An absolutely stellar group of people, dubbed by Julie Lerman to be .NET Celebrities, have come together to offer up our tiny little bit of help for those whose lives, homes, loved ones, livelihoods, and dreams were washed away on Boxing Day of last year. The immediate “if we don't get fresh water in there they will all die” crisis is past, but there is so much rebuilding work to be done. The agency we've selected is Aceh Aid at IDEP which is local to Sumatra and has been on the ground since the waves hit. This is a nimble and creative group that, for example, teamed up with the surfing community to get boats into the worst hit places while large outside groups couldn't figure out how to reach them. It's going to be an EBay auction with payment through PayPal directly to a US foundation that supports IDEP -- that way for US-based people it will be tax deductible for sure. I am working on an answer for Canadians on that. Of course if your company spends the money to get the advice, then your company can deduct it as an expense, just the same as if you wrote me a cheque for my time.
There are 25 of us up for auction. Top bidder gets their pick of Jeffrey Richter, John Robbins, Jeff Prosise, Michele Leroux Bustamante, Jonathan Goodyear, Andrew Brust, Richard Campbell, Adam Cogan, Malek Kemmou, Jackie Goldstein, Goskin Bakir, Hector M Obregon, Patrick Hynds, Fernando Guerrero, Kate Gregory, Joel Semeniuk, Scott Hanselman, Barry Gervin, Clemens Vasters, Jorge Oblitas, Stephen Forte, John Lam, Deborah Kurata, Ted Neward and Kathleen Dollard. Wow! (And like I need to link to their blogs -- you know who these people are!) Most are friends of mine already, 18 are RDs, 5 are Canadian, all are top notch .NET stars who know their stuff and are in the habit of solving problems for people.
So what we are auctioning is one hour of mentoring. Phone, IM, email, whatever. (We won't fly out to you.) If you're the top bidder, you get whoever you want from that list. Second bidder chooses from the still stellar list remaining. And so on.
Most of us are consultants so you could theoretically buy our time. But that's in theory. My firm doesn't take one hour jobs. We don't really like to take one day jobs. Our preference for mentoring work is to take a $5000 retainer and let you know when you've used most of it up and need to send more. (We make exceptions for some work that's really technically interesting and fun, but we still need to be confident it will go on for a while.) I expect it's a similar situation for the others. That means we're offering something you otherwise couldn't buy. I want you to keep that in mind, then go bid more (a lot more) than you think an hour of my time is worth. The money goes to those who need it, you get a deduction, and you get some important business problem solved. Can't fail!
I'll post a link to the auction as soon as it's live.