I’m often amazed at how well people do their jobs. Like when I call someone to do some work for me here around the house. Especially the guys who keep my trees in check. Seems I had one really negative experience trying to drop a good-sized maple tree by myself.
I spoke briefly of the whole affair – including my ambulance ride and the better part of the day in the ER – in Murphy’s Immutable Law of Proportions. Which has absolutely nothing to do with trees if you’re wonderin.’
I learned the hard way that having the tools to do a job doesn’t necessarily mean you oughta try to do a job requirin’ those tools. See, I was missin’ well more than half of the equation – the expertise necessary to cut that tree down. And in retrospect, I was pretty lucky it went south when it did, because what I had planned next – had I not dragged that chainsaw across my arm and then jumped off the ladder from 20 feet or better as it went sideways – was likely dumber, more dangerous and more deadly. I know. Hard to believe. I’m just glad Timmy didn’t video the debacle and post it to The YouTube.
But it was a good lesson, and one I shouldn’t haven’t learned at my age. I shoulda known better.
Spend the money and spare your limbs
And that leads me to the next time I needed a tree cut down. I called the professionals. They gave me a price of $900 to take a dead ash down out by the street in front of my house. Seemed a bit much, but after my experience with the maple, I figured it’d be money well-spent.
So the crew arrived a little before 9:00 am with a bucket truck and a chipper. They were set up in just minutes, and by 9:33 am, the tree was down and reduced to chunks in the back of their dump truck. 33 minutes. $900. Wow. I began to question whether I’d paid too much.
Then I got to thinkin’. All that equipment. All that insurance. All the guys on the crew. But most important, all that expertise. Clearly, this wasn’t their first rodeo. I’ve since invited them back for other projects and I’m amazed every time. These guys are good. I’ve had others in for smaller projects and they just can’t hold a candle. Like the jake-legs I had drop another maple in my backyard. Ended up taking out two other trees I’da rather kept.
There are other tradespeople I rely upon and don’t question their methodology or what they charge either. Like my electrician. Oh, I know enough about wiring to do the simple things, but when it comes to three-way switches, well they’ll make you nuts. And plumbers. And the guy who did my roof. And my HVAC mechanic. They all came recommended or I know them personally. I trust them.
Which kinda brings me to where I am today.
It feels like there’s a disconnect when we deal with things in the digital world. I’m a little confused when clients hire us for our expertise and then decide – usually at the 11th hour – that they have a better idea. A lot of times I suspect it’s because someone formed a committee.
Random acts of design
Usually folks decide they want to change a design element. Maybe a color or a font. Or perhaps images they loved way back when. Sometimes they decide they don’t like the functionality of a page. Or the content we carefully crafted. And we get that. We just wish it would’ve come up earlier in the conversation.
But every so often, it feels like folks just don’t understand just how hard we worked to get something just right and the decision to make changes seems fairly random and not necessarily in their best interest. I kinda covered this when I wrote about running with scissors, so I won’t belabor it here.
And yes, I’m aware that we don’t know everything. But we try and stay up on current trends, although I sometimes disagree with the pundits who proclaim things like “Brutalism will rock the web in 2022.” Or that ultra-minimalism is actually a thing in web design.
Beyond trying to stay current, most developers, designers, coders and content managers I know have at least one four-year degree. Some have way more than that. Our education didn’t come cheap. Well maybe mine did, but a fast-food burger was shy of two bits back then. So I guess in terms of today’s dollars, it twarn’t cheap.
And what I’ve spent on software and hardware over the course of 30+ years would build a nice 2-bedroom cottage in the woods. Maybe even on a small lake. Kinda makes me question my career choice Timmy.
Then there all the years of experience we’ve amassed. Just a wild guess, but I’m thinkin’ here at <engine/> we have somewhere well north of 80 – amongst the four of us. We like to think we have a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn’t while keepin’ open minds. There’s always something new in this digital world and that’s what keeps it interesting.
So the decisions we make about design, functionality and content aren’t made lightly. And while the results are far less dramatic than watchin’ Lee drop what’s left of a hundred-foot poplar within a couple inches of where he figured, there’s a fair amount of expertise that goes into buildin’ a website.