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Q for Independent Consultants - end user focus?

Which of you guys or gals actively market to and work with end users in your business?

As opposed to either working through a body shop (agency) for an IT organization, or free lancing to an IT or programming organization? 

For those who market to end users, please describe how you got started and how you got away from working for IT manager types or other technical/managerial go-betweens.  (I assume that almost everyone who programs for a living in the western world got started on someone's payroll working on "previously defined requirements".)

Any other comments on that type of work appreciated.

Thanks!

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Most if not all of the end user type clients I've had and still have came by word of mouth or recommendation and a lot of them are accounting system users where I've provided some adaptation to their particular kind of business often at the ordering end, but not always.

One kind of difference in these clients is the amount of trust placed on you and the reliance of your recommendations.  Which means when you get it wrong you work twice as hard to put it right.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, December 24, 2003

"I assume that almost everyone who programs or a living in the western world got started on someone's payroll working on previously defined requirements"

I didn't. I started by writing programs for myself and then helped someone I knew for free, then was recommended by him to someone else, and so on. As far as marketing, if you can't do it through word of mouth then perhaps write articles, a book, website blog, offer a free simple application.

Tom Vu
Wednesday, December 24, 2003

At all places I've always worked directly with clients. The greatest advantage is that if you get things right, when you do, they pamper and respect you a lot. It feels great. Luckily, I've had wonderful people as clients, most of them worked as programmers earlier, at Netscape or other organizations, so it was easy for them to understand SDLC issues and the practicalities of software development. They are more enduring than the honchos in the adminisphere that pester you when you don't code crazy to deliver a feature that should take 10 weeks in 10 days. But I wouldn't know how to place yourself in an employment where you get to directly interact with the client.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Thanks for the responses.

I thought this would be a topic that would interest people because it's an avenue to being independent.  I take the few responses to indicate that not very many programmers actually work with end users in their own businesses. Or that my title was poor. Or something.

I guess everyone wants to be on someone else's salary. (blatant troll to get more traffic... ;-) )

Bored Bystander
Friday, December 26, 2003

I'll add another little troll:

I've said numerous times that most programmers are socially retarded.  The exact thing you cannot be if you want to have a succesful practice.

there you go
Friday, December 26, 2003

And I'll raise your troll by one more. ;-)

I see that the "non-Emacs editor" thread now has 24 posts. What an important issue - who cares how anyone does business when the text editor has to be decided?

A customer doesn't give a rat's @$$ whether you use vi, notepad or a Scrabble board to edit text.

Perhaps the techie infatuation with the best possible tech creates a genuine opportunity for anyone who wants to do whatever it takes (without exchanging bodily fluids in the process ;-) ) to earn a buck.

Bored Bystander
Friday, December 26, 2003

Text and code editors are tools of the trade, which can make a difference in productivity.  Photographers will debate each other about brands of film, and carpenters will debate about the best drill.  So ain't nothing wrong with programmers talking about text editors, as long as they don't take that talk to the client, just as plumbers don't discuss their tools with homeowners.

T. Norman
Saturday, December 27, 2003

Mod that up :)

Text editors and programming languages are just talking shop -- don't read too much into it.

Portabella
Monday, December 29, 2003

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