Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Mermaid Carvers 

Sometimes I feel that being a web designer is a lot like being the guy who carves mermaids for the front of ships for a living. There aren't that many ships that need mermaids out there, and there aren't that many people willing to pay for quality mermaids. So the two best mermaid carvers in the world have enough business to stay afloat, but the third best mermaid carver has trouble finding employment. What's more, there are plenty of people out there willing to carve you a mermaid; any bloke with a chunk of wood and a sharp knife can give you a discount mermaid for your ship. Enough people would rather have these cut-rate mermaids from Bob's Chainsaw, Bait, and Mermaid Shoppe that there's really no demand for something nicer but more expensive.

The customers who will pay for craftsmanship and quality materials are all going to the two best mermaid carvers, and the rest of the customers don't care how shoddy their mermaid is as long as it's cheap. So the third-best mermaid carver is left with a dilemma: charge less for his work than it's worth, or be willing to get by with very little business. Either way, he'll never make a living just carving mermaids.


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