Hi, I'm Robert;
I build software.

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Cloud Price Wars

A few weeks ago, during Google Cloud Platform Live, Google introduced a re-branded suite of cloud services at reduced prices - re-entering the cloud space as a major player. This was the first domino that ushered in an industry-wide reduction in cloud computing costs.

We think cloud pricing should track Moore’s Law, so we’re simplifying and reducing prices for our various on-demand, pay-as-you-go services by 30-85% - Google Cloud Platform Blog

Shortly after Google Cloud Platform Live, Amazon Web Services announced a significant reduction in pricing as well. EC2 prices dropped by close to 30% across the board and S3 storage costs were cut as deep as 65%. The graph below is part of a 2010 AWS blog post outlining the decrease in cloud computing costs over time.

EC2 prices are shrinking over time

AWS will even assign a Trusted Advisor to your account to go over your entire solution and recommend ways to re-provision AWS services to save you even more money.

If you've been reading this blog for an extended period of time you know that we reduce prices on our services from time to time, and today’s announcement serves as the 42nd price reduction since 2008. - AWS Blog

Finally, Azure entered the price slashing fray and announced their own reductions (and a shiny new management portal) in response to AWS - something Microsoft explicitly cites as a primary driver for the newest round of discounts.

Consistent with our previously announced commitment to match Amazon on prices for commodity services, we are cutting prices on compute by up to 35% and storage by up to 65%. We recognize that economics are a primary driver for some customers adopting cloud, and stand by our commitment to match prices and be best-in-class on price performance. - MSDN Blog

I've never seen a service offering before, in any industry, that not only slashes prices regularly, but automatically updates your account to reflect the cheapest possible pricing without you asking them. I wish my U-verse service worked the same way.

Cloud pricing is in a constant move downward resulting in an ever-increasing incentive to move to the cloud. It is becoming harder and harder to justify purchasing new servers, real-estate, and security just to add additional computing power to a data center - not to mention waiting weeks or months for the hardware to arrive. Companies entrenched in an on-premises way of thinking are going to find themselves at a disadvantage as the cloud continues to evolve.

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LinkedIn + Your Network = New Job

I was helping a close friend look for a new job the other day and came across a pretty interesting LinkedIn feature that matches a job posting with people in your network. LinkedIn will even show you second-degree connections - people connected to people you are connected with - that already work at the company you are researching, further improving your chances of landing an awesome job.

I'm going to outline the step-by-step process I used to ultimately match my friend with a position. And, to make things a bit more challenging, I will search for a job outside of my current field (software development). Let's go with Marketing Analyst.

Using your network to find a new job on LinkedIn in 7 easy steps

  1. Go to linkedin.com and select Jobs from the dropdown list next to the search box.
  2. Search for anything that closely resembles the job you want. LinkedIn will do its best to bring in all of the jobs you might be interested in, even if they aren't an exact word-match. Search for your next job on LinkedIn
  3. Scan the list of jobs and pick one out that looks interesting.
  4. View the people in your network that already have jobs where you are looking.
  5. Click "View" to learn more about the position. Use your network to land that new job
  6. If you're a good fit, apply!
  7. Reach out to your network to get an inside track. Here's a sample message that I would type if I were looking to make a move. Get an introduction

I hope this helps you in your quest to find your next job. While you are hanging out on LinkedIn, feel free to connect with me.

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Every summer before going off to college, I worked with my dad at his Powder Coating business. For those who aren't familiar with the trade, a typical day involved carrying metal furniture, car parts, and other widgets on hooks, into and out of a 450-degree oven the size of a standard suburban bedroom. Most days the sweat on the tips of my ears would start to burn and evaporate every time I made a trip to grab a new chaise lounge or mailbox from the middle of the oven. I still have a few scars from a careless moment, here and there, where my skin came in contact with a freshly baked piece of metal.

As you might expect, I didn't like this job. It was hard work and I didn't get paid much. I had to get up early each morning during my vacation and slave away, while some of my friends from the neighborhood were sleeping in and swimming all day.

Looking back, however, I have grown to appreciate the life-lessons imposed upon me during my short and awkward tenure as a blue-collar child laborer. Not only did I get first-hand experience with what it takes to run a successful small business, but I also developed a solid work ethic. My dad taught me grit through blood, sweat, tears, and the occasional burn.

As it turns out, more and more, grit is being identified as an essential skill in business as the Thought Worker continues to replace the Factory Worker. Grit is the ultimate replacement and augment to raw intelligence, or IQ. More and more people are worried about what you have accomplished over the past one, three, or five years and not where you went to school or your GPA. Accomplishment is the new pedigree.

For example, salespeople who make more calls will almost always outperform salespeople who make fewer calls. That’s no surprise, but here’s the key point: This doesn’t happen just because the act of making more calls mathematically raises the chances of success. There’s much more to it. By facing up to the task of making a call, frequent callers put themselves on a faster learning curve. They discover more rapidly what works and what doesn’t. They’re quicker to learn techniques that overcome rejection. Thus, their success yield will improve–i.e., double the calls, triple the sales. The act of making lots of calls also helps a person learn self-discipline and understand the rewards of delayed gratification. - Forbes

Looking back on my career, I can point to some key situations where I've had to outwork a particular problem. Sometimes, this involved simply sticking through a tough situation until it could be resolved. Others were more tactical, where I was up against a challenging issue that required some extra effort to solve. These are moments in life where I couldn't rely on my IQ or someone else to come bail me out - it was up to me to get through it. I think that all of the long hours at my dad's shop helped prepare me for situations like this, and I'm better off for it. I wish I had the foresight to understand this 15 years ago.

Grit plays a significant factor in your ability to succeed from your first year of school until the day you retire - and probably after that as well. Fortunately, it is something that is developed, you don't have to be one of the "lucky few" who are born with the gift of grit. Unfortunately, the only way to get more of it is to work harder - there are no shortcuts. Work hard at something, get better at it, work even harder, get even better.

Interested in learning more? Here's a great TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth on the role grit plays in how we succeed.

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