Freelancers vs IT Consulting Firms. Pros and Cons.

Digital services is the most outsourced field not just in the USA but in all the world. It’s so great when you find a trusted partner to outsource some work, it can be a freelancer or a company. So you are maybe looking for reason to choose a freelancer over a company or the other way around.

Ok. Based on my own experience, some client’s feedback and market growth I will be 100% honest with you, and will share with you some pros and cons of hiring a freelancer or a company/agency for your next product or project.

What’s the real difference? Where is the secret? Maybe you can think the price is the only most important thing to get in mind, but no. There are more facts that you should consider.

I’m pretty sure that freelancers works and consulting companies/agencies works as well; the difference is on your goals, your budget and timing. If you can get feedback from friends about working with freelancers or companies, it can be a good escenario for you in order to take a good decision.

Now I will how you show pros and cons based on my own experience. Let me say that I have worked with both freelancers and companies at the past for specific projects.

 

👨‍💻❌ Freelancer cons:

  • Some freelancers out there are not working full-time as you expect. They can just disappear from the map and you can’t do much to change it. Remember that freelancers, most of the times, are working in more than one project at the same time. If your project needs a top-level communication skills, and your deadlines are very important, please take note about this.

 

  • Cheapest freelancers are based out of USA, where Internet connection and professional English skills can be a disadvantage to keep meetings, provide product advisement and predict bad events on future.

 

👨‍💻✅ Freelancer pros:

  • One of the best point is favor of freelancers is pricing. They can offer you, sometimes, a better financial proposal because they don’t spend money in other ares that incorporated companies does. For example, most of freelancers works from home, so they don’t need to pay for an office or transportation. Make sense?

 

  • Availability: Some freelancers are more available to accept new businesses almost right away.

 

🏢❌ Company cons:

  • Availability: The best IT consulting firms around the world have excellent but limited designers, developers and marketers assigned to specific current projects. So, if your product needs a to start right away, maybe you will expect that kind of delays. Once you started working with a company, everything will continue fluently. Working with 4Geeks, for example you can expect a complete schedule with meetings, releases and some others important dates.

 

  • Pricing: I’m not pretty sure if pricing is a disadvantage when you partner up with firms or companies, compared with all the value you receive. But if compare this price with freelancer price, you probably will see an increment.

 

🏢✅ Company pros:

  • Professionalism & legal entity: If your product is already in the market, you should not play a different game.

 

  • Product advisement: When you partner up with a company or firm, you are backed by a complete team of consultants, designers, engineers and marketers, who can provide you “free advisement” about your product on specific areas. That’s the power of leverage on a company and its experience.

 

  • One-stop shop: If your project needs more than one guy working full-time or part-time, the company can setup a right team of top talented engineers for you, and it’s really awesome. At the end of the day, if you trust enough in that company, you can outsource all your work to them.

 

 

Providers listings

Platforms like UpWork, Freelancer and People Per Hour are some very good and popular websites to contact and hire freelancers, in almost any category you need…. web programmers, mobile programmers, digital designers, copy writers, data entry, and more.

At the other hand, platforms like Clutch, VenturePact and GoodFirms are popular company listings websites to search a company related to your needs like Digital Marketing, SEO Services, IT Services, E-Commerce Development, Software Development, Blockchain technology and more.

These platforms let you find the right provider by filtering hour rate, customer feedback, years of experience, country/market and more custom filters.

I would love you read your experience, good or bad, working with freelancers or companies. So, please use the comments section below to drop us a line about your past experience.

If you are looking for an IT consulting company, feel free to reach out to us. We focus on helping companies with its product design, product development and product marketing.

Take care!

Introducing #GeekCapsule videos series

You have been a star follower for months (or years), and you already know the genuine passion we put on doing every single thing; every single project, every single product. We never will stop to do that.

Couple months ago we started a podcast; all you invited to listening.

I’m pretty happy because a couple days we published the first #GeekCapsule video (introduction). So, what the hell is #GeekCapsule? Simple: it’s videos series, interactive, about business, product design, product development and product marketing.

The plan is create and share with all you our experience and knowledge in fields that we are experts.

So, feel free to subscribe our YouTube channel in order to get notifications when a new topic is up, and share with your community and business network on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

I would like to use this opportunity to ask you: What’s topics is more critical for your business at this moment? What business problems are you facing? Please share with me your comments below.

Best.

Introducing Product Marketing Services

For years we have been supporting companies by designing (Product Design) and developing (Product Development) their own digital products, like mobile apps, web systems, chatbots, cloud services and so.

We have accumulated a lot of experience on turning simple business on successful products. Prove to yourself by browsing the Portfolio page. Remember you can download a full case study for some projects here.

