Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August I&A

A brief update:  the August I&A is being finalized, but may require some work on Saturday to complete given my new schedule.  I now teach five days a week instead of my more typical two, but I can't complain.  As such you may see it in your inbox during the first week of September rather than over the weekend.
There are two outstanding contributor pieces focusing on China and Pakistan, as well as two pieces of my own covering air defense updates in the Caucasus region and a new method of classifying military locations in Google Earth (or any other GIS program for that matter).
Remember that September will be a new issue, but October will not; October will be an updated, consolidated Russia-centric issue.  Then November will be new, and December will be a repeat of October but China-focused.

Also, the next Jane's Intelligence Review contains an article I wrote covering present and future upgrades to Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal.  We got some great satellite imagery in there of some of the new Voronezh BMEW radars, and a few other interesting locations.

Lastly, if you heard someone on Voice of America talking about SAMs in Syria...yeah, that was me.
I'll get back to work now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I&A, the Business Model. Or something.

So I'm trying to wrap my brain around a way to get out there and use my brain to generate additional sources of money.  Which CFO-House usually transforms into apparel, or VP-Destruction demands for whatever the latest toy on the market is, but that's another issue entirely! 

My current line of thinking is some sort of consulting or analytical service, which I mentioned last month. 

First, a few disclaimers.

1.  Everything posted here is and will always remain free of charge.  The same goes for the I&A PDF.  I do those because I find it interesting, and because I'm apparently good at it, or so I'm told.

2.  Also free:  academic-related help.  I've assisted people who've contacted me with various things from finding sources to reviewing theses.  If you've got a question along those lines, or any other general question of amusement, don't hesitate to contact me.  You won't be getting a bill!

I've obviously started channeling brainwaves into cash deposits via my work with IHS Jane's, and will begin to pursue other similar opportunities as well.

The point of my new idea is to offer a fee-based service to, well, pretty much anyone, providing detailed analysis or imagery interpretation.  I haven't completely thought this through yet, with questions such as "do I need to set up a legitimate business" or "is there red tape to cut" still in the future.

The question right now remains:  is there a market?  Which can be translated as:  do you know of anyone who would benefit from such a service?  Pass my e-mail along to anyone you can think of that might be in the market for this kind of work.  Foreign clients are certainly acceptable, provided they aren't asking me to do something illegal under US law.

The idea is to take on analytical or analysis tasks and do the groundwork, delivering a finished product to a user.  The product can be a document, a KML file, or an annotated image or map.

The one caveat here is that if a user requests imagery-based analysis, they may have to provide externally-sourced imagery.  When we use imagery in Jane's, it's purchased directly from a provider so they have the rights to use it "for profit" (and lets us use imagery that's typically far more current than you can find in Google Earth).  I'll have to look into the guidelines a bit more from Google to see what's what with this issue.  Incidentially this is one of the main reasons I&A will never cost you a dime, because it prevents me from having to purchase rights to the imagery!

As far as a pricing system goes, I haven't thought too far on that either.  But I'm certainly not interested in making this my plan to join the 1 Percent, or throwing myself into an obnoxious tax bracket.  I do intend to use a per-project fee, rather than an hourly rate system, because it makes things a lot easier to deal with and I don't have to justify spending seven hours looking at one single image.

Once I get a better idea of the entire process, the pricing plan, and whatnot, I'll post a PDF file here outlining the way things will work.  I should probably get something together containing my areas of expertise and professional experience as well, that'd probably help.

So, is this a good idea, or have I completely lost my mind?

Which is always a distinct possibility.