Update: thanks to everyone who has and who continue to help.
Back in December, when I first left for a 3-week trip, pair-programming in exchange for room and board, I didn't expect to find myself in Chicago, 9 months later, looking to plan the next year of this. Since I started, I've been to a lot of places, paired with great people, shared some truly outstanding and insightful video interviews and both actively trained others and have been trained, myself. I've spoken at user groups and conferences and helped host code retreats. I've driven through almost every state that touches the Atlantic Ocean (Rhode Island, why do you taunt me?) and even made it up to Canada. This has been an incredible opportunity and a fantastic journey of growth for me. Over the past few months, ideas for the future have started to crystallize, including a long-term goal of starting a software development school. I'll be posting some entries over the next couple weeks about upcoming plans and ideas that I have.
Now, though, the time comes to own up a bit to reality.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by people is "how do you support yourself?" Some people thought the startup I was at last year cashed in well (it didn't) or that I do billable work along the way (I don't) or that a load of sponsors send me money (they don't). No, this has been almost entirely a self-funded journey of discovery and sharing. Over the year, I've gone through steps to significantly decrease my recurring expenses (cut data plan on phone, etc), as well as did a short training (thanks, JB Rainsberger) and a short programming gig (thanks, Leandog). This has allowed my savings to last longer than I had expected. That being said, I've come to the point where I am down to the last reserves of money. I finally need to ask for some help from the community to make it over this hump, while I put plans in place to establish a more stable support base.
So, I'm starting a pledgie campaign and asking for help. How much do I need? Well, I'll be honest; I need about $3000 to stabilize a bit. I have some plans over the next few months (funding for visible metrics project, doing a short gig here and there) to make it through winter, then I plan on talking to some companies/organizations about further sponsorship. For now, though, I need to turn to all of you for help.
I'd like to ask you to support me with cold, hard, paypal-delivered cash. Have you enjoyed the videos? Have you met me or seen me speak and got something out of the conversation? Did you follow my latest 3-month, 6700-mile road trip along the east coast? If so, could you spare a bit? $20? $50? Please click the pledgie button below to contribute. Think about this: if 100 people contributed an average of $30, it would reach my goal of $3000.
The list of contributors will appear on the pledgie campaign site, and I will be linking to the list from both this blog and my homepage. If you would like to remain anonymous, make sure that you check the checkbox below the donate button on the campaign page. If you would like to donate money directly through paypal to me, rather than using pledgie, you can do that here and send to firstname.lastname@example.org (that's llc, as in limited liability corporation).
While technically I am looking for a handout, I'm not trying to get a tremendous amount out of this, just enough to keep going for a bit longer. To that end, I will make the following pledge:
During the month of September, 2009, half of all money raised above $3000 will go towards organizing code retreats in places that I visit. Take that and combine it with company sponsorships of local code retreats, and it could mean a lot of events.
Are you someone that would like to contribute even more? Perhaps you are a company that is doing better than average in this difficult economy and want to help spread the ideas and ideals that I try to represent? Please contact me, and we can work out some sort of agreement for larger sponsorships. I can provide invoices from my LLC, as well.
Interested in also spreading the word about supporting me? Please link to this post from your blog, tweet about it, put the pledgie button on your site, etc.
And thanks for all your support. I'd especially like to thank those who have sponsored me already financially, especially the ones who did last winter.