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An Idea: Providing some small funding for a yearly (or 6 month) regular coder

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I was thinking it might be nice to try to organize people on DC who might be willing to commit to spending a few dollars each year (or every 6 months) to help fund a coder.

Obviously we cannot provide real money the way big companies do, but maybe if we work together we could raise enough for a $1,000/year fund, and then pick one different freeware/opensource coder per year to give the money to in order to help them be able to devote more of their time to coding and learning.

It's a small amount of "grant/award money" but just being selected for it might also be somewhat useful to students who are looking for accomplishments to put on a resume, etc...

I'm thinking there would be no obligations from the recipient -- but it's also possible that the award would go towards a particular proposed project and we would want the recipient to post occasional brief public progress updates on the project.  I guess it would depend on the basis for which we would select recipients, which I have no idea.

Just an idea.. Thoughts?

mouser, that strikes me as a fine idea  :up:. 

nice idea mouser ;)

It seems an interesting idea. Lots of questions come to mind.
For example:

* Is "Thoughts?" the right question to ask? Depends, I suppose, on what one hopes to get in response.
* I don't know whether it would be a good or a bad idea, but, if implemented, then wouldn't it potentially be somewhat of a change to the ethos of
* And if it is/would be changing it, then what might be the implications of that?
* Does there need to be such a change, and if so, then why/why not?
* If such a change were made, then what could be the potential effect on the existing structure and/or "business model" of
* What might be the perception of the external community, and would it matter?
* What might be the specific objectives and outcomes of this? What costs, risks, dependencies and constraints might be involved?
* ...etc.I'm sure we could think of more questions.

I personally wouldn't attempt to offer any suggestions or answers to such questions at this point, but I would suggest that maybe this would be an opportune time to conduct a PMI (one of De Bono's thinking tools) - a systematic analysis of the Plus, Minus, and Interesting points about the idea, from several different perspectives.

Collectively, we could surely contribute constructively towards such an analysis if we were organised to do so in the role of a kind of distributed "Brains Trust" for that exercise. There is such a diverse collection of minds in the DC forum that we could well run the risk of a synergistic outcome if we were organised by The Project Manager to do that.    :D

I would recommend the use of a computer tool to collect the PMIs from the audience.
An affinity diagramming tool may be the ideal. The MS Labs Sticky Sorter comes to mind. That can interchange data between the SS tool and a spreadsheet - which could be handy.
But this is getting ahead of ourselves and is just some of my thoughts.

Falling back on my professional training, I'd usually recommend a structured approach. In that case, the first thing required would be to draft up a TOR - Terms of Reference - for a small project to research and implement such an idea, or one similar. The TOR would need to be approved by a Sponsor and/or a Steering Committee before any work started. If one did not do that, then the thing might skitter all over the place like a blob of mercury.

The problem with me and these ideas is that they end up in the discussion stage so long that the idea just withers away and dies of neglect, usually after an unnecessarily complex discussion of a million different remote possibilities and complicated options.

Let's try keeping things simple and pulling the trigger on a test run of this idea, as follows:

I'll send out a newsletter in early May, announcing that we give away a grant of $1,000 of funding for the 6 month period of July-December.
Folks will have until June 1 to submit a short (less than 1 page) proposal by email, describing a coding project they plan to work on during that time.
Meanwhile I will collect pledges from anyone who wants to help fund the grant.
Ideally we would raise enough pledges to be able to do this every 6 months.

As for choosing who to award the grant money to and how, I'm sure we will learn how to do a better job, but for now we can simply have a discussion among those who are pledging the money and decide how to split it up.
There is no reason we have to have only a single "winner", and no reason we shouldn't allow teams, etc.  But I think having the money go to a single recipient will help make it feel like it's actually meaningful for them.
But we could award non-monetarily-significant official "grant" status for others if that might have some value for them in terms of getting recognition, publicity, credit in school, etc.
I suggest that we simply ask recipients to pledge to write a short monthly project report and an end-of-grant summary, all can be in the form of simple short blog posts.


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