Making Myself Available for a Talk
Inspired by André Marques-Smith , I decided to make myself available for people who want to Talk to Me . I opened up my calendar for a couple of hours every Friday afternoon. I think it is a very interesting experiment and a clear way of giving back to the community. My biggest concern is what community am I targeting, which would be highly dependent on my existing network of people.
Why I am Doing It
I am offering my time to give back to a group of people I care about, I hope I can deliver some value to whoever is on the other side of the call. But I'm doing it also to learn how to give feedback, how to listen to problems and build upon.
The topics I am expecting to cover are functional to myself at a different level:
- open source , which will help me tune the Guide on how to open-source projects
- Technology Transfer understood as entrepreneurship for scientists , which will give me enough inside knowledge to keep growing concepts in this area and perhaps building a personal network.
- Career choices for scientists, of which I am uncertain, but that would have been to have available when I was making the call. This one is the least functional of them all.
How to Deliver Value
I think I have collected knowledge in areas that are not particularly well defined, and to which people don't have access if not discussing with a real person. I do believe that a half-hour chat with someone who has already done and thought about these topics can have an immense impact, especially if that person is an outsider of the context in which the concern originates.
For example, the value that open-source software has for a scientist, the risks, and how to actually open-source a program is very ambiguous and must be tackled on a person-to-person approach. Some students need to pitch their ideas to supervisors, developers to managers, etc. I have learned enough to frame these situations in a way that everyone understands benefits, value, and how to de-risk the path ahead.
Career choices, either moving out or deciding to stay in academia deserve personalized discussions. I was lucky enough to have access to a coach that helped me build my path when finishing my Ph.D. This reality is not universal, not everyone has this level of access at different stages of their path. I have received training on how to write a CV and cover letter, I am in a position where I have to review CV's and can tell you what I look for, and what other managers look for.
Success would be
I would define success at this stage if I manage to have at least 2 talks of half-hour per month, and if I feel that I could deliver enough value to whoever joins the talks.
Even though I am not limiting who can ask for a meeting, I am targeting scientists. I could expand the group of people I am targeting, such as people working in companies (Python code-reviews could be one possibility). This puts me in the path of actually charging money for my time, and I believe I am not-yet-ready for this.
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