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So What Do You Do?

Last night I was talking with Tom, friend and former business partner in Playground Creative.  We got to talking about a question that I usually have a hard time answering, the all-to-common-when-meeting-someone, “so what do you do?”

“I’m a programmer.”  “I’m a web developer.”  “I make really kick-butt web applications.”

Most of these kinda fall flat to most people: either it’s too vague, or means very little to those who don’t talk tech geek speak, or even evokes the stereotype image of an antisocial recluse hunched over his keyboard all day.  It doesn’t lend itself well to any follow up conversation about the real juicy parts of the work that I love to share about.

Just as it’s much easier for someone else to tickle you than to tickle yourself, another person who isn’t enmeshed in the world of what you do can observe and describe it much more cleanly.  I think Tom nailed it when he gave me his words of how he’d answer the question if he were me:

“I listen to the vision of what a project is trying to accomplish, come up with a solution that is 100% true to its essence, and get it built fast.  If it’s something that you know is possible, but it hasn’t been done before and you just don’t know how to accomplish it, I’m the guy to work that out and reliably deliver on it.”

Nice one, Tom.  I think I’m gonna rehearse that one a few times for the next time I go out to a networking happy hour.


This is Programmer for Hire, a series of essays and explorations on the art of being a great programmer doing on-demand custom software development.

  1. March 29th, 2010 at 18:17 | #1

    Spot on, as someone who has the pleasure and honor of working with John I would 100% agree… he IS the man you want around when you need a fast, well concepted and reliable solution to pretty much anything tech!

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