The Web Factor

It seems that anyone with an ounce of ‘talent’ is able to climb in front of the general public and make a success of themselves, and a fortune to boot. Whatever happened to experience? Cue rant.

It seems that anyone with an ounce of 'talent' is able to climb in front of the general public and make a success of themselves, and a fortune to boot. At least that is what the box in the corner leads me to believe. It was only recently that a set of twins from Scotland, with unbelievably weird hair, stole the hearts of a nation and won Britain's biggest talent show. No, wait, it was a single-mum from Staines. Nope? Bugger. I give up, it wasn't even that important anyway. I have more pressing things on my mind, like what I'm having for dinner, or where I put that pocket fluff I found earlier…

And now for my amazing idea: The Web Factor

After this spate of talent shows I noticed they all focussed around singing and dancing, and thus I found a gap in the market. Let me introduce The Web Factor: a talent show specifically for web designers, cast from the same mould that sprouted The X Factor. There is still a bit of planning to do but I'd like to show you what I've come up with so far.

  • Live streamed interviews of hundreds of web designers and developers no one knows, making arses of themselves
  • Judged by a panel of self-acclaimed and moderately successful designers who, after a moment of reflection, probably passed their prime many years ago, but need the publicity so they can squeeze one last dribble of dosh from the generous teat of society
  • Judges select some web designers for the next round who are the most cringe-worthy and untalented of the group, we need to make sure people watch after all
  • For good measure they also select a few individuals that they know will make them a lot of money after the show is over, even if they don't win
  • Every Saturday the contenders will battle it out by reproducing the work of someone else, often with the help of some backing designers
  • The public will be asked to call a premium rate number so they can keep their favourite designer in. They will be asked at least 50 times during each show just to make sure they do it
  • Results won't be announced until Sunday for absolutely no logical reason apart from greed
  • When there are just a few designers remaining, famous, but failing, designers will help each contestant
  • During video montages of the designers, dramatic music will be played in the background to inspire emotion
  • At the end of each designer's piece, the judges will randomly stand up and applaud like they've never seen anything like it before (even though the designer was copying someone else's work in the first place)
  • Eventually one designer will be crowned winner of The Web Factor and will be given a ridiculously well-paid job in one of the judges agencies
  • That week the agency will throw a ridiculous amount of money into publicity, the designer will win a bunch of awards, and will produce the top website that Christmas even though someone else made the website for them
  • During the first week women will throw countless pairs of underwear at this designer extraordinaire as he shops in Tesco
  • After a few weeks the designer will fade from the public eye and the underwear throwing will stop
  • After a few months the judge's agency, now moderately overflowing with cash, will realise the designer doesn't have any financial gain, drop them, and start preparing for next year's The Web Factor
  • So on and so forth…

Pretty good yeah? Thought so. Give it a couple of years and we'll have an army of super-talented web designers that can create trends in their sleep. No longer will anyone need to read programming books or learn how to use PhotoShop, for knowledge is old hat. Magic and extreme amount of backing are where it's at. Who needs stable and long-standing success, right?

The problem with The Web Factor

Ok, so perhaps I'm being a little biased. However, apart from believing these competitions are an utter joke, the main reason is that people have come to think they can gain success with relatively little effort. Why? Since when did a little hard work go out of fashion? It didn't harm anyone in the past, in fact I'm pretty sure it made them better at what they did.

There is a fairly good reason why you need to work hard and earn your success. It's called experience, something that seems to be a rarity in society today. Without experience you are talented, perhaps, but ultimately unprepared and unable to act swiftly on change. If you are thrust into the limelight and can't adapt and gain experience quickly, then your success will be short-lived, for a few simple reasons:

  • It will only last as long as platform propping you up
  • The platform in these situations is supported by money, not experience
  • No one knows who you really are
  • You're not recognised as an expert in anything
  • People are fickle and you will be dropped as fast as you were picked up
  • There are plenty more where you came from
  • People love a big show, they get bored when the exciting new thing becomes old news

I have no doubt that you're a talented singer, but if you're unable to cope with the hectic schedule and pressure [experience] then your success will be short-lived. I challenge you to find a successful designer who has no experience or knowledge in fundamental design theory.

Why experience is key

The reason I'm banging on about experience is because people seem to have forgotten what it means. You don't get it from winning a competition, you get it from practical contact. That is, you get it from actually doing something, making mistakes, learning, not from being talented and given an opportunity based purely on that talent alone.

What is also important about experience is that the act of experiencing is fun. If you don't enjoy partaking in and learning about something, then that thing is the wrong one. Experience should be the result of the journey towards an aim in one's life, the accumulated knowledge, making the right decisions, knowing the wrong ones.

Talent does not equal experience. Experience is the underpinning to success, without it there is no doubt that you will eventually fail.

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