Miles Burke

Thoughts on startups, small business, marketing & more.

Category: Industry (Page 1 of 17)

4 Scribbles That Explain Your Professional Future

I’ve spoken at events, and written many articles, about getting a job in the tech or web industry, and how to apply a continuous learning cycle to grow your career.

See 39 Hints when looking for web industry work or 18 ways to be a better employee.

Rather than write yet another article on the topic, I decided to illustrate this, as I scribbled for a young person I recently mentored on the topic of creating a career plan.

The following four scribbled graphs demonstrate my thoughts on working within the tech industry, or just about every industry, to be honest. Picture the X axis as a timeline from now (very left hand side) to the future (on the right). The Y axis shows the knowledge and skills you have.

What we do and don't know

What we do and don’t know

This graph shows what we believe is true, with the existing skills and knowledge we have (lower) and the skills and knowledge we should possibly obtain to be even more rockstar (top half).

How (nearly every) position is changing

How (nearly every) position is changing

This scribble illustrates what is actually happening. The first graph is, in fact, wrong.

The bottom half is your existing skills. The top curve, are the new skills and knowledge you are expected to have.

Everywhere we look, new skills and knowledge are being created by the hour. We, as workers within an industry, are having trouble keeping up with it all and staying relevant.

Your existing skills over time

Your existing skills over time

This graph shows what is actually happening. In every industry, particularly fast moving ones like technology, is that existing roles are evolving, and employers are expecting new skills and knowledge from their employees.

Your existing skills and knowledge as of today, are becoming less useful as time progresses to the future. It’s called skill decay.

Value of your skills over time

Value of your skills over time

The graph above then also reflects the value of your existing skills over time. Your value as an employee, freelancer or consultant is dropping.

This means, quite bluntly, if you are not in the habit of constantly learning and up-skilling, your value as an employee, is dropping exponentially.

Sounds rough, but let me explain a very real situation I had in the past.

I once was great at doing front end development. I’d create a design, and then make it into HTML. I took a position as a sole ‘digital’ person, and I was very good at it, on day one. Thing is, I created everything in nested tables and spacer GIFs (yes, that’s dating the employment period I am talking about). I continued for a few years doing this, and growing the employees within my team, however I kept doing what I knew on day one of the job.

I eventually left that position, and you know what? I was unemployable with that skill set. Sure, I had picked up skills in a different area entirely, however my existing front end development skills were, in fact, utterly useless. Everybody else had learnt this fancy thing called CSS. They had up-skilled in Javascript, they had moved on from where I had been 3 years before.

It wasn’t my employers fault at all; it was mine. If my role hadn’t expanded over those years, I should have got an annual pay cut each year, not a pay raise.

You are in charge of your career, not your current employer. If you want to continue to be useful as an employee, and in fact, become a more valuable employee, then it’s up to you to stay current, and ahead of the curve.

Spending time outside of work, continuously learning and improving your skill set is a must. It’s an investment in your future. If your career stalls through lack of new knowledge or employ-ability, then you are to blame, nobody else. If you end up being told that you are being replaced by someone with more knowledge and skills, then you have failed.

You have two options.

Set aside time weekly to continue your professional development. Read books, blogs, articles, listen to podcasts, ask people in your industry what they value for skills. Do an online course, write your own code, design, website content, whatever it is. Constantly yearn for new knowledge and immerse yourself in your industry.

Stick to your current knowledge. Work your 9-5 or whatever hours it is. Work 1/3 or less of the 168 hours a week you have available. Do those 56 hours and keep doing it until you are a dinosaur. It sounds like a long time away, but to be honest, it won’t be. In a few years, find a new, lesser paid career.

It’s all up to you.

Writing in January & February 2015

As part of the process of chronicling the writing I have been doing elsewhere on the web (yes, I know I need to blog more!) here are two articles I published on the Bam Creative blog, over the last two months.

Free Pitching, Design Contests & Outsourcing
We recap a presentation delivered back in 2013 at the Edge of the Web 2013 conference by Bam Creative Managing Director Miles Burke, we take a closer look at some of the unsavoury and unethical behaviours that are negatively impacting a number of creative industries.

10 Digital Marketing Goals for 2015
Happy New Year! With 2015 upon us, it’s a great time to create some goals for your business, and as such, we’ve created a list of 10 goals you should consider as part of your new year digital marketing plan.

We encourage you to steal (we mean, borrow) any of the following for inclusion in your 2015 plans.

