[thelist] OT - do programmers/designers know *everything*?

Keith cache at dowebscentral.com
Wed Jul 24 02:25:01 CDT 2002

>their web passions)...do you folks actually know in your head most of the
>skills you need to perform? For example, PERL/CGI programmers...can you
>actually, basically write working code that without having to rely on your
>notes, code snippets, manuals, etc? Or is that just silly? Do almost ALL
>hardcore designers/programmers use some sort of 'help' when working on

After coding Perl & Javascript for 6 years I have a very extensive library
of snippets that I use all the time (why would I want to memorize syntax
that's only a mouse click away?) And I do indeed have a dozen or more
manuals that I pretty much quit using when Google came out with the Google
Taskbar. Simple code, complex code, if I need to look it up I find a Google
search beats the books almost every time. It's amazing how much code comes
up when you ask the right question.

As far as trying to learn everything, I'm too lazy for that kinda nonsense.
I specialize in the kind of work I do so I've teamed up with half a dozen
associates with other skill sets that I've met on Evolt or the old Web
Monster Design List. Some I've worked with for more than 4 years on dozens
of jobs without ever having met them or having ever put our relationships
to paper (other than what goes on a check). I've actually never had web
work come to me that didn't come through one of these associates. All but
one of them run design studios for-hire and make pretty good livings at it.
But they all depend on me or someone else to do things they can't do. One
of them has even become my "business agent" (she calls herself my pimp) and
I route all my work through her.

>living programming, coding, design etc? Whether it be free-lance, or working
>for other companies etc?

Those aren't the only options. It took me a couple of years to convince my
associates to quit selling our talents for-hire. It created a few lean
times at first when we started turning down any work where we couldn't take
equity, but it's paid off. Once you start demanding equity you'll be
surprised at the kinds of businesses that will require that you take
equity. They know you'll do a better job, they know you wont come up
missing when they need an overhaul, and they'll stay out of your hair and
let you build it your way.

By "equity" I don't just mean a percentage of their business. On an auto
dealer's site we offer $50 to $100 coupons. When a customer redeems a
coupon during a purchase we get X% of the sales commission even if they're
buying a car that was not displayed on the site. This made sense to us and
even more sense to their sales manager who expects to pay for service. On
another site I get 10% of all sales because my design make those sales
happen. On another I convinced the "client" that he had no business having
a web site, instead I built the site to my taste and run it my way - he
sets a "list price" and I set the retail price and he's my drop-shipment
fulfillment center. We're both doing what we're good at.

The point I'm trying to make is that most approaches to the web just bolt
the web onto an old business model. But, the web itself creates new
opportunities to design new models. One of my associates has a photo from a
farm in North Dakota of an electric motor bolted to a flywheel that
operates the handle on an old hand-operated water pump. His motto is, "Did
you bolt your business up to the web, or did you change the way you do
business?"  Reading through the responses to this thread, it appears to me
that many web designers have not yet embraced the web's dynamics and are
still "doing business the old way".  This is a young industry, from my
experience we all need to rethink our relationship to the rest of society -
at least once a day.

>Sorry for taking up so much space for a probable WAY off-topic question,

If this subject is off-topic then what could possibly be "on" topic? Thanks
for the question Roger. And FWIW, don't fret about your age, kid.

cache at dowebscentral.com

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