The Freelance Developer’s Dilemma

As many have probably known by now, I do freelance work after office hours and during weekends. In other words, I moonlight. I do all sort of things, from developing websites to managing and installing Linux servers.

I have done so many web development jobs, but I can’t really disclose anything with the fact that I am always hired by web design companies or bigger companies who claims they do everything themselves. Because of this, I have an empty portfolio.

While puffing some cigarettes last weekend I thought of asking my current client, a graphics design company whether it is alright if I list them as my client on my official business website. Something like this:


XXXXXX Management System – Company X Sdn. Bhd.

They refused to provide me permission to do so; one of the reasons being that they don’t want to be called an “Ali Baba” company. In my opinion, companies have certain expertise areas and can’t possibly cover all the grounds. Since they require my service to develop the system, they are our client. I don’t intend to put their client on my site, and I am not even asking them to include my company name on their client website.

What I have seen so far with design companies, they have a footer that looks something like this:

Copyright 2009 The Real Client Sdn. Bhd. All rights reserved. Website designed and developed by Company X Sdn. Bhd.

In my opinion, the word developed should not be there because they are not the one who developed the website (in my case). Heck, for the last project I even had to build the CSS from scratch because what they provided were screen shots.

Hey wait, the previous system didn’t have the word developed but the new mock designs include the word. Hmm…

Anyway I can’t escape from feeling unappreciated when this happens, especially with the amount of support I provide, and the technical knowledge I pass to them when they ask even if it’s not related to the work at hand. I know I will still get the money, but similar to regular day job money alone is not enough. Humans require appreciation and credit for what they have done. That’s why I love my current day job so much.

Although “learning how to design” has crossed my mind a thousand times, I felt that I don’t need to step on other people’s toes and it is much better to collaborate. But I do feel that design companies are being too stingy to share the proper credits (and link). Perhaps I should stop thinking like that and get the proper credit I deserve? How do other developers promote their services other than word of mouth?

Note: If you guys from Company X are reading this, I still respect your decision but this is my personal space.

Economy Crisis Hits Malaysia

For the last couple of months I realized that the world economy is heading downwards. Europe and America have had their worst moments, Asia had a taste but Malaysia didn’t really feel anything. To be really honest the first sign I saw was last week when they announced that around 100K people in the manufacturing industry was going to lose their jobs. Maybe I was ignorant enough that I didn’t realize of other related events happening in this country.

Even when that happened, it still has not touched my comfort level. Although I am working in an American company I trust the brand and the business nature enough. I was living my dreams, praying that nothing bad would ever happen.

On Wednesday the morning peace in my office was broken by a rumor that a team is going to be closed and the product they maintain is going to be discontinued. And to think that this was the team I tried to penetrate back in 2007 I was selfish enough to think that I am lucky that I didn’t really join them. At least 6 people left the building in disbelief (exaggeration). Of course they get some kind of compensation but I am not going to talk about it here.

The main reason that made this event scary and were able to shake my comfort wall (not only me!) is the fact that there was no sign, no hint, nothing. It was a sudden move. I have not had the chance to talk to one of them yet but I think they was not warned. Were they?

There is no secure place except if you work with a Government Linked Companies or are a Public Servant. I would like to hear from these people, whether or not they worry about their jobs?

Good luck ex-TRAK I hope you will find better Ruby jobs! We will certainly miss you.

Starbucks Sizing System

I was watching HBO when one of the short sections in between the movies were aired. It was about the new movie “Role Models”. I have always wondered why Starbucks have the sizing system “Tall” (small), “Grande” (medium), and “Venti” (large). It’s plain weird.

Interestingly Danny Donahue (played by Paul Rudd) mentioned this directly in the movie:

LMFAO. “Congratulations, you’re stupid in 3 languages.”