Web Developers Aren’t Marketers – So Stop Asking!

I browse Upwork for freelance gigs, and one common project under ‘Web Development’ is to create a WordPress/Magento/Wix/Squarespace (you name it) website, that increases leads, sales, or search engine ranking through SEO.

The primary thinking is this: that developers can create a website that magically gets people to buy products, sign up for subscriptions, or send information to create a mailing list, without effort on the business owner.

My response is: If I, as a developer, knew how to do that, wouldn’t I do it for myself first, and then build an empire of cash generating websites? Of course I would!

The reality is that developers create tools; we don’t create businesses. Customers don’t give two shits about the tools you use to give them what they want. (Seriously, people in the U.S. still buy clothes made in sweatshops in starving nations.)

No amount of development will do the marketing and selling for you. If this were true, there’d be tons of people developing websites attempting to generate tons of money – but because there would be tons of websites that do the same thing, they, by numbers alone, would diminish their value. Thus, it wouldn’t last, and very quickly wouldn’t be an endeavor that makes sense to pursue (financially).

When seeking a developer to build a website, think of asking a person to create a tool for you (and your customers) to use to get what they way. It should be nothing more than that, nothing less. Want to post articles? Ask for a blog. Want to sell products? Ask for a shopping cart and payment processing.

But don’t ask a developer to build a website that will do the marketing and sales for you. It’s a black hole of hope in a topic that business owners just seem to (still) think is a way for them to reduce their marketing/sales budget to zero, and get massive popularity.

Again, if I knew how to do that as a developer — I would do it! And then I would share it with everyone, so everyone can benefit! I want to see businesses succeed!

The Three C’s and D’s of Success and Failure

These are the three words that describe how to achieve success, or how to fail.

Certain and Doubt

The first step toward success is to be certain we’ll achieve it. The first step toward failure is to doubt we’ll get where we want to go.

Think of a pie chart, where 50% is certainty of success, and the remaining 50% is certainty of failure.

To increase our certainty of success, we produce evidence that supports our ability to succeed.

  • When we increase our certainty of success, we can’t help but reduce our certainty of failure.

To reduce our certainty of success, we do the opposite and produce evidence that discredits our ability to succeed.

  • When we reduce our certainty of success, we can’t help but increase our certainty of failure.

For example:

A sales manager, excited that his team can increase revenue by 10% for the year, asks for sales reports over the past five years. He notes that sales have increased, max, in the first year alone, 5%, and has gone downhill since. He accepts those numbers as evidence that there is more certainty of failure than success. He believes, “This is not likely to happen.”

Doubt is a powerful emotion that says we’re accepting evidence that goes against our best interests.

Certainty is a more powerful emotion that says we’re willing to consider evidence that goes against our best interests, but we don’t let it reduce our ability to succeed. We remain focused on our goals, and find a way.

Courage and Discourage

The second step toward success is to have courage, which is taking action despite any fears that we’ll fail.

Discourage is the second step toward failure, which requires giving into doubt by not taking action.

When we are certain of our success, and we have the courage to take action, we may still fail, but we’ll have the energy and the drive to continue toward success.

Discouragement happens when we are so certain we will fail, that we let the fear of failure take over, which reduces energy and drive, and keeps us moving toward failure.

  • Courage builds on certainty, creating upward momentum.
  • Discouragement reduces certainty, creating a downward spiral.

Our goals are at the top of the mountain, not the bottom of the lake, so let’s focus on certainty and courage. In order to get there, though, we need…

Clarity or Distraction

Once we are certain of our ability to succeed, and have the courage to take action, we must have clarity, which is knowing where to go. In fact, success can be clarity, if an idea, understanding, or the truth, is what you wanted.

Clarity can also be defined as evidence: more money, time, love, etc.

Distraction is the final step of failure, and one most people keep themselves in. When we distract ourselves, we can’t possibly have clarity when we aren’t even looking in the right direction.

How can we possibly get through the jungle without looking at the path?

Most people distract themselves with something familiar, because it’s comfortable, and they know what to expect. Those two things guarantee stagnation, and stagnation eventually means failure, as nature will, at some point, command people to adapt or be left behind.

Success isn’t about getting left behind. It’s the opposite: it’s about moving ahead, onward, continuously. In order to do this, clarity is needed, so we headed on paths that take us where we want to go.

Even if we get lost, that doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Only if we choose to be stubborn and not get clarity have we failed.

Don’t be stubborn.

You Don’t Need a Job Title to Be a Leader

Leaders get results through influence built on trust, guided by truth. Neither of these traits and behaviors are granted by a job title, require permission, and as far as I know, aren’t listed as qualifications in job ads.

Getting Results

Effective leaders get results that lead to benefit the whole. They focus on the outcome, the actions to get there, and with truth in mind.

A focus on outcome means a leader knows what they want, and why the want it. They also know why their followers want the result.

A job title doesn’t guarantee the person will achieve results, nor does it guarantee they have achieved results its responsible for. You can register your own LLC, grant yourself the title of CEO, and never earn a profit.


A job title can grant power, and it can be stripped away just as swiftly. Influence can be timeless, lasting decades, centuries, and millennia.

Influence is, according to its definition at least, “the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways.

Power granted by a job title is direct, granting a person some control to ensure they can carry out their responsibilities. Influence is indirect, and doesn’t need control control.

Power granted by a job title is tangible; it can be changed by policies and laws. Influence is intangible, which requires a greater deal of effort that can’t be destroyed simply by decree.

Trust & Truth

Trust is built from evidence that actions taken were done with truth in mind, and truth as the result. One can execute power through force, but this leads to fear, and when those fears are overcome, it leads to resistance. That resistance, fully realized, strips the person from ever retaining power again.

Decisions guided by truth never fail, even if the results did not materialize. Trust in leadership is stronger than the result so long as the leader was truthful. The antithesis to this is manipulation: people who promise one thing, and deliver something that is to the detriment of those who helped them.

Leaders influence excellent, qualify character and decisions in others. You don’t need permission, and you don’t need a job title, to influence others. Stick to the truth, and do it with integrity, morals, and you will see, in time, how far your influence reaches. It may be timeless.


5 Reasons Why You Should Hire (or be) a Rebel at Work

A rebel on your payroll can help you beat your competition, or if you are the rebel, drastically improve your career.

By rebel, I don’t mean the punk in spiked leather breaking beer bottles on the cop car, while battling his arch nemesis: the inner conflict of the man-child crying for his mother’s love.

No, by rebel I mean the man or woman who is allowed to challenge the status quo, lend a different perspective, innovate, and be fearless from receiving the usual repercussions of questioning their boss.

Here are five reasons why having a rebel on staff, or being the rebel yourself, can be beneficial.

1: I Challenge You, Good Sir, to a Duel!

The signature trait of a great rebel is someone who challenges the rule because the rule holds back progress.

Challenging the rule — questioning its validity and if its still applicable — ensures that either it is effective or destructive.

A challenge to a rule is to test its validity and applicability to how things are now, or in the future.

For example: It may have been a rule that refunds could only be given to customers if they could find a defect in the product. More often today, though, it’s almost a requirement that refunds can be given with little or no questions, and all money back.

Challenging rules can also reveal if they are effective or not. By being able to voice an opposing view about a rule, the rebel can bring to light rules that may be harming employee performance or customer satisfaction.

2: “I’m Not Afraid Anymore!”

Yes you are.

Rebels have fear, but they have more courage. Over time, they listen less and less to the fear because they listen more to their courage.

In business, employees can easily become complacent, turning into yes men and yes women. This may feel great if you’re the leader, for awhile.

If nobody rocks the boat though, it’s bound to stay at sea. If your people don’t do it, then surely the ocean will, and won’t be so forgiving for your crew’s complacency.

By allowing a rebel to be courageous without as much punishment, they can tell the truth, and keep the ship on course. A great rebel would have the courage to tell the captain about the whirlpool a mile ahead.

A great leader would check the facts and perspective of the rebel before deciding which way to row the boat.

3: I See Things a Different Way

A rebel breaks the rules to cause havoc, if it’s their intention. The rebel in the workplace doesn’t intend to harm others, but seeks to bring a new perspective.

While the leader may view things one way, and keep pushing for it to be that way, the rest of his crew may just row along in whatever direction they are told.

The rebel will see the rocks in the waves the captain overlooked, or the oncoming storm that’s on the horizon — further than where the captain was looking.

  • Having different perspectives allows new ideas and concepts to emerge.
  • Having different perspectives allows a rebel to point out the hole in the bottom of the ship, when everyone else thought it was going to be a pleasant cruise.
  • Having different perspectives grants the rebel the opportunity to see how the competition may take over, and offer a solution to head them off before the ship is sunk.

4: Captain, oh Captain! Stay my Captain

If comfort is the killer of ambition, then challenge is its fuel.

People who have all they want can fall into the trap of comfort. When people are comfortable, it’s easy to be blindsided by competition.

A rebel in the workplace should question and challenge the leadership, to keep them from sitting comfortably. If the rebel is the leader, they should create a community of fearless innovation.

The job of the rebel on any ship is to ignite the captain’s responsibility to keep the crew headed toward its destination, and to ensure the captain doesn’t become so comfortable in his navigator that the course they set doesn’t bring them to peril.

Another benefit of having a rebel on the workforce is that it grants leaders an opportunity to flex their muscle. By flexing their muscle, they can remain strong, grow, and push themselves further ahead toward the goals.

5: Innovation

A requirement of innovation is to make something exponentially better. If everyone is fine with how things are, there will be sameness, conformity, and eventually, a lack of growth and ambition.

A rebel doesn’t accept every rigid rule as the only way things can be done. They seek to find new ways to do things, which can be itself an innovation.

Instead of sticking with the same old ways, a rebel can find ways to do the same, or more, using less resources. They can be resourceful, which is innovative.

Even if the idea is outlandish, weird, strange, or odd, a rebel should be allowed to pursue that path. In order for innovation to exist, one must be allowed to experiment; give the rebel free reign to try new and different things.


We must not forget that a rebel is still an employee, and must be treated as such. They should still be held to the same standards — and a standard is a bare minimum of quality — as other employees, with one exception:

The rebel must be allowed to question the decisions of his or her leaders without immediate dismissal. Of course, derogatory, insults, and anything illegal, should not be tolerated; anything that diminishes a person’s character should not be tolerated.

If you could be a rebel at work, what would you do?

Stop Complaining! What Are Your Solutions?

We all know people who complain a lot. Maybe it’s you, your coworker, or your boss. What we really need are solutions, though, and I hope you have one.

Complainers drag down the workplace, the dinner table, and friendships. Yet, that seems to be the place that people complain the most: places where solutions and love should be shared.

Look, if you have something to complain about, it’s better to ask yourself, “Do I want to solve this”, or “Do I want to just bitch and hope someone else will solve it for me?

Most people opt for the second question. They complain about their life. They complain about the system. They complain that they don’t have enough money. They complain they can’t get a job.

They just complain.

It’s an addiction that feeds upon itself. Eventually, with enough complaining, they’ll start fighting the thoughts in their head.

Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Yeah, well the definition of a bitch is someone who complains over and over again, expecting someone else to fix their problem.

Complaints are what caused us to create insane asylums. People back in the day knew how to handle these nutcases: locked ’em up so they didn’t have to hear it, and the rest of us got on with our lives.

We did away with the insane asylums, because someone complained about them. I think that’s why the Internet is full of people complaining about whatever the media tells them to.

If you’re the kind of person that wants their complaints to go away, then there’s good news for you. Two guys invented a search engine in the 1990’s called Google, and it’s very accurate at finding solutions to your complaints.

Might I suggest asking Google, “Why is my boss a jerk?

If you really need help, ask Google, “Why am I a jerk?

Don’t forget to include yourself in the evaluation.

You’ll never stop complaints, though. Complaints from customers. Complaints from the government. Complaints from suppliers, distributors, and clients. These are people you can’t do without.

The one thing you don’t have to tolerate is complaints from employees. I don’t mean ignore them, but ask them up front when they do complain, “Do you have a solution?”

If the answer is no, then they’re just complaining. They’re hoping you’ll solve the problem for them. As the manager, it’s your duty to address these complaints in a timely manner.

Some bosses fire complainers, which I admire. Get rid of the person who habitually complains. It’s a good indicator they’re not even doing their job in the first place.

Most bosses ignore complaints, and especially the complainers.

I’m interested in the bosses who help employees grow to the point that they stop complaining (so much). Useful employees hear a complaint in their head, and the solution is right behind it.

The best way to train your employees to solve their complaints is to make them available on the company bulletin board. Put the employee’s name next to it, so everyone knows. It’ll discourage complaining.

You can also encourage employees to find solutions. Make it a game: “Whoever clears the bulletin board of complaints the fastest, lunch is on me for a week!”

Congratulations, now you have a real problem solver.

Have a Solution

I emphasize the need for solutions, because that’s what makes complaints go away. If you feel stuck in your career, and you say to yourself, “My career is going nowhere,” then you have to own up to it.

The answer is usually in the complaint. “My career is going nowhere,” should point out that it’s your career, not someone else’s. Therefore it’s your responsibility – the ability to respond – to the belief that it’s not going anywhere.

Here’s a list of things you can do to improve your career.

  • Learn a new skill.
  • Learn more about your industry.
  • Change Companies (Maybe your boss is a jerk, and the new one won’t be.)
  • Show up to work on time with a better attitude.
  • Find a better attitude, first, though.
  • Re-educate yourself, through books, audio books, seminars, conferences, videos, articles, magazines, how-to guides.
  • Get a mentor. Someone else figured it out a long time ago; ask them.
  • Go surfing.
  • Go fishing.
  • Get out of the office for a while. Taken a vacation lately?
  • Knock over the water cooler.

Okay, don’t do that last one, at least not on purpose. Make it look like an accident.

The point is, your complaints will be your complaints until you turn them into your solutions. You solve something first by taking a step in the direction of what you’re complaining about.

Say you don’t like the lighting in your office. Solution: tell the boss, and ask him to put different lights in the office. Let him know they’re giving you skin cancer, and that will only, in the future, raise the cost of the company healthcare plan, and leave him liable for your health.

So I gotta ask…

What are your complaints,
and just as important,
the solutions to those complaints?

Your name will be listed with them in the comments below. It’ll encourage others to provide solutions, myself included.