Jon Stewart on 2 Feb 2002 22:56:11 -0000

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hosers-talk: Jobs

Here's the deal. The non-profit organization Congressional Management 
Foundation just last week released a study of the website of MCs (Member 
of Congress). I haven't read it yet, but it was evidently fairly 
negative and it's fresh in the mind of Hill staffers. You can read it 

I'm currently in the process of starting my own consulting company, with 
my first contract being with Holden's to finish my present project. So, I 
have a full-time gig at the moment. 

To increase cash flow and give me something to do after this contract 
finishes, I was thinking about offering a Total Website Management product 
to different entities in Washington, primarily targetting congressional 
offices. Some MCs use outside firms, but they're the few that are willing 
to spend the money. Most offices assign a staffer to do it as part of 
their other job responsibilities. They're small sites, typically authored 
in FrontPage, ugly, and ill-maintained. Nothing fancy.

Specifically, I would like to offer them the following:

1. Version control using CVS.
2. Daily backups (using my CD burner).
3. Automatic link verification
4. Integration of new content
5. HTML validation
6. Possible accessibility standards conformance (I need to do my research 
on this item.)
7. Optional site redesigns
8. Possible optional Spanish translations (a la Robert Trent, or maybe my 
cousin Chris)

But, like I said, I don't have the time to do this right now, and it's not 
the long-term "vision" I have for my company. So, I was thinking that I 
might do the marketing, the management, and the customer interaction, but 
that my various friends could do most of the actual work. 

For example, a staffer wants to put up a new page. S/he emails it to me or 
some other company address. The request goes in a queue, and whoever gets 
to it first does the work. (In general; there may be specific projects 
that I would assign to specific people.) I'll work on software and process 
to ensure work could be handled as efficiently as possible. You'd keep 
track of the time you'd spent on the mini-project (I'd probably have a 
shell script for clocking in and out). The offices get billed monthly for 
the time spent on their sites. You then get paid for the work you'd do.

So, who, if anyone, is interested?

I understand you guys have other jobs and limited free-time, so I'll make 
sure we don't bite off more than we can chew. Also, I'm positioning this 
service as a Chevy, not a Cadillac. We'll do a better job than Joe 
Hill-Staffer, at an affordable cost, but we're not going to win any awards 
for their sites; we're just going to raise their standard to normal (many 
of these sites suck). It's likely that I'd only do work for Democratic 
offices; it's more a business reality than my own politics at work, 
because it's an easier sell if you choose sides (I'm not going to choose 
to focus exclusively on Republicans, unless I get really hard up for cash 

You would be W-2 employees. I'm not going to quote you wages right now,
but they'd be above minimum wage; enough to make it worth your while, not
enough for you to quit school. You might have to sign NDAs. I couldn't
guarantee you _any_ work, and the amount of work available could (and
probably would) change at any time. I will be taking a cut, but will try
to make it a fair cut, and be upfront about it (I'd have to wear a suit,
after all). If I couldn't secure another contract after this one, then I'd
take over the bulk of the work, to keep the rent money coming in.  And
then, if I got another contract, I'd need you guys again.

So, if you're fairly secure right now, but wouldn't mind some extra bucks,
some good experience, and a glowing recommendation, let me know by Monday
afternoon and tell me what you're willing to do, how much you're willing
to work, and any other ideas you might have. If enough of you are willing
to do this, I'll put up my own site and work at the marketing.

I/We need to move quickly. It'll be three weeks before I'd have the 
infrastructure to do actual work, but I'd need to start marketing by the 
end of this week.



P.S. I know Joel and Josh pretty well, and know they're capable. Others, 
please let me know how good you are with HTML, CSS, other web 
technologies, and overall design. If there's enough work for everyone, 
you're all welcome to it, but I need to have a good idea of who knows 
what. If you know other students who might be interested, let me know, 
Jon Stewart

"and dropping a barbell, he points to the sky, saying 'the sun's not 
yellow, it's chicken.'"

			-- Bob Dylan