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

Taryn East openskills at taryneast.org
Fri Oct 8 01:22:18 BST 2004


* Bruce Badger <bbadger at openskills.com> spake thus:
> On Thu, 2004-10-07 at 14:03, Taryn East wrote:
> Clearly we need to do better here.  I've started a new page on our wiki
<snip> 
> It needs more work, but do you think this would be the kind of thing to
> help people to understand what OpenSkills does for members?

yes, It's a great start. I admit I went wandering around the wiki
looking for something like that.

Actually, as an aside, the wiki seems to be lacking something like an
index/contents page (or perhaps it's there but I just couldn't find it). I
found a few pages of interest by going through find or randomly clicking on
links that didn't seem to lead where I wanted, but I guess I'm used to
having a "all pages" page somewhere so I can just go and browse... just my
type of wiki-navigation, I suppose.

Anyway, to the point - yes, that's a good start for the page. I'd
include some examples where possible, but again that may be just me. :)

An example might be to link to your DevCon - which obviously is intended to
promote FOSS - though I note that the pages for that only have "upcoming"
info, a "this is how it went" spiel would be good too.

Your marketing pages talk about a breakfast meeting thing (looks like these
are plans for the first one in mid-Oct?) - something about this would also
help to show how you're promoting FOSS (and yourselves) to the community...

Even stuff like the virtual library (also just found now while looking for
more stuff) - it would show that members are interacting and willing to
share stuff - that there really is a community happening.

in fact the more I dig, here, the more I find... it'd be nice if I hadn't
had to dig so much ;)

To clarify, if I hadn't got quite so stuck into looking - I would never
have looked so hard to find stuff. eg I would never have gone to the
marketing section to find how you guys were promoting yourselves and FOSS... 

This is probably just a case of the site/community still being new and not
having a developed wiki already (as you say, chicken and egg thing and not
everything happens all at once) so I guess I'm outlining a few ideas for
where to move with developing this stuff... of course all based on my own
opinions of what I would want to see if I first came to the site... but hey,
that's all I have to work with ;)

In fact, looking over your marketing stuff - you've got some important
points in the SWOT analysis table... the strengths/opportunities is the sort
of stuff that I'd love to see on the "why be a member?" page - obviously
with a bit of explanation on how openskills fulfils these (or is aiming to
do so).


> The OpenSkills SkillsBase system allows you to maintain your resume in
> its entirety, and publish only the parts you wish to make public.  You
> control your resume.  You retain the copyright.
>
> You can export your resume from the SkillsBase in the industry standard
> HR-XML format.  There is no lock-in.
> 
> OpenSkills does not take a cut of any deal that results from the use of
> the SkillsBase.

great, all that stuff should be put on the "why be a member" page. There
are other sites that let you put your CV up, but what you describe above
is important to know. It's important to know the relationship that I (as an
individual) will have with OpenSkills... what's mine, what's yours, how a
"deal" is done, perhaps.

>  o Systems - re run several servers in the UK which host the OpenSkills
> services.

of course.. plus development costs of funky stuff for the website and
maintenance etc... :)
no quarrels here - this stuff has to be paid for.

>  o Legal - We are trying to create a contractual framework that makes it
> easier for members to work together.  Also there have been legal costs
> associated with getting the association set up.

That's interesting, can you explain more about the contractual side of
things.

I have worked once contractually through another company, ie I was
officially hired (and paid for) by company A who was paid by company B - who
I was actually doing the work for. Is this the sort of thing you mean here?

If so, I definitely recommend putting that up on the site (even if it's a
case of "we're planning on getting this happening") as that is certainly a
useful service. Especially if, say, I don't want to have to deal with all
the "sole trader" stuff that I would otherwise have to deal with if I became
a contracter.

If not - I'm curious about what you mean... :)

> The party that pays is the party that controls.  So with OpenSkills, the
> members are in control (via an elected committee).

very good point. 
Again, put this up on the wiki somewhere - I think that's important to
know... in fact it'd significantly tip the balance for me, as I now
understand (and agree with) why you charge who you charge.

> Because the SkillsBase is free to search, there is less friction & less
> resistance to using it.  You may view this as a benefit too.

agreed, I think I mentioned that this is an important part of the equation.
with the effort tracking and "why be a member" pages fleshed out it'll be
all good.