We really understand how difficult is to launch and to keep a product profitable, because of multiple facts. To be honest with you, tons of products will never achieve business stability.

Today, we are closing the circle. We’re happy to announce you that our team will also support product marketing services, focused on $3M+ in revenue companies. Now you can get all you need in a same place. And I think this is a very positive fact, because designing and engineering team can be so close to the marketing team.

If includes a wide variety of services but I can mention:

  • Setup and manage marketing strategies
  • Branding
  • Social Media
  • Paid Media (CPC, CPM) on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn
  • Blogging and SEO
  • Email Marketing
  • Growth Hacking techniques and more.

For now, we are just accepting an small batch of products to market a month, in regions like United States and Latin America.

Guys, you know we love to share 100% valued content with you, so take a look at product Marketing category in order to learn more tips, specially written for CMOs and Head of Sales about how to attract more leads through digital marketing and growth hacking techniques.

All of you out there, are you facing sales and marketing challenges? Feel free to drop us a line in order to understand your start point and show the way to the next level. If you hate contact forms 🙂 you can pick a date to talk with me.

How We Built a Real Chatbot for Google Assistant, Step by Step

I know a lot of software companies blogging about top emerging technologies, and talking about how easy can be create a product by implementing technologies like Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and so. There are hundred of people requesting attention out there.

Instead of talking, 4Geeks is building and creating products; and today I would like to show you how we built a real chatbot for Google Assistant… for example purposes.

 

Google Assistant is the engine running on Google Home (smart speakers – similar to Amazon Alexa), mobile phones, websites, watches and cars. Yep, cars. Take a look at this video to understand Google Assistant scope.

A chatbot basically is a program with capability to understand natural language (English, Spanish, French…) and trigger orders.

We have been sharing a lot of valued content for developers and decision makers about the unmeasurable power of Artificial Intelligence for so many industries.

Step by step

Please, look at the following 52-min video (please enable captions) where I built a real chatbot, step by step. For this demo I used some technologies like DialogFlow, to send orders and interact with Google Assistant on a natural-language way.

 

If you want to learn more about text-based and voice-based chatbots, maybe you want to listen this podcast episode where Sergio and I talked about chatbots. If you need help with your business processes automation, just let us know.

Have any questions? Please use the comments below.

Why 4Geeks is Different to Other IT Firms? Here is 3 Key Points To Understand It

Hi there! In a varied market is important to identify the actors (the real ones). I started this article to show the differences between 4Geeks and other software companies or agencies.

As I said before: “we hate to compare talent, but many people get confused, and they believe that pricing is an advantage”.

Sergio and I founded 4Geeks because bad experiences with other software companies, related in most cases with a misinterpretation of the market. We firmly believe in personal relationships as the engine of a healthy company, both for customers and employees.

Please let me explain you, in 4 key points why 4Geeks is not like a regular software company:

Key #1: Family first

If you come to the office, you can see all team members are a truth family. I’m not kidding. In a family they take care of each other, in all aspects; and that is exactly what happens in 4Geeks.

What would you be able to do for your own family? Everything you can. We too.

The following video is a slide of a weekend team at the beach apartment singing She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5. We are not responsible for possible issues on your ears. Then if you plan to sleep tonight like a baby with no nightmares here is the original song. 🙂

 

Key #2: Continuos learning habits

In 4Geeks it’s forbidden to do nothing for yourself, that is why we encourage each team member to improve their skills, both personal and technical, in order to become the people they want to become.

My partner Sergio is in charge of culture here in 4Geeks, and he implements a Career Path. It’s a plan to measure and to empower the team, one-to-one.

Ivan and Diego in meeting with Sergio

Technical skills are important, but personal development is in the mainstream.

Byron, Allan and Diego practicing boxing.

 

Key #3: Driven by passion. 10X mindset.

We are not simple coders, designers or consultants. We have an entrepreneurial mindset. Family and passion are two of our best team features, and we have some methods to recognize a “driven by passion” people.

Byron practicing swimming

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” —Les Brown.

The last month we did a workshop about dreams, and how to materialize it by visualization. It’s a ver huge gun! In the following video you can see some team members explaining their “dream paths”. Feel free to replicate it in your company.

 

A couple weeks ago we published a business article that puts 4Geeks and Indian (and other) companies face to face. I really love all of them, but I hope this can help you understand better the main benefits of working with 4Geeks vs other agencies and companies around the globe.

Have questions or want to come to visit us? You already knows what to do.

Until next. Bye!

