This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

July 18, 2019

Calculating the value of your time

If you're like most people, you've never calculated the value of your time. That is, what you can command in payment for what you do in a given timeframe. And for many people this is an absolutely ridiculous exercise, for example writing a song lyric that took you ten minutes that created a hit song that earned you ten million dollars. That would be a million dollars a minute, but that's not what I'm talking about. Stay with me on this.

Back in college, I learned that it was called "Alternate Cost" - although I never quite understood what they were talking about. Put simply it means that if you're worth $100 per hour you're better off concentrating on that, and not doing something that you can have done for less than that. It's the reason that high-paid executives don't book their own plane tickets. That can be done by someone for much less money, leaving the executive to do what they're valuable at.

Of course if your time is completely worthless, it's never worthwhile to pay someone to do something that you could do yourself, no matter how long it takes. That's why "Do-it-yourself" is so popular, because spending $200 for a plumber sounds ridiculous when you can do it for yourself for free, even if it takes many, many hours. Of course there are other factors, such as enjoyment and satisfaction, which why so many people enjoy growing their own vegetables. But right now we're focusing on money.

Speaking for myself, since I started doing freelance Graphic Design, I had to set an hourly rate. And when the work was coming in so fast that there didn't seem to be enough hours in the day, I remembered to take some of that money and spend it so that I wouldn't have to stop what I was doing. Of course, usually the work wasn't quite that heavy, and I just postponed things that I needed to do until later. But during busy times stopping the higher-paying work to do things that I could hire out for less money made sense. Of course if I had to stop what I was doing and go supervise I was better off doing it myself, so I hired people who could be trusted to do the job without being watched.

If you're of the opinion that to "do something right you have to do it yourself" you never learned to delegate, or build a team. There are a LOT of things that other people do a lot better than me, and I've always been glad to have these people on my team. In addition to my not having to stop what I'm doing, I know that they'll do as good a job as I would, and probably a whole lot better.

My time has always been valuable, and always will be. When I give it as a gift, to friends, or charities, it's something of value. If people want it for free, I can see that they don't value me, and I simply say "no."

You are the only one who can calculate the value of your time.

July 15, 2019

Why Instagram doesn't allow links on posts

Every once in a while I see someone try to do a link on an Instagram post. And it doesn't work because Instagram doesn't allow links on posts.

If this is confusing to you, it just has to do with how links have been abused on social media. A link, or "hypertext" was what the internet was designed to do - you would click on something and it would take you somewhere else. It was a way to explain more, like I'm doing here, if people cared to read more about it. In fact, the term HTML (which is what all web pages are based on) stands for Hyper Text Markup Language - the whole idea was to connect pages together with hypertext, or links.

Sadly, links became a problem just about right away. Instead of a link taking a person to read more about, it could take a person to some terrible place, or even take them to a scam page. And so links became something that people became suspicious of, and rightly so.

So when Instagram was created, links weren't allowed. You can only do one link, on your bio page, and that's it. If you try to post a link on an Instagram post, it just sits there, looking like a bunch of garbled text - it isn't clickable. That's why you'll often see on an Instagram post: "link in bio", which just means that you have to go to the "about" page for that particular Instagram poster, and look for their link. Of course there's no guarantee that it won't take you somewhere awful, but if you know the Instagram poster, me for example, you know that I don't do that. I'm a good guy, or what the web calls "White Hat" (you know, like cowboys who wore white hats).

Most people who use Instagram will go to a bio page to find out more about a particular Instagram poster. If there's a "dead link", or if the poster has been mistakenly trying to post hyperlinks in posts, you know that they've probably set up some kind of automatic system, which posts from somewhere else, and they're really not on Instagram. This doesn't mean that they're a bad guy, but it does mean that they'll never see your comments, or likes. Many businesses make this mistake, and while it doesn't necessarily mean that they're doing anything wrong, on Instagram doing robotic things always looks a little shady.

My advice has always been to avoid automatic "robot" stuff. If you don't have the time to post something unique on Instagram, then just don't use Instagram. If you like Instagram, use it. I like Instagram a lot, and I look at it, and post on it, every day.

I hope this helps.