Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Google Answers, and a spin on the idea.

There is an earlier thread on Google answers, which is a pretty good idea.  Is there out there, and if not I would like to see, a service that is similar but fo programming issues.

Example:  I have a a medicare supplied .dll that is cryptic, that I need to write a C++ wrapper for.  It has some documentation, but this isn't my line of work, should be easy for someone in the know.  Price Point $40.

Many times I would rather pay someone to walk me through a new concept than troll through forums.  It may be lazy but that is why you have to pay... 

BTW, the above problem is real, and I will pay someone to help me...

Christopher Hester
Saturday, February 14, 2004

rent-a-coder, et al


Saturday, February 14, 2004

http://www.experts-exchange.com/

Robert Jacobson
Saturday, February 14, 2004

Between trolling the forums prying answers bit by bit, and hiring a full-blown coder, there is definitely a niche...

Mind you, Christopher is not talking about *getting someone to do the work*.

Rather, someone who can walk you through the 'discovery' process.

New things are so big these days. Since someone has learned this particular thing already, why go through the same painful learning process.

Especially when you only need this API or whatever -- *once*.

Alex.ro
Saturday, February 14, 2004

I depend on freelance work to make a living, so I'm going to speak from first-hand experience.

From the developer's perspective, it just isn't financially viable in the long run to take jobs of that volume unless you have done exactly this before and are 100% sure that you spend just this amount of time on it. Which very rarely happens.  The overhead of dealing with a new client, and the possibility of scope creeps, make it not worth it.

It isn't impossible to find someone with a full-time job (or a student) doing freelancing on the side, who'd be interested in this. But you can hardly expect professional conduct from them.

Egor Shipovalov
Sunday, February 15, 2004

As another side to that last post.
I am exactly that sort of 'freelancer', I work full-time, have done a degree, and am working long term to write some useful software applications that could earn me a living.
Along with this I check out alot of freelance job boards looking for the type of work that you mentioned. A professional (or full-time freelancer) may not consider the job worthwhile, however for me there is more value then just money. I earn experience, which for someone starting in the field is highly worthwhile. I may end up earning less on a job then I could earn p/h in my admin dayjob, but I improve in the field, I get experience with customers, with the nature of freelancing, I something I can put in my resume (in one form or another)...
My point is I think the calibre of person to do the job does exist.

My question would be whether there are that many people out there who want this kind of help?

Aussie Chick
Sunday, February 15, 2004

Aussie Chick, I would advise you to stay away from this type of "freelancing" arrangement. They're out to screw you.

You don't learn anything, and you certainly don't develop good experience dealing with customers, when you're working for someone who thinks a new version of Word can be written for $250.

Me and the view out the window
Sunday, February 15, 2004

Google answers is not new.

In about 1978 or so I was pounding the pavement selling, or attempting to sell, encyclopedias door to door.  Apart from all the interesting tales I have of that (the entire greenhouse flying down the street in a gale, the woman wrapped only in a light robe), there was a service which came if they bought the 4 and a half year finance option (just 50p a day Mr and Mrs Pisspot, is your child's education worth a pack of cigarettes a day).  The service was 25 questions that you could ask Merit Inc's experts and you'd get full and complete answers.

So, there is nothing new under the sun.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, February 15, 2004

I'd second that. There isn't much point in freelance programming beyond just making a good buck. Most of the stuff that gets outsourced is neither advanced nor innovative (there *are* exceptions, but exceptions they are). If you have a day job that pays the bills, it's way better to focus on your own thing.

Egor Shipovalov
Sunday, February 15, 2004

>You don't learn anything, and you certainly don't develop good experience dealing with customers, when you're working for someone who thinks a new version of Word can be written for $250.

This is partly what I meant when I questioned 'whether there are that many people out there who want this kind of help?', I have looked at the rent-a-coder site and it seems devoted to getting people to write brand new versions of word for $250, or the like.
Serious jobs where you get paid properly for the job are rare, but I keep looking...

Aussie Chick
Sunday, February 15, 2004

Aussie Chick: Depending on your level of programming proficiency, you might want to consider participating in an open source project. This would be a much more rewarding way of gaining experience. Yes, it doesn't pay - directly. However, if you work on a popular open source product, that knowledge may lead to a paying job later.

Doing piece-work freeelance is a horribly unrewarding exercise - I've seen too many friends get burned by grossly unrealistic client expectations, and by hidden requirements (remember - for every known requirement, there are 50 hidden or implied requirements).

Burninator
Monday, February 16, 2004

----The service was 25 questions that you could ask Merit Inc's experts and you'd get full and complete answers.----

I don;t know if you were selling a different set of encyclopedias from the ones I was, but the consulting was the same scam. Officially they got the encyclopedias free in return for writing Amazon style reviews, and the consulting was what they paid for. You did have to explain that for legal reasons you couldn't impinge on a regulated profession (so the service couldn't tell them if they had cancer or not). On my travels I met somebody who had actually decided to avail himself of the service. It seemed that every single question he needed the answer for impinged on some regulated profession or other.

I would love to hear from anybody who ever actually got an answer from this kind of service.

Stephen Jones
Monday, February 16, 2004

The problem is simple economics : TRANSACTION OVERHEAD.

There's a cost to find the job (even if it's just searching posting), establish rapore (sp?), cashing the check, etc.

The real Entrepreneur
Monday, February 16, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home