Marketing is tricky stuff!
Most software developers like me couldn’t market ourselves out of a paper bag. That makes being an independent developer quite tricky, as it’s hard to find new projects. It also, funnily enough, means that it’s hard to find consultants. In the Plone world we are lucky to have the Plone Foundation, which helps market Plone, and therefore drives work to Plone developers. But of course that’s not enough, you can’t just sit back and relax and see the work coming in.
So the marketing talks at the Plone Summit was very useful for me. Of course, they were about marketing Plone, not marketing Lennarts, but some of it was still useful. For example, I had never heard of elevator speeches before. An elevator speech is a short explanation of what X is (X in this case being Plone, or me, or you, or whatever is the product) that is short enough to be done while you are sharing an elevator with somebody. Writing them is not easy, but having them is useful. How often have you not talked to somebody at a party that asks what you do, and you do some lame “I’m in computers” excuse, and then it turns out so is the guy you are talking to. Well, with an elevator speech you can tell him what you do before his wife steals him away. Of course, most of the time it doesn’t matter. But sometimes, just sometimes, that guy might need, or know somebody who needs you.
So, I’m working on my elevator speech. Here is an early draft:
My name is Lennart Regebro. I’m an independent software developer and I create web applications and web sites for small and medium sized companies using Python, Zope and Plone. It’s all open source software, which is great for the customer, as it always leaves the customer in control.
Whatta you say? Does that work? I hear from my customers (or rather the customers customers, as I mostly do subcontracting) that it can be hard to find developers that aren’t booked for any months in advance. I want to be booked many months in advance too. That would be nice. 🙂
Oh, and I know that Python, Zope and Plone is not known to the general public, but if people want to know more about that, I’ll need to do elevator speeches for them too. Hopefully some example elevator speeches for Plone will come up on plone.org in the future.