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the Big Blog Company | A few good men and women…
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
February 05 2006
Sunday
A few good men and women…
Adriana Cronin-Lukas
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We are looking for several people who can work with the Big Blog Company. We have been bringing blogging to businesses in the UK for the last two years as a small team of dedicated and by now weathered professional bloggers, who need more bodies to capture the demand coming our way.

Two ‘blogging experts’ i.e. people with considerable blogging experience of their own and with understanding of the blogosphere, with its network and social dimension.

  1. The focus is on communications and interaction as relevant to businesses and their audiences rather than just blogging. We need bloggers who would like to make a living from their experience of running their own blog and interacting with other bloggers. The job is not writing and blogging for clients but demonstrating and explaining the practice and to some extent the theory behind the dynamics of the blogosphere to them and assisting them with applications of that to their businesses.
  2. Technology skills are welcome but people skills are more important. We supply much of the knowledge, so there will be much to take in at the start. The Big Blog Company has extensive experience in promoting blogging in the UK and we have developed several principles that are the core of our expertise. Of course, own input is welcome and an open mind essential.
  3. The ‘blogging experts’ would work on development of new services as well as on particular projects and be integral part of the company. The job comes with a monthly retainer as we will need continuous focus on development and looking after clients. For more specific and clearly defined projects, there will be payment on top of the retainer to be agreed on a case per case basis as we need to have flexibility to price projects strategically rather than be locked to a particular formula.


A few practical conditions for potential candidates:
  • need to be articulate, be able to present and deal with clients (i.e. patient)
  • have their own blog(s), or familiar with running one, for at least a year
  • based in London

We are also looking for two people to work on project by project basis - a code assistant and a supplemental tech/design operative, based anywhere but ideally in London. There is an option of a retainer with flexible pricing for specific projects or straightforward fixed fees/prices, depending on the individual situation and preferences.

The code assistant should be:

  1. Efficient in HTML/XHTML and CSS in order to work out advanced mock-ups that we will provide, understand them quickly and ‘translate’ them into actual code - in the most effective and accurate way (under our guidance and with the help of our specifications of course).
  2. Ideally, we’re looking for somebody who can look at the mock-up, and perceive the most efficient underlying HTML/CSS structure, with as little explanation as possible - although we will provide instructions. However, it will just make things much easier if he/she can look at the mock-up and have a feel for how the code should be structured.
  3. He/she should also be able to manage gracefully - again, with our input if needed and under our supervision - the slight inevitable differences that exist between the graphical mock-up and the final display in the browser(s) window, in compliance with the original design. In any case, we will handle and provide each and every graphic element to be part of the design, and we will manage as needed any subsequent editing or addition of graphics all along the development process. Therefore, he/she doesn’t really need to be a Photoshop guru, as we will spare him/her image editing work.
  4. A reasonable understanding of PHP and Javascript, in order to painlessly implement scripting within the (X)HTML code he/she will produce. We’re open to any kind of proposition as far as scripted features and solutions are concerned, but this is not something he/she should have to worry about on a regular basis, as we will provide the said scripts, and the instructions to implement them.
  5. An understanding of the CMS(s) we will be using and coding for. His/her expertise on both points 1 and 2 should be enough for him/her to learn quickly whatever software we are (or will be) using, but any preliminary knowledge of the way most CMS templates are usually structured will be a definite plus.
  6. Flexible enough to adapt and produce code according to our guidelines and conventions (for the most part, we’re following XHTML recommendations: all tags and attributes in lowercase, quotes around attributes’ values, closing tags, etc.).

    Ideally, we would favour somebody who codes ‘by hand’ (the ‘Notepad School’ as opposed to the Dreamweaver one) but ultimately, we’ll leave it to him/her, as far as he/she can provide us with clean and optimized code, that complies with our specifications.

    Having said that, I know that (somewhere between) 80 to 90% of the people out there surf the web with various flavours of Internet Explorer. I have no intention to lecture them, snub them or Javascript-Alert them to change their browser. Consequently, the policy is fairly simple: We stick to the aforementioned standards up to the point where it makes no sense to stick to them, and we expect the same from our code assistant.

    We’re looking for a pragmatic professional with a solid sense of reality and who understands that between ‘standards’ for a happy few percent of users and Word crippled HatcheTML there is a quite wide and acceptable margin of operation.

  7. Any delivered code has to be rigorously and intelligibly commented, as our code assistant shall always keep in mind that somebody may have to (will) work on the code he/she produces in the future, and should be able to do so as painlessly and quickly as possible.

    In the same spirit, strict naming conventions will be used consistently for files, directories/site structure, templates and CSS selectors. We’ll expect him/her to follow them conscientiously.


  8. In a more general way, we’re truly looking for an assistant. He/She will specifically code what we will design, and therefore will only have to care about his/her code.

To that end, he/she will have to work in close collaboration with the Head of the Design Department (of which we have none, the department, not the Head, of course).

We’re also looking for a supplemental Tech/Design operative who should retain most of the requisite aspects for our code assistant, with the following additions and/or differences:

  1. Ideally, we’re looking for somebody who would be able to manage both design and coding aspects of a project, albeit with a stronger emphasis (and expertise) on coding. Let’s say two third web developer, one third web designer. He/she can code (X)HTML/CSS in his/her sleep and is at an advanced level at least in PHP/Javascript (any extra competencies/mastered languages are of course welcome). A strong understanding of the Dark Mysteries of MySQL wouldn’t hurt as well.
  2. On design considerations: It’s definitely okay if he/she is not the Next Big Thing on the art/graphic design field as far as he/she is able to produce good looking, elegant and professional blog/website designs—with our input when or if needed. Maybe not a graphic design pro (remember that’s just one third) but at least an ‘enlightened amateur’.

    On the technical side of graphics, my policy is: When it comes to graphics optimization, broadband doesn’t exist. If we can gain that extra 0.2 Kb on a .gif or a .jpg simply by moving the cursor one notch down while maintaining top visual quality, then go for it. There’s no such thing as a small gain.

  3. Although he/she will regularly answer to both the Design and the Sales department and get their validation all along the development process, he/she should be able to manage the project(s) in a fairly independent way. He/she will have to conceive and design, make structural and aesthetical decisions and create the final product.
  4. Independent doesn’t mean ‘loner’, so he/she should be able to work with the other members of the Design Dept. whenever a project requests it - and in full awareness of #6, par. 2nd and 3rd of course. Ahem.
  5. He she will be a ‘self-maintained cutting edge pro’ in his/her field. Additionally, we do hope he/she’ll never hesitate to share the relevant part of the knowledge he/she’ll gain that way, in order for all of us to move forward and stay ahead of the curve.
  6. Generally speaking, we’re indeed looking for a web developer with a strong emphasis on design, able to work in parallel with other on separate projects.

Want work with us? E-mail adriana at bigblog dot net.

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