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Want to bounce around an idea? Need a proxy desk neighbour? Call 714.881.1119
132 points by kentf on July 14, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments
My name is Kent.

I am a Rails programmer and work from home. I will be online on Skype from 11:00AM EST time until around 3:00PM EST.

If you have a Ruby, Rails problem, question or just want to bounce an idea around give me a call.

I know a lot about web design, web applications, HCI, startups, Ruby, Rails, jQuery, SEO, HTML, CSS and am a good sounding board for ideas in general.

Often times I need someone to talk to when I need to bounce an idea around and I don't have another programmer / techie in my area. I also don't work in an office and find IRC a little cold. So, let's go remote, I will be your proxy desk neighbour.

Skype (kent.fenwick) or call (714) 881-1119

Thanks, Kent




I just wrapped a great conversation with Kent. It was awesome, and he was a really great sounding board.

I'd encourage any of you that are on the fence to give him a call.


Thanks Charlie! It was fun :)


I just had an awesome call with Kent. He knows a ton about technology and people. Helped me with a lot of questions about my startup.

He's doing a pretty cool startup. Check it out - http://viewpointr.com.

If I could have a skype conversation like this every now and then, it would help me a great deal to get through the lows of running a startup alone.

Thanks Kent!


That's very kind of you! Thank you. It was my pleasure.


I'm getting a 500 internal server error on your site.


Sorry about that. Purposely didn't link Viewpointr for that reason. Thanks to @engineyard we are humming again. We are also having a little Twitter bug that we are working on. Sorry :S


Woops, sorry!


This is a bit of what I had in mind for http://EveryMentor.com. Someone to be a "workout" buddy of sorts for pretty much any activity (from being a single founder to being a wedding planner). Needless to say, I like the idea!


Just signed up. Seems pretty cool. Requested a mentor, we'll see how it turns out.

Would love to see some testimonials on the homepage though.


Man I REALLY like this idea. Props! Let us know how it goes please. I might be tempted to do the same thing with J2EE/Enterprise scalability focus, if there's any interest in that.

I wonder if this could be monitized, like pay for 15 minute blocks or something, both to increase the value to the provider and to cut down on potential abuse/time-suck. The value could be very well worth it to the caller I'd think. Like cam girls for tech/startup stuff...

Does Skype have any good collaborative whiteboarding software or can anyone recommend a web service that does that? I think that could be key.


I think there would be better ways to monetize than that. You could drive massive traffic here if it was collaborative instead of host and customer.


There was a service several years back where you could post a rate and a profile, and if people called they would pay to talk to you. It seems to have gone under as I can't find any references to it.


There a many services like that. Most of them are targeting a very different market though...


What a super idea. It's true that IRC is a little cold but the distinction is that if you want to ignore it for a bit you can, whereas if you set up 'office hours' you actually have to be there which only works if you have a reasonably regular life. I usually don't even know what time I'll have lunch on any given day (if at all) so it would be hard for me to join this but I really think it is a great initiative.


Great idea. Too busy myself but someone should create a very simple network site that allows for profiles with just a Bio, Contact info, and a comment section that also includes ratings.

The Bio section would have a list of skills ( populated in a standardized way ) and a place to include a resume ( plain text or attachment )

The Contact section should have the ability to be displayed only during certain time blocks ( as defined by the user ) so that when someone is searching for another individual to chat with then only people who are available right now ( or at a pre-selcted time during the search ) show up.

The Comment section would allow for people to comment on their discussion and provide an overall feedback of the interaction as well as their opinion of the others skills in each proclaimed category.

That is it. Let me know if any of you decide to take this up by emailing me at michael@theofficialsoundtrack.com as I would be willing to provide my own feedback, input and potentially resources to the right person or group.


The independent game development community runs a Ventrilo chat server with the same goal in mind. Check it out here: http://www.tigvent.com/


Inspired by this thread, let's scale it up a notch -Google docs here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1517198


1 on 1 conversations or mentoring is the absolute best. Last year, I taught a guy a little bit of EE in exchange for him looking at the Java I was teaching myself and adding comments, but it was all on IRC. I have to admit, I really like the idea of doing this on Skype.

Does anyone else have major lightbulbs coming on at a really rapid clip because of this post?


This is really an awesome idea. My most recent exchange with other tech guys were limited to IRC (cumbersome, with all the problems a text only medium brings if you don't know the other guy/cannot guess the subtext) or, rarely, Twitter.

Kent, I'd love to read about the results of your experiment and your side of the story after having answered a number of calls.


I sure will. Thank you!


Please report back on how these "proxy neighbor office hours" work for you. I've been considering doing something similar for user experience and interaction design.

There's also Design Community Twitter Hours (@DCTH) but Twitter doesn't seem like a great way to handle this sort of thing.


I will! Thank you for the tip.


This is brilliant. There are many times where I would like an unbiased opinion from someone outside our immediate team. I can't help but think there is a major startup idea in here somewhere.


Thanks :) I agree ;)


This is a novel idea; a great way to utilize willingness to meet, talk and collaborate. I may have to steal this idea from you some time, Kent... or I may just give you a call! :-)


Casual, colleague-like 'sounding board' services. I would love to see this monetized.

Not because I'd use it, I'd just get a kick out of it.


It'd be great to see it aggregated. Browse a list of available people by skill/topic.

Maybe you have to participate in order to have access.

It's like a professor's open office hours.


Seems the Grasshopper's or Skype's of the world should sponsor something like this. Shouldn't take much to build.


Same here. Or if it's not monetized, I'd like to see a social network built of something like this.

I've known older engineers in the same boat: they work alone and the people around them have no idea what they're talking about. At the same time, on a lot of the forums (fora?) I frequent, there are n00bs who could get much better answers by talking/chatting/PM'ing a single person instead of broadcast asking a question they don't really know how to frame in the first place.


fiverr.com has plenty of those.



Great idea....would love to find someone with marketing / online marketing skills willing to do the same.


I just love the idea. I will try to ping you later to find out if i can help somehow with this movement!


This is an awesome idea.

Looking forward to trying this out.


Thanks I will.


do you have a skype id ?


kent.fenwick on Skype.




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