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On-demand software consulting?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

I've been batting this around in my head. I've partaken in a few video calls with consultants that lasted anywhere from 30 mins to several hours and they are always super valuable. Consulting with someone with a specific expertise, or even just an outside opinion is always valuable.

But the overhead of setting up the consulting, even free consulting with a friend, is a hassle. So we don't do it nearly as often as we'd like to. And because of the overhead, the consultant needs to charge a lot to make up for the hassle.

I just set up a meeting via Calendly and it was such a huge relief to not have to go back and forth to find a time that worked for both of us. This is such an underestimated issue.

I think consulting sometimes gets a bad rap because of all the overhead and sales involved. If I could browse the available devs and hop into a quick screen share, I'd be pretty excited to make use of it.

Anyway, I wonder what people think of the idea of integrating a feature that enables a Calendly-esque consulting scheduling over dev.to. This is nothing we'd break ground on tomorrow or anything, but it's a thought I'd had and I felt like bringing it up to the community as an idea. It could lower the barrier to hop on a chat or pair programming session with an expert.

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Ben Halpern

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A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.

Discussion

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I really like that idea! It would be awesome to visit a tag and see a list of "online and available experts" - as in people who set their status to active (maybe with a rough estimation of how long they are available). And have demonstrated in a defined way that they know what they are talking about, or at least some rating or indication of their knowledge status - too many self-proclaimed 1337-pro-haX0rs in the world ;)

And of course, as someone who knows a thing or two, one could put a laptop next to one's couch and see if someone connects while watching TV in the evening.

 

Yeah. I once did a doctor's appointment via my phone and got a prescription within about 15 minutes of noticing a possible infection on my foot. It was pretty remarkable. The doctor was in a cab or something but was able to authorize the medicine based on our conversation.

It was a wonderful experience and platforms have the potential to make it pretty seamless.

 

Yes! I think this is an awesome idea, Ben. It would be a great service for folks who are interested in consulting and sharing their expertise, and for people who are looking for consultants.
It could be as simple as something that allows people to find each other and then gets out of the way, all the way to a system that can manage consulting fee payments, service reviews and ratings.

 

Yeah the first iteration could focus more on discovery but let the rest happen off-platform. I still think that the user experience is hurt if there is too much variance in what the next step might be, but we usually like to ship things iteratively, so even if it'd take a year for us to really get the details right, we could have something out the door pretty quickly if we stuck to the top of the funnel, sort of like what we're doing with the job listings.

 

How would this be different then say codementor where you can chat with available people and make requests? The biggest component they're missing is the Calendly functionality you'd like to have, but the on-demand aspect is sort-of there.

If you're looking for something else to fix would be the rates requests. On Codementor a big problem is that people just say they'll pay $120/hr and then in comments say a lot less, or would never agree to it. It's flooded with junk requests as well people that never actually answer when offered services.

 

So while I'm all for the sharing of knowledge, it feels like this would change the direction of the site a little bit. Would this be something to help monetize the site or another way for developers to interact?

 

I'd see this primarily as another way for developers to interact, but I think there's a point where it's also valuable to buy other developers' time, as it's a pretty valuable resource and the overhead of a purely favor-based economy is not always ideal for those who really need the consulting.

But I hear you on "the direction of the site". This isn't an impending feature or anything, just a thought. Don't expect anything like this as a full-fledged feature any time soon.

 

I am not the author, but I approve this message. :-) Great idea.