status on time for once
Sun Apr 29 09:17:54 EDT 2007
META STATUS Laura showed me something from the NY Times saying the latest pedological rule is to praise people for their effort rather than their results. You want to re-enforce effort, because effort produces the results you want. Praising results makes people feel insecure about achieving them in the future. I suspect for me, this insecurity translates to a lot of effort in things that don't matter and procrastination on things like this status report that do matter. So all you positive people out there, don't tell me that this was good and funny, but tell me it showed a lot of effort to be on time. STEPHANE ALNET VENTURE CAPITAL UPDATE As it turns out my last news was old. Stephane turned down the venture capital because he wanted to keep his software free. He's still making enough money to feed the kids and Amee's dissertation. Our friends Paul  and Joel  say he's made the smooth move.  http://www.paulgraham.com/vcsqueeze.html  http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/VC.html If you find yourself in Toronto at 8:30am this wednesday (05/03) with nothing to do, you can catch Stephane live  , he's appearing at the it360 conference.  http://www.it360.ca/session_detail.cfm?id=325 DETOX FOR JOEL FANBOYS This guy  is not a Joel fan and he's funny as hell.  http://blog.sc.tri-bit.com/archives/171 Sentence by sentence, "Uncle Fatty" disputes Joel's wisdom. My favorite bit is the detailed, point by point refutation of Joel's estimate of the amount of toilet paper consumed by a programmer in a year. In the comments section, the Joel Fanboys score a few points. MVHUB We're moving closer to actual work. We have a (hopefully) final scope of work.   http://thecsl.org/links/mvhub_mwib_scope_v4.doc One big challenge was defining the time needed for creativity and innovation. "Make it easy to use" is a bit different than "If 1 guy paid $10/hr unloads 1 truck in 4 hours, it will cost $160 to unload 4 trucks." Thanks to Chris Shannon for loaning us her reputation to get this money to pay John to do this work. JOB FAIR We hit the UML north campus job fair. Thanks to Eric we were better prepared than we were for the past three years. We've got a ways to go in preparing our elevator pitch and having more accurate materials. If we are satisfied with "typical" projects instead of "current" ones, we can re-use material from year to year. A big advantage of having our own booth was that people sought us out based on our entry in the printed directory. Thanks to the whole Joel yacht crew knowledge we now have, I was open to non-technical recruits. The non-tech best fit is an honors level accounting major who might intern with us. She'd make sure I wasn't stealing money, work on cash flow & budget projections and reconcile our ledgers to bank statements. VISTA RECRUITING DOWN We're recruiting for June. There are a couple people from the job fair I need to follow up with, but we might not find anyone. In the past sending an invitation to apply to everyone on the Americorps recruiting site that checked "computer skill" in their application and putting something on Craig's list brought us more applicants than we knew what to do with. Recruiting was better in the .bust period when nobody could find work. Hopefully, other organizations will have trouble and there will be another round. Maybe the upturn in IT means that there will be more grant money for us. $50 AN HOUR NOT SO GOUGING I've been re-thinking my opinion that $50 per hour is a lot to charge. Even though we don't pay rent, there are a lot of costs that keep beating me over the head. It would be good to have 3-4 virtual machines setup with different browsers (IE 5,6,7) for testing. This work would help mvhub development but can't rationally be part of the contract. I spent at least 30 hours working with Chris on the original grant and to define the scope of work. If we billed more often @ $50/hr, we could do one hour of work building infrastructure for every hour of development, pay the developer a living wage of $20/hr and still have money left over for lunch and the overhead of sales. PAYROLL FUN Eric is probably the first CTC VISTA to figure out how to do payroll. We are setup to make electronic payments to the IRS For the record, on my first paycheck, I overpaid myself about $182. I'd not taken into account the employer contribution to FICA. I'll write the lab a check. The tradition is to tell people they are getting paid $9.30 / hr instead of telling them that they are being paid $10/hr but that FICA (social security) comes off the top. The interesting thing about the process is that like software development, the tough part was not the "how" but the "what". John is all set, thanks to the cash flow loans from Kristina and Harry, there is a paycheck waiting for him. SITE VISIT Monday May 07 at 11:30am at the eggroll cafe. Mass-Service is coming to visit. Our funding depends on how the visit goes. ART CROOKE & MARYBETH NORTON Art and Marybeth are the new Boomer volunteers. Art comes to us via Jericho Road, Marybeth from the posters Laura put up. Both have dived into the work. We should exceed the number of volunteer hours promised in the grant. At 9:00pm, I pretty much had to kick Art out the door so I could go home and sleep. PARKER FOUNDATION FUNDING Eight people have told me "Yes, You should ask Parker for money". Four of these people brought the subject up without any prompting from me. Two people I know that review grants part time for Parker, are likely to support us. One of those people said "I'll push for you to get funded." It is probably time to apply. After the Mass Service site visit this is the fundraising priority. Right now, my inclination is to ask for money to make the boomer initiative permanent. (but not limit ourselves to boomers) and hire Josh Harding and/or Tim O'Connor (Hi Tim!) for the mentor/lead tech roles. It would be nice to skim a little off the top for fearless leadership and administration of our servers. There is a Cisco academy at Lowell High, UTEC has a PC repair program, We'd also want money to hire a couple youth apprentices.