Sometimes I see complaints about sites like Fiverr, where graphic design folk complain about how the sites depreciate their own work. I'm usually not that sympathetic. What I'm looking for when I use Fiverr is something that really shouldn't take more than a few hours to do, at worst -- usually an app icon. And I want someone who can do that in an hour, rather than the hours on hours it'd take me to Gimp my way to inferior, but probably useable, results.

That's not the market of most graphic designers I see complaining. I was never in their potential market. If I ever have an app "take off", I might be. I might want a custom icon set, and better app icons that require some in-depth conversation and being on the same aesthetic page. Right now, not so much.

See, many of these folks won't even consider my "value proposal": I need a single app icon. Can you make that for me? Even at their normal rates, the overhead of getting a new customer spun up in a serious way often makes that a money-losing proposition. And who wants the wasted overhead getting on the same page with a customer just to make a single icon? Not only are they out of my budget when I'm tossing darts at the board and seeing what sticks, I'm not a big enough fish for them to care about.

But I got a sort of "turnabout is fair play" on StackOverflow Careers this morning. Check this out:

job listing from stack overflow with $15 AUD per hour for a 'senior' level .NET MVC programmer

Wow. Just wow. I mean, that's less than $11 US per hour.

It's obvious this is for a programming sweat shop. One coder doesn't work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They want a team. And cheap. Which means it's also pretty obvious to me, at least in my experience, that they aren't looking for great code, and will settle for code that seems to function, forget maintainability. Because even if you're willing to hire anyone semi-competent, as long as they're at this rate, you're not hiring someone competitive. I mean, good programmers can still find global, remote jobs that pay much better than this.

But let's also take a second to recognize that this is, in part -- at least as long as I'm working contracts remotely -- my competition. Wow. I'm not saying I couldn't make ends meet at $11 a hour, but that's sure nothing close to what I'm able to charge now. This is globalism. Like graphic designers looking at Fiverr, even though Powerfont Pty. Ltd. was never a potential customer (or employer) of mine, wow. That anyone had the gall to post such a low rate for a "senior" .NET MVC programmer is a body blow.

My biggest practical asset, it turns out, at least implicitly, may be my geography.

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