Bredemarket tips for aspiring freelancers (the 8/23/2021 10:15am edition)

I have marketed myself as the biometric content marketing expert and the biometric proposal writing expert.

Now I’m marketing myself as the freelancing expert.

“But John,” you may ask, “how can you do this? Yes, you are making money freelancing, but there are freelancers who are making a LOT more money than you are, who are working from exotic locales and are well known.”

Well, at least the locale is exotic, even if the hardware is very 20th century and the scribe only has anonymous Wikipedia/Flickr fame. By Rita Banerji – flickr, CC BY 2.0,

Before I succumb to imposter syndrome, let me assert that I DO have some tips to offer based on my experience. Frankly, all of us do. Even if you’ve only been freelancing for a week, you’ve probably learned something that someone who has never freelanced would NOT know. So share it.

Before you read my tips, note an important point. I’ll caveat my tips by stating that MY experience may not necessarily apply to YOUR experience, and that sometimes it’s good to ignore the experts (or so-called experts). You need to do what is best for you.

How do I know that I have tips to offer?

Because someone whom I met via the Freelancers Union (see the link on the word “ignore” above) just asked me for advice, and by the time I was done answering her questions, I had written a LONG email.

So I figured that I’d share parts of the email (the portions that were NOT specific to her) with you.

I almost considered putting the Bredemarket Premium tag on this and making you pay to read it, but I’m not THAT much of a freelancing expert. (Yet.)

We’ll get to the whole topic of personal pictures later. This picture was taken in 1980 or 1981, but doesn’t necessarily reflect my business or show my expertise. (And yes, I’m terrible at darts.)

As I said, these are edited versions of my responses to the Freelancers Union contact, with some additions as I thought of other things. (I forgot to mention to my Freelancers Union contact that repurposing is important, and iteration is important.)

So, here goes.

If I offer multiple, potentially very different services, is it too overwhelming to list all of my services on a single page?

For purposes of this discussion, I’m going to assume that the “single page” is a LinkedIn company page or a Facebook business page. (In many cases, it’s best to separate your freelancing page from your personal page. Again, some disagree with me.)

If you think that all of your multi-services are too much to list on one page, then you have the option of creating “showcase” pages to highlight specific aspects of what you do. For example, if you wanted to differentiate two different sets of services, you could create two separate showcase pages.

Using myself as an example, I have segmented my customers into markets: the identity (biometrics / secure documents) specific market (my primary market), the general technology market, and the general business market. I don’t even target the general business market on LinkedIn (I do on Facebook), but I’ve created showcase pages for the other two.

The Bredemarket Identity Firm Services page on LinkedIn. Of course, your view of this page will vary; I doubt that 116 of the showcase page’s followers are in YOUR network.

I have a similar structure on Facebook.

In addition, my website also has targeted pages. I won’t show examples here (EDIT: I didn’t share links in my original email to the contact, but I did share links in this new post), but I have a page that’s just targeted for general identity, multiple pages targeted for the biometric aspect of identity, one targeted for the content marketing aspect of biometrics, one for the proposal writing aspect of biometrics, etc. Therefore, if I’m talking to someone about biometric proposals, I can just send the link to the biometric proposal writing expert page.

I actually market on Twitter (@jebredcal), but I don’t go into that level of segmentation there. In fact, my Twitter account isn’t even solely devoted to my consulting. In that case, I don’t feel it worthwhile to create segmented Twitter accounts for my various submarkets, but it may be different for others. 

However you slice and dice your market, dedicated pages for specific market segments allow for a more targeted experience. And the good thing is that it’s all free. (I actually pay for my website, but it could be free if I were fine with a URL.)

How do I compensate for my liabilities?

TL;DR talk about your strengths.

In my case, I compensate for what I don’t do by emphasizing what I do.

I did not draw this myself. Originally created by Jleedev using Inkscape and GIMP. Redrawn as SVG by Ben Liblit using Inkscape. – Own work, Public Domain,

For example, I do NOT create graphics (stick figures exhaust my capabilities), so my marketing materials emphasize my creation of text.

In addition, as I stated earlier, I emphasize the markets that I DO address – I talk a lot about biometrics/secure documents/identity, some about technology, and a little bit about general business.

And I don’t talk about graphics at all. (Whoops, I guess I just did.)

I’d like to use a photo of myself to personalize my service. What photo should I use?

If I were you, I’d take a minute to think about the picture you want to use. How will this picture show that you are the best provider for your specific service in the entire universe? What should be in the background?

  • For example, if you’re a master coder, should you have a computer screen behind you with something specific on the screen?
  • If you’re a writer, should you have a bookcase or perhaps an entire library behind you?
  • If you’re a certified forensic expert, should you show a murder scene behind you? (Maybe not.)

Look at it from the point of view of a potential customer – would I want to do business with this person? 

