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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • scrottie, you are one of the most savvy, self-aware individuals I've ever encountered. Don't let the bastards get you down.

    Idea: You might enjoy staring your own business and being your own boss. People say self-employment is risky and uncertain, but then again, so is employment (as in your recent ordeal).

    Is there some challenging Perl itch you'd enjoy scratching, which would turn into self-employment? A Perl app you could build that you would then make a living from in the form of paid on-site calls to corporations to train their IT staff as to how to implement and use it, etc.? Or an existing Perl application?

    I have basically never been able to get along on a team. Always shot my mouth off and pissed off my boss. I finally gave up trying and started my own business. I struggled for a while but then luck met preparation-- bingo. I could make a good living again.

    My business was a modest web page in 1995, using Perl to do a flat-file database to present information of various kinds to an industry audience I'd been part of and hence knew something about. Tried all kinds of applications for the toy script I pulled from "Instant Web Scripts with CGI-PERL" [sic] by Selena Sol and Gunther Bierzneks. Finally one seemed to interest people... help wanted ads! This was before Monster and HotJobs and all the rest. My very-focused "vertical" site was just the place for employers looking for employees who did that kind of hyperspecialized work. The damned thing still makes a good living for me despite my best efforts to screw it up.

    The trick, if there was one besides dumb luck, was that I started doing what I wanted to do... it combined my interest in writing, my overinflated ego, my interest in broadcasting/radio, and the modest computer skills I'd picked up in Fortran classes in the 70s. I was very candid and informal with my audience, which turned out to be a perfect fit for the Internet back in the days when it was more innocent. The content of the web page was employee benefit compliance (401ks, etc.) because that's all I really knew anything about, having been an employee benefits geek (er, lawyer) for almost 15 years. Then mix in the ability to go without pay for a while and the guts (foolishness?) to go full-bore with it, and I seemed to have all the ingredients to make brownies that eventually came out of the oven.

    People always say, "Do what you love and the money will follow." You're doing part of what you love... Perl... are there other interests/passions that you can combine with Perl to make a unique stew?

    Heck, maybe the business could be built around providing services of some kind to programmers who are having a hell of a time making a living, which is what you know most about! I'm serious.

    • I concur. []
    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for your comments, and your words of encouragement. You're right, of course. I can and often imagine "there", but the route from here to there is unclear, especially with other human obligations. And yes, there are several little businesses ideas I want to take a stab at, and a few I have already stabbed at. I can see the appeal of something like Y Combinator. My monthly week long hotel stays in LA gave me the isolation I needed to crank out code. Full time employement paid adequately w