There’s been a lot of talk lately surrounding the future of client services since Khoi Vinh casted them as the man who didn’t want to go on the cart in his The End of Client Services post. Khoi was essentially saying that if you want to do great work, you either have to go “in-house” as he did at The New York Times or be a part of a company that owns a product. The conversation continues this week after Khoi posted a follow-up, In Defense of Client Services yesterday. In it, he essentially says, “Ok, fine. Client services will still exist. Do not want.”
Pining For The Fjords
One of the most interesting (& nerdy) responses I’ve read so far has been from Kevin Hoffman, who I just had the opportunity to meet in person last week. Kevin is the User Experience Director at Happy Cog, one of the most respected agencies in the web industry. In his post, Attack of the Client Services Zombies, Kevin talks about how serving clients is about being a tactical super-hero and making sweet mind babies. Yea, that’s pretty much Kevin’s post in a nutshell. To translate, Kevin is basically saying that he enjoys working for clients, even if you think e’s kicked the bucket. Also, I really need to stop summarizing blog posts and let you read them for yourself.
Always Look On The Bright Side of Life
In Khoi’s defense, I was nodding along as I read his admittedly sensationalistic post. Having spent most of my career producing and maintaining web sites for clients in various agency settings, I understand his position. For about a year now though, I’ve been working as a User Experience Designer for an awesome company that not only produces an amazingly designed product, but lets us take ownership of it as well – the pinnacle of all opportunities, according to Khoi. I love my job and I love working with a team of exceptionally talented people. With that said, I loved my last job too and the one before that, and the one before that as well.
I could talk all day about the differences between working within the constraints imposed by clients and tackling usability issues on a popular application. I can tell you all about the hats I had to wear while working at a 2-man web shop and how I still wore the same hats at one of the largest interactive agencies in South Carolina. If you really wanna know, I can even tell you the things I miss about client work. No matter where I’m at though, I’ll still get up every day, tinker with code, push pixels and solve problems. If that makes you as happy as it makes me, there are plenty of opportunities out there. Not all of them are glamorous and some pay more than others, but for anyone willing to keep learning, none of those paths are dead.
Say No More, Say No More
The bottom line is that you can do great work anywhere as long as you’ve got the necessary skills and a passion for what you’re doing. To borrow Aarron’s now-famous tagline, you just need to love what you do.