She sneered at me over her pint of beer. My friend had just introduced us, fellow web programmers. “Competition,” she said. Not really. I’m not looking for clients, so hers are safe. She can’t get my clients, so I’m safe. Why can’t we just chat about cool Web stuff*?
I’m not a consultant, on the prowl for clients. I realize that I look a lot like one. I have my own office, I keep my own schedule, and I look like I eat a lot of red meat. But consulting doesn’t scale and if I’m going to wear myself out, I’d rather do it doing something I enjoy.
I have no job, and I really don’t want one. My time is spent primarily working with BestPlaces. I help oversee the popular outward-facing features (like Find Your Best Place), as well as some cool stuff for big-name partners like Yahoo!, eBay, and the Wall Street Journal.
The fun continues with writing code to organize Who2’s famous biographies (a big site itself, licensing to Ask Jeeves among others), listing all of Portland’s free wireless internet hotspots, helping your everyday Web surfer fight spam, and other little projects that come along.
I may look like a consultant, but I’m not. And this may look like a job, but it doesn’t feel like one.
* That’s actually what I really dig about Portland Web Innovators. It’s a group of local people using the Web in all sorts of ways. And it’s fairly technology agnostic. And we haven’t yet had a catfight over clients. Maybe that’s a sign of good economic signs…