Hire people who give a shit
Since starting Typewriter I’ve thought hard about “services.” Most on-demand service systems are a race to the bottom designed to undercut competitors until there’s one (or no) service standing. Companies like fiverr and gigbucks offer $5 website redesigns and $20 “SEO boosters” and “custom blog posts” but what are you really getting?
If the service provider is popular you get 2% of a professional’s attention for 15 minutes and if the provider isn’t popular you get slow response times and poor results. In short, the on-demand economy in bulk is bunk.
Here’s an example: I was working with a startup on their Kickstarter video. You could tell they put a lot of care into the video itself, shooting in warm, pleasing light and grabbing some great action shots of the video. It hit all the deep ASMR buttons — calm hands peeling an avocado by candlelight, a smiling woman at a desk, kids playing — and if you turned down the audio you’d be like “Huh, cool.”
They hired a professional videographer to take the video. It was well done.
But they also hired voiceover artists from Fiverr. While the audio quality was good, the speaker sounded like she was reading off of a piece of toilet paper as it was swirling down the drain. It was full of odd phrasing, weird pauses — all the hallmarks of a voiceover done by someone with no supervision, no understanding, and no respect.
“But it was cheap,” said the entrepreneur. He paid $10 bucks for the work.
Great. Your entire freaking business hinges on the speaking abilities of some work-from-home yutz with a nice microphone who charges $10 to read 20 seconds of text.
On the opposite end of the spectrum I asked a friend to build me a demo app for a project I was thinking about. I tried to do it myself using Kinetise but I couldn’t get it right so he jumped in and helped out and I got a great prototype from someone who actually cared. It was well worth the money because it was done by someone who gave a shit, someone with an interest in my success, and someone who was a master craftsman and not a day laborer.
I see this all the time. The PR person who cares, who pays attention, gets more attention. The programmer who cares, who focuses, builds a better product. The person who cares about the outcome of the project is the one you want. If they don’t you don’t want them.
There’s a lot of talk about the lean startup. You should absolutely save money everywhere and cut corners all day long. But when you’re ready to face the world do you really want your building’s keystone to be jammed together by a $5 mercenary or someone you trust? Pay a little extra and you get a lot extra. Pay garbage and you get garbage.