Is it easy (or difficult) to …?

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Fernando Carreiro
Fernando Carreiro  

This post could be considered a “rant”, but I would like to take the opportunity to relay to those that ask similar questions, the difficulty involved in answering such a simple query – “Is it is easy (or difficult) to …?”

  • “Easy” would imply that anyone can do it, but that is obviously not the case.
  • “Easy” depends on the ability, skill, knowledge and experience of the one that is tasked to do it.
  • That ability, skill, knowledge and experience took time to establish and it had a cost, and if you sum it all up, it can be quite high.
  • So, “easy” means that if you don’t know how to do it yourself (or not able to do it yourself), then you will have to “compensate” someone else to do it for you.
  • You will be “compensating” him or her for all the effort and cost that went into acquiring the ability, skill, knowledge and experience and NOT for the actual time spent carrying out the task.

So, even if the task is just changing one line of code; remember that you are “compensating” the person for his knowledge and skills and not for just one line of code.

The same applies to those that request for something “simple” to be done for free. It is NEVER “simple”. If it were that “simple” then you would be able to do it yourself.

So, respect the hard work and effort the coder went through to gain his skills and knowledge and “compensate” him/her for it. Wanting it for free is being totally disrespectful!

PS! In conclusion, learn to use the Freelance Jobs section and recognise and respect those more skilled, knowledgeable and experienced than you!

EDIT: Please note that I use the term "compensation" and not "payment", because there are many ways to "compensate" for work done. Sometimes a coder will be "compensated" with gained or shared knowledge instead of money, or by an exchange of ideas or other things. It is not always about the money but it is about the "compensation"!

I agree, thus my standard reply
You have only four choices: We're not going to code it for you (although it could happen if you are lucky or the problem is interesting.) We are willing to help you when you post your attempt (using SRC) and the nature of your problem.
Alain Verleyen
Alain Verleyen  

Good post. A little story (not mine, found on Internet) to illustrate it...

A giant ship engine failed. The ship's owners tried one expert after
another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine.

Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a
young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he
immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to

Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know
what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and
pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine
lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!

A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand

"What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!"
So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."

The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer....................... $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap.......................... $ 9,998.00

*Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all the

Fernando Carreiro
Fernando Carreiro  
Alain Verleyen:

Good post. A little story (not mine, found on Internet) to illustrate it...

Perfect story and example for the thread! Thank you!
Lorentzos Roussos
Lorentzos Roussos  
Well said by all of you...

I had a friend , coder , he was developing a request for some amount of money,
and every day he would wake up to an email with a new idea the "client" had followed
by the phrase "add this as input truefalse".
When he confronted the client for a finalized and non-evolving plan for the EA ,the client
offered 30$ more(the initial amount was 2 digits too) and proceeded to add a clause to the
agreement "But you work only for me until its completed" but failed to mention a final set of specs
once again...

To be fair though , we've all have certainly encountered requests that expand our approach to developing systems.
That comes in line with  mr Carreiros "there are many ways to "compensate" for work done"

Great post , i feel the need to follow or retweet you :)
Angelito Cartagena
Angelito Cartagena  
Alain Verleyen:

Good post. A little story (not mine, found on Internet) to illustrate it...

I agree, it is all about the skills and knowledge that let you fixed the condition, it is not about the simple hammering that fixed the problem, but some people dont really understand such logic.

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