Advice from the heart


Dear Federico: I like to get my website done but I want to make sure I am getting a great deal. I will spend more time discussing the cost of the project rather than the creative brief. I want to save every last penny of value from my hard earned money and will want to know exactly how much time is being spent in each phase of the project, just to make sure.

Signed: Let’s make a deal Harry

Dear Harry: No one wants to pay more than something is worth, I am the same way. You can find a lower cost website but I will challenge you to find a better value. A cheap website that produces no results seems to me like a bad deal. Most of our services are priced with flat fees, if any of your requirements relate to an hourly activity it will be tracked accurately. We promise you strict reporting procedures. We are confident that our services will add value to all your products or services, you Harry are getting a deal!


Dear Federico: I have a phobia about technology, I will call rather than email you. I’ll be honest with you Federico, the only reason I don’t have a rotary phone is because they don’t sell them any more. In-person meetings are very important to me as I get frustrated with technology easily. I have difficulty keeping up with emails as my invoice box has thousands of unanswered notifications. How can we possibly work together?

Signed: Low-tech Tom

Dear Tom: I like you am a baby boomer, so I can relate to some of the frustrations you are going through. You are in luck Tom, for I speak baby boomer. I can help you cope and maybe help you develop your enthusiasm for technology. I’m Ok with you printing all the pages and mailing them to me. I’m Ok with handwritten documents, we can even transcribe your recordings into perfectly written text. I can do in-person agenda driven working meetings with you. My main job is to tap into your deep knowledge of the business and adapt the best strategy to help you project this knowledge to the world. You may call me now Tom.


Dear Federico: I may be part of a giant corporation, or maybe a small mom-and-pop shop sharing responsibilities with a wife and or an astute cat. In either case, I need to get a second, or 3rd, opinion from multiple stakeholders on absolutely every decision. The problem is that if I ask everybody I will get conflicting responses and the job will probably drag unnecessarily for months straining our client/customer relation. Getting people to agree on anything in my organization is like herding cats, is there anything you can do to help me?

Signed: Second opinion Sam

Dear Sam: You are absolutely right in wanting to get opinions from all the parties involved. People love their ideas and want to be included in the process. When other stakeholders are not included they will reject what is being proposed, that is human nature (I understand your dilemma). I can provide you with a decision making platform that will align the efforts and purpose of your team, taking advantage of their collective intelligence. Let’s line up those cats!


Dear Federico: As you know I am an existing customer. I am about to send you another emergency project (it had to be done last week). I need my project to be done ASAP but make sure you don’t charge a rush fee. You see, I work for company that constantly puts me in a unfair difficult position and I no choice but to pass this pressure on to you (no money, but lots of busy work). I know you must feel like I am very selfish and only care about me and do not care about your other clients. Please understand that I am always under the gun. I got to deliver or my head is going to roll!

Signed: Do it ASAP without a rush charge Jackie

Dear Jackie: I understand the pressure you are going through. I have also experienced working for companies where everything was about unrealistic deadlines and deliveries. Working in a hostile environment is torture, work should be a uplifting experience. In the past I have gone out of my way to help you, but ASAP requests will have to be charged accordingly. I think that is fair to you, my time and to my other customers. I hope that in the near future you can find a company that better appreciates and supports your efforts.


Dear Federico:  I don’t know exactly what I want. I cannot tell you what it is, however, I will recognize it when I see it. I will feel upset and frustrated if I don’t see a design that moves me.

Signed: indecisive Dan

Dear Dan: We have a process in place that allows us to discover what you stand for (your core values). Once we know more about you, we can present ideas and images that align to your vision. By taking small steps we’ll begin to see the big picture of who you are and where you need to be. If you go through our discovery exercises, you will gain the confidence and conviction to pursue your goals decisively.


Dear Federico: I have a problem, I have seen one of my competing sites, and it looks so amazing that I want one done exactly like it. I want to basically make a duplicate copy of that website, can you do this for me?

Signed: Copycat Kathy

Dear Kathy: It is great that you have a clear direction as to where we need to be. We try to look at each clients needs on an individual basis. What worked for that company won’t necessarily work for yours. If we outright copy your competitor, this action will carry legal implications that will most certainly come back to haunt you. In addition, your clients will notice, and it’ll reflect poorly on your company. However we can incorporate and even improve upon the core ideas and concepts of your competitor, but outright copying is out of the question. Your uniqueness is what gets you noticed.


Dear Federico: I am enthusiastic, intrigued in learning about the design process and I even willing to try some of your creative ideas. I could design this thing myself , I have a background in designer/photographer/artist, however I am short on time and that is why I am contacting you. Here are my concept sketches.

Signed: do it my way Larry

Dear Larry:  Love your creative background. As you know Larry, each artistic medium has it’s own set of craftsmanship rules and parameters and we all have to follow them in order to produce quality work. A responsive website does not behave like a 2-dimension drawing, the design flows and adapts to create multiple viewing experiences. Collaboration between artists is a wonderful thing, I am glad to utilize your sketches as a starting concept but not as actual designs. I will keep your specific ideas in mind, and will follow your direction. I am glad you are here and look forward to produce and even enrich your artistic vision.


Dear Federico: I am hanging on to an exciting, top-secret job for a major brand, but I need you to sign a non-disclosure agreement (the agreement is the length of historic novel). I want to make sure no one rips me off, this is very important if we are to move forward. My legal team has created a document to safeguard my interests (the document is full of multiple strategies to get out of paying for your work).

Signed: distrusting Terry

Dear Terry: We know how to read contracts and we find that yours is full of conditions that are not favorable to us. We are willing to sign all and any contract that describes a win-win relationship but we are not interested in a you-win-we-lose relationship. If you truly want your project to succeed, establishing a trusting partnership is vital. To gain our client’s trust we attempt to be transparent about our procedures. We can demonstrate clearly what it is that we do to through strict reporting and accurate record keeping. Our goal is not to take your idea but to make your idea a reality.


Dear Federico: I work in an industry everyone dreams of getting into (music, or movie, or travel). I have a job for you, but in the event that you don’t take it, I’ll easily find another designer who will take your place. I am actually doing you a favor by offering you this opportunity and I expect special treatment for my trouble (like a discount).

Signed: VIP Victor

Dear Victor: When I was part of corporate life, I worked with billion dollar companies like Caesars Palace, Royal Caribbean and some of the top design firms in NYC. I sincerely feel that we are qualified to work with you. I enjoyed working those accounts but I enjoy working in my own business even more. We are very sure as to what we bring to the table. We can do this job for you, not as a favor but as consultants that will add real value to what you have to offer. Thank you for the opportunity, we look forward to exceeding your expectations.


Dear Federico: I am super excited about our design project, you got the approval to execute your sketches and a here is my deposit… For the next few months I will not follow up with you and will not answer your emails, calls or text messages (it appears that I am going through some personal issue but I can’t talk to you about it).

Signed: vanishing Becky

Dear Becky: It may be that you have a lot on your plate. It might be that you have family problems keeping you out of work. It might be that you are disorganized. Or it might be that you have abandoned the project. I sincerely hope that you triumph over any challenge you may be facing. As a matter of company policy, the best thing we can do for you is to keep your website live for a month, afterwards we will turn it off and store it until you contact us back (our agreement clearly defines your obligations as a client). We hope you overcome your situation and hear back from you real soon.

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