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Thread: Why do one man shows always claim to be more.

  1. #1
    curmudgeon swampy's Avatar
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    Why do one man shows always claim to be more.

    why is it that the majority of personal sites offerring web design / development services give the impression that they are more than just a one man show ? The tendancy is to to use "our" and "we" instead of "my" and "I".

    I could understand if people were bidding for large contracts, where the illusion of having a larger company would impress a client but the majority of these designers are just starting out in the business, they are likely to be bidding for small sites for small companies so their prospective client base is not expecting or necessarily willing to pay the costs of contracting a fully fledged agency, with associated overheads.

  2. #2
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    Some people do put this (myself included) on their sites. The reason I do this is because on occasion I would pass work to one of the people on my forums if it's something I can't do myself. I wonder if this is what others do as well or if it's just a case of sounding bigger than they are?

    It never fails to entertain me when I get people sending me their CV from finding my details in yellow pages or on the net and when telemarketers phone me and ask to speak to the director of drunkfoundation

    When I do speak to people however, I do make a point of telling them I work on my own unless there is something I would pass to one of my forum members. As you say Steve, I'm not pitching for massive company work, just small local sites as I am not doing this full time, rather to make a few quid to pay the bills.

    I do wonder if it impresses people that "we" and "our" are included when it's often quite apparent which sites are not agencies.
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  3. #3
    Because clients are more likely to approach a company rather than a single freelancer with some personal site. It's pretty much competition, and when it happens, everything is always being abused.

  4. #4
    curmudgeon swampy's Avatar
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    I disagree. The type of client you are going for at the beginning, or to supplement your main income would tend towards small businesses - for example shops, cafes, restaurants etc.

    Not people who would necessarily go out and actively approach an agency for a site, but when asked if they want a site say "probably" because they feel they ought to have a site.

    They don't tend to be bothered how many people are working for / with you. All they want is a good price and a good design with the minimum of fuss.

    That type of business is generally touted and won by word of mouth:

    You go into the premises, introduce yourself, give them your card etc. They tell you "yeah we have a few people coming in touting for business but they all seem a bit expensive and all they can really offer is fairly bland looking templates".

    You win the business on past sites you've designed price and interpersonal skills, you tell the owner to speak to so-and-so down the road who you did a site for. In this instance being a "nice helpful person" goes further than anything. If you design a great site but your attitude stinks then that will be all that is mentioned.

    I'd even stick my neck out and say that this sort of business prefers to deal with a one (wo)man show, provided you have the design skills and the interpersonal skills.
    Last edited by swampy; 10-22-2002 at 08:04 AM.

  5. #5
    Bah, i think it's those images where you see too many other personal sites that uses "we" instead of "i". It became a trend through people, and some personal sites gets scared because the rest of the competition uses "we", and decides to follow the rest.

    Anyways people like naming sites. eg: nohunters.

    Calling this a personal site seems a bit weird, and so they want to associate "nohunters" with an image of a company.

    now i have underthesun, which is my nick on many message boards, as the title of the website. I refer to myself as "the designer".

    seems to work well, but site still has majority usability flaws, links not working

  6. #6
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    i don't think there's anything wrong with using *we* for a one man show if some of the projects in the portfolio were worked on with more than one person (as is frequently the case with people who worked full-time somewhere and freelance additionally) or bring in sub-contractors who will help out....

    i personally label my site as *the limited liability company promoting chris and his network of designers and developers blah blah blah*...maybe this isn't quite what you're referring to--i've definitely seen the *we* and *us* thrown around far too much, but i think in cases like mine and many others it's perfectly justifiable.

  7. #7
    curmudgeon swampy's Avatar
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    just to clarify:

    I'm not berating anyone, I'm just genuinely interested in what the perceieved advantage of being a body of several rather than a lone designer is and whether this advantage is actual or imaginary.

  8. #8
    Lunch is for wimps. erova's Avatar
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    i hear ya swampy, i hope you didn't think i took offense to the *we* just because I use it myself (or ourselves? hehehe).

    like i said, i use it because even though it's my shop and it's my cell phone on the web site, there are contracts/projects i would like to bid on, regardless if only me personally will be doing all the work or if i'll farm some of it out...

    also a lot of times i think the context someone uses *we* can allude to whether a person is a *shop* or some guy trying to puff out his chest and try to give credibility where there is none by using *we* and *us*....

  9. #9
    Banned vampstko's Avatar
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    i started as a 1 man show..

    i tried to make myself look bigger then the company was... i have no expaned to 3 sales people 2 designers and looking to expand. its alot of hard work ..late nights and missing time with the kids..

    gotta think big if you wanna be big..
    my $0.02

  10. #10
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    When the wife and I go to chat with prospects, I always think it's vaguely amusing when, upon entering offices, we are referred to as 'the sales reps' of Hurricane Graphics.

    Pretty funny, as we are so not the sales reps, we are only role playing for the customer to think that.

    And in ref to the misrepresentation of any company with the 'we' and not 'I', despite the fact that the company has only a single employee, I think that it is certainly more prefessional not to refer to yourself directly in any business literature, to the point of it sounds like some delusions of grandeur if you do. (I am the best designer for the best price... - really? - and who, pray tell, gave you that idea - your dear Mother?).