4 Main Benefits of Using a Cloud Storage Service on Your Product

Hello there! Today I want to put in perspective one of the most powerful tools of Cloud Computing on modern products. Any kind of product, any industry… it may be a SaaS or PaaS.

If you already know what cloud storage is, good. But if don’t have idea what is it, let me explain you in a few words: Cloud storage is a cloud computing model in which data is stored on remote servers accessed from the internet. That’s it. And there are some excellent providers in the game like Amazon Web Services (AWS S3), Google Cloud Storage and Microsoft Azure Storage.

One of my favorite cloud storage providers is Google Cloud Storage. Why? Listen to this podcast episode when I talked, with Sergio, about this service, pros and cons.

Some popular services like Netflix, Uber, Coca-Cola, Spotify and Mall4G are storing a huge size of objects on cloud storage, keeping a good server performance and scaling as much they can.

Let me know detail you the 4 main benefits of using cloud storage on your current or next product, and why founders love it:

Benefit #1: Better product performance – auto CDN.

More and more product owners are splitting assets (images, CSS, videos, fonts…) to upload it to a cloud storage service because they already how fast and secure is the content delivery rate. So, it means two advantages: don’t overcharge main servers and leveraging on a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to delivery objects to users browser or phone app.

When the 4Geeks team integrated a storage service on Appetito24 (food delivery app), users in different regions automatically obtained an improvement in the mobile app and web administration panel: 65% faster.

Here the map of Google Cloud Platform datacenter locations around the world.

Google Cloud Platform datacenter locations

 

And here is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure datacenter location around the world.

Amazon and Azure datacenter locations

Benefit #2: Money saving

This is one of the most important advantages of cloud storage, because the current providers have very competitive billing plans. The price may vary depending on the provider, but I can say that starts from $0.026 USD per Gigabyte per month.

Now you can figure out the price to store a movie on a cloud storage service.

Google, for example, offers a free quota of 5GB per month.

 

Benefit #3: Good for a recovery plan

I know some traditional companies, like Despacho Carvajal in Costa Rica, that are hosting its important docs, images and videos on a cloud storage service as its main backup plan. Store unlimited objects, 100% private (or public– you choose.).

Google Cloud Storage, for example, can manage different versions of a single object; so it make possible to rollback as much you need to get a preview object version. This is so powerful.

 

Benefit #4: Scalable service

Founders know the power of scalability. Please imagine for a few seconds: Netflix uploads a movie one single time, and it can appears instantly on all TVs, computers, phones and tables around the globe. By magic.

 

Security deserves a complete article, which I will publish soon for you.

As always, if you need help to migrate your product assets to a cloud storage service, please feel free to pick a date to autogenerate an online meeting with me. Or if just looking for more information, write us at any time. The engineering team can assist you to take a good decision for your company.

Appetito24 Partner Up With 4Geeks to Deliver Food in Panama

Have you hear about Appetito24 before? Yes? Cool. No? Well, it’s a food delivery app where users can order food from their favorite restaurant in the city to their house or office, in Panama.

In this field you can find some providers similar to Appetito24, like Uber Eats, Glovo, Eat24, Instacart and Amazon.

I’m very proud to tell you that 4Geeks engineering and design team helps to Appetito24 run, by making possible that the mobile app to be up and running. It sound easy to say, but it’s a titanic work. Details counts.

Plus to order food by the mobile app, users can buy market products directly from home (chicken, eggs, cheese, apples, etc).

Nowadays the app serves more than 200K users, and tons of orders daily.

  

Appetito24 CEO Enrique Valencia says this about 4Geeks:

We have been closely working with 4Geeks for months, developing in different languages for our ongoing operations in Central America. Support/Quality and delivery time are always met. We look forward to continue doing business with them in this and new projects to come.

Appetito24 is today under the PedidosYa group. PedidosYa is right now delivering food in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Panama and Uruguay.

Get more details about the work we did on this product, like the technology stack, the solution we implement and some extra key points, by visiting the case study page. Also, if you are curious person,  take a look at the 4Geeks Product Development Cycle to get know how we design and build products like Appetito24.

So guys, if you are in Panama and you are so hungry, just download the mobile app for Android and iOS.

4Geeks is a product development and design company. If you need help with your product, no matter your product stage, become a client. We have a robust engineering team

Bon appetit!

4 Keys to Get Your First Product Customers

Hi guys! Thanks so much for be there. In this occasion I want to share with you some points about how to get your first customers.

You already know that engineering skills are required to be successful with your product… but we are missing a very special thing: sales! It can be the next Netflix, the next Facebook or whatever big thing to want. If we don’t have paid customers, we actually have a hobby.

