It’s likely that you’re not sure exactly what you need, or whether I can provide it. That’s a common situation when you’re shopping around for a freelance troubleshooter and problem solver like me. So, let’s talk about it and find out!
I’m motivated by work that has a good chance of making the world better (which to me means more free, fair, safe and sustainable), and which is intellectually challenging. Given those things, I’m extremely flexible about where and how I participate. Here are some examples of how it can work:
Many organizations in the business of social change need a clear plan and an experienced decisionmaker to use technology to achieve their mission, but they haven’t reached the scale to hire a full-time Chief Technology Officer. For creating strategic plans, writing budgets, choosing software and hiring and managing technical staff, I can be your guy, part-time. My experience in environments ranging from global corporations to tiny startups means I’ve probably already seen whatever challenges you’re facing and can save you from figuring it out on your own. I spend part of each week as your dedicated technology leader, and it costs you only part of a salary. Organizations use this model while they’re searching for a full-time position, or as a permanent arrangement.
If you have a specific complicated question to answer, a long-range plan to create, or some other “big think” task, I might be the solution. I’ve been a professional journalist and writer, so I know how to quickly understand your situation, do the research, and put the answers into clear language. I’m also well-versed in data science, having analyzed membership lists as big as 40 million people. I’ve spent six weeks understanding how Rainforest Action’s members behave, and six months developing an entire technology vision for Greenpeace International. If your project is particularly straightforward, I might even be able to finish it in six days. I’m paid for these projects on a flat fee, with clear milestones, deadlines and check-in meetings.
Consulting / Mentoring
Some of the proudest accomplishments in my career have been developing the leadership of others. I’ve especially enjoyed working with people who are stepping into leading a larger team, or taking on more complicated technological challenges, or who are changing paths from the corporate to the non-profit world. I’ve walked down all those roads, and love it when I can warn someone about an approaching pothole that I already fell into before. If you need a sounding board, an experienced peer who’s been there, you can call me. The best arrangement is a series of intensive one-on-one sessions over a period of a few months, including the freedom to call for a quick consultation at any time.
People tell me that my calm, supportive approach helps them focus and succeed at learning whatever it is I’m teaching them. One year I got hundreds of volunteers on a conference call and taught them to use a complicated piece of software; another time I kept a room of ninety people focused for nearly three hours while explaining a series of complex and unfamiliar technical details. I think training people to do better work is just about the most efficient way I can change the world. Some topics I’ve taught include: Writing to motivate action, How to phonebank, Effective project management, Mobilizing supporters online, Email security, and Basic statistics for online campaigns.
These are just some ideas, based on what I’ve done before. You might have an entirely new sort of enticing project… Contact me and tell me about it, and let’s see if we’re a fit.