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I am John Watson

Like all real men throughout history, I am a tea drinker.  When I stumbled upon Adagio Teas I became overwhelmed with excitement.  It wasn't their obvious quality or experience that won me over, it was their Fandom teas.  There is a big difference between liking something and being a fan of something.  There is a sense of, dare I say, fanaticism.  You don't think something is good; you think it is fantastic!  A company that has an entire section for such fans gets an A+ in my book.  Imagine the elation I experienced when I discovered the Sherlock Holmes Fandom teas.  This is great for so many reasons!

  • I am a fan of teas.
  • I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Moreover, I am John Watson.

This final truth however began to worry me.

The Premise

John Watson is a doctor.  He's a good doctor; he does a fine job.  He had (for a time) a healthy practice and sold it for a good price.  However, John Watson is not the subject of these novels (or any novel to my knowledge).  Though he is the fictional author, he makes little of himself while making much of Sherlock Holmes.  He's not the lead role; he's the supporting character.  He's the sidekick; the second in command.  He, as Aaron Sorkin describes it, doesn't want to be the guy; he "[wants] to be the guy the guy counts on."  Such characters have always been my favorite.  All the way back to Kato (of the Green Hornet) and Tygra (of ThunderCats), I have always liked the guy who makes much of the star of the show.

The Problem

As you may have noticed, it's my name in the URL.  As far as my little web development world is concerned, I'm the guy.  I am a John Watson without a Sherlock Holmes.  What I promote, what I make much of is my business.  I talk about the skills, experience, expertise and personality of myself and my team.  It can feel sometimes that I'm making much of me instead of my proverbial Sherlock Holmes.  At times I can feel like a Small Forward playing in the Center's position (thank you, @caralucas44).

The Beauty

That should be a problem, but it isn't.  I really enjoy my career, my industry and even my business.  I have had a lot of jobs that couldn't capture my attention, but this ... this I love.  It's been years, and I'm still loving it.

How is this so?  It turns out I do have a Sherlock Holmes.  I have a lot of them.

My clients are my Sherlock Holmes.

I spoke with a potential client last week who has been in business for decades and has seen every trend come and go.  He got his first website (he's only on number 3 right now) many years ago.  He was one of the first in his industry to have one.  He said that it was "cutting edge" and "flashy" and "looked really cool."  People would see him all of the time and say, "Great site!  Love the site!"  But, they never bought anything.

That's because his designer wasn't a John Watson, and he wasn't his designer's Sherlock Holmes.  When I design sites or ads or logos for my clients they make much of them, not me.  If no one ever compliments my work, that is fine with me.  If no one ever patronizes my clients ... that's a problem.  If my work is what is noticed over and above their product or service, I have not done my job as John Watson.  I have not supported or made much of my Sherlock Holmes.

Showcasing my clients is one of the things I like most about web design.  I get to learn who they are, what they do, what they like.  I get to think through what shade of what color they prefer and why.  I get to find out what's important to them both personally and professional.   Then I get to show everyone how awesome they are!

It boils down to this: I am a fan of my clients.