Q. How many web designers does it take to change a light bulb?
Ans. 1 to do the changing and 2500 to submit proposals for the contract for changing the light bulbs.
Ok, so it may not be the best light bulb joke in the world but you get the idea. We work in one of the most competitive industries in the world and especially in India if you throw a rock into a crowd, chances are high that you will hit a web designer.
Like many industries web designing is also a pyramid of value.
What this means is that we have the best cream of cream contracts at the top of the pyramid dominated by a few firms allied to branding agencies, there is a large middle segment catering to the small-cap, mid-cap companies and there is a gigantic segment catering to everyone and anyone. However today all three segments are facing pressure from competition and shrinking demand.
Of course this is my persoanl perspective and you might not subscribe to it but like many other industries, ours is also getting hammered by the slow down.
But this post is not about dwindling work and hyper competition – its about exploring solutions.
Can we work together to expand the pie rather than cutting each other for an extremely thin slice of it.
As far as I have seen, cooperation and grouping together of web designers for mutual benefit is non-existent. There is a lot of fear, misgivings and doubts in our industry about each other. We do not share our knowledge easily, we do not recommend each other and we do not network well.
We must change all that. We must work together to try and increase the pie so that tomorrow all our futures become secure. There must be more more trust and cooperation.
Expanding the pie through innovation, cooperation and sharing of ideas.
Web designers need to get better organized so that there is a sharing of ideas and projects. Innovation can occur when there is dialogue.
Creating industry shared projects such as shown by the path breaking open source movement is essential. We need to move ahead from sharing jquery code to actually sharing innovative projects and ideas. We need to move from the mere technical to the strategic.
Do we have the maturity and the enthusiasm to create innovative projects that will benefit all web designers and all our clients too. Can we create the resources so that when a web designer sits in front of a client he has more to offer just because of our efforts.
We need to involve the dotcoms and the big media firms to work more closely with our industry.
For innovation to work we need clients willing to take risks and try out new stuff. Our eco-system of dotcoms are ever willing to try out a new concept or a new strategy provided we can reach out to them. They will be much more receptive if a group of web designers approach them backed by an industry body rather than a sole firm.
We should tap our networks to look for opportunities to innovate. Find the risk takers and the early adopters and then collectively do something with them.
I am always optimistic about this because the alternative is too scary.
Imagine working in an industry where no one talks to each other. An industry where breakthroughs are not shared and we never see the new trends coming. Each of us working in a vacuum of sorts. I don’t think such an industry would survive.
I am always optimistic for my chosen profession and after spending 15 years in it I know that the future is very bright for us and the industry as a whole. I invite you to join us in this journey.