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Fly by nights

I fancy a bit of an intriguing rant.

Firstly a couple of dictionary results for the main keywords:


Well-advanced or competent in any art, science, or subject; skilled: a proficient swimmer


Acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.

Recently I have been on a few individuals websites to see how and what they’ve been doing with their time and upon doing so I have happened to (intentionally) stumble across their about and skills pages.

Looking over the pages I’ve noticed a great deal of skills ranging from backend development (Eg: PHP, MySQL) and frontend development (Eg: JavaScript and CSS) to design.

Quite a broad and good skill set to have for anyone to be honest (sorry I mean anyone that is honest), but that’s not the intriguing point about these lists, here are my immediate thoughts:

The majority of designs they have been using for their sites happen to be done by someone I either know or have seen as a WordPress theme – don’t get me wrong, this is fine. I’m using ThrillingTheme by Cody McKibben for this blog which they have made  available to the public, however I haven’t and will never say it is my own work. In fact I fully support giving appreciation to the designer – top notch work to say the least.

Why do these fly by nights feel the need to say someone else’s work is their own? If I were to outsource a specific piece of work I’d be more than happy to inform the client, I’m not ashamed.

For the designs that have been done by themselves, well, you can usually see the adopted styles from layouts designed for them previously – however, this isn’t really something you can fault someone for as at the end of the day designers need inspiration for their digital colouring. It is however worth me mentioning that because you can put some colours together and use Photoshop’s default shapes and plugins it doesn’t really mean your a proficient designer. Or have I missed something?

The backend development skill set seems to correspond to the underlying language and database used in the script they happen to use for the majority of their sites – for example, WordPress. There is nothing “custom” on these blogs, well, other than plugins developed by others, again, not themselves. Here’s a question: what knowledge do they have in PHP and MySQL other than using a control panel to setup the database and editing a PHP config file? Or possibly moving some template data around? Hey, I’m just pulling ideas out of the air here, feel free to enlighten me.

Something that confused me and somewhat got to me was having knowledge of .htaccess. Sorry, what? You have knowledge of a file name? Oh, the individuals must mean they have skills in passing directives to Apache on the fly? Or maybe it’s simply they have the ability to go into the WordPress admin panel, generate and copy the required rewrite rules, open the .htaccess file in their favorite editor, paste and save, as per the instructions provided.Do they actually know what .htaccess files are for? Do they know you can do more than rewrite rules? Do they even know what a rewrite rule is? Or how the rules work? Could they write these rules themselves? Interesting questions I couldn’t ask directly as I’m honestly rather worried about the answers.

Some people design and then, for example, use a CMS or blog to provide a site for a client. I’m not saying this is wrong, in fact it’s valid and all I can say is “good effort” to designers for doing this – venturing away from their digital crayons must be a big step for them to take ;) . What I feel is wrong is listing proficient and/or knowledge of a skill they don’t actually have any real knowledge in. Going back to the dictionary explanation of proficient: “Well advanced or competent”

Here’s a rhetorical question, if you have any input or an actual answer to this question please voice them:

Do these individuals actually believe they have these skills because they have had someone do a design for them, downloaded and installed a script by following instructions and then integrated the design? What this makes me think of is compulsive lying, as in, someone lying so much they start to believe their lies, they start to believe they are actually knowledgeable and proficient in things they actually don’t know much about – oh how wrong this is for these individuals and those around them.

Some Individuals call themselves entrepreneurs providing this kind of service, which depending on your understanding of what an entrepreneur is, could be correct. However, I was under the impression an entrepreneur was an ideas man, as in someone who comes up with an idea for himself – not several other peoples work. I would call such individuals fly by nights. People that want to make a quick buck or two and then go onto another profession. The profession being what ever happens to sell at that point in time.

Ok, my rant is about over however, believe it or not, there is actually a point to this post.

Do clients actually know what they are getting for their money? Do they know what they are funding for is an individual to outsource a design, integrate it into a packaged script such as a blog, cms or ecommerce package and put an easy 100% plus markup on the service they pretty much did sod all for?

With that said, it’s a pretty bloody smart thing to be doing, I’m just wondering if there is any satisfaction in doing pretty much nothing?

Posted in Entrepreneurism on the 23rd January 2010

4 people have spoken their minds!

  1. Provocative stuff but it should be remembered that the web is full of plagiarism and projection of false persona. The falsehood of character and skills (lets just be honest here and say “Bullshit”) is rife and always has been in self promotion. Not many have the skills to do everything and there is nothing wrong in saying “we” have the design and coding skills” rather than “I” as it smacks of “look at at me I’m so l337 and other such cool dude crap that quite frankly from a professional outfit should not be expected. Even if you are a one man band you don’t really want to project that as your credibility in the market place begins to lose ground. if you are proficient in any one area and specialise in that then “You” and your skill should be pushed in the singular I guess as a free lancer.

    Ego is a terrible thing – I’m glad small brown dogs are immune from it and are just so damn cool ;)

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Fly by nights | srcnix's obsessions --

  3. Cialis says:

    46vRq8 Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!


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