I hope you find the above articles interesting. Stay tuned to this blog for more writing on digital marketing, start-ups and a whole lot more.

Ethics in the Web Industry

Last Friday, I had the honour to speak at Western Australia’s premier web conference, Edge of the Web.

My talk, titled ‘Services, Sites & Snakeoil’ was a 45 minute run down on the state of the web industry, examples of possibly unsavory behavior amongst the industry, and suggested actions to put into place to encourage better ethical decisions in the future.

I also handed out paper, and requested people jot down some of their own thoughts, which I’ll be sharing here in the near future. Right near the end of the talk, I dropped mention of the wiki environment that a bunch of us have started, in order to work through the concept of a ‘Code of Conduct’ or some-such. I’d love to see you join us there, at www.webindustrycode.org

Please enjoy the presentation above, and if you like it, share it with your colleagues. Thanks to Matt Didcoe, Ashul Shah, Helen Burgess and the team at Partner and Prosper for the great conference – it really was a fantastic event.

Feedback on my talk, or the slides above? Hit me up in the comments.

A Question of Ethics

Road marking

It’s personally gratifying for me to read the comments on posts and articles (as well as the recent calls, emails, etc) I have previously written about the fine line of ethics in business, particularly in the web industry, and read so many other industry players agree with me on what’s right or wrong.

I have had my fair share of debate as well; sure, it’s easy for me to say what I believe is ethical and what isn’t, and that it isn’t a definitive line, and I am publishing what I think is right or wrong. As far as I am concerned, that’s the point. It is MY personal view on what is ethical and what’s isn’t, or what is in the grey area in-between. Sure, there’s no list of boundaries and that it is my personal view, however I like to believe with twenty years of business management and ownership in various forms, I can speak from my own personal experience.

Let’s be frank here. I would never steal someone else’s design and call it my own. I wouldn’t use competitors intellectual data or client lists for my own advantage, I wouldn’t advertise using AdWords and specifically target searches for competitor business names or trademarks. There’s a stack of other things I also wouldn’t do, yet I haven’t written about.

The responses from my most recent two posts have inspired me to work further on the idea of an opt-in code of conduct, something I have been discussing and thinking about for a few years now. If I did start to facilitate a list or a code or whatever we call it, and open it to peer review, do you believe it would be worthwhile? Would you consider be involved in guiding it? Would you even consider adopting it?

Be keen to hear your feedback – shout out in a comment below…

Yanchep Night Sky

Perth Web Design a trademark?

Trademark

I’ve been involved in the Perth web design industry for 15 years now, and have often referred to my business, Bam Creative as a Perth web design company. That’d be correct; we’re based in Perth, Western Australia and we offer web design and web development and other associated services.

A cursory glance at a number of other websites of Perth web design businesses, shows that the phrase ‘Perth web design’ appears on nearly all of them. Bam Creative certainly has used this phrase since we started in 2002.

So it came as quite a surprise to me, when I was alerted to the fact a local company has applied for a trademark on the term ‘Perth web design’. In fact, they only lodged the application last month, on the 20th December 2010.

Now, I’m no trademark attorney, but in my humble opinion, it seems somewhat far-fetched that an application for such a generic phrase could be accepted, however we all know that law and reality don’t always see eye to eye.

On this information page on IP Australia, it states that…

Types of trade marks that are difficult to register
A trade mark that describes your goods (eg. radios) and services (eg. electrician). It must not be a sign that other traders may wish to use to promote or describe their goods and services, nor can it mislead the public about the nature of your goods and services.

It is also very difficult to register a geographic name or a common surname as a trade mark, however, someone who has used one extensively for a considerable period of time may be able to achieve registration.

Given that the application is for terms that describe services, as well as a geographic location, I would imagine that this would get rejected, however it sure is an interesting case, and I for one will be watching it closely.

Searching the IP Australia ATMOSS database of lodged trademark applications, you’ll see that application 1400795 is applying for the term “Perth web design” as a trademark, in the class of web portal services, which includes designing or hosting of web sites. (The easiest way to search is to ‘Login as Guest’, then use the second search box, and enter the application number 1400795).

The application is currently at a status of ‘Indexing Approved’, which simply means it has been added to the database. The next step from here, is for the examination to be undertaken, before being accepted and published for the opposition period of three months.

If you are involved in the Perth web design industry, and keen to oppose this trademark application, should it be required, then there is a Guide to opposing registration of another person’s trade mark available on the IP Australia website, along with a number of other guides.

I’ll post an update to the application when it has moved through the appropriate processes…

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