No Fancy Name
Sunday, August 06, 2006
yes, i actually do have a job
For several reasons, I don't write about my job all that much. Apparently, some people don't even know I have a job, despite the teeny-tiny link in my sidebar that says "my job"! Ok, so maybe only trillwing didn't pick up on it. At BlogHer, I said something about my job and she said, "you have a job? I thought you just wrote books and went to school." Uh, no. If I did, I'd be a better writer and scholar! (Conversely, if all I did was work, I'd be a better employee.)

So yeah, I have a job. The company, i2i Interactive (disclosure: we haven't updated our client list or portfolio for awhile. Too busy.), has been around since 1996. [or 7? I don't remember. A long time in Internet Years, regardless.] It's my friends' company, and I've worked for them on and off for seven or so of those ten years. We've never had more than seven employees at any one time, and for at least the last five years we've only had four. As such, our titles are purely for business card purposes. Like mine—"Technical Director." What does that mean? Who do I direct? I direct myself, and it means I deal with anything technical—and believe me, that's a wide range of things, including things I don't particularly consider technical, but that's just me.

The remarkable thing about the company, besides the fact that although we've come close to killing each other on a few occassions (such as over tables vs css) we haven't, is that we don't do sales/marketing and never have. From the very beginning, projects have come from referrals, and we have the luxury (most times) of picking and choosing the projects we do. We'll do a really teeny, static website for our dentist, then turn around and build web-based products for NASDAQ-listed companies. Whatever works.

We're all self-taught in everything we do. Me? English degree, designs databases and builds web-based applications from the ground up, has since the first years of the web. Our creative director? History degree, skilled at every piece of software graphic designers/illustrators/multimedia producers have used since before the web was the web. Our prez, She Who Keeps Everything Together, knows both sets of things. You get the idea. Back in the day, everyone was self-taught because the industry and the technology were brand new. Everyone started on the same level playing field.

You may wonder why I'm writing about this, and I'm not sure myself, but if anything it's in response to this comment on a post-conference thread at the BlogHer site, in which the author (Laura Scott) says: "It was especially interesting to me to hear about the few women who are succeeding in technology within the corporate world, and how they found ways to establish themselves and their credibility. I can say I have not heard many of those stories." Here's our story: we do good work, consistently, and have for a long time. It's our philosophy, we have the people to do it, and we just do.

I realize that's not an incredibly helpful story. There's nothing about toppling The Man or breaking through a glass ceiling or overcoming sexism in the workplace, yadda yadda yadda. I think the only pushback we get when our proposals are considered in response to RFPs comes from our numbers. Because of the inflated numbers (both cost and numbers of people on teams) agencies often use, our relatively miniscule numbers often make us look too good to be true. Ironically, the majority of our work over the years has come from cleaning up other peoples' messes, often the messes of overpriced, too-many-hands-in-the-pot agencies. But that's another story.

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