Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tory Johnson suggests sites for entrepreneurial (tech) writers; Time Mag suggests "litte in" Internet Busienss model

A couple more (really several more) micro-entrepreneurial ideas came across my “research desk” today. USAJobs with its silly KSA’s can wait, the private sector is waking up again.

A couple of these tips came from Tory Johnson, the career coach on ABC news and CEO of "Women for Hire", on “The View” this morning. Besides talking about people-centered part-time jobs like childcare, she mentioned a couple of writing opportunities for introverts.

One of them is “Associated Content” (at one time calling itself “The People’s Media Company”), link here. The site publishes “practical” articles and pays for them based on syndication and advertising revenue, according to “Business Insider”, here. The site had a list of suggested topics when I checked, and some of the topics were about information technology jobs and training, and the values of various kinds of degrees. Other topics tend to be of a hands-on, practical nature (such as home repair, gardening, cooking, etc.)

Another site that Tory recommended is Helium (yes, named after the second element in the Periodic Table), site here. Helium says that writers can earn income from direct cash payments for contributed work, and revenue sharing.

Needless to say, with my interests, I will look in to these in more detail. The sites would probably want material as practical and objective as possible, and it is likely I would focus on the job market, resumes, interviewing, and particularly some topics that I have researched for my own blogs, such as “online reputation,” which seems now like a moving target.

Then the April 20 issue of Time Magazine, on p. 43, offers a piece by Josh Quittner, “The New Internet Start-Up Boom: Get Rich Slow”, link here. The new paradigm is “LILO”, or “little in, a lot out”. Instead of a lot of upfront money, entrepreneurs start slow with original ideas and then outsource to find the talent, often from sites like Elance or “RentaCoder”. One ingenious site, “AirBnb” (the ‘eBay of Lodging”) finds cheap, shared accommodations in expensive cities. Another, Motormouths aggregates automobile reviews and ratings. YCombinator helps investors and startups get together, and right now links to a New York Times story by Jennifer Lee (Feb. 21, 2006), “Running a Hatchery for Replicant Hackers”, shades of “Blade Runner” perhaps (link). There are plenty of sites that combine movie reviews and ratings and compare them, but I can imagine some ways to go deeper into the makings of independent movies and correlate them.

All of this is very interesting to me. It’s hard to shift gears. I would imagine being able to make commercially viable articles by tracing developments and evolution of computing culture in my thirty-plus years of information technology (it really was different in the 1960s, you know). As for the Associated Content and Helium ideas, what they would need is tight, coherent articles on specifics, not loose, reflexive expositions common in blog posts (like this one). Yup, they need “development” and “recapitulation” (not “recapture”) and even “coda”. As for the “get rich slow” idea, I find myself imagining the inevitable transition from coding myself to purchasing and managing the code of others. That’s a good reason why we used to have a job description for “systems analyst”. We sometimes have to work full time on what others will code.

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