Don’t listen to anyone

Posted by on January 11, 2011 in geeky stuff | 2 comments

Dear Clients, don’t listen to anyone for advice, ever.

That seems to be the advice we (in the internet/creative/web/marketing industry) are  giving out at the moment.

To help with this, I’ve compiled a list of the most common experts and good reasons you could give to a client to avoid them*:

Graphic Designers? Don’t make me laugh… anyone can use photoshop, get some stock photos from istock and follow all the FREE online tutorials… why pay someone to do that? Don’t have time? That’s ok, ask your cousin Cheryl’s next door neighbour Jim’s son, he said he could do the design for £50!

Web Developers, well, they don’t even live in the “real world” do they? Once you’ve translated the acronyms, read the dummies guide and hacked a few hot scripts together, what’s left, apart from sneering at lesser mortals and playing minecraft?

SEO Analysts, SEO expert, SEO, search experts, Search Engine expert – anyone could do that, all you need to do is watch a few Matt Cutts videos, read SEOmoz, ‘encourage’ some links and Bob’s your uncle!

PPC  Managers are obviously just out to spend all your money, the more they spend the more commission they make, sounds like a good scam to me… besides, Google will help you do it yourself, I mean only google has your best interests at heart – here, have a free adwords voucher because I’m that generous.

PR Specialists are mostly frustrated former journalists. Don’t bother, just write about your business in a way that makes it easy to copy and paste onto a blog – pop it onto PR web, spam it out to anyone you vaguely met once via Facebook, Twitter, email etc and bingo. If that doesn’t work, just throw a party, put some pretty girls in branded t-shirts and give everyone champagne.

Marketing gurus, they’ll only tell you how they made money selling advice on how to make money, once you’ve read a free copy of their book that they give away about how they became an expert by writing a book and giving it away to sell advice on how to make money selling advice once you’ve signed up for their free newsletter… why go through that? A good product sells itself, remember.

Social Media Experts – if all the sites are free to use, why should you pay someone to show you how to use it properly? It takes 2 minutes to sign up to twitter and facebook. There’s nothing more to it, now go forth and update. Better still, entrust an office junior with your online identity, they use Facebook all the time anyway, what could go wrong?

Video Producers, you have an iPhone don’t you? Shoot something grainy, it’s ok it’ll look authentic and ‘engaging’, add your favourite tune (don’t worry about rights, YouTube pays them apparently), add some text in iMovie at the start and end, upload it to YouTube, bosh. Job done. What can experts add to that?

Content Writers. Don’t pay anyone to write content for you, don’t even bother to write it yourself, just copy a story, that quotes a source, who links to a tweet, about a photo they took in the toilet over someone’s shoulder that looks like it might be the latest hot gadget and add a line about how this will probably change the world. Failing that, just copy press releases onto your blog as they happen, if you feel adventurous, why not take a couple of tweets about it and paste them in too.

Or alternately… you could just accept:

  • There are experts and scammers in every discipline.
  • There are people in every industry that sell on their level of knowledge being, or appearing to be, somewhere above your own.
  • There is probably a lot more to that discipline than first meets the eye to truly be an expert.

I think this constant bickering, which frankly I find tiresome,  comes from 2 things:

  1. Low barriers to entry in almost all web/tech disciplines mean that anyone can set themselves up and claim to be an expert, learning and developing as they go.
  2. Insecurity caused by 1 – it’s basic psychology that if you are insecure about your own position, you’ll often feel the need to try and weaken those around you.

I’m quite disappointed to see people I previously held in high regard making posts along these lines, especially when jumping on the bandwagon of bashing a discipline they perceive as a bandwagon – see the irony there?

My advice to customers:

  • Ignore anyone, in any industry who tries to baffle you with acronyms and buzz words.
  • Find someone that works for you, that speaks your language and is recommended to you by those you trust.
  • Work with those people that support you where you need help and do the bits you don’t want to learn about or do for yourself.
  • Focus on the stuff you’re good at.

And finally… when someone tells you there is no such thing as a _____ expert, that means 2 things:

1) They’re not an expert in that field. They most likely have scratched the surface of what they perceive that discipline to be and assume they know it all (always dangerous)… by the way, I bet also they sell a version of that service under some other name too.

2) They’re insecure about their own skills and discipline.

*please note: some elements of this post may contain sarcasm and/or things I don’t actually believe. If in doubt, forget you ever read it, what do I know?


  1. Let’s not forget the network specialists, quality assurance team, computer technicians and all the other people you need behind the scenes as well. You can’t really afford to get amateurs there.

  2. Great read Luke! Enjoyed that!

    Glad I inspired something!! LOL

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