Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sasha's Say: Or Descriving His Business Method

In response to Where Have the Real Designers Gone? (Comment delivered to me via email then disappeared from the comments system.) Sounds reasonable.

Sasha Juliard
has left a new comment on your post "Where Have the Real Designers Gone?

Hello Computer Watch,

I wanted to reach out to you concerning your blog post "Where Have The Real Designers Gone." I could not find an email address so I am settling with leaving a comment that I'm not trying to get approved and listed.

I am Sasha Juliard, the guy you are ranting on in your blog post. I just wanted to clarify some things that you might have missed in picking me as your pet example of a "pretentious fake web designer."

I am fully open with my clients about what I do, which is install wordpress, plugin in a paid-for theme, modify it (HTML, CSS and basic PHP) and integrate their content. When we are going over their needs for their site I even send them 5 links *to* themeforest themes where they can see the theme and its price which shows up in their bill. I try to be as open with my clients as possible.

I also do not rip off my clients by pretending it's some mystical, complicated code thing either. Most of my clients are business owners and setting up an FTP user is already out of their comprehension. They need a simple, pretty and reasonably priced website and that is the market I operate in. My price range is in the hundreds, not thousands. If a job is out of my skill range, I turn it down.

I think the issue is the changing of language and web designer being used as a blanket term for web developer, web designer even web app programmer. It is what people search for when on Google and CL and that is why my services are listed under such titles. If I made a CL ad that read "I just install existing technology and equipment I deem the best off-the-shelf solutions for clients lacking the skill and experience in making such determinations on their own" I would get 0 hits. I am quite clear on my website to say that "I build websites" and not, "I am a web designer".

Anyway, leave the blog post up or not, it is a free internet. I just wanted to explain my side of what I am doing through my perspective. If you want to continue this correspondence, I'd be glad to reply to emails at

Your favorite *web designer* to hate on,
p.s. Sasha--the problem then perhaps isn't you or just in you, but a market that requires pretentiousness rather than knowledge to get a job--it's always been so but when a large number of people don't love simplicity and just take a little time to learn when such has been their habit over years, then the ability for people to be upright and even more technical, educational or truly informative for clients, even to say "refer to technical resources beyond me to get a real understanding of what you may/not need and what you're actually dealing with, and you'll want to come back!", then things are much improved.

I still see playing-into these things as a problem though. I see it over and over, e.g. big outfit just recently tells family member how they're going to build awesome website and make crank-up the level of incoming business--guy making promises has had several successful web businesses but built by others--warn family member guy has never built the sites himself, cannot assure such promises and likely cannot even make a clean web interface but only borrow themes and hope it will work out: disaster ensues and family member out thousands of dollars. It's not just personal though, it's very prevalent: it also isn't solved simply through the old idea of trust-based networks, which are constantly abused and never sound if pretentiousness fooled someone in the first place.

Your own description of process to deal openly, however, is rather refreshing: I suggest you put it on your site and if so I will even badger people about linking to and referencing you, together with a statement about market conditions just so people can be put on guard a bit about them--totally opposite of Marketing 101 to set-up someone's defenses, and even itself a commonly abused strategy--use a faux-concern for getting "real" service to try and garner someone else's trust and steer them away from other perfectly legitimate businesses, e.g. in carpet cleaning you see this with "natural" vs. not, "don't go without a truck mount! they can't be serious without a truck mount!"--just to use another industry.

I hate this kind of business--it reeks when you know better, and I've even dropped-out of various opportunities before just to sit-back, think about it, and decide how one might attempt being at least moderately "successful" in the sense of being able to support one's needs, without engaging the same kind of "wisdom" for getting rich--but not really serving people excellently or according as is beneficial to all, and as is also optimal for the well-being of all involved in a transaction. I even have ideas simply about acting in capacities to verify claims! But myself need to find a voice, build competency to be more technical and...frankly that's just very difficult to live by. 

Here is one idea, and it's one I've been working-out for a while in regards to the aforementioned cleaning industry: building a non-industry "informative" site with something like "in warning about scams." If you would like to collaborate I'll try and drum-up support, and we can ensure to either write-down (in person) or send people (via link) to that place in any kind of post about "web design": I'm already thinking of transforming some concepts and practices that you describe above into such a page for these services--and I already have the perfect domain, bought just for that purpose years ago (despite going broke--I was taking care of someone with Alzheimer's who was not my responsibility but who had been abandoned) thinking that striking-back at the "prudence of pretense" is something I really wanted to do in life. (Comically but still serious--because it's still expensive for people yet technically should be done--the first industry I wanted to do this for was carpet cleaning.)

Higher Regards for you than Before (though I can only take you on your word),
J. Bradley Bulsterbaum

No comments: