Here’s a picture I drew while in a web design team meeting a few weeks ago:
Each of these three elements have been on my mind over the years. Mostly because of what my day job is. But also because these three elements translate to you, and your career management.
In my design, I tend to focus on FUNCTIONALITY. As a web developer many years ago, I was in the same cubicle as my graphics artist. Together, we made awesome stuff. I made it work, he made it look good. My focus has always been on database systems with web interfaces. It was all about functionality for me. You can see that in JibberJobber’s design. I have competitors who have nice looking sites but they just aren’t functional enough (that’s what the users who used to use them, then switched to JibberJobber tell me). Functionality is key.
I’ve been beaten up on JibberJobber for it not being SEXY enough. That is, it doesn’t look good. We’ve been working over the years to change that, and are making a dramatic change soon (totally new look and feel). I personally think it’s kind of petty to get upset over it not looking freaking-Apple awesome, BUT, I know I have lost potential users and upgrades because the look is outdated. That’s my biased I-Focus-On-Functionality persona talking 🙂
I’ve learned over the last few years how important it is that JibberJobber is EASY to use. If doing something (adding a new contact, or log entry, etc.) is EASY, then people will do it. If it is too hard, has too many steps, isn’t intuitive, then people simply won’t do it. I think JibberJobber is fairly easy, but there are a number of things we’re reviewing to make easier.
Functionality + sexy (or, look and feel / perception) + ease of use = WINNER
How can you apply that to you, and your career?
Functionality: can you do the job? Are you proficient? Do you communicate that you can do it well/perfectly/fast, etc.? Maybe you are the best at a task, but you are too humble to communicate that you are best. Fix that. If you can’t really do the job, get the training and experience you need.
Sexy: Okay, I’m not saying that YOU have to be sexy. But be presentable. Take away things that might give someone cause to prejudice, judge, or be unattracted to you being a part of their team. This could have NOTHING to do with physical appearance. One way I’ve thought about it is this: will my hiring manager (boss) look good because they chose to bring me on? If so, you got this covered.
Easy: Are you easy to work with? I like to think I am, but I know there are people reading this that LOL’d at that. I try, though. If you are NOT easy to work with, people won’t work with you. I look for the easiness factor now. If you want to do something with me (or me with you), and you are hard to work with, it is OVER. I’ve had enough hard professional relationships. Do you make it easy for people to hire and keep you? Or do you have too many diva-like demands? Be easy to work with, and you’ll have more people who want to work with you.
What do you think?