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Subject: Re: UKNM: death bells and whistles...
From: Leigh Blue Caldwell
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 11:14:32 +0100

> _summary:
> Can YOU sustain that corporate contract?
> How long before it all goes in-house?
> wage bill rises._

The answers are just the same as for any specialist service - to
maintain your skills and USP at a level where you can provide
services more efficiently than your customers can do in-house.
I don't think this should be a problem for most Web houses except
for two areas:
a) basic HTML production, which clients will inevitably take in-
house when they want to write their own promo sheets for a
new product launch, and you're too busy to do it for a week
b) graphic design work for some clients, who are big enough and
old enough to have taken graphic design in-house for their
conventional production
If those areas _are_ your USP, then you may be in trouble anyway :)

> Its an obvious question, but how do you all see the market splitting in
> the next year? Personally, I sold out about three months ago when a
> 'systems intergration house' offered me a financial package for three
> on-going contracts. I take the view that the market is still yet to
> mature beyond the image of 'combat trousers' and 'shoreditch'.

That's not fair...we're at least two stops away from Shoreditch on
the Circle Line!

> In fact I would go so far as saying that the new media industry relies on
> 'black magic' and 'deception' as a major sales tool - or as it is really
> called the F.U.D. factor.

Or to put it another way, "We'll take this off your hands for you
because you don't want it to be yet another thing to manage
internally." I don't actually see anything wrong with that.

> Have we progressed much beyond the 'Artist Engineer' phase in new media?
> Does the traditional web house have the expertise and financial backing
> to progress beyond pretty graphics and low-end programming?
> In my own opinion the next phase relies on a new era of designers and
> programmers. The web designers/programmers of today still see themselves
> as 'six gun shooters' - strolling into your office with a bit of that and
> a bit of this (plus combat trousers). We all know that the financial
> sector is paying all the "good" JAVA/Programmers in excess of 50k
> salaries. Can we afford these high wage bills, more importantly can our
> clients afford these salaries?

Well, we're not quite paying over 50k, but we're coming close to it
(up to 44k for the right person). In fact, if there are any Java
(mainly server-side, not client-side) programmers on the list,
please contact us as we have at least one and possibly two high-
level permanent positions available. We also have a couple of more
entry-level posts in the 25k range. Mail for job descriptions.

But we are in a niche - we focus specifically on high-end interactive
sites and products, and we don't do generic web design work. In
fact, our market is probably made up more of the type of companies
that read this list, than the companies that still need a site built.

I hope the web agencies of today continue (although some might say
begin) to be successful, because that's where our work comes from.
On the other hand, we consider ourselves to be software developers,
not just web developers - so we are somewhat insulated from the ups
and downs of the website market.

I think there does need to be a re-evaluation of the market(s).
Webmedia weren't just copping out when they said that there were no
margins in production - for the kind of production they were doing,
for the clients they were targeting, there probably _were_ no
margins. On the other hand, for the production we do, there are
good margins. In more conventional Web production for lots of our
clients, serving small and medium-sized companies in regional
markets, there are margins. And in the interface between strategy
and innovative site production, there are margins. We all need to
keep finding the places where we can define our uniqueness and our
added value, and we'll keep capturing the business.


information | Leigh Caldwell, managing director, Internation.
innovation | Allied House, 45 Hatton Garden, London, U.K.
integration | +44-171-242-3200 (fax 3033)
Internation. | blueatinternation [dot] co [dot] uk www.internation.co.uk

  Re: UKNM: death bells and whistles..., justin bovington

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