Of course, different marketing efforts call for different pictures. I actually had a reason to use the 1980-1981 t-shirt picture that I posted toward the beginning of this post: I was talking about the fact that I have been writing since my college days. And at other times, I use a Users Conference picture in which I am talking about a smartphone app that I populated. It just depends on the context.

What question from the Freelancers Union contact received a response that I am not posting here?

She asked one additional question about other reasonable ways to get her service out there. With one exception, I chose not to post my full response to that question here for two reasons:

  • First, my response contained some very specific details about the nature of my business that I have chosen not to share with the general public. If you really want to hear that part of the discussion, I’ll create a Bredemarket Premium post and make you pay to read the response.
  • Second, my response was a very good example of “your mileage may vary.” For example, I noted that I have not had success with a particular freelancing service, but noted that many other people HAVE had success with that same service.

So what’s the exception? In response to a specific comment that my contact made, I offered this response:

You never know when your existing network will yield opportunities.

I’m not going to print the rest of the paragraph from my email to my contact, but suffice it to say that the majority of Bredemarket’s business has been won as a result of people who knew me at IDEMIA, MorphoTrak, Motorola, or even Printrak.

  • Some worked with me and became “free agents” at the same time that I did.
  • Some worked with me but left long before I did.
  • Some used to work for competitors.
  • Some are now working for large companies, others small companies, and others are sole proprietors.
  • In some cases my contact directly asked me to consult, while in other cases the my contact talked to other people (sometimes in other companies) who asked me to consult.

In the end, you never know when those contacts you made months or years or decades ago may result in something new…not just in business, but in life.

P.S. One more thing: content calendars.

And now I’m waiting for tangible collateral

I guess this is the fourth post in a series. See posts one, two, and three.

I’ll quickly sum up all of those prior posts to say that I ordered some business cards.

Anyway, I have finally ordered some business cards, which should arrive before my in-person event next week.

I was able to follow the progress of my order via a handy dandy link to the shipper’s website. I won’t name the shipper, but it does a lot of federal business and offers a variety of services, including express services.

Initially the service said that my cards wouldn’t arrive until this week, but then the anticipated delivery date was revised to Tuesday, August 10.

So I watched as my package moved from Henderson, Nevada to Bloomington, California, less than 20 miles from Bredemarket’s world headquarters.

The package stayed in Bloomington for a few days before moving again.

To Deming, New Mexico.

My last report indicated that the package had arrived in Fort Worth, Texas, and would be delivered by Thursday, August 19.

The day AFTER my meeting.

I guess I should have ordered business cards a year ago. Oh well, better late than never.

But I have a workaround. I’ve created a handout that includes an image of my business card.

It won’t fit in a business card holder, but it’s better than nothing.

Incidentally, I haven’t bothered to upload the PDF of this particular data sheet to the Bredemarket website, since it’s really intended for in-person distribution. If you want to find out about the Bredemarket 400 and Bredemarket 2800 services, you can skip the QR codes and just use these links:

And there’s one service that I DON’T mention on this particular sheet (except for my reference to “other services”) because it’s not of primary interest to the market I’m addressing in my meeting this week. However, if your needs don’t fit into a standard package, Bredemarket can offer services at an hourly rate. This service (Bredemarket 4000 Long Writing Service) doesn’t have a PDF handout, but does have a web page.

Which I just updated with the details from my revision to my content creation process.

Again, better late than never.

What do you believe?

As my regular readers know, I’ve recently spent some time refining my content creation process for Bredemarket’s clients. As part of this, I’ve made a point of emphasizing some key points that need to be established at the beginning of a client engagement with someone like you, including the following:

  • Your overall GOAL. The content Bredemarket creates must advance your goal.
  • Your perceived BENEFITS. The content Bredemarket creates must communicate your benefits.
  • Your TARGET AUDIENCE. The content Bredemarket creates must speak to your target audience.

To use a simple example, if your goal is to have local law enforcement agencies request formal quotes from you, your benefits include your experience working as a certified latent fingerprint examiner, and your target audience is the forensic, records, and/or IT departments of local law enforcement agencies, then I have failed if Bredemarket’s generated content talks about general business topics with no reference to law enforcement or fingerprints.

Beyond goals, benefits, or target audiences

However, I realize that there’s an implicit assumption that there is something that is at an even higher level than goals, benefits, or target audiences.

That “something” is your beliefs. (I speak in a business sense here, by the way, although your beliefs in general can impact how you do business.)

Because your beliefs underpin everything that you do.

We are influenced by many factors that ripple through our minds as our beliefs form, evolve, and may eventually change. By User:Lbeaumont based on image by Mila / Brocken Inaglory – This file has been extracted from another file: Multy droplets impact.JPG, CC BY-SA 3.0,

They are the (sometimes unspoken) foundation that effects the goals you set, the benefits you offer, the audiences you target, and even whether you will meet with a client at 6:00 in the morning local time. (There are pros and cons to taking 6am meetings; it’s not a one-size-fits-all decision. More about that later.)

