Followup to "Unordered List o' client bashing"

Well, I didn't really think about it, but I guess a list like this would be prime material for the developer page on Reddit, and as such, I've gotten a little feedback from it... Some of it good, some of it bad, and some of it way off-base.

This is intended to address the off-base responses.

You see, first and foremost, I DO care about my clients. I care about their aspirations, their happiness, and more than anything, their budget. It's the reason I've been able to pay for a house and a car and my cats by doing what I do for 12 years now.

That having been said... I've got NO patience for the more-money-than-sense or wanna-be-rich-by-tomorrow-afternoon crowds. They are what soured all sense of joy during the BBS era (with pay-to-post erotic / game / horoscope boards littering every single PC magazine and shop you saw), they are what destroyed the newness and sense of wonder during the late 90's and early 2000's during the first crash, and they are what's driving this current crop of ridiculous head-first-into-the-shallow-end diving into the tech pool (God I love hyphens).

Anyway, I see legit entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg and I smile. I see guys like the founders of Blogger.com, SixApart, MySpace, etc. and it makes me happy... It reminds me of a time when small, bright companies like Mirabilis (the inventors of ICQ) get bought by larger groups like AOL - which was the first real buyup to get any attention back in the happy-go-lucky, climb it because it's there techie 90's. They made it on a good idea well executed.

Then came the impostors. Every MBA with a rich uncle immediately wanted to go build some form of instant messaging client with the big dreams and hopes that they, too, could get bought. These people are like the cargo cults in the South Pacific. They see these huge airplanes fly in and unload tons of rich cargo to the Americans who were there during World War II, and they assume it's because the Americans built the perfect airstrip, wore the perfect headgear and goggles, and knew all the right arm signals to wave at the gods. Build the strip and the tools, and the cargo arrives. They see the tools as the cause for the bounty.

It's these folks I have no patience with. And my "handlers" know it. That's why they put me on these calls.

The art of steering clear of bad clients is just as valuable as finding good ones. Knowing immediately that you're wading head-first into a financial quagmire is a valuable skill that takes only one bad experience to learn. It's hard to look at a line-item sheet with six, seven or even eight zeros on the end of it and turn it down unless you know, from tons and tons of very painful past experience, that you will never see that money... And if you do, it will go right out the back-end you had to build to attempt to build the product.

Whether it's Fox, IBM, Bellsouth (then Cingular, and now AT&T), or any of my other clients, I'm honest about feasibility. And I will listen with both ears and my whole heart to try to bring out the true need in all my clients - and for the most part, I'm pretty good at it. But there's a certain breed of client who simply does not get it. They have no honest strategy besides "build it and they will come."

I'm not the brightest guy on Earth, and I'm not the techie evangelist that, say, a Richard Stallman or an ESR or any number of brilliant minds blogging their hearts out every single day about the state of the new internet vs. the old ways... But I do know bullshit when I smell it. And my journal post was a reaction to that.

Now, for those who think I was hiding behind anonymous blog posting... My signature on every email I send includes links to my sites, so it's not THAT anonymous.

And yes, I have a Facebook page. And Twitter. And I read Digg and Fark and I post videos to YouTube. I don't hate them. In fact, I love them (except MySpace). It's just that the internet - the huge huge huge network of a vast number of machines all connected to one another communicating over various protocols - is not just those sites... And a lot of people with a lot of money (or potential money) just don't get that.

And those of you who believe that you should smile and wave and say all the nice things you think you need to say to "find the client's problem" and whatever... Let me know when you actually GET clients. Because you'll find that sweet-smelling crap that someone who's made a career in academia shoveled up your nose doesn't really play all that well when it's three in the morning, you stopped receiving checks a month ago, and you and your team are STILL working on changes and updates on your fixed-bid contract for five million dollars that ran out a long, long time ago... All because the account manager or the CEO smiled and waved and said all the nice things they thought they needed to say to "find the client's problem."

Forgive me if I don't wear a suit and smile a fake smile at every MBA I meet in the hopes that I can impress the wallets out of them. I say what I say, I do what I do, and so far, it's worked out just fine, thanks.

Oh, and I know I'm not Maddox. You see, my page has a WHITE background with BLACK text. DUH...