Barcamp 2 – the sequel

I can’t believe it has been a year since the first Atlanta Barcamp!  And for you folks saying “What’s Barcamp?”  You’ll just have to bear with me for a little while.  Yes, i’m a branding guy now, but I have nerdy roots and Barcamp is a wonderfully nerdy event.

Right now we are in the ATDC space at Ga Tech.  We’ve been fed some BBQ, sodas and beer and now the evening sessions are beginning.   The format is “unconference” or more appropriately ad hoc conference.  People sign up on a sheet to give presentations, and other people sign up to attend presentations.  The topics vary widely.  From heavy-duty coding topics, to business issues for developers and entrepreneurs, to fun things like demos with liquid nitrogen.   I’m sitting in on a session on pricing for independent consultants – generally meaning programmers for hire, but I’m sure much of it will be applicable for any consultant.

Brad Gilreath of Mapicurious.com is presenting.   Right now he is giving some of the nitty-gritty of a consultants life. Short and long projects, realities of working stamina, finding a balance, hiring help etc.

Oh and in case you haven’t noticed, I’m live-blogging this, meaning I’m writing on the fly while Brad talks, so the style of this post migt be a bit rough ’round the edges than my usual fare — and may get a bit techier.  As I said before, indulge me.

Big point – consultants need sleep too!   Even though the fear of not having a steady gig can turn you into a workaholic.   How much of your day is really usable, billable?

Uh oh, he’s showing a spreadsheet – my eyes are too old and tired for that.  It is a calculator for types of activities and projects.   Discussing pressure applied by clients to make your work appear to be a commodity to drive prices down.

Spreadsheet buld “product factors” to trap client requirements.  Clarify scope, details and particulars. Map payment cycles – build in adjustments for lengthier payment cycles – cost of sitting waiting for your money should be figured into your pricing.

The whole idea here is to have a solid tool for building estimates for projects.   Understanding components and details help guide the discussion for more accurate pricing and heading off potential points of confusion before they become issues or disputes.

This approach could be used as a job auction tool.  Also potential for branding the tool for particular clients.   Weighted average factor pricing could be made tighter with input from accountant/economist.

It could also automatically build documentation for the statement of work.

Guideline – don’t get greedy!

Cool job Brad!

OK – now, depending on how many people signed up, I’m going to give a 1/2 hour on branding for startups.

Can’t blog and talk though 🙂

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