Beliefs of sole proprietors

The influence of beliefs on a business is obviously clearest when I as a consultant deal with other sole proprietors, because sole proprietors by definition have great control over how they do business.

Because of my background, many of the sole proprietors that I know are people who were formerly in the corporate world, but left it for some reason (sometimes by choice, sometimes not). Universally, these sole proprietors have seen things in the corporate world that they like, but have also seen corporate practices that they DO NOT like. Now that they’re in business for themselves, these sole proprietors have resolved that their business will never do these bad things.

I don’t want to single out any of the sole proprietors that I know, so I’m going to make up an example.

Beth Smith spent two years working for Pay By Touch, an early pioneer in digital identity that was in some respects ahead of its time. Even when founded in the early 2000s, the concept was solid: rather than having to drag out a credit card to make a payment, a grocery store shopper or other consumer could simply touch his or her finger against a fingerprint reader, securely allowing the consumer to pay by touch. Unfortunately, the leadership of the firm was not so good, and the company itself eventually went bankrupt.


Several years later, when digital identity became a hot topic, Beth Smith decided to re-enter the industry on her own. But she decided that a key belief of her business would be ethical behavior. No cocaine binges or unpaid bills would sully the reputation of Beth Smith Identity Services.

From this key belief, you can extrapolate how it would be reflected in Beth Smith’s goals, benefits, and target audience. For example, if you’re an illegal drug dealer, don’t even bother to ask Beth Smith Identity Services for a quote. She won’t talk to you.

Perhaps my made-up example is outrageous (then again, Pay By Touch’s founder John P. Rogers was pretty outrageous himself), but I’ve seen how similar beliefs (shaped by experience) have influenced other sole proprietors that I know.

  • If a sole proprietor is angered by the glacial nature of multinational decision-making, that proprietor will emphasize quick delivery to accelerate client business and satisfaction.
  • If a sole proprietor is disheartened because their former employer ignored a specific product, service, or market, that proprietor will prioritize that product/service/market and bring their unique talents to that market.
  • If a sole proprietor is frustrated by the prevalence of one-size-fits-all cookie cutter solutions, that proprietor will prioritize responsiveness to a customer’s unique needs to ensure that the customer receives the best possible service.

But how do you discover a sole proprietor’s beliefs?

If I were interviewing you, I probably wouldn’t ask you what your key beliefs are. Perhaps I should (although that’s a rather personal question), but so far I haven’t needed to do so. If I already know you from past associations, I already know what your beliefs are. And if I don’t know you but just generally ask you about yourself and your business, your beliefs will probably come through in your conversation with me. If you spend a half hour talking with someone, you can learn all sorts of things. (But if you’re talking with me, my Calendly calendar doesn’t include 6am appointments.)

Beliefs of corporate employees

In terms of beliefs, a corporation is very different from a sole proprietor.

I know this from personal experience. The first multinational corporation that employed me was Motorola. This was before Motorola split into two entities, Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility.

During my period as a Motorola employee, the company had three leaders: Christopher Galvin, Edward Zander, and Greg Brown. While these leaders could set the direction for the company, they could not completely influence the beliefs of every member. It isn’t like all of the tens of thousands of Motorola employees immediately changed direction when Zander replaced Galvin, even though the two had distinctly different styles.

Galvin is a quiet, reserved, man who is perhaps contemplative and reflective to a fault. He believed in layers of management and many meetings that often kept Motorola from responding quickly to dynamic market circumstances. While not prone to take credit for successes, he always said the buck stopped with him when things didn’t go well. Zander, a freewheeling showman, is a boisterous, energetic, fast-moving Brooklyn native who often shoots from the hip or the lip.

I have never spoken with Galvin, Zander, or Brown, and I don’t think I’ve ever been in the same room with Galvin or Zander. Greg Brown advanced in Motorola’s hierarchy before becoming CEO, so I’m sure that I was in the same room with him at some point in my Motorola career.

So Galvin’s, Zander’s, and Brown’s influence on me and my beliefs was somewhat limited.

I was much more influenced by my direct supervisors, other directors and managers at Motorola’s Anaheim and Irvine offices, and selected people from Schaumburg, Plantation, Phoenix, Canada, and elsewhere who interacted with me on a daily basis.

The same holds true with my consulting business.

While I am technically delivering Bredemarket’s services to companies (including some large multinational companies), in reality I am delivering my services to Director Jim at Company X or Vice President Carol at Company Y. Director Jim and VP Carol have their own goals, perceived benefits, and target audiences…and their own beliefs.

When Bredemarket is delivering something to Director Jim, and is considering various options, there are times when I say to myself “Director Jim wouldn’t go for that.” Or if I’m delivering something to VP Carol, it will occur to me that she would really prefer a particular way of doing things.

Again, a consultant may not explicitly ask a corporate employee about their beliefs, but if the consultant regularly talks to the client, those beliefs will come out in the course of conversation.

What are MY beliefs?

This is the “physician heal thyself” portion of the post.

As you may have gathered from this post, I don’t always expect a sole proprietor or corporate employee to explicitly delineate their beliefs, perhaps because I can’t envision myself doing something like that. If I were talking to you as a potential client, it would feel brazen for me to declare, “This is what I believe.” Beliefs are personal, after all.

But even if I don’t explicitly state my beliefs, I need to make sure that they are reflected in Bredemarket’s goals, benefits, and target audiences.

How is my self-proclaimed status as a biometric content marketing expert and a biometric proposal writing expert influenced by my underlying beliefs?

What are YOUR beliefs?

For this post, I’ll dispense with my usual call to action to contact me if Bredemarket can help you. (Actually, I didn’t dispense with it, since I just wrote it.)

But I WILL ask you to think about something, whether you are a sole proprietor, a corporate employee, or a guy who used to be everyone’s best friend and is now having fun.

Think about your beliefs.

  1. What are they?
  2. How do they influence how you conduct business?
  3. Finally, would you explicitly state your beliefs, or would you prefer that your beliefs be reflected by what you do?

More on the Israeli master faces study

Eric Weiss of FindBiometrics has opined on the Tel Aviv master faces study that I previously discussed.

Oops, wrong “Faces.” Oh well. By Warner Bros. Records – Billboard, page 18, 14 November 1970, Public Domain,

While he does not explicitly talk about the myriad of facial recognition algorithms that were NOT addressed in the study, he does have some additional details about the test dataset.

The three algorithms that were tested

Here’s what FindBiometrics says about the three algorithms that were tested in the Israeli study.

The researchers described (the master faces) as master keys that could unlock the three facial recognition systems that were used to test the theory. In that regard, they challenged the Dlib, FaceNet, and SphereFace systems, and their nine master faces were able to impersonate more than 40 percent of the 5,749 people in the LFW set.

While it initially sounds impressive to say that three facial recognition algorithms were fooled by the master faces, bear in mind that there are hundreds of facial recognition algorithms tested by NIST alone, and (as I said earlier) the test has NOT been duplicated against any algorithms other than the three open source algorithms mentioned.

…let’s look at the algorithms themselves and evaluate the claim that results for the three algorithms Dlib, FaceNet, and SphereFace can naturally be extrapolated to ALL facial recognition algorithms….NIST’s subsequent study…evaluated 189 algorithms specially for 1:1 and 1:N use cases….“Tests showed a wide range in accuracy across developers, with the most accurate algorithms producing many fewer errors.”

In short, just because the three open source algorithms were fooled by master faces doesn’t mean that commercial grade algorithms would also be fooled by master faces. Maybe they would be fooled…or maybe they wouldn’t.

What about the dataset?

The three open source algorithms were tested against the dataset from Labeled Faces in the Wild. As I noted in my prior post, the LFW people emphasize some important caveats about their dataset, including the following:

Many groups are not well represented in LFW. For example, there are very few children, no babies, very few people over the age of 80, and a relatively small proportion of women. In addition, many ethnicities have very minor representation or none at all.

In the FindBiometrics article, Weiss provides some additional detail about dataset representation.

…there is good reason to question the researchers’ conclusion. Only two of the nine master faces belong to women, and most depicted white men over the age of 60. In plain terms, that means that the master faces are not representative of the global public, and they are not nearly as effective when applied to anyone that falls outside one particular demographic.

That discrepancy can largely be attributed to the limitations of the LFW dataset. Women make up only 22 percent of the dataset, and the numbers are even lower for children, the elderly (those over the age of 80), and for many ethnic groups.

Valid points to be sure, although the definition of a “representative” dataset varies depending upon the use case. For example, a representative dataset for a law enforcement database in the city of El Paso, Texas will differ from a representative dataset for an airport database catering to Air France customers.

So what conclusion can be drawn?

Perhaps it’s just me, but scientific entities that conduct studies are always motivated by the need for additional funding. After a study is concluded, it seems that the entities always conclude that “more research is needed”…which can be self-serving, because as long as more research is needed, the scientific entities can continue to receive necessary funding. Imagine the scientific entity that would dare to say “Well, all necessary research has been conducted. We’re closing down our research center.”

But in this case, there IS a need to perform additional research, to test the master faces against different algorithms and against different datasets. Then we’ll know whether this statement from the FindBiometrics article (emphasis mine) is actually true:

Any face-based identification system would be extremely vulnerable to spoofing…

And now I’m creating tangible collateral

(This is the third post in a series. The first post (from July 8) can be found here, the second (from July 12) here.)

Most people who started new businesses did not start them during a pandemic. Those of us who did had a different experience than older firms. Some things those older firms did weren’t necessary for the COVID firms.

