#NMMunveil Commentary

Today, New Media Manitoba [NMM] publicized the three goals that they intend to meet to support the new media industry in Manitoba at a press conference nicknamed #NMMunveil.

Background Information About how the NMM Got Here

The 3 Strategies

As I said, Kevin Hnatiuk presented 3 goals NMM will work on over the next while to help the New Media Industry:

  • Government Funded Workplace mentorship programs.
  • A “sales portal” to enable making matches between workers and people needing workers.
  • A co-working space that will offer resources to freelancers and companies which they do not have in their ( home ) office

Read the online press release about the 3 NMM goals.

Commentary: Mentorship

I wonder whether this strategy will help any freelancer. It might be a strategy aimed solely at helping businesses. Is it? I am happy to hear the word mentorship mentioned because I strongly believe that is central to a career – both being a mentor and a mentee.

What effect is this intended to have?

  • Increase skill levels of the professionals? This is a highly likely outcome. Mentoring is already worth stimulating for this reason alone.
  • Increase in number of people companies are hiring through reducing their cost? Are there many unemployed graduates? I understand that there is more job openings at least in IT/IS than there are people to fill them. Wonder whether that is actually true.
  • Increase pay rates for entry-level people? I guess that might encourage more people to enter the industry. Probably not exactly everyone can learn to code for a living – even out of those who, encouraged by salary levels in industry, try to. I believe UofM professors talk about a 50% drop-off rate in their programming 101 course. More entrants would likely mean more successes though.
  • Reduce cost for the companies? Also quite likely to happen, unless companies overall hire more people.

Commentary: Sales Portal

I strongly believe that NMM should contract this to be built as an open source project on GitHub. Some of the factors surrounding the projects that I think are relevant in coming to this conclusion are:

  • Public and community funding ( which is what I understand this will be funded by )
  • No real local competition
  • High likelihood of large amounts of functionality delivered for free by unpaid contributors

Releasing the code as Free Software and using the Open Source [OS] asset management strategy would likely have the following positive results:

  • Reduced cost of the development
  • Streamlined delivery timeline
  • Higher quality of the code produced
  • Perception of goodwill, bold leadership, and maturity in understanding how the world of software development works

You could initially be afraid that the business viability of the project would be endangered by making it possible for others to provide same service without having to build software. First of all: Is this really a business venture?

If you inform yourself about the implications of the free software license you choose and fair about the terms on which you provide the service on top of the software platform, there is simply no reason someone else would be able to take over as the leader on the platform. If you are not fair on the other hand, then you do deserve to lose the leadership, so building in the possibility up-front is a good way to keep oneself honest. If someone earns a bit of cash using the platform in return to receiving the OS asset management strategy benefits, while retaining leadership status as service provider on the platform, then that is a great economic externality you just caused. That’s how it is in my thought neighborhood.

I think that the velocity with which the NMM website has evolved so far is enough to convince anyone to try something different. And that is not in any way a stab at anyone, just my retrospect on how I see it. I know I will be very excited to contribute to the code base if it ends up being developed publicly, and conversely quite disappointed if this opportunity is not seized.

Commentary: Co-working Space

It seems that SkullSpace has lost their space at an interesting time – the same time NMM is talking about creating a space. I would really like to see the two groups coming together and forming a strong relationship and intertwining themselves significantly for at least a period of time. If the paths split eventually, that’s fine. Here are some places I see a match:

  • SkullSpace needs a space – NMM will have a space
  • NMM wants to talk about supporting the Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniaks of Manitoba? ( They did in today’s presentation. ) Well, it happens that they’re likely SkullSpace members.
  • I believe that NMM needs more funding/spending transparency ( or maybe this info is already available? ) and a more democratic decision-making process. This is exactly what SkullSpace is about.
  • I think SkullSpace needs more marketing, business, government liaison, and leadership muscle – NMM has a wealth of that.

There is likely a plethora of other reasons why this would be a good match. Even as a mentorship arrangement, NMM could take on SkullSpace. You learn from the young talent as much as you teach them. Or maybe a little less, but you get my point 🙂

Let’s try some really novel and bold ideas. Here’s to success of these initiatives beyond our wildest dreams.

Published by

Dan Bernardic

A Winnipeg Web programmer. Proud member of the Skip the Dishes team. Experienced with Web technologies, e.g. HTML5, CSS, ( Server-side ) JS, PHP, WordPress, MVC, etc.

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