When someone asks me “What do you do for a living?“, I usually answer what most of my colleagues say - “I make websites and applications”. For the average person that is all they need to satisfy their curiosity, however, there is a much deeper answer to the same question.
It all started way before the internet era when we were just hunter-gatherers. Even back then some lazy person thought “Do I really have to go out each day? Is there a better way to do it? With less stress?”. So that same person started to observe the surroundings and noticed that instead of gathering he might start growing food. All of a sudden, he didn’t have to go that much outside and could focus on other things, more fun things.
From those days till today we have gathered in larger groups and optimized our efforts by specializing. In that way instead of everybody doing everything, we asked individuals to make just one thing but to be good at it. Now, everybody is doing a different thing but the group can do more of it and of better quality. Today's groups are called firms and we have individuals called specialists that create amazing things. If another group liked what yours were producing you could exchange.
But what if several groups were producing the same thing? Or even hundreds? At what rate could you exchange your products for the other? Things could stay as they are if everybody continued to produce the same amount and at the same quality, but that is not in human nature. If it were, we would be still climbing trees and living our lives not ever touching the ground.
In today’s times starting a war to get someone else’s goods is out of the question, so what we have left is competing with each other, to make our products stand out in whichever way we can, to make it more appealing to the others that want it. Today we call the “others” customers.
In every emerging business, there is always the starting point, where everybody is almost the same, then one firm makes a move and rises above the other. Those left on the bottom will eventually perish. That is the evolution in real-time. As things evolve competition gets higher. These days competition has gotten so high, that firms have to hire other firms to make more specialized work. Work that they can’t do themselves. Work that will give them a certain advantage over the other.
In this digital age is there a better solution than to hire a digital agency? We as digital agencies can create tools and experiences needed by others to achieve their goals. Also, we can take even the role of consultants and help firms set goals, tactics, and strategies. With our help firms can take a step higher moving away from the bottom, from disappearance.
Agencies group specialists and depending on the skills of those specialists they can create services that will be offered. The services provided depend greatly on the agency’s ability to attract and gather skilled specialists that will help the agency stand out and create a competitive advantage over the others in the field, so they can be chosen as providers by other firms.
Even if an agency provides services that look the same it will be at a different price, speed, or quality. Competition and evolution are the same for all. There is no escape from it.
Because of the competition and evolution and our desire to always achieve more, we have to be constantly learning, experiencing new things, and making sure we question and evaluate everything we learned so far, so we can create services that matter, that really make a difference.
“The services are a reflection of the people creating them.”
No project should be treated as the one before, because we risk falling into a trap that will make us walk always the same path, fall to the bottom and perish.
Analysts might try to track performance in the same way and create the same reports, believe me, it is doable. The designers could copy some designs they’ve seen and adjust the theme colors. Developers could reuse the code from another project and just make some tweaks. But by doing so, we are not creating a difference. Yes, it is easier. Yes, it is faster. But we won’t have something to look back one day and be proud of.
It is our responsibility as individuals to make an effort and create services and products that will help our clients stand out from the rest, that will be tailored by their needs and not ours. That will create a meaningful difference that will move them up on top of the competition.
Everybody can make a difference by first understanding the goals set and then tailoring a solution to meet that exact needs instead of just “walking the old path”.
In this internet era, where everything is moving so fast, everything is evolving at great speeds, more than many other fields. We are the ones making a significant difference by dedicating time to ourselves, our skills, the products and services we create and help the ones who are hiring us as agencies climb one step up on each project we make. We are the heroes of today.
So next time someone asks you “what do you do for a living?” you might answer something like “I make the tools needed by others that will help them evolve and survive today's competitive times. I help businesses, as well as individuals, succeed and create amazing products and experiences” but we know what a reaction to that answer could be, so you might stick to “I make websites and applications for a living”. ;-)