Better Perl

Nicholas Clark nick at
Fri Apr 25 12:55:43 BST 2008

On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 01:04:37PM +0200, Zbigniew Lukasiak wrote:

> Perhaps instead of counting on company altruism we should think about
> what benefits companies could get from supporting such a work schema?

It's a valid thing to do.
But it's orthogonal to my question below.

> One obvious thing is the popularity - the question is how effective
> this can be in comparison with the traditional ways of sponsoring a
> Perl event and displaying banners at it?

Being seen to be keen on open source definitely helped Fotango recruit.

I know that one company in London was keen to recruit me to work (a fair
chunk) on the perl core, but this was because they were also recruiting a
lot, and they knew that having a "name" there would help that.

But I knew the score, and having already had two employers where I would not
recruit my friends ("yes, with my company hat on I should encourage you to
apply", "no, with my 'friend' hat on, I can tell you that you'd hate it here")
which generally gets extended to everyone (after all, everyone I don't yet
know might become my friend), I declined it.

(In particular, I know one previous employer was explicitly using me as
recruiting bait, even when HR knew why I was not happy, knew that it was
unlikely that the structural problems that were causing me and the others to
be unhappy probably could not be fixed, hence knew that I was likely to leave,
yet still used me as a name to "work with". I thought that this was unethical
of them.)

Shopzilla were keen to recruit Larry Wall at one point in 2005, (I'm guessing
to work on what they wanted, but to act as a recruiting draw), but he ended
up working for his friend's start up, which was un-Americanly local to him.
(Within walking distance)

> Another thing, I know this will be very controversial, but at least
> accept it on the basis of brainstorming ideas, could be that a company
> doint that could compile a big database of Perl contributors and then
> use it for recruitment.  Maybe there is a chance that this could be
> done in a civilised way?

I'm not sure. It would work if it's opt in. If someone wanted to write the
code, I'm sure could be extended to allow CVs to be uploaded,
and then charge firms or pimps to search the database for people to
cold-call. But I'm not sure how many would think that this is worth it,
versus just searching Google for keywords and then generating unsolicited
e-mail (or calls) to anyone they find there. (Which, of course, is one thing
Google's in house recruiters do)

The two benefits I can see are not easily measurable

1: recruiting gets easier
2: faster fixing of bugs and issues (either in house, or externally, because
   you're known and seen as "nice")

> >
> >
> >  but so far it's an overwhelming "meh" as far as feedback goes on whether my
> >  proposal would even work. (the "how to spend money" part)

Yes, this question. Where is the feedback on the technical plan?

Nicholas Clark

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