Until now.

Starting a business during a pandemic

When I started Bredemarket, I wasn’t creating tangible collateral.

When would I use it?

I wasn’t driving to clients’ offices to pitch my services. I was sitting in my home office, communicating with people online, and never visiting them. I had not met any of my clients in-person in years, and some of my clients have never met me in-person at all.

I wasn’t mailing things to clients or potential clients…well, not through the U.S. Postal Service anyway. I’m using email, LinkedIn, and other electronic communication methods to interact with my clients. Bredemarket’s inventory doesn’t even include a single stamp.

By Basotxerri – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

And in my case I wasn’t traveling on any real business trips. (I didn’t go to last week’s International Association for Identification conference.) For me, my only “business trips” so far have been to:

My prediction of the death of tangible collateral was premature

You may remember that after going to Tech on Tap, I had to change my mind about tangible collateral. It obviously still existed.

I previously thought that tangible collateral had gone the way of the dodo.

By BazzaDaRambler – Oxford University Museum of Natural History … dodo – dead apparently. Uploaded by FunkMonk, CC BY 2.0,

You can’t blame me for thinking that tangible collateral was on the way out, because I was conducting most of my business without physically entering a location. My city business license, my fictitious business name application, and even my business bank account were all applied for online.

Tangible collateral was of far less importance than my QR code.

And now I’m printing tangible collateral

So what changed?

Well, I’m going to an in-person event next week. For my younger readers (i.e. those who developed awareness after 2019), an “in-person event” is something where you are actually in the same room as the people that you are meeting, rather than looking at them in boxes on your computer screen.

Who knew that this was the future of communication? By screenshot, Fair use,

After I registered for the in-person event, I realized that I needed to obtain something, preferably before the meeting.

I needed business cards.

And the business cards had to be Bredemarket business cards. I still have some business cards from my former employer, but they’re obviously not going to do me any good.

Now travel back to those long-ago days of 2019 and try to imagine any firm, even a service-based firm, conducting business for almost a year without bothering to print business cards.

Since I haven’t really dealt with business cards in a couple of years, it’s time for me to brush up on business card etiquette:

Cards should not be handed out by the left hand, should never be written on and should always be translated to the language of the specific country they are being handed out in on the rear of the card. They should never be carried loose and presented in the best condition.

(By the way, don’t you think that last sentence needs a comma?)

Anyway, I have finally ordered some business cards, which should arrive before my in-person event next week.

And I’ll also be ready for a SECOND in-person event.

Unless a future Mu or Nu variant of COVID sends us all back home.

Faulty “journalism” conclusions: the Israeli “master faces” study DIDN’T test ANY commercial biometric algorithms

Modern “journalism” often consists of reprinting a press release without subjecting it to critical analysis. Sadly, I see a lot of this in publications, including both biometric and technology publications.

This post looks at the recently announced master faces study results, the datasets used (and the datasets not used), the algorithms used (and the algorithms not used), and the (faulty) conclusions that have been derived from the study.

Oh, and it also informs you of a way to make sure that you don’t make the same mistakes when talking about biometrics.

Vulnerabilities from master faces

In facial recognition, there is a concept called “master faces” (similar concepts can be found for other biometric modalities). The idea behind master faces is that such data can potentially match against MULTIPLE faces, not just one. This is similar to a master key that can unlock many doors, not just one.

This can conceivably happen because facial recognition algorithms do not match faces to faces, but match derived features from faces to derived features from faces. So if you can create the right “master” feature set, it can potentially match more than one face.

However, this is not just a concept. It’s been done, as Biometric Update informs us in an article entitled ‘Master faces’ make authentication ‘extremely vulnerable’ — researchers.

Ever thought you were being gaslighted by industry claims that facial recognition is trustworthy for authentication and identification? You have been.

The article goes on to discuss an Israeli research project that demonstrated some true “master faces” vulnerabilities. (Emphasis mine.)

One particular approach, which they write was based on Dlib, created nine master faces that unlocked 42 percent to 64 percent of a test dataset. The team also evaluated its work using the FaceNet and SphereFace, which like Dlib, are convolutional neural network-based face descriptors.

They say a single face passed for 20 percent of identities in Labeled Faces in the Wild, an open-source database developed by the University of Massachusetts. That might make many current facial recognition products and strategies obsolete.

Sounds frightening. After all, the study not only used dlib, FaceNet, and SphereFace, but also made reference to a test set from Labeled Faces in the Wild. So it’s obvious why master faces techniques might make many current facial recognition products obsolete.


Let’s look at the datasets

It’s always more impressive to cite an authority, and citations of the University of Massachusetts’ Labeled Faces in the Wild (LFW) are no exception. After all, this dataset has been used for some time to evaluate facial recognition algorithms.

But what does Labeled Faces in the Wild say about…itself? (I know this is a long excerpt, but it’s important.)