I’m obsessed with grow products around the globe, and you need to be as well. “Successful is our duty” says Grant Cardone.

So, in this post I will share with you 4 points to need to pay attention:

#1 Focus on your customers, not in your product.

Most founders don’t understand this. On your business, the customer is the king. Again: focus on your customers, not in your product. Finally your customer makes your product real, so, please listen to them.

Put your customer first always.

#2 Be obsessed with data analytics.

What gets measured, gets managed“.  If you are head of product, you must to love charts and data analytics.

You need to be familiar with Google Analytics, Firebase Analytics, Kissmetrics, Google Data Studio or Microsoft BI.

#3 Build empathy with your community.

Listen, listen, listen. Close your fucking mouth and listen again. Don’t move a single finger before to know how it can improve your community goals.

Start a Facebook Group, WhatsApp chat, Slack channel or whatever you what to keep in touch with your community members. Answer frequently common questions publicly, maybe on YouTube Live or Facebook Live.

Notice that I said community, not audience.

#4 Don’t sale… share value.

You don’t want they sell you a house, but you want to buy a house. It’s a different point of view that you need to focus in order to insert as much value as you can. Expose your talent, where people can evaluate your skills and experience. Help people to solve problems.

 

Finally I would like to invite you to watch my webinar when I talked about how to convert your simple visitors into paid customers, in B2B. It’s a simple cycle that you need to customize.

What’s your biggest problem to grow and scale your product? Write in the comments.

If you need help with your product design and development, just let me know. Here at 4Geeks we have a strong skilled team ready to help you. Want to see the portfolio? Go ahead! Contact us at any time.

4Geeks is Recognized as one leading B2B Company in Latin America

Guys, you already know how we love share the best with you and customer on each product we build. I’m very happy to announce that Clutch just featured 4Geeks as top software development company in Costa Rica.

Clutch just published a press release about Leading Service Providers in Central America and the Caribbean . Over 65 companies were named the best business service providers in their respective countries based on client feedback, work quality, services offered, and market presence.

Clutch is an independent Washington, DC research company busy with identifying leading software and professional services firms that deliver the best results for their clients.

A variety of industry segments were featured in the report, including marketing, design, development and IT services. Clutch Analysts conducted in-depth research by interviewing and verifying each company’s clients to evaluate work quality and client feedback.

SmarterSelect CEO Robert Davis, one of happy customers says:

We have been very happy with 4Geeks as our dedicated development team. They work extremely well with our Product Manager on meeting our requirements. And, they use very professional standards for coding and development documentation.

If you want to learn more about 4Geeks I suggest to subscribe our newsletter to receive our latest content, it includes blog posts, webinars, podcasts and more.

If you want to become a client, let’s talk.

Happy week!

Buying Items Securely Through Google Assistant

Voice services game players are doing a great job on enabling new ways to make life easier by using its voice products. In particular Google is pushing hard to

Customers already knows that people don’t just want to get know the weather forecast or something like that. They demand more value and smart solutions. Put simply, they want an easier way to get their shopping tasks done.

Recently (March 2018) Google announced Shopping Actions to let user to order products from stores directly from a simple web search, Google Assistant or any “Google place”.

In addition, Shopping Actions uses a pay-per-sale model, meaning you only pay when a sale actually takes place. Shopping Actions appear within the sponsored Shopping Unit on the Google Search page, and on Google.com/Shopping. No organic rankings are impacted or changed.

Source: Google Blog

So far, Google is encouraging companies to see it as an ally against Amazon. “We have taken a fundamentally different approach from the likes of Amazon because we see ourselves as an enabler of retail…We see ourselves as part of a solution for retailers to be able to drive better transactions,” Google’s president for retail and shopping Daniel Alegre told Reuters.

Google explains the main features of Shopping Actions to retail and e-Commerce industries:

  • Surface your products on new platforms like the Google Assistant with voice shopping.
  • Help your customers shop effortlessly with you, across Google. A shareable list, universal shopping cart and instant checkout with saved payment credentials work across Google.com and the Google Assistant — allowing your customers to seamlessly turn browsing into buying.
  • Increase loyalty and engagement with your highest value customers.

 

Over the past 6 months, Target said the number of items in shoppers’ Google Express baskets have increased by nearly 20 percent, on average, as a result of its tie-up with the internet company.

From now every single Google user (from mobile devices, desktop or Google Home) can buy products directly by voice.

Remember: Smart voice devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home will be installed in 55 percent of U.S. households by 2022, according to Juniper Research. This is a great opportunity to increase sales and engage users.

If you are into e-Commerce or retail industry and want to reach out more customers nation wide, please contact us to refer you the Google Shopping Action program.