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David S Croston Melling <[log in to unmask]>
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Sun, 6 Jun 1999 04:14:43 -0700
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Regarding two areas of interest to me :

  (i).    Freelancing, Consulting or Telecommuting (Without Agents)

 (ii).    Ada usage in NON defence environment (Without Secrecy)

What I propose to do is to hopefully setup an online database listing
companies throughout the world currently using Ada 95, Ada 83 or other
subsets, in the non-defence sector. (Mabe later to include Java)

I shall start with Europe, and in particular to begin with, Ada
projects in Switzerland and Germany - see how it pans out and expand on

Wherever possible I shall attempt to provide a URL to a project
description if one exists, and a point of contact within that company,
preferably a project or team-leader.

It would be nice to include if possible all software engineering tools
standards and methods used and any other project data, baring in mind
even some non-defence projects are secretive (Swiss Banks for example
are more secretive than the Pentagon).

I would like to combine this database with a whiteboard discussion area
where freelance contractors can exchange useful information and
contribute to the database to correct any obsolete or add missing data.

This would all be totally free of charge of course. Possibly subsidised
by advertising space but hopefully just done for the good-will.

It would be great not only as an excercise to guage the visibility of
non-defence Ada in use, but also to try and provide a means whereby
freelancers can make their own direct contact to potential clients
doing away with the usual expensive and often unprofessional middle
layer 'agency' involvement, which more often than not is costly to both
the client and the freelancer, and in my opinion should be removed
wherever possible. Perhaps an agency blacklist would be useful too, I
could name a few to start with - Mabee we could add a horror stories
section ;-)

Hopefully client companies could eventually advertise directly for
freelance staff through this mechanism - or scan an online 'guru list'.

Such databases in the past have failed due to lack of visibility and
high registration costs. However by simply providing information on the
Ada Market, consultants need not register, but simply take the
information and follow it up themselves - and so changing the trend.

You see, normally when a client needs an expert, he approaches an
agent, then the agency scans a huge database for the keyword Ada (not
knowing the difference between Ada and a Turbot), churning out 1000's
of wanabe's, sometimes putting a few obscure lines in the Jobserve,
they then dispose of the highly qualified and underqualified,
preferably choosing the naive programmers who don't mind losing 35%,
they then send out impersonal mail to 100's of freelancers asking
politely availability and rate (of course only later to tell you what
your rate is), then they call you up with that awful hollow and banal -
"hello jim, how are you me old mate, is it ok to speak ? and when are
you next available - oh I see - how soon can you break your contract"
routine. At the last minute, they may inform you who the client is.

By changing the trend I mean the following simple scenario, Consultant
finishes contract, becomes available looks at database for current
requirements that really suit him/her, mabee chats with some
contractors (via whiteboard) who have worked on the project for more
information, then perhaps e-mails project manager to see if requirement
still current, passes details, arranges interview, provides references,
starts job.

All I ask is that the contractors contribute a line or to to keep the
information uptodate so that others may profit. The Ada world isnt that
big - and most of us long timers know oneanother so why should we get
ripped off and not help oneanother out.

It is my opinion that telecommuting and freelancing will be more and
more the chosen way for corporations to fill the experience gap for
short periods, I believe also that there should be no need for agencies
in the future if consultants operate professionally and help one
another out to find continued work.

Opinions ? Suggestions ?

Do you think it could work ? Or does it suck ?

Dave Croston-Melling.

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