Labeled Faces in the Wild is a public benchmark for face verification, also known as pair matching. No matter what the performance of an algorithm on LFW, it should not be used to conclude that an algorithm is suitable for any commercial purpose. There are many reasons for this. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

Face verification and other forms of face recognition are very different problems. For example, it is very difficult to extrapolate from performance on verification to performance on 1:N recognition.

Many groups are not well represented in LFW. For example, there are very few children, no babies, very few people over the age of 80, and a relatively small proportion of women. In addition, many ethnicities have very minor representation or none at all.

While theoretically LFW could be used to assess performance for certain subgroups, the database was not designed to have enough data for strong statistical conclusions about subgroups. Simply put, LFW is not large enough to provide evidence that a particular piece of software has been thoroughly tested.

Additional conditions, such as poor lighting, extreme pose, strong occlusions, low resolution, and other important factors do not constitute a major part of LFW. These are important areas of evaluation, especially for algorithms designed to recognize images “in the wild”.

For all of these reasons, we would like to emphasize that LFW was published to help the research community make advances in face verification, not to provide a thorough vetting of commercial algorithms before deployment.

While there are many resources available for assessing face recognition algorithms, such as the Face Recognition Vendor Tests run by the USA National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the understanding of how to best test face recognition algorithms for commercial use is a rapidly evolving area. Some of us are actively involved in developing these new standards, and will continue to make them publicly available when they are ready.

So there are a lot of disclaimers in that text.

  • LFW is a 1:1 test, not a 1:N test. Therefore, while it can test how one face compares to another face, it cannot test how one face compares to a database of faces. The usual law enforcement use case is to compare a single face (for example, one captured from a video camera) against an entire database of known criminals. That’s a computationally different exercise from the act of comparing a crime scene face against a single criminal face, then comparing it against a second criminal face, and so forth.
  • The people in the LFW database are not necessarily representative of the world population, the population of the United States, the population of Massachusetts, or any population at all. So you can’t conclude that a master face that matches against a bunch of LFW faces would match against a bunch of faces from your locality.
  • Captured faces exhibit a variety of quality levels. A face image captured by a camera three feet from you at eye level in good lighting will differ from a face image captured by an overhead camera in poor lighting. LFW doesn’t have a lot of these latter images.

I should mention one more thing about LFW. The researchers allow testers to access the database itself, essentially making LFW an “open book test.” And as any student knows, if a test is open book, it’s much easier to get an A on the test.

By MCPearson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Now let’s take a look at another test that was mentioned by the LFW folks itself: namely, NIST’s Face Recognition Vendor Test.

This is actually a series of tests that has evolved over the years; NIST is now conducting ongoing tests for both 1:1 and 1:N (unlike LFW, which only conducts 1:1 testing). This is important because most of the large-scale facial recognition commercial applications that we think about are 1:N applications (see my example above, in which a facial image captured at a crime scene is compared against an entire database of criminals).

In addition, NIST uses multiple data sets that cover a number of use cases, including mugshots, visa photos, and faces “in the wild” (i.e. not under ideal conditions).

It’s also important to note that NIST’s tests are also intended to benefit research, and do not necessarily indicate that a particular algorithm that performs well for NIST will perform well in a commercial implementation. (If the algorithm is even available in a commercial implementation: some of the algorithms submitted to NIST are research algorithms only that never made it to a production system.) For the difference between testing an algorithm in a NIST test and testing an algorithm in a production system, please see Mike French’s LinkedIn article on the topic. (I’ve cited this article before.)

With those caveats, I will note that NIST’s FRVT tests are NOT open book tests. Vendors and other entities give their algorithms to NIST, NIST tests them, and then NIST tells YOU what the results were.

So perhaps it’s more robust than LFW, but it’s still a research project.

Let’s look at the algorithms

Now that we’ve looked at two test datasets, let’s look at the algorithms themselves and evaluate the claim that results for the three algorithms Dlib, FaceNet, and SphereFace can naturally be extrapolated to ALL facial recognition algorithms.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen such an attempt at extrapolation. After all, the MIT Media Lab’s Gender Shades study (which evaluated neither 1:1 nor 1:N use cases, but algorithmic attempts to identify gender and race) itself only used three algorithms. Yet the popular media conclusion from this study was that ALL facial recognition algorithms are racist.

Compare this with NIST’s subsequent study, which evaluated 189 algorithms specially for 1:1 and 1:N use cases. While NIST did find some race/sex differences in algorithms, these were not universal: “Tests showed a wide range in accuracy across developers, with the most accurate algorithms producing many fewer errors.”

In other words, just because an earlier test of three algorithms demonstrated issues in determining race or gender, that doesn’t mean that the current crop of hundreds of algorithms will necessarily demonstrate issues in identifying individuals.

So let’s circle back to the master faces study. How do the results of this study affect “current facial recognition products”?

The answer is “We don’t know.”