    Additionally, I would say that there is a certain client snobbery involved here. I perceive a lot of companies choose to make sites for the sheer bragging rights of having a site, not 'cause they need one (who's complaining? - not me!), and like to chat with their buds about the new marketing tool over cocktails. To which, this sort of customer is never going to pick a one-person show - ever. They want to be seen as hiring a 'firm' not a 'person', because firms cost more, hence a perceived higher investment, I can afford more, afford better, I am - after all - more successful (ah, the psychology of it all).

    Here in Sao Paulo, we have a funny little game going on. There seems to be a misplaced notion around town that if it comes from outside Brazil, it is of a better quality than the local brand. So, me, being English, a lot of companies that we work for like to invite us to the site launch, new store launch, paraded through the introduction rounds, etc and I am positive, these guys want to be seen as hiring some kind of international internet consultancy, just for the sheer 'coolness' of it all. (Again, complaining? - not I).
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  11. #11
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    ye vamp i also started as a one man show.

    now have a programmer, designer and content writer. i also spend to much toime away from the little one ...

  12. #12
    tell me, is this sellable..... OddDog's Avatar
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    hurricaneone, that is amazing, the same snobery exisits here in spain. i also do not complain !!!

  13. #13
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    gSOLO Studio is a design company that specalizes in design....

    I design web pages and stuff...

    My company designs things for you...


    Dosn't sound right. That sounds like gSOLO Studio is talking, but I'm talking about gSOLO Studio. gSOLO dosn't do the designing, I do. gSOLO Studio and I are two different people (things.. err whatever). Because I am talking about the company and Geoffrey Williams (the owner of the company), I use we. Together we, the person and the name, design stuff.

  14. #14
    proud new daddy! LuxFX's Avatar
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    Personally, I think it's just traditional business talk. A company always speaks of itself in plural -- we, us, our, etc. With a portfolio site, I believe that you should always be representing yourself as a business, and should therefore apply the traditional business talk.

    But if you want to look at it in technicality, remember that a business is legally a seperate entity from the owner(s) of the business. So even as the owner of a one-person business, you have every reason to use plural, because you are representing both yourself, and the entity of your business.
    For War's a banker, flesh his gold. There by the furnace of Troy's field, Where thrust meets thrust, he sits to hold His scale, and watch the spear-point sway; And back to waiting homes he sends Slag from the ore, a little dust To drain hot tears from hearts of friends

    - Aeschylus, Agamemnon

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    [[removed by poster]]
    Last edited by Enterfaze; 08-29-2006 at 11:34 PM. Reason: [[removed by poster]]

  16. #16
    proud new daddy! LuxFX's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Enterfaze
    This is only true, of course, if your business is incorporated.
    yes, absolutely true!

    but (IMO) any serious business, incorporated or not, should act like it is. The respect factor goes way up... (this goes back to my business-talk point I mentioned earlier)
    For War's a banker, flesh his gold. There by the furnace of Troy's field, Where thrust meets thrust, he sits to hold His scale, and watch the spear-point sway; And back to waiting homes he sends Slag from the ore, a little dust To drain hot tears from hearts of friends

    - Aeschylus, Agamemnon

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    [[removed by poster]]
    Last edited by Enterfaze; 08-29-2006 at 11:34 PM.

  18. #18
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Enterfaze
    Definitely so! And if a client asks, it would hardly be a lie to say "I have a wide network of developers/artists/whatever-you-do with whom I work."
    I think if I was a customer and had half a notion 'bout what it took to do what we do, I would certainly consider the company who were open about their outsourcing of talent - people who profess to be a 'one-stop-shop' for all your internet needs are either jack-of-all etc or simply trying to pull a fast one by looking better than they really are.

    Oh, I know these skill set masters exist - but there's so few true masters of the wholes complex business, it's just unlikely that you'll ever meet one.
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  19. #19
    proud new daddy! LuxFX's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hurricaneone
    I think if I was a customer and had half a notion 'bout what it took to do what we do...
    I'd be so happy if I had more customers like that....
    For War's a banker, flesh his gold. There by the furnace of Troy's field, Where thrust meets thrust, he sits to hold His scale, and watch the spear-point sway; And back to waiting homes he sends Slag from the ore, a little dust To drain hot tears from hearts of friends

    - Aeschylus, Agamemnon

  20. #20
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    I can't give you an exact reference, perhaps, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, but using "we" or "us" to refer to a company of one is grammatically correct, and proper business etiquette.

    For example, below is a sentence taken from my site:

    "Erchou Kai Ide Group is a web development and design studio offering a comprehensive array of traditional and state-of-the-art multimedia services designed to enhance your business."

    Notice the distinction: you wouldn't say, "I am a web development and design studio," etc. I own a business, so I am describing the business, not myself. Hence, my URL is ekigroup.com, not jamescover.com.

    The above sentence is displayed on my site under the heading "Our Company." I suppose that I could change the heading to "My Company," but it has a bad ring to it. And then what would I do with a heading such as, "Our Name?" I wouldn't call it, "My Name," because it's not a section about my name, instead, it's about the name of my company. And using "My business' Name" would be awkward.

    So, it's altogether proper to use "Our Company," "Our Name," "Our Mission," "Our History," or "Our Philosophy," etc. All of which would come under a heading like, "About Us," but not "About Me." A business is not a person, but an entity. The owner, CEO, President, employees, etc. are people.

    However, using such phrases as "our team," etc. is a blatant abuse of business etiquette, if you're a company of one. But using "us" or "we" is correct grammar and proper etiquette, when used in their proper context.



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