Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Ways I’m available to help

Summary: want help? Email me: jacob@<this domain>.

I’ve been lucky and privileged enough to have had a long and successful career. I’m now in a position to use my accumulated knowledge, network, and experience to help others, and I’d like to do so. This is a list of ways I think I can help; if you see something here that’d be useful to you, please email me.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it is representative. There might be a few things I’m willing to do that aren’t listed but are similar. But if you ask me for something that’s not listed below, the odds I’ll be able to do it are pretty low. However, do feel free ask anyway – the worst I’ll do is not reply or say “no”. I certainly won’t be a jerk.

Finally: if you’re willing to pay me, the list of ways I can help is substantially longer. I’m available for consulting engagements through my consultancy, REVSYS: get in touch here or email jacob @ revsys dot com.

Ways I’m available to help anyone

I’ll try to help anyone who emails me (jacob@<this domain>) about any of these things:

  1. Answer concise questions via email about topics I know about. If you write me an email with a short, clear question, and I know the answer, I’ll try to answer in a fairly quick time-frame. Any topic I’ve written about recently is fair game. That said, for specific technical questions about Django or Python: StackOverflow, the Django Forum, or similar are better resources for that. I also generally don’t have time to do significant research, so I’ll probably only be able to give answers that I know off the top of my head.

  2. Introductions: I’m glad to provide introductions to people I know, if I believe it’s an introduction that they’d want and there’s a reason you haven’t reached out directly. “People I know” include many folks in the Python and Django communities, people I’ve worked with (consult my LinkedIn for an idea of who that might be), and a smattering of others. If you’re not sure, feel free to ask. If you’re emailing to ask for an introduction, it’ll speed things along if you include a brief paragraph about you that I can use when I send the email to the other person.

  3. Reference checks on companies and managers: if you’re considering a new job, I’m happy to give you a gut-check on the company or specific manager. Again my LinkedIn will be the most useful in deciding if I know a company or person, but I do have a fairly wide network and can back-channel some checks. There are, unfortunately, a lot of missing stairs in tech; if I can help you avoid one, I’d be thrilled.

  4. Give you a quick gut-check on your compensation: if you’re looking for a job and wondering how much you might be worth, seeking a raise, worried that you might be underpaid, or otherwise want to get advise on compensation packages, I may be able to help. Please read this blog post about how to research salaries first, and if you still have questions send me an email. I probably can’t be very helpful to folks outside the US – most of my data and knowledge is from US tech companies.

  5. If you’ve just been laid off, help with your job search. I have limited bandwidth for this, but I can try to help a bit. Send me your resume (or LinkedIn, etc) and a short note about what kinds of jobs you’re looking for. I’ll share your resume on Twitter and in a few Slacks I’m in, and also let you know if I’m aware of any immediate openings that might be a fit.

  6. Support a charitable organization. I’m always really happy to hear about opportunities for charitable giving. You can read more about my approach to philanthropy, and if you know of an organization that might align with our goals, please get in touch! Note that I generally do not support political candidates or PACs.

  7. Answer questions about, or help with activities related to the Django Software Foundation. I don’t have the time (or, frankly, up-to-date knowledge) to help with Django problems, broadly – for that, the Django Forum is your best bet – but I am on the board of the DSF, and would be thrilled to help you with DSF-related stuff.

Ways I’m available to help underrepresented people in tech

Additionally, if you’re someone from a background traditionally underrepresented in tech – a woman, BIPOC, LBGTQ+, etc. – I will do more:

  1. Everything above, I’ll especially do for you. If you’re not sure if something’s appropriate – just go ahead and send it! The worst I’ll do is simply not respond; more likely, it’s totally fine and I’ll help to the extent that I can.

  2. Review a conference proposal on a topic I know something about. This is particularly true for the “flagship” Python and Django conferences (PyCon US, DjangoCon US, DjangoCon EU) as well as smaller Py- and DjangoCons. I’d love to help you maximize your changes of getting a talk accepted.

  3. Refer speaking opportunities to you. I get asked to speak a fair bit, and I’m generally trying to do less of it. This means I have a steady stream of opportunities to speak that I can forward on to you. If there’s something you’d like to speak about, let me know, and if I get asked I’ll send them your way.

  4. Help you find some job opportunities. Specifically, if you tell me what you’re looking for and a bit about your strengths, I can share your info – anonymously if you prefer – through my network. I’d post on Twitter, in some private Slacks, send a few emails, and make introductions if anything pops up.

  5. Give you feedback on a resume and/or cover letter. I generally can’t do this unless you’re applying for mid-career roles or higher (I don’t have a lot to offer beyond what’s on Google for more junior folks). If this is something you want, go ahead and send me the resume/cover letter directly, you don’t need to ask for permission first.

  6. Join your advisory board. I have some availability to sit on a board or three, and want to focus on companies led by underrepresented founders/CEOs. If that’s your company, and you think I’d have something positive to contribute as a advisor/board member, I’m interested.

  7. Invest in your company. Similarly, I have some funds I can invest. My focus is on companies that are solving problems with a strong social justice component – things like climate change, criminal justice reform, healthcare equity/access, and so forth. And, I’m only looking to invest in startups founded by those traditionally underrepresented in tech. If this describes your company, I might be interested.

  8. One-off coaching calls (video preferred, audio-only fine) about a problem you’re facing at work or in your open source community. Please give me an idea of the topic so I can make sure I’m going to be able to help.

Thanks to Will Larson, who put up a similar page to and inspired me to write this.