> No, it's not there anymore.  As you say, it was sketchy and out of
> date.  I'd like to see it replaced with an RSS feed of some kind from
> the Effort Tracking system - but that's for the future.  For now, it
> seemed better to say nothing than have such a vague thing there.

ah, yep ok. At least I'm not going mad, or getting it mixed up with some
other website then ;)

Effort tracking does look like good future functionality, and would
certainly fulfil that "what projects are available" part of my question.

> Our busines model is quite simple: help members make the most of their
> skills and not make a loss doing it.
> 
> Non-profit does not mean for-loss! :-)

<grin>
indeed.

> That's a matter of judging the market, and going out of your way to get
> the skills you think will sell and (importantly, I think) that you will
> enjoy applying.

yes. I suppose that what I'm asking for is the ability to gauge the
market... by seeing what the market is. I think your effort tracking stuff
would be great in this respect - you could see what projects are underway or
calling for skills... and what skills are in demand... I would then be able
to learn whether my skills are called-for or if I need to upskill and what I
need to concentrate on etc etc...

I think an important consideration for me (as someone that has yet to really
get her toes wet) is whether I would be in-demand enough to actually support
myself.

I wouldn't want to let go of a full-time paid job if I was only going to get
a few contracts fairly infrequently... so having a peruse of the sorts of
projects (with my skillset) on offer... and how frequently they came in -
would be useful to me in this regard.

Again - the effort tracking system would no doubt fulfil that requirement. :)

> Well, this is a bit of a chicken and egg thing.  To be a thriving
> community, we need members.  To get members we need to be a thriving
> community.

definitely and I understand this... though I know that you are already doing
stuff to promote this sort of community, and there are things in evidence
such as virtual library and conventions etc... which show that there is a
community developing already. I think it just needs to actually be shown to
potential members in an easily-accessible form :)

> You  have already seen some members saying that they have benefited from
> membership, and been willing to say so.  I hope one day you too will be
> a member, and benefit, and say so :-) 

agreed - though I got that info by making a quick (negative) statement on an
unrelated mailing list... I didn't see it when I first went to the website a
while ago (a month or so I think when I first went to look? maybe not so
long as that).

> Stats can be useful and misleading, yes.  We have no firm plans on the
> stats front.  Perhaps we should wait until we have enough data to be
> useful.

good point. :)

Though something like a "now we have x members" is simple and can sometimes
be good for members too - it can show you how the community is growing and
you can feel proud of how far you have come.

> Yes.  This is another chicken and egg game.  How do you get experience
> if you always need experience to get a position.  Well,  here the FOSS

LOL don't I know it ;)

> community can help you - look around for a project that interests you
> and start making contributions to it.  Document your involvement in the
> SkillsBase to promote your increased skill set.  Rinse & repeat.

it's a good point, and something that I'm working on doing... I just haven't
yet picked the project(s).

Tracking your development on SkillsBase is also a good idea. I read
something about having people comment on how well you went? how does
that work?

also, I'm guessing you don't just put OSS skills up on skillsBase, but can
you explain what does/does not "count" as experience?

I know that I often wonder whether to put on CVs stuff that I've done "in my
own time" at home... stuff at uni is generally frowned upon, but if you have
knowledge of certain skills but just haven't had the chance to put them into
practise in a workplace what can you do?

I know this question is sort of edging away from SkillsBase-specific stuff
and more into general resume-building... feel free to ignore. ;)

> There are examples among members.  Perhaps if you post a nice message to
> the OpenSkills-dev list, some of them may email you their experiences.

sounds good, have just joined the list. :)

> > I guess I'm here giving my impressions to just test the water and see if
> > these issues have been considered...
> 
> There has been much consideration :-)   We just need to deliver on more
> of the things we've decided to do.

Yeah, I think that's probably where it stands ATM.

> Thanks again for taking the time to raise all these points.  OpenSkills
> will be that much better as a result.

I'm glad, I'd love to see how it develops.

I will certainly say that I've gained much in the way of useful insight from
all of the correspondance I have had over the last few days.

I guess I've moved from asking whether OpenSkills is useful to me... to
trying to think of ways that would better help other people find out the
same information that I would have liked to have had straight away...

Personally I think I'm convinced that the site is worthwhile :)
Now to make sure other people are convinced of that when they first get to
the site too ;)

Cheers and thanks for all your help,
Taryn






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