Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

What exactly is it that you do here?

I’m in the middle of making deals with two different sets of what we shall call ‘contractors’ here, although in both cases they would probably be offended at the term, because somehow people get very exercised at pretending they are not working for somebody when they are in fact, working for somebody… (you can tell they are, because that person pays them)

This process is absolutely infuriating to me, because what my ‘probably on the spectrum’ brain thinks should happen, and what actually happens is so completely and utterly different. Here is how I expect things to go when I need some work doing by a third party.

  • Cliff searches internet for lists of people who do X.
  • Cliff sees the prices each contractor quotes to do X
  • Cliff selects the best price/experience/talent combination for his needs and a contract is signed.

Thats not vaguely what happens, because what actually happens is more like this.

  • Cliff searches internet for lists of people who do X.
  • Cliff finds that each individual has a contact form, but no actual prices.
  • Cliff fills out contact forms and sends emails to people who randomly guesses are affordable, but has no real clue
  • Strange middleman Y who works for X, replies and suggests that cliff ‘hops on a call to discuss the job with Y, who I should repeat is not X, and is apparently somehow ‘front-running’ the whole deal making process.
  • After declining this social invitation, Y is now prone to asking cliff was his budget is, or what his expectations are, or what will happen to the work after its done and other such bullshit.
  • Cliff gives up and just doesn’t get the work done at all, in despair.

The whole thing just reminds me of office space:

A classic film, with a great scene where someone whose entire job description is that they serve as a pointless middleman between the customers and the workers, desperately tries to justify his existence and continued employment.

Fuck this.

If I go to a shop to buy some bread, it has a price on the product. I can buy it, or not buy it. Thats not to demean the bread, it could be a cheap sliced loaf, or an exotic sounding freshly baked warm artisanal loaf that costs 5x as much. Thats fine. I get that quality costs money.

What I don’t get, thank fuck, is some salesperson leaping in front of the bread and saying “Hi there, you seem to be interested in working with our range of yeast-based consumable experiences, what kind of budget do you have in mind? I can talk to our bakers and see if they can provide something that meets your expectations, but first let me talk a bit about what a great deal you will be getting if you choose to go for a sourdough option”.

I do not care if you sell bread, artwork, music, PR services, animation, full motion video, advertising, I really do not give a fuck. All I want is a price, and as few middle-men as possible.

I recently bought a pretty pricey car. I did it with one click on a website. I strongly suspect the only human involved in me getting delivery of the car will be the person who physically hands me a key to it when its in the UK. I did not need, nor did I pay for, a middle-man to explain to me what wheel options exist or comparing the different trims. This is all on the website.

Imagine that, a website where you describe the product or service is plain text, saving us all the futility of inserting some useless, waste-of-space middleman into the transaction.

BTW, some services (game dev related) I recently tried to get would cost $5-10,000. The middlemen responsible for ‘representing’ those service providers did not even reply to me. 10 seconds google will tell you that yup, cliffski can probably afford those services, and isn’t likely to fuck around, or fail to pay.

In this case, not only did the middle-men add no value, they actually destroyed it, and the gullible fools who hired them will never know about all the money they should have earned easily, but missed.

And here is the thing: some people think hiring an agent will make them MORE money. No. In my case, not only and I likely to pay WAY LESS for someone with an agent (because I know the real cost of their services is way lower, due to the agent needing to be paid), but its actually a net negative, because by wasting my time talking to a pointless intermediary, you have actually provided a WORSE service for me.

Plus I KNOW if I have to haggle with someone over pricing, that its because they are trying to size me up and squeeze more money out of me. Its the online equivalent of someone quoting more to do your plumbing because they notice your nice car. Its insulting, its rude, and aggravating, and it just means you are training your customers to be aggressive, confrontational, penny-pinching bastards. Is that how people want to do business?

Needless to say, I don’t have an agent. If someone wants to contact me, cliff AT positech dot co dot uk is my email address, Direct to me.

4 thoughts on What exactly is it that you do here?

  1. > If I go to a shop to buy some bread, it has a price on the product. I can buy it, or not buy it.

    That example might work for a piece or bread, where what you get is a very known, “closed” product. But it would not be reasonable for, say, an architect, to “list prices of the houses” before you actually go and talk with him. The final price of the thing will be conditioned to a lot of unknowns, like location, your individual preferences, materials and so on.

    > All I want is a price, and as few middle-men as possible.

    I suggest you lead with a number yourself then: “I want this done, and my budget for it is $xxxx”. By giving a number first you might pay a little more, but you will “avoid haggling”.

  2. You must have noticed the same thing happening on the other end too.

    I get an endless stream of recruiters noticing that I’m a programmer and wanting to have a coffee/phone call about a ‘great opportunity’ that they are only willing to mention the sketchiest details about. Why do they cold call me expecting to take up my time without offering any incentive beyond ‘woo! mystery?’ I actually asked one for more details the other day and they came back with ‘so what are you looking for?’. It’s like phoning someone up and when they answer demanding to know why they’re ringing. Baffling.

    Not that most job ads are any better. The salary, if mentioned at all, will be ‘competitive’ which is a really great signal that it’s not worth bothering with. I guess it’s better than ‘uncompetitive’, which is probably what it means.

  3. So how much job loss from removing all middler-fiddlers? Is that compensated by all the jobs gained from people getting work more quickly without them? If that could even happen, and if so, what would their job quality even look like?

    Something to consider, Minister. :)

  4. HAHHAHHAHAaaha that’s so funny…
    This is why gigging sites exists :)

    Strange that you mention buying a car an not mentioned a certain brand :P

    Happy new year!

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