To anyone out there with deep pockets–or to lots of people with shallower ones–I need financial assistance for the Minsky program. I have been waiting for funding from a source that I’ll reveal once it finally comes through, but it has now been delayed for over six months from when it was first mooted to arrive. If I am lucky, it will come through in January–another 4 months away.
The problem is that I may lose my programmer by then to the vicissitudes of having to earn a living. I have been the architect of Minsky, but Russell Standish has been the builder, and I was incredibly lucky to secure his services when the project began 3 years ago.
Now he has gone over 6 months without an income, partly because he has not marketed his skills to other potential employers because of his dedication to this project.
Without Russell’s skills, Minsky would never have reached the level of capability it has in the same trivial amount of time (in programmer terms). Minsky as it stands today has been built with in about 2300 hours of programming time–with each hour costing A$100 at Russell’s contractor rate.
That a program with so few development hours in it could be chosen as Project of the Month by SourceForge, which hosts of the order of 100,000 projects, is a testament to just how skilful a programmer Russell is. He’s also a very unassuming guy–a lot more modest than yours truly–but he was driven to “beat his own drum” in explaining his situation to our erstwhile funders. I can do no better than to quote his statement to them to explain why I want support from the public to hang on to him:
I bring to the party a mix of valuable skills, ranging from deep mathematical modelling and research, high performance computing optimisation, software engineering with a track record of delivery and also team management. Finding these skills in the employment marketplace is challenging enough, but getting them in one person is quite rare.
For example, you often find people who are brilliant technically, and create original solutions, but who never deliver anything functional unless almost micro-managed. And you often find capable line management who lack the technical vision to inspire the team of researchers.
You can put together a team combining these different types of people, but that gets to be a rather more expensive proposition.
Amen to that. Russell is a uniquely gifted person, and I’m doubly lucky that he is a close friend as well as the best programmer I could have found for the Minsky project.
So if you want to support not merely the work I have been doing, but the overall objective of building a tool that will enable economics to escape from its foundation myths of equilibrium and barter, please lend a hand now.
I’m writing this on the spur of the moment; I don’t have any funding mechanism set up, and with my new job at Kingston University I don’t know that I’ll have the time to establish one. I might just have to go with a donate button here. Or let me know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org if we’re talking a really substantial sum.