i read a local blog on PR called valleyprblog. i like it because it posts articles on information anyone in the PR business can use. even those of use doing it ourselves for our own benefit.
i came across a post on there this week, talking about “pod camp az” that just happened last week. pod camps are for nerds that still like sleepovers and can also program computers. kidding.
they are conferences that provide information on different aspects of design/development/and promotion on the web. they have been going on across the country and this one was the 24th so far. apparently it was extremely successful and those that attended really benefited from participating. a PR person that attended posted an article about it and until that point, i had forgotten it was happening.
when we were first looking for a web developer/designer, we met with a couple who had a design firm and contracted out the development part. they were really great people, down to earth and seemed genuinely excited about the business model for durtbagz. we met in june and discussed money and a timeline for getting durtbagz online. they said they’d like to get it done in september so i could participate in pod camp and talk about my company because it was so unique. they also happened to be responsible for hosting pod camp az so they had a vested interest in completing the site on time as well.
we decided to meet with one other company before committing. the second company we met with could both design and develop in-house. they had a separate contract for SEO (search engine optimization) for the site and another contract for the building and design of the actual site. they also said they could get it done in 60 days, versus the 90 quoted by the first couple. their offices were much more professional and they had other sites they had built to show us their work. their pricing was comparable and basicaly it boiled down to the fact that the second company had a convincing answer for all of our questions while the first company was excited to be a part of something this different, which we took to mean “new”.
initially, after meeting both companies, i still wanted to go with the first group. i liked them as people and i liked how enthusiastic they became when we started getting into how i wanted the company to work. however, the second company made it clear that this wasn’t their first rodeo and in the end, that made us feel more comfortable .
so we went with door #2.
fast forward 90+ days. the company i said no thank you to is getting some pretty sweet PR on quite a few blogs. they held a very successful pod camp. that i didn’t attend. because my website isn’t done yet.
i opted to go with the professional choice versus the one that, although may have been a little greener, was genuinely interested in the project and it’s resulting success. my choice has led to me being treated like one of the herd. i seriously doubt anyone at my web company gives a flying eff how successful durtbagz becomes. they don’t seem to care if their clients are happy. they don’t seem to need my money (i’ve only paid for 50%, they get the rest upon completion). they don’t seem to be too concerned about deadlines or communication. in fact, i’m not really sure exactly what they care about, besides themselves and adding another website to their resume. it’s sad really. i’ve worked with five different people that work there and i could not tell you a thing about their company culture or their passion. because it’s like dealing with a blank piece of paper.
meanwhile, had i chosen the other path, my site would (theoretically) be online for at least a month now. i would have participated in pod camp received some free exposure. more importantly, i would have had a positive experience with this entire process and felt like i had a great grasp on how the site was created.
i’m totally not one to say “woulda, coulda, shoulda”. i made this decision, and this is what i get. and it’s been a lousy experience and the most annoying thorn in my side BY FAR. (adam, how does that make you feel?)
so what did i learn? 1. go with my gut. i’m a girl, i should know better. 2. go with the people that are most excited about the product/process and spend more time talking about that than telling you everything they’ve done and showing you their impressive offices.
i’d rather sit in a conference room shared with multiple offices, drink water from the tap (not good here) and sweat if it means i’m working with people that are that excited about working together. and as luck would have it, i’m about 99% sure that my current company has never done anything quite like this before, either. otherwise, i’m pretty sure we’d have been online by now.
so, lesson(s) learned. and not just concerning me choosing vendors, but also in the area of others wanting to work with me. eventually, i’d love to pair up with a snowboarding company (anybody know anybody at burton? never summer? solomon?) and throw some of our signs on some boards, board bags, and gear. the lessons i’ve learned from this will make me a lot more successful when i partner with a company for that leg of the tour. keep the passion alive, people. it’s like a magnet. a big magnet of…passion stuff.