This is an experiment.
Would you like me to do some work for you? Specifically, one day worth of work?
Well, that option is of course always open to you and you can email me to talk about it. But maybe you’ve been worried that I’m too busy, too expensive, etc. Or maybe you just haven’t got around to it.
So I’m going to try an experiment: I am auctioning off one work day of my time next month to the highest bidder. It can be for anything you like – Hypothesis, writing, having someone come in to take a look at your business and give you some pointers on your software development, or really anything else at all. This can be more or less whatever you want as long as it’s something I’m in principle willing to do for money (and if it’s paying me to do a concrete thing like write some software or an article rather than general consulting, I’m happy for this to include rights assignment).
Why am I doing this? The prompting thought was that I’m looking into ways to fill precisely one day of my time per month once I start doing my PhD, which will hopefully be in September – PhD stipends are a lot lower than developer salaries or day rates, so a top up would be nice, but I don’t want to do my PhD part time.
But once I thought about it I realised that it just seemed like a really fun experiment to try, so I figured I might as well try it now! Worst case scenario, we all learn something interesting and the cost of a day of my time.
Here are the rules:
- You are getting one day of work. If I think what you have asked for cannot be done in one day I will tell you up front, but if it takes longer than expected then I’m not going to continue working on it for free. I recommend picking things that either are intrinsically time bounded or can be stopped at any time and still be useful, but small projects that I’m confident can be done in a day are OK too.
- The auction will be a Vickrey auction. That is, the highest bidder wins the auction and pays the second highest bidder’s bid. That means that you will usually pay less than your bid (And also means that the game theoretically correct amount for you to bid is exactly the amount my time is worth to you).
- If there is only one bidder then that means they get a day of my work for free.
- The auction will run until midnight BST (UTC + 1) on April 30th. No bids made after that point will be counted.
- If there is a tie for top place then I will pick the one I most want to do among them (or flip a coin or something if I’m torn) and charge the full bid.
- If I judge a job to be illegal, unethical, or I just really don’t want to do it for any reason then I will remove it from the list and not count it for either the top or the second place bid. I will let you know if I do this if you would have been the first or second place bid and I don’t think you’re being deliberately abusive.
- I will publish both the winning bid and what they actually paid (and, if it is acceptable to the winner, who won) once the auction completes.
- The day of work must be redeemed at some point in May, after which I will send you an invoice. If we can’t come to a mutually acceptable time in May I will rerun the auction without your bid and offer the spot to the new winner and you won’t get charged anything.
- If the job cannot be done remotely I will also invoice you for travel (and, if necessary, accommodation) on top of the bid.
Note that yes you can bid ridiculously small amounts, or even zero, and if that’s the winning bid then I will honour it (though I will probably not repeat the experiment for very long if that happens). You can also bid ridiculously high amounts and hope that the next best bid isn’t ridiculous, but I don’t recommend it (and may query your willingness to pay before accepting…). The winning strategy really is to bid what you think my time is worth to you.
Interested? Just fill out this form! I will let you know if you win the bid, and we can then arrange dates accordingly.
If you’re still on the fence, here are some ideas for how a day of my time can be useful to you:
- I can write a short article (or story if you prefer!) about something I already know a reasonable amount about. Very few of my blog posts take more than a day of work.
- I can read a paper and discuss it with you and/or try to write a short precis and introduction to its ideas (whether this is feasible will vary based on the paper, but I can get a pretty good idea if it’s going to be with a brief skim).
- I can add tests using Hypothesis to a small Python project.
- If working with someone who knows that project well, I can add tests using Hypothesis to a larger Python project.
- I can come in to your company and answer peoples’ questions on a subject of your choosing, which will probably be Hypothesis, but could be Integer Linear Programming, Voting Theory, or general software development.
- I can come in to your company and take a look at your development practices and processes and offer you tips on how to improve them.
- I can come in to your company and help with improving your interviewing process.
Those are just some ideas though! The point is that I have a variety of expertise, a lot of which can be usefully applied in under a day if you pick a reasonably small project or just use me as a general consultant.
Note that if you do have any general desire to bring me in as a consultant you should put in a bid, because you will almost certainly get a very good deal on this auction compared to my normal rates.