Christian Ross

Refresh Dallas

I spent a couple hours this evening trying to learn a little more about what I do, how I currently do it wrong, and how I should spend more time learning how to get better at it. Since that title was a little long, they just decided to call it Refresh Dallas.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. Was it conference style? Did I need a laptop? Should I wear my glasses and make sure to stick an Apple sticker on my truck?

I didn’t know a single person there, nor did I expect to. Some because I am a little hermit’ish, some because very few of my clients are local, and some because I really haven’t had a lot of nerve to stick my stuff out there in front of my peers. I am what my cousin referred to one time as a person who knows “a little about a lot of things.” I’m not an expert at anything. And I’m not sure yet if I should be concerned.

I was asked this evening by a man named Tall (or Tallen, or Taller, or ‘hey guy I have bad hearing and really thought you called yourself Tall, ironically of which you are’) about what I did and I really didn’t have a good answer. I mumbled a few things but nothing really sounded like I knew. When I made an attempt at de-hermitizing, I asked several others and they all had specific job titles and quick responses. Information Architect. Front-end Developer. Project Lead.

Ever since Tall’s question, I’ve been wondering how it is that I can describe myself when asked again.

I own a business. Some would call me a freelancer. I do work for a handful of other businesses. Some even in my same profession. That would make me a contract worker. I am however, not the best business man. My bookkeeping and record-keeping skills are pretty poor. I don’t really like invoicing cause I question every single one I send out on whether or not I am worth the money I am asking for or if they will be mad at the time it took me to complete their task.

I make websites but as I learn more and more everyday, there are many different roles in website making.

  • I design the front-end. The ‘pretty stuff’ as some like to call it. But I know I’m not the best designer. I’m getting better but I’ve never been able to look at a blank canvas and see a Picasso.
  • I’m a coder, mostly XHTML/CSS (which are the basics) but am learning a few other tricks along the way. My degree is in CIS, which was a fancy way of saying I learned how to program computers. Which I didn’t. I don’t see the logic a lot of times that others see in how something should work.
  • I’m a marketer in the since that I have to portray a message for my client to their clients. But I don’t have any formal training. I thought about reading a book on marketing once. But of course, I didn’t.
  • I’m a content writer. Sort of. I don’t know much corporate speak. As you can tell from my writing, it’s broken, often times grammatically poor, and filled with words I made up unknowingly or just cause I needed them. I will tell you thogh that just in the last year or two, I have found out how much I enjoy writing. Not really sure what I can do with that knowledge, but I like it. Liking something doesn’t make you an expert.

I’m a salesperson, in the loosest sense of the word. I’m supposed to be one though. One “no” from a perspective client and I’m good. I’m such a bad salesperson that many times I don’t even ask or mention just cause I feel like I already know what they’re going to say. Maybe I’m just not a fan of confrontation.

I make other things. Like Interactive CD’s. My buddy Rob taught me how. But since my sales skills are so poor, I haven’t really sold any. I also rarely make Virtual Tours. I do it mostly for a free trip to the beach. I can fix computers, but I really don’t like to. I hate computer problems and I really don’t enjoy a stranger’s computer problems any more than my own.

(As I look back over my list so far, it’s a real downer. Not my intention. I’m just trying to figure out what it is I do. If I can figure out what I do, maybe I can figure out how to get better at it.)

Back to the topic, Tall helped me realize tonight that I am probably a jack-of-all-trades type but that isn’t much of an answer when asked what I do. I’m thinking of attending another Refresh Dallas meeting but next time I plan on being equipped. My goal is to develop my ‘elevator pitch.’ I want to be able to describe what I do in the amount of time I would have if I were riding an elevator with an inquiring mind.

For the record, I’m not very good with goal setting/keeping either.

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2 responses to “Refresh Dallas”

  1. autumn says:

    Dude you forgot my favorite skill…finding great music and putting it on the web for all to enjoy…and download! Duh. That’s a huge skill in my book.

    Oh and btw…my friend Sarah has been having some issues at work. I told her to call you, but you might want to call her if you need anything. She’s an amazing desinger. A total digital picasso. Anyways, shoot me an email and I’ll get you her number if you want it.

  2. Mom says:

    Well, in my expert opinion (as your mother) you are not only a skilled writer, but a gifted writer….you should be writing everyday, because your heart aches with what you are not saying, when you are not saying it…you are a gifted designer, even if you don’t think so…and you are ALWAYS willing to learn new things, even if it is a reluctant “always” at times. So, in my book, you might be a “jack” of all trades, but you are an ACE at everything you put your mind and heart to! I’m proud of you and admire what you do for yourself and us, and others! I just feel lucky to get to read your stuff!

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