Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Interview Series: Jeff Harrison, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite user & Beta Tester from Canada, country of Corel

My Interview series now continues with Jeff Harrison who runs his own business "Macromonster", etcetera in Canada, country of Corel. I interview people I have come to know through Corel forums, and who are fellow beta testers of and fellow CorelDRAW Graphics Suite users. And some of us have met in real life.




Your Name: Jeff Harrison

Websites:

http://macromonster.com
http://coreldraw.com/media/g/jeff/default.aspx
http://www.youtube.com/user/macromonster

http://jeff-harrison.unleash.com/


Style & type of work you produce? 


CorelDRAW Macros, print pieces, signs, web sites, videos, 3D renderings

We are both users of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. What was it that made you discover, and drew you to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite? 


I enjoyed the logical interface and functionality. When starting my business, I tried the demos for Quark Express and Pagemaker, popular programs at that time. Both seemed very sparse with features, and the price was mysteriously much higher for the both of them.

CorelDRAW seemed more sensible in every way. It felt very intuitive to use. Even if I didn't understand all the features yet, at least I could see that there were more available.






What year did you first see CorelDRAW? 


I first saw CorelDRAW 3.0 in 1995. It was being used in a shop as the design software for a vinyl cutting operation.

Which year was it that you'd started your business? 


1998.

Would you recommend CorelDRAW Graphics Suite? 


Of course. :-)



What is that you like with your work? 


I think many people that use CorelDRAW are often a combination no-nonsense business people who have creative leanings, specifically in a commercial capacity. CorelDRAW has helped me earn a reasonable living, and it's a pleasant environment to work within.

In an interview in the Digital Artist Magazine, who interviewed me a few years back, I was asked what I would like to see in future versions of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Is there anything you would like to see? 


Many of the things I'd like to see as features are now macros that we create at http://macromonster.com

Corel made this possible by licensing VBA & VSTA from Microsoft. Before that, CorelScript was used for scripting, which is still used in Corel Photo-PAINT.

From Corel developers, I hope to see both speed and reliability when working with text and complex layouts. Fail-safe industrial dependability would be highly beneficial. That way, all levels of users can trust it to just work; all day... every day.



Beyond that, the easiest thing any software company can do is periodically check out the competitors and what they're including for features in their latest releases.

Many of Corel's competitors have borrowed/stolen ideas from CorelDRAW over the last 15 years. Corel should check out the top 5 competing products annually and develop equivalent features where necessary. Then add a couple new features no one else has ever seen before.

I hope Corel has a formidable policy to prevent industrial espionage. If they don't, then they need to develop some technology, ideas, and vision worth protecting through such a policy.

Do you drink coffee or tea in the morning? 


Coffee. But nothing very fancy like the exotic coffees you enjoy, Stefan. :-D

Haha, currently Jeff I am drinking Italien coffee roaster label Molinari, Espresso Oro. Not overly exotic - but its Italian! :-) , I dont like coffee with oddities such as vanilla and cardemum, but a coffee with a cardemum bun, Swedish Style, is a winner!

What do you think is important to think about running your own business or in your line of work? Is it discipline or and something else? 


Discipline is only required for the mundane components of running a business. The reason is that it's easy to get drawn into the fun parts such as the creative and experimental moments; those happen by themselves.

If someone isn't sales or profit oriented, getting into business may be an ideological or ethical battle for them. There's a toxic, leeching undertone developing across most developed nations that suggests capitalism is a tainted, exploitative concept in general.

However, when we look up and down our streets, practically all people - from all walks of life - earn a living by serving others, for a profit. Unfortunately, those who are successful in business are often envied today, as opposed to being admired.

Hopefully people are getting into a business because they see an opportunity to fill a need in the community, and that they enjoy the work. The money comes later. However, one does not need to wait months or years in order to turn a profit. The great thing about the flexibility of CorelDRAW and Photo-PAINT is that learning them is springboard to a variety of potential services they can sell, relatively quickly, and for a small capital investment.

For someone just starting out, what do you think they should think about?
Some people try to depend on their personalities or social connections to win customers, and that can work initially. However, consistent performance and measurable results are more effective in retaining clients over the long term.

Is there any big change in how and what you worked with when you first started out. Has the business changed in any way?
Actually, not too much. The biggest changes could be that the processing power of our PC's is enormously faster and more capable now. I not convinced that software has improved in an equivalent fashion.

The economy (primarily in the US and some Euro nations) is shaky at the moment due to uncertainty with taxation, regulations, and foreboding public debt. Some consumers have been tentative at parting with their dollars. They’ve become highly selective through product research and careful consideration. This sharpens the marketplace.

The good news? There are emerging nations on the globe which are doing very well with economic growth, excited to embrace the very system that allowed the G7 nations to prosper during the last 150 years.

Due to the internet, the globe has dramatically shrunk over the last decade. Friends and customers can be found across almost all borders. This means enormous opportunity for individuals who refuse to buy into "the sky is constantly falling" mindset. They ignore the naysayers and simply make things happen. They are the opposite of those who basically wait around for something miraculous to happen in their life, without a logical reason for it to take place.



Thomas Jefferson wrote: "there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents."

I agree with that, since regardless of a person's ancestry, gender, or ANY identifiable factor, it's up to each of us to make the most of our own lives under the circumstances we live in. At age 18, each of us chooses to look into our futures with either enthusiasm - or fear.

Priorities and perception are easy to condense when anyone who reads this does a self-assessment. Do you have a computer, electricity, and plumbing? Most people alive don't, so you're already very successful! :-D

So as we sit down today, looking at CorelDRAW or Photo-PAINT... be thankful that they exist in any capacity. Take a moment to reflect on why they exist. If the globe is some kind of Petri dish, there's something special happening in one portion of it... individual freedom. In a relatively tiny sliver of time over the entire span of human existence, each of us can make our dreams come true based on talents, attitude and tenacity. 

So, let’s all make something great with Corel Products today!


Thank you Jeff!
Yes lets create something great today!


Stefan lindblad
January 2012
Copyright Jeff Harrison & Stefan Lindblad




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