SPUG: Seattle Perl Consortium

Jonathan Gardner jgardner at jonathangardner.net
Tue Aug 3 12:44:58 CDT 2004

Many of use are perl consultants. We spend a great deal of time finding 
clients and we just don't have the resources to prepare spiels or case 
studies or advertising in the proper media. So we end up mostly as 
parasites because we can't generate new projects and clients and we only 
clean up where others have gone before. (I am speaking generally, of 
course.) We see this because the current perl market is contracting, not 

I have a proposal that many of you won't like and frankly, I don't think it 
will work in its current working form. I'd like some input and ideas 
positive or negative. If we could get it working, I think it will be a huge 
benefit to all of us.

Some of the ideas I don't endorse, I am only putting them on the floor for 
discussion because they have some merit.

Basically, we form a corporation called the Seattle Perl Consortium (SPC). 
We have members who are perl consultants. They pay membership fees. We buy 
advertising and we have a team of marketers and salespeople to convince the 
PHBs that perl is the way to go with glossy handouts and snazzy powerpoint 
presentations. The SPC acts like the marketing department for our small 
consultancies. With enough members and a big enough budget, we should be 
able to challenge anything Microsoft or Sun would do to market their stuff.

SPC could provide legal assistance, accounting assistance, business advice, 
and misc. services. The idea is to move everything but perl work off of the 
consultants into the SPC where people who specialize in that sort of thing 
can do it properly and for far less than you would do it yourselves. (Going 
rate for an accountant << going rate for experienced perl consultant).

SPC could provide on-call 24/7 service with a call center and on-call 

SPC may be able to fund its own projects. For instance, if there is a need 
for a specific piece of software, but no company is willing to fund it, but 
it would be useful to all of the members of SPC, SPC may hire some of the 
consultants to implement the project.

To smooth the market cycles, SPC may collect a hoard of cash that it will 
use to employ the consultants during difficult times. Rather than compete 
with the clients, SPC would wait to do its projects until the slow cycles.

SPC may also be a standards body, codifying best practices and technology to 
make the work its members do consistent and unified.

SPC could provide services you'd find in a guild or a union. We could set 
prices, establish accreditation, and help apprentices pair off with gurus.

SPC will be basically non-profit. All the profit from the actual work goes 
into the pockets of the consultants, with perhaps a small cut to go back to 
the SPC to fund more of its activities.

In the future, if this is successful, we can expand this into the Seattle 
Open Source / Free Software Consortium, or maybe even a world-wide 
organization with chapters in every major city.

Jonathan Gardner
jgardner at jonathangardner.net

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