Nerdy Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!

It can be revealed now: after five interesting, entertaining and challenging job interviews with the company, I landed a cool job at a spiffy Internet services company