Has the master faces experiment been duplicated against the leading commercial algorithms tested by Labeled Faces in the Wild? Apparently not.

Has the master faces experiment been duplicated against the leading commercial algorithms tested by NIST? Well, let’s look at the various ways you can define the “leading” commercial algorithms.

For example, here’s the view of the test set that IDEMIA would want you to see: the 1:N test sorted by the “Visa Border” column (results as of August 6, 2021):

And here’s the view of the test set that Paravision would want you to see: the 1:1 test sorted by the “Mugshot” column (results as of August 6, 2021):

From as of August 6, 2021.

Now you can play with the sort order in many different ways, but the question remains: have the Israeli researchers, or anyone else, performed a “master faces” test (preferably a 1:N test) on the IDEMIA, Paravision, Sensetime, NtechLab, Anyvision, or ANY other commercial algorithm?

Maybe a future study WILL conclude that even the leading commercial algorithms are vulnerable to master face attacks. However, until such studies are actually performed, we CANNOT conclude that commercial facial recognition algorithms are vulnerable to master face attacks.

So naturally journalists approach the results critically…not

But I’m sure that people are going to make those conclusions anyway.

From Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.5).

Does anyone even UNDERSTAND these studies? (Or do they choose NOT to understand them?)

How can you avoid the same mistakes when communicating about biometrics?

As you can see, people often write about biometric topics without understanding them fully.

Even biometric companies sometimes have difficulty communicating about biometric topics in a way that laypeople can understand. (Perhaps that’s the reason why people misconstrue these studies and conclude that “all facial recognition is racist” and “any facial recognition system can be spoofed by a master face.”)

Are you about to publish something about biometrics that requires a sanity check? (Hopefully not literally, but you know what I mean.)

Well, why not turn to a biometric content marketing expert?

Bredemarket offers over 25 years of experience in biometrics that can be applied to your marketing and writing projects.

If you don’t have a content marketing project now, you can still subscribe to my Bredemarket Identity Firm Services LinkedIn page or my Bredemarket Identity Firm Services Facebook group to keep up with news about biometrics (or about other authentication factors; biometrics isn’t the only one). Or scroll down to the bottom of this blog post and subscribe to my Bredemarket blog.

If my content creation process can benefit your biometric (or other technology) marketing and writing projects, contact me.

Winding down the 28th parallel experiment

Wrapping up a few loose ends about the whole 28th parallel thingie (where I posted/shared multiple content items in a short period to see what would happen).

I just completed a podcast episode about it. (TL;DR: no huge effect.)

Yesterday, I made an observation about traffic vs. engagement on my business Twitter account.

Also yesterday, I posted an obscure trivia question on my personal Twitter account. (It didn’t really get traffic OR engagement.)

Conclusion? In the short term it didn’t help, but it didn’t harm either. And I may exercise the flexibility to increase my content sharing when warranted.

Tenerife. By NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Kathryn Hansen. –, Public Domain,

That was fun.

Well, my experiment is now complete.

If you missed the explanation of what I just did, I had a backlog of identity-related draft blog posts, and I decided to post all of them at once.

Specifically, I just posted:

And all four of those posts were also shared to my Twitter account, the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services showcase page on LinkedIn, and the Bredemarket Identity Firm Services group on Facebook.

Will my 140+ blog subscribers, 250+ Twitter followers, 120+ showcase page followers, and 9 group followers (yeah, Facebook lags the other platforms) be overwhelmed by this blast of content? Or will they like it? Or will they even notice?

Because of the way social media feeds work, it is questionable that many of the followers will even notice. Social media feeds are presented to readers in order of importance, and Bredemarket isn’t the most important thing to ANY of these followers. (Except for me. Maybe.)

The 28th parallel

Black wildebeest. By derekkeats – Flickr: IMG_4955_facebook, CC BY-SA 2.0,

My Bredemarket activities allow me to eat my own wildebeest food, trying out activities that I can potentially duplicate for my clients.

One of these activities is a content calendar, in which I strive to balance my own content between the various foci of Bredemarket. This ensures that I don’t neglect talking about certain things that I do.

One problem that I DON’T have is generating enough content about identity topics. In fact, over the last few days I’ve built up several posts that discuss identity. Under normal circumstances, it would take a couple of weeks to post all of them.

I’m not going to do that.

I’m going to post several of them this afternoon. Especially since a couple of them are interrelated, and it’s easier to interrelate things when you post them at about the same time.

Be prepared for the identity posts that will appear on the Bredemarket blog, and in the relevant (i.e. identity-related) social media channels.

Will this abundance of content result in MORE engagement, or LESS? (Not that I’m planning to create 100 posts over the next couple of hours, but perhaps some may be overwhelmed.)

In case you’re interested in the entire slew of content, I’m going to tag all of this afternoon’s posts with the tag 28thparallel.

And if you have to ask whether I’m referring to the 28th parallel north or the 28th parallel south, the answer is…north.

Stay tuned.

I just re-rejoined the Association of Proposal Management Professionals. So what?

Remember my Tuesday post about the controversy regarding the possible name change of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals to the Association of Winning Business Professionals? And how the upcoming Denver conference of the organization (whatever its name is by October) might be…interesting?

By Billy Hathorn – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Anyway, it turns out that I will have an inside view of all the brouhaha.


Because I have rejoined (actually RE-rejoined) the Association of Proposal Management Professionals. (Or at least that’s what the organization is called right now. The name may change, of course.)

Why does my renewed membership in the Association of Proposal Management Professionals matter to Bredemarket clients? And how can it benefit those who DON’T use Bredemarket for proposal services?

I’ll tell you why/how in this post.

So I re-rejoined the APMP

As I previously noted, this will be my third term as a member of the APMP (or, membership Version 3.0).

Covers from early APMP conference booklets, including the cover for the conference that I attended in San Diego in 1999. From
  • I initially joined the APMP while I was a proposal writer at Printrak, but I let my membership lapse when I became a product manager. I couldn’t justify having my employer pay for a proposal organization membership when I was a product manager who only occasionally contributed to proposals. (Although some of those proposals, such as West Virginia’s first state AFIS, were critical to the company.)
  • I subsequently rejoined the APMP when the initial MorphoTrak corporate reorganization resulted in my move from product management to proposal management. After joining in 2012, I (again) let my membership lapse in 2015 after I became a strategic marketing manager, because (again) I couldn’t justify having my employer pay for a proposal organization membership when I was a marketing manager who only occasionally contributed to proposals. (Although some of those proposals, such as Michigan’s first cloud AFIS, were critical to the company.)

Obviously, back in those days corporate reimbursement for professional memberships depended upon the policies of the corporation in question. Well, now I’m not an employee of a large corporation, so I don’t have to justify my memberships to a corporate supervisor or accountant. Instead, as a sole proprietor I have to justify my memberships to myself (and the Internal Revenue Service, and the California Franchise Tax Board).

And since much of Bredemarket’s consulting revolves around proposal services, it makes sense for me to re-rejoin the APMP.

But it turned out that I couldn’t just send money to the APMP and be done with it. As an ex-member, there was an additional step involved.

If you are a former member but cannot access your account, PLEASE: Do not register as a new member….If you cannot access your past email address, contact our Member Services team (or call +1 866/466-2767, then dial 0). Within one business day (or sooner), you will receive a link with which you can pay for a new membership using your existing account.

So I contacted APMP’s Member Services team, who associated my lapsed membership with my NEW email address.

And I paid my dues, time after time, I’ve done my sentence but committed no crime…whoops, I seem to have digressed from the discussion of my new APMP membership. But in my defense, I’m not the first to associate the old Queen song with the APMP.

Anyway, I’m now an APMP member…again.

Just call me 3143. (Want to fire up a copy of Microsoft Word 97 while you do that?)

The one big difference between APMP Membership Version 3.0 and Versions 1.0 and 2.0 is that these days I am not EXCLUSIVELY dedicated to proposals. After all, I am not only the (self-styled) biometric proposal writing expert, but also the biometric content marketing expert. (With similar expertise in marketing and writing for technology firms and general business firms.)

In fact, I guess you could say that I am a general expert in…winning business.

So what?

Since I spend so much of my time talking about benefits, I’m sure that some Bredemarket clients are asking about the benefits to THEM of my APMP/AWBP/whatever membership. Yes, this internal dialogue is taking place with some of you right now.

ME: “I am a member of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals again!”

YOU: “So what?”

Yours truly in a small group (I’m on the right) at the 2014 APMP Bid & Proposal Con in Chicago. Photo source: the gallery at Fair use.

To answer this, I’ll state that my APMP membership will benefit my clients because I can provide them with superior services—superior proposal services, AND superior non-proposal services—that will help my clients to, um, win business. (As you’ve probably already noticed, I’ve found myself using those words a lot over the last few weeks.) My renewed affiliation with APMP will reintroduce me to beneficial outside education, general knowledge, and contacts.

  • For my Bredemarket clients who depend upon me for proposal support, the benefits are obvious. The things that I learn (and relearn) from APMP will help me provide better contributions to my clients’ proposals, hopefully helping the clients secure more proposal awards and business.
  • But there are benefits for my Bredemarket clients who DON’T depend upon me for proposal support, but instead depend upon me for content marketing or other marketing and writing services. The same strategies and tactics that contribute to a more effective proposal can be extrapolated to apply to other areas, thus contributing to better white papers, better case studies, better blog posts, better social media posts, better marketing plans, etc., etc., etc. Again, this can help my clients win business.

We’ll have to see exactly HOW my APMP membership directly benefits my Bredemarket clients.

Stay tuned.