[openskills-dev] [Fwd: Re: [SLUG] NSW Tender meeting]

Shawn Rogut - Beagle shawn.rogut at beagle-it.com
Thu Oct 7 15:44:44 BST 2004


You raise a number of valid issues.  I think you are correct that the value
needs to be better articulated.  However, I think the lack of clear
articulation stems from it being a not-for-profit organisation with unpaid
committee members, aimed at providing member benefits rather than profits or
membership growth, hence perhaps not so slick in marketing.  

 From my assessment, nothing sinister here, just perhaps less mature than the
slick marketing machines such as 'seek', and with a different motive.

Having said that, agree that the benefits could be better articulated.  On
the other hand, given that it is aimed at serving its members, it would
probably be up to the members to dictate what they wanted.

Don't compare to 'seek'.  Rather, compare to a stone-masons guild.



-----Original Message-----
From: openskills-dev-admin at lists.openskills.net
[mailto:openskills-dev-admin at lists.openskills.net] On Behalf Of Taryn East
Sent: Thursday, 7 October 2004 2:04 PM
To: Robert Brockway
Cc: Robert Collins; OpenSkills
Subject: Re: [openskills-dev] [Fwd: Re: [SLUG] NSW Tender meeting]

* Robert Brockway <rbrockway at opentrend.net> spake thus:
> Hi Taryn.  I'm not involved in OpenSkills at all.  I'm on this list 
> out of interest so I hope you take my comments as those of a 
> non-partisan person

cool, thanks - will do.. actually I was kind of biting my knuckles about
this in the first place hoping I hadn't horribly insulted everyone...
which was *never* the intention... Just hoping to brush away more of the
cobwebs of ignorance floating around in my head... :)

> Taryn wrote:
> > I guess this is all dependant on the fact that I am just an 
> > individual... if I were a company, $20 isn't as much...
> > but I'm not - I'm just a person.
> I don't see $20 as much for an individual.  Almost all clubs have 
> membership fees of this level of greater.

yes, I agree - and thinking about this I had to really delve into my own
feelings as to why I would balk and this amount given that I, too, belong to
a number of societies that I pay for - so why did I feel this way about this

This is why I came up with the points about:
- I don't know what I'm getting for my money, whereas for most clubs I
  can see definite returns such as going to meetings
  = education + socialising + networking
- there are similar (though not so specific) services offered for free
  (to me) elsewhere - eg seek.com  and so far the openskills website
  (while intriguing) doesn't have anywhere to explain what they can offer
  that is better than what I can find at somewhere like seek.

> I'm an Aussie living and working overseas (I am part owner in an IT 
> consulting firm).  I am interested in what the OpenSkills people are 
> doing.

I'm also interested. :)
I'd love to move more into open software as I really think it's a Good

> > I guess I just don't know where the money goes and why it's the 
> > person
> Can't comment.

I understand... however, I think this is my main "gripe"... For me to value
this service over other services, I need to know enough about it to trust
that what it will offer me is worth the (admittedly small, but still not
zero-cost) price

> > offering their skills that pays it - most "job placement" places 
> > (which admittedly this isn't necessarily a job placement, but at 
> > first glance could be viewed in a similar way) don't do - these days 
> > it's employer-pays...
> True, and well it should be too.

Agreed - so why does openskills offer a different scheme, here it is
"employee pays"... or perhaps "both pay together"... perhaps the reasons are
fully justified, I guess I am asking for some more information to be able to
make up my own mind.
Don't get me wrong - I know that someone has to pay, and perhaps
employer-only pays is not really fair... perhaps it would discourage
eimployers from offering projects? I admit I do not know enough about this
business to offer educated comment... I am simply explaining my own

> > As I say - I think that openskills isn't a job-placement place - but 
> > I don't think there's adequate explanation of what else it is... it 
> > reads somewhat like it.
> I originally joined this list as I thought it might be a great place 
> to pickup some consulting and find the right people to subcontract too 
> as well.

I can understand that. So how do I (as someone who is just looking over the
website briefly) determine that the website will be worth my while?
One of the SLUG members (possibly you - I admit I didn't remember the
name) mentioned having some people explain how the site was useful to

I vaguely remember from the previous time I looked that OpenSkills had a
page that talks about a few projects that have occurred as a result of it...
but it was very brief and sketchy, and I don't seem to be able to find it
any more (maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places).

Obviously it can sometimes be difficult to talk about the specifics of
projects sometimes, but this lack of information is what makes it hard for
me to determine the impact joining would have on my own situation.

> > though there's not enough to explain how it's different...  I don't 
> > even know, for example, whether people that register wil get paid 
> > for what they do (it's non-profit... does that mean people work for 
> > free? or does that just mean that you operate at-cost?... I'd guess 
> > the latter, but I have to actually guess as I don't think it's 
> > spelled out anywhere)
> All operations have a cost.  The web server has to be housed somewhere.
> Either OpenSkills bears the cost or someone does it on their behalf.

oh yes, I am not debating that at all. I completely understand that the site
must be paid for somehow... and I understand the bind that people are put in
when they have to decide how/who pays... I would even completely understand
if they kept the current payment menthod, I was simply interested in
explaining why it turned *me* away... and hoping that would be useful as I
am probably not the only one that would feel this way.

I am also aware that I have not offered any alternative solution - in full
understanding that I do not know anything much about their business model...
I have too much ignorance to offer a useful solution, I was simply outlining
the way I felt.

Again, my point is not whether someone should pay, but thatthere does not
seem to be enough to tell me what I would gain from doing so...

> > why would I pay money to advertise skills that I would be giving out 
> > free?
> Don't make the mistake of assuming that no money can be made from Open 
> Source.  This is one of the biggest misconceptions open source keeps 
> coming up against (along with rubbish about open source not being 
> supported).

<grin> I wasn't making this mistake... I am aware that you can make money
out of developing OSS... 

however, the site does not (at least that I am aware of) make it clear that
any remuneration is intended for the projects that will occur through the
site... I guess my saying the above was simply pointing out one more thing
that I was not certain of when I looked over the site, and my email was
inspired by my first impressions...

> If you have the right skills someone needs they will pay you to use them.

I guess then my question would be: how do I know that my skills will ever be
useful? Perhaps I would pay my $20 and my CV would sit on the website
forever languishing... thus the site would not be useful to me at all... I
wouldn't know.

Again - the site doesn't help me to decide if it is worth my
time/effort/hard-currency... it doesn't give me enough of an impression of
"this is a worthwhile thing" to fork out. If I could see, for example, that
the site was fostering a thriving community of consultants/companies that
did a lot of projects (especially if it covered the sorts of skills I have
to offer) then I would consider it worthwhile doing...

The SkillsBase page is a good start - it shows what people have to offer
that are on there... but a page or so on the sorts of projects on offer
perhaps, or a page of statistics (avg project turnover per month, x
developers available, y projects on offer etc) or even a page of
testimonials (as dodgy as that can often be) would certainly help.

> Studies I've read recently indicate 80%-90% of all software is 
> developed in house and never released at all.  A great deal of that is 
> now done using Open Source tools.

our workplace certainly uses open source tools quite a bit... they don't
develop any, however... not that I haven' tried to suggest it a few times...
but they couldn't be bothered developing something that is not going to be
exclusively used by us (and being a "junior developer" I don't have enough
clout to influence such decisions more than simply making the suggestion).

> I've been living off my open source skills for years.  There are 
> plenty of opportunities to make money.  I suspect there are many we 
> are yet to think of.

that'd be great... I'd love to be a part of that... which is why, of course,
I started rocking up to SLUG meetings :) and why I was interested enough to
go have a look at openSkills.

<some truisms of OSS snipped> I agree, BTW :)

I guess I am also aware that I have *just* joined the OSS community and
don't really have any street cred yet... I have a good feeling that I would
not be highly sought-after. Thus again the worry that my CV would rot away
on the site for ages... 

I guess I don't want any guarantees (obviously they can't be made), but it
would be nice to be shown some examples of where it has worked... 

of course I also know that to make a community you have to have people
willing to just jump in and give it a go - however the non-zero start
doesn't encourage that for people like me that are newcomers... so you will
have to rely on only old-timers or those with greater confidence, or with
greater cash-reserves... maybe this is what is intended (to keep out anyone
not willing to support the community a bit also) - maybe not.

I guess I'm here giving my impressions to just test the water and see if
these issues have been considered...

[who is still really interested and wants to know more]

This .sig temporarily out-of-order.
We apologise for any inconvenience
                    - The Management

OpenSkills-dev mailing list
OpenSkills-dev at lists.openskills.net

More information about the OpenSkills-dev mailing list