So I haven’t blogged much in the last month. Now I blog twice in one evening1. I’ve been incredibly busy on something that it turns out is the topic for this post.
Today coming across the Iron Man feed was Gábor Szabó’s post about “Cooperation among Perl freelancers”. This hit pretty close to home for me since last September or so I started working full time for my own company, which is at this stage operating as a small Perl consultancy.
I’ve spent the last six months (when I wasn’t working on client code) learning as much as I could about freelancing, consulting, and running a business in general2. I can fully appreciate what Gábor is talking about when it comes to fluctuating demand. The problem of scalability he’s pointing too happens to larger businesses as well as smaller ones. It seems that either you have too much work, or not enough, never in between.
One of the common refrains I heard at my last job was how hard it was to find good Perl talent, which always struck me as odd when I hear from people how hard it is to find a good Perl job. As a consultancy it seemed to me I would be in an ideal position to bridge that gap. I participate in the community, I (generally) know when what I consider good Perl talent is available. I’ve been lucky a few times and have been informed when a good Perl job is available, and have been able to match people up.
Often however the problem isn’t that the talent and the jobs aren’t
available, it’s that they’re not available in the same place or at
exactly the right times. One of Tamarou’s contracts is with a company
that for business reasons cannot hire telecommuters directly. We solve
that problem for them. This is I believe what
mst called a dev shop.
If you haven’t already read
mst’s blog about it go do that now. I’ll
wait. Done? Did you read the post he linked to? No? Go read that
too. Good. I’ve been reading and thinking about stuff like this for the
last year3, and all of the stories are roughly the same. Hiring a
freelancer or a consultant isn’t easy. The rules are the same as hiring
in house. They need to be high quality, professional, and a good fit
with your company’s goals and fill the places you’re missing perfectly.
Not all consultancies are created equal either, Shadowcat are a very technically sophisticated company. They know Catalyst, DBIx::Class, and Perl intimately. At Tamarou we’re focusing on embedding people to really learn your business domain. Different approaches because we’re different companies, and you know what … at some point I will say to a client of mine that we really need to hire Shadowcat to solve some problem we’re having, I hope Shadowcat will do the same.
This is I think where the power of Gábor’s idea is. Figuring out as a community where our skills lie, and helping each other find the best fit to solve our problems. We need to as a community talk about what we need and expect from each other and helping each other find the right fit. I’m not quite sure what form this should take, except I’ve recently started building a list of Dev Shops, Consultancies and Freelancers in the Perl space, I welcome people adding to the list.
recycling Beatles songs for post titles. I swear I’m not even listening to the Beatles right now.
small business explode with activity in the last month.
least the next ten years. That’s how long it took me to be confident enough at Perl to consider myself good with Perl.