Frequently Asked Questions
What’s your hourly/weekly rate?
I don’t maintain a single fixed rate. After years and years of going down that road and watching my rate climb, I realized that it’s just not the way I think about my work. I like to use my skills to help people, I like to build lasting relationships, and I like to have a balance of work and personal time in my life. Pricing a fixed rate for all clients and projects isn’t especially sensitive to those priorities.
Instead, I keep most of my engagements short-term and negotiate prices as work comes up. This lets me adapt pricing to who I’m working with, what their current finances look like, what relationship we foresee, how flexible the schedule is, and how busy I am. We all go through periods of being more and less flush financially, and I like to think that the generosity I offer to a struggling client comes back to me when their own success affords it.
Will you work for equity?
Following on my flexible, adaptaive approach to pricing, I’m always open to discuss alternative forms of compensation. However, I tend to see startup equity as something with a relatively low value on its own and so it can be hard to find an appropriate balance of work to ownership stake. If you’re pressed for cash in the short term, it’s often easier to talk about payment plans, revenue shares, or even simply barter for some other good or service you have access to.
Are you a programmer or a consultant or…?
Yes to all! What I do is fill a niche for high-value short-term technical work. Sometimes it involves getting my hands dirty with code, sometimes it involves performing analyses and writing reports and specifications, sometimes it involves just talking through ideas with people.
There are a lot of senior-level technical people out there, but most of them become specialists who like to engage in projects from start to finish. They find their role, they excel at it, and they commit to each project for months or years at a time. It’s critical work.
But in a world with millions of apps and websites and software projects being produced every year, the truth is that many of them just need a brief, precise intervention to keep them on track and otherwise get by with little ongoing attention or with a junior-/mid-level maintenance team. With my broad spectrum of expertise, I provide those brief, precise interventions – whatever they need to be.
Will you make my app/website?
While I’ve taken projects from start to finish countless times over my career, it’s not really what I do now. I’d be hard pressed to reserve all that time for one project and if I were to do so I would probably need to charge more than the project warrants. Plus, competing for that kind of work makes it harder for me to provide the appropriate objectivity when I’m reviewing bids and projects myself. It would introduce a conflict of interest, or at least the appearance of one.
There are thousands of developers out there who will do a great job for a great price, given the right direction.
And so what I can do for you is make sure that you’re finding those developers and that you’re giving them the right direction. I can work with you to source developers, qualify them, and understand their resumes or bids. I can also help you prepare your project so that the work they do is the work you had in mind and so that their bids are maximally accurate. And once the project gets in gear, I can help you make sure the work they produce is of the quality they promised.
These small actions and interventions reduce the risk involved in your project and improve its ability to stay on schedule, on budget, and on target.
Are you available for full-time employment?
I’m so accustomed to my independence and so committed to my existing clients that I would be hard pressed to even consider a traditional full-time position. What I do already is very satisfying and so is the flexibility and agility it affords me! It seems to be the right fit for me.
But I’m always happy to develop relationships with hiring managers and recruiters as I think colleagality and connection works to everyone’s benefit. I’d certainly be happy to consider non-traditional relationships that allow for me to continue my usual work: i.e. short-term, part-time, remote, consulting/advising, etc. I also might be able to arrange a referral to some colleague or mentee if we chat with that in mind.
A good place to start the conversation is by connecting through LinkedIn.
Not even for the FAANG company I represent?
While I admire the work that companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft are doing, and appreciate the generosity they show their technical staff, they’re basically as far removed from my professional vision as possible. I’m flattered by the recruiters who reach out to me from these firms, but I genuinely prefer being the field medic out here in the trenches. Not only do I believe that it’s necessary and underserved work, but it’s work that I love to do.
That said, I’m certainly happy to discuss non-traditional opportunities and equally happy to make referrals where I can. So if you found this page, let’s network and talk and see where it leads, even if I’m not likely to take exactly what you’re shopping around.
Can you be the CTO at our startup?
I can provide advising or SWAT Coding or other forms of consulting to your startup, but I’m not available to lead your team or take primary responsibility for your development efforts.
In fact, you actually get more value out of it this way. In my support/consulting roles, I amplify the strengths of your core team (both internal and external) and shore up their weaknesses in an extremely precise and targetted way. Your preparedness goes up as you take necessary risks with unfamiliar vendors and promising-but-unproven employees, but you don’t incur the cost of keeping me around full-time.