Give it away, give it away, give it away now

I’m not entirely sure where this idea came from, but it’s been floating around in my head for a few days. I’m wondering if anyone else would like to participate in it.

Basically, I’m thinking about on a fairly regular basis (once a month?) offering up (for free) my services for someone who needs help with something I know how to do. Here are the parameters I’m thinking of:

  • I’d make a list of the things that I feel comfortable doing: hacking WordPress themes, using Google spreadsheets, Yahoo! Pipes and/or Simile to do simple data visualizations, etc. (also training people how to do these things)
  • I’d ask if anyone had a project along these lines that they were trying to complete.
  • The project would have to be non-commercial.
  • The project would have be something that I feel I could get done in a reasonable, set amount of time (probably about half a day’s work)
  • There would be no guarantee of complete success, but I’d promise to work as hard as I can on it. 🙂

Then I’d basically give away services for that set amount of time working on that project.

The only “payment” I’d request would be that the person do the same for someone else (offering up a free number of hours of service doing something he/she was good at.)

I can imagine this growing into a bit of a community project. I can also imagine that something like this already exists?

What do people think?

8 thoughts on “Give it away, give it away, give it away now”

  1. This is really similar to what faculty are asked to do for the university–there’s a list of people with specific areas of expertise who can be called up. Those areas tend to be content rather than skills, but it’s the same thing. Also, your proposal might fit into one of the regional engagement issues UMW is starting–outreach to the community to provide expertise that we have and they need.

  2. Interesting — when I wrote this post I was thinking that this would be something I would do out of my freelance/freetime work. It never really occurred to me that this could be considered a “service” that could reflect well upon the University. What’s funny about that is that I know that faculty provide this kind of consulting and service, and I think it’s a critical and core component of what we should be doing in public universities and colleges. To a certain degree, however, it feels like I don’t have that particular value to the institution — which sort of echos my previous post.

  3. @Antonio

    I would definitely be up for this — but rather than giving something back to me, I’d encourage you to give something to someone else. That’s the way we can grow the virtuous circle. 🙂

    And, I should say as a serious caveat, I am a relative novice at Yahoo! Pipes. I’ve managed to do a few cool things, but I’ve tried (and failed) at a lot more projects in Pipes. If you’re accepting of my shortcomings, I’m game!

  4. That sounds great! I will so offer something to the circle. I checked what you did with Yahoo! Pipes and I loved it, and you certainly will offer my students great knowledge. So, the question is: when?? You have my email. My class is Tue-Thu 1-2:30pm, with another Mon-Wed 9:30-11am (GMT – 4). I hope I can join the two groups, but if not, the first one is the biggest. The second may then view a recording. Thanks!! I love this!

  5. How did my RSS reader allow me to miss this? Oh Martha, you are a gem and a genius. I’d be game to be part of it, but interested in doing more than demos. Let’s make stuff! How can we set this up?

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