expected to exceed the previous year's Units Per Labor Hour (UPLH). This can only be accomplished two ways: increasing unit movement (which you really have no control over and is largely driven by consumer sentiment and population density) or cutting labor hours. In fact, even if volume is increasing, you can't even add hours even though labor needs scale with volume in a brick-and-mortar retail setting. To exacerbate things, the reductions in labor have already compounded yearly since the policy was put into place. They want you to squeeze water from a stone. "Well, So-and-So (who you've never met) was able to increase UPLH by 10% 5 years ago! Why can't you?"
I guess my point is that systems that discourage waste often lead to insane work environments rather than cleverness or innovation, whereas encouraging waste leads to bloat and inefficiency.
Budgets are a pretty powerful and widely used tool for managing organizations. And there are other checks and balances. It's not like a manager can necessarily just decide to have a team off-site in Hawaii because there's room left in the budget.
So the basic inefficiency is that you want to do top-down resource allocation, “I approve of this much budget going to that project.” We could call that bureaucracy, or The State, or whatever. There is a reason that every modern military in the world has this bureaucratic gene: you can track who is responsible for every dollar easily, which limits the scope of corruption. Corruption does not itself kill the other countries: it just places an upper bound on how much money, how many resources that military can effectively put to use. But the militaries who can inefficiently use unbelievable resources clobber the ones who efficiently use fewer, and you get a survival of the fittest thing.
So the basic problem is that bad actors exist within a sufficiently large organization, and the bureaucratic solution incurs the cost of making everybody into bad actors, but with the benefit of limiting the badness of their action by top-down accountability. It is also somewhat bounded in how much it wastes: non-bad-actors who really don’t need their big budgets do have a weak vested interest in allowing it to be cut, as it frees up resources for the organization as a whole and this can improve their job stability, year-end bonus, etc.; also business units that really are not pulling their weight can be reorganized over long time scales. That is bureaucracy in a nutshell, the natural top-down solution.
To solve the corruption problem with a bottom-up approach requires connecting individual interests to organization interests, so that in a game-theoretic sense there are no bad actors (albeit there may be irrational ones who want to hurt themselves in order to hurt society). This is a really hard problem in accounting. The basic thing that you want to do is to make sure that everyone gets paid some baseline amount, plus some proportion of “what they make for the company.” In cases where this is really easy to determine, nobody does it any other way. Salespeople get commissions, and they get them fairly universally. This solves any corruption problem bottom-up. [It is also 100% transparent: “Why did she earn more than you? Because she sold more than you”—top-down budgets are frequently confidential wherever possible due to the risk of one subunit (could be larger than an employee) discovering that another subunit which “does less” in whatever sense gets more of the pie.]
The problem is, we occupy complicated systems and it is not easy to determine how much the organization’s bottom line will be impacted by the loss of a particular individual. What is the “commission” that I should be paying to a janitor? Am I supposed to pay developers money for completing “story points?” And how do I do that without creating a toxic atmosphere where everybody wants to overestimate the number of story points in a task—how do I objectively measure those story points in terms of the hard cashy business value they create? What about managers or recruiters; how do I reward you for the business value of the people you managed/recruited?
Without solving this sort of hard problem, you can’t guarantee that when someone uses nepotism to the organization’s great loss, that they don’t feel the full brunt of that loss and therefore have a selfish incentive to be fair in the first place.
There are ways that are arguably better, like bottom-up budgeting, but they take a lot more work, and are arguably more subjective.
Internal information systems can be so poor that the best prediction of next years budget is last years budget.
This comes to mind:
For various evolutionary reasons, a nerve routing that was direct and sensible when the aorta passed to, say, the gills of a fish, now makes a silly, circuitous route in modern mammals from the brain, down under the aorta near the heart, and back up into the neck...close to the brain. Natural selection has proven incapable of fixing this tangle.
Similarly, organizational budgets that departments need to spend any way they can or suffer cuts next year seem silly. But they stem from reasonable policies, gradually changing and improving over time.
Just like an organism can't sever its aorta and have a better routing of the nerve, organizations are incapable of getting from the current budget situation to a better one.
My take was a much simpler “just because there is a better way that exists doesn’t make it practically relevant, because entrenched tradition is usually more popular/widespread than efficiency”... but your boiling the frog idea shows even better how the mess comes about in the first place.
So the company hires a few contractors to help get them as close to $x as possible, but they don't really have any work for them to do.
My FSA card is pre-tax money to be used for healthcare expenses. Towards the end of the year, I ended up still having a balance that would go away if not used, so I bought things that I would not have otherwise purchased.
But if you, say, only lost 30% or 50% of the balance, it's not immediately obvious if you should spend the balance or not.
OT but this is such a weird aspect of FSAs. I can carry some amount over with my plan which makes things a lot easier.
Let's say the company has earned 1,000$ and the tax rate is 50%. Your expenses X are 100$.
So 1,000$ - 100$ = 900$. Of which 50% (450$) are tax and 50% (450$) are profit.
Now double X to 200$:
Then 1,000$ - 200$ = 800$. Of which 50% (400$) are tax and 50% (400$) are profit.
That means your profit is 50$ lower (400$ instead of 450$) then if you hadn't increased your spending?
Clearly my thinking is wrong somehow, but where?
I remember being mentioned that the whole reason General Electrics bought a division of Alstom was to not bring the money back to US and get taxed, let's say it was 1 billion dollars and 50% tax.
Instead of getting net 500 million back to US they can keep that money abroad and invest 1 billion in another company that can net more than 500 million in the long term.
Above is likely the way of thinking for those sort of occasions.
Imagine that you must access $100 of labour/whatever somehow.
$20000 - sales
($10000) - cost of sales
$10000 - gross profit
($100) - extra labour paid for with pre tax money
$4950 ending sum (pay dividends or do whatever you feel like with this)
$20000 - sales
$10000 - cost of sales
$10000 - gross profit
($5000) - tax
$5000 - after tax profit
($100) - extra labour, post tax money
$4900 - ending sum
In particular, the one easily controllable lever is how much interest you pay on debt (pre tax spending)
This is what Amazon has done for years - it generates a monstrous amount of cash (free cash flow) from retail and funnels it back into expanding current businesses and creating new ones such as AWS. AWS now generates its own surplus, so the cycle continues.
Edit to clarify: Amazon in the past has shown a relatively small net income vs large top line revenue because most cash is reinvested. It’s been a few years since I paid attention to their financials so things may be different now.
That said I do know people who’ve been paid to turn up at an office and just work on their side projects. Could probably handle that!
Stupid but very real. I always find it funny that wasting 100k this way is perfectly fine but a 5k raise is almost impossible.
This is too real.
At my current job they are incapable of even small raises to keep up with inflation or even investing money in making a better product. Although the company has no problem redecorating the office, sending management to a useless international fair where they spend their time in bars getting drunk, or spending exorbitant amounts of money for sending someone to CNN and getting $0 ROI from that.
But it's exactly like you say. People wouldn't get their act together sufficiently to have a team meet with us on some topic for a day or some marketing campaign would be canceled or changed so they no longer specifically needed what we had created for them. Easier to just forget about the whole thing and move on.
On the rare occasion that we were given a task, we would all descend upon one computer like vultures, group-solving the problem typically in 60minutes or less. Then it was back to doing nothing.
Diplomacy (the game) became our primary activity. It was fun, but such a terrible waste of time, talent, and money.
But the client company had more cash-flow than they could burn, so they didn't care. Unsurprisingly, they hit serious financial difficulties within a few years.
I quit at a company I was contracting at because they kept dangling the whole, "We're going to convert you to an FTE next." in the meantime, I was working less than 20 hours a week. If you didn't have a project to bill hours to, you didn't get paid, period. I was floating between teams, fixing bugs and doing minor stuff, not being able to bill much of anything. Once I quit I was offered another contract role. I basically told the recruiter, "Listen, if I'm in the office, I'm getting paid for my time, period." Recruiter got it cleared with HR and the hiring manager.
My first day went like this:
Manager: "Ummm yeah, the two major projects we had you slated on, ummmm those got put on hold for the time being. Get your desk and PC setup and we'll have something for you soon."
I literally went 4 months and barely billed any real project work. My last two weeks I had 36 hours of non-billable time. I had two weeks where I actually billed a full weeks worth when a dev took off for his honeymoon and did exactly zero work he was assigned. The funny part is when I quit, the hiring manager told me he would hire me in a minute and to keep in contact.
In the meantime, I was able to learn AngularJS and some other stuff while I was sitting at my desk all day. In a sense, I was very productive when I was there.
Yeah that's what I would hope to do too. Lots of time, let's dig in to that stuff there's never time to learn!
Employee or contractor gets stuck somewhere with nothing much to do... speaks to manager about it repeatedly... gets the "just find something to do, we'll get to you" speech... fails (often despite good-faith effort) to find anything useful to do... and eventually gives up.
Worst case I personally witnessed was a quite talented dev going six months without any actual project, then another couple before quitting.
Another case was a guy who tried to use his abundant free time to learn other skills but mostly ended up playing Myst, which proves this phenomenon is as old as dirt. :-). (He ultimately gave up the Myst Gig and quit, I'm sure to the consternation of his manager who probably lost a head-count over it.)
No, I learned how to manage my work load (potential and actual) from clients for my physical/mental health.
The motivation is what determines the actions.
I know a guy who founded a software company and started contracting work overseas. He became too confident and over-committed to clients without managing expectations. For a couple of months he looked terrible. Thankfully, he found an escape path and closed the company. He's now employed full time in a dev role.
This path isn't for everyone.
"Hey I'm already up to speed on this so if you want to pick it up again quickly ...." proposal probabbly would seem like a good idea to the company for a while at least.
Anywhere where employee hours are getting charged out, a company can increase profits by increasing headcount.
It also seems to happen more indirectly. A contracting company is often motivated to increase red-tape (such as complex and unnecessary health-and-safety, because everyone agrees safety is good). That has a double win: less competition (side effect of complex requirements) and more hours charged (each hour charged increases profits with little risk).
I kinda want to be a contractor now.
We did some make-work projects, optimizations and stuff. We also picked a random technology stack per week and spent a day building "something" to learn those tools. Also, we played a lot of video games. This period lasted about 3-4 months.
So dangerous that a lot of events take place in Q2 and Q3 to emphasize networking over mindless bored trading.
Also a lot of these people lie to themselves about their own importance, in order to have a (false) sense of self worth (but they're okay with it).
I was gardening various projects on GitHub and increasing my StackOverflow reputation.
I wasn't enjoying it.
At some level there is a need for accomplishment.
Poor work ethics become a virus, difficult to concentrate at home later.
There were days when I'd charge clients $15k... for a day's work. This wouldn't have been possible if I worked on-site. But I was essentially completing $15k of contracted work in a single day, which was sold as a fixed-fee in return for a legal report. The type of work that should cost maybe $200 in total.
Corporations get kind of crazy, there's extreme focus on some areas (mainly, those with KPIs and KPI owners attached), and extreme nonchalance on others. They're so big that there's just lots of insane things like this that slip through.
Business class plane tickets, 2 nights in a nice hotel, rental car, dinner at very fancy restaurant.
Meanwhile, that same 100k+ employee company wasn't able to set up email fast enough for new employees, so some new hires had to use hotmail(!) for weeks before they were in the system.
This sounds like a SaaS waiting to happen.
If you have an extremely high-margin service, e.g. perform bill $10k of work for $100 of salary, there's absolutely no incentive to automate things on the seller's side. It essentially means hiring someone to build out a (software) solution to squeeze the $100 into a dollar of payments on a cloud provider. All you're doing is raising your margin from 99% to 99.99%, it's meaningless, your profits increases by 1%, assuming the Capex for development was zero. And given this is typically a low-volume kind of transaction, with considerable development costs to build a Saas solution, this assumption is way too generous.
It's exactly these kinds of services which are completely fine to have humans perform.
It's the type of legal work where you bill $200 for a simple contract review and have to pay a paralegal say $100 for the work, which would be great to automate to a $1 of AWS payments. Here you're increasing margins from 50% to 99%, doubling profits. Any development costs can be averaged out to approach zero, as document review is a high-volume task in any organisation.
For some background info for the person you're replying to... I can easily name a whole range of colleagues with whom I could easily complete $1m per person / annum of work (about $4k a day) in billable time.
The problem is you don't get the work without the company name.
Even having worked in this business, with clients trusting me on a personal level who'd love to grant me the work even if I worked as an independent contractor... my clients are other fortune 500 companies, sales goes through a process, which has all kinds of checks and balances in place. For example, if you have no certification for data security (i.e., audited on e.g. ISO2700-1/2), you don't stand a chance to say receive sensitive due diligence docs in order to perform legal work. Performing such an audit can easily cost hundreds of thousands a year, just to pay the auditor. Building an internal framework to comply with standards, regulations etc, costs way more. This makes it impossible for small firms or contractors to compete as they can't average out a $100k audit over $50m in revenues.
Not all work has these requirements of course. But in some fields, and some clients do. Building an internal software tool for a national seller of paint products, fine as an independent contractor. Trying to win a government tender for a tool that handles personal data, extremely likely you won't be considered without working for an organisation that has 10 certifications in place that cost >$1m a year to renew. In my line of work, it'd be very tricky to sell my work to clients as an independent.