Hump Day Hardware: Expensive Hardware?

January 7, 2009

What defines expensive hardware? Some would say it is purely a price tag with a large number of dollars. For those who define it simply by a number, the actual number would vary. Today I’d prefer to discuss the value of hardware. I don’t feel the price itself determines whether or not the hardware is expensive.

The same hardware may be prohibitively expensive to one user and a true bargain for another simply based on how they use the hardware. I’ll explain a bit further with an example.

For my example, I’ll discuss usage of a dedicated garment printer. Depending on the machine chosen, the price could range from $15,000 and up. There are also options available on many devices which could affect the price. The first user already has a number of customers desiring full-color short run t-shirts and knows CorelDRAW very well. This means they should be able to keep the machine busy and they will rarely have wasted shirts from artwork mistakes. The second user knows the garment printer will help their business. They aren’t very good at sales and only bought CorelDRAW because they knew it could send artwork to the printer. Since they don’t know what they are doing at first, they waste a lot of shirts.

It is pretty obvious the printer was a bargain for the first user. Heck, they could probably pay off the cost of the hardware in the first month or two. The second user may struggle with the printer for a few months before giving up and trying to sell the printer to recoup some of the cost.

Of course the second user may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’ve certainly met people that fit the profile really well. They didn’t always have a garment printer, it may have been a wide format printer, a laser engraver or some other high dollar piece of equipment. I can’t tell you why they bought the equipment, but they certainly weren’t willing to invest the time and effort to get the most out of it.

Often I’m in front of a room where I have some of each type of user in attendance. Trying to teach material applicable to both is very difficult since their level of CorelDRAW knowledge is on completely different levels. The knowledgeable user is always trying to learn that one new tip to save even more time and the new user is flustered at how much they need to learn.

Whether you are learning CorelDRAW or any other graphics software, you aren’t going to learn it overnight. It is much like learning to play the piano. It takes time and practice. But with that time and practice comes the ability to profit from that “expensive” software because you’ll be producing better artwork in less time and getting the most from the device. Obviously I’m very biased that good training can help you dramatically. If you need to learn more, my CorelDRAW X4 Unleashed ebook and CorelDRAW Unleashed Boot Camps are a bargain based on the productivity you’ll gain. If you aren’t getting the most from your hardware, this is a great way to turn things around.

This same argument can be turned towards a good computer system or even the latest version of some software. If you are constantly waiting on the computer to finish a task, then a faster system could help you regain some of that wasted time. Maybe a bigger monitor would help you be more efficient. I got a 30″ monitor almost two years ago and it was one of the best investments I ever made. If the latest version of software had a new feature that saved you five or ten minutes a day, then it will probably pay for itself quickly. Often it will save even more.

If are you thinking about buying some new equipment, make a plan for how you will profit from it. If training will help you be more profitable, don’t dismiss it. Sure, I hope that you will consider my training. But I also realize that there may be other types of training that are needed. And you should plan to get a new computer at least every three or four years just because of the time a faster computer can save. Time is money!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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