Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We won't feed you a line...

I was somewhat appalled at reading this post, by a blog author I respect Chris Coyier of He solicited comments and twitter comments on the concept of the question "What if a client came to you with an idea for a project you knew was going to fail, and would pay for it. Would you do the job anyway?".
I must say that the overwhelming number of "web designer" and "web engineering" firms out there who responded to this post basically said "Yes I'd do the job". Wow. Please go read the post. Please read the comments by other "professionals" in our field. Then ask yourself - would you rather that someone gave you the straight honest truth and always acted in your best interest? Or would you rather pay someone to just do it your way? Would you rather rely on their experience and expertise when they LIVE in that world? Wouldn't you want to work with someone whom you know will give you their honest evaluation of an ideas success or failure, act like a partner in your success, suggest better ways of achieving the same goals, or guide you to a more successful conclusion. I would rather turn away a job where I know that the client just hasn't done their homework, than take their money and build them a fail-boat.
Short term I may not make more money this way. But long term I develop 3 key features for business success:
  • Loyal customers - I would rather have my customers say "This guy saved me from making a big mistake" than "this guy built my idea, took my money and then it failed". News travels fast, especially in a small city like Rochester.
  • Personal integrity - Hey, maybe I'm old fashioned - but I like to be able to sleep at night knowing that I did good in the world - even if I made a bit less money than the guy who did not. If I have to let a customer go because we don't see eye-to-eye I'll do so with honesty, integrity and cooperation. You never know - sometimes they even come back.
  • Loyal and honest employees - the way YOU act in the workplace defines how your employees act. If you develop a culture that creates an environment of dishonesty and money-above-everything, you will reap what you sow. Ask Bernie Madoff.

I vow in this post that I will always give a client the advice and product that is in their best interest. If you've got an idea I think is bad I'll tell you. If you can convince me I'm wrong I'll change my mind willingly. I will then help you to develop the best version of your idea that has a chance of success - or tell you that I might not be the right company for your requirements. I invite you all to take the vow and ensure your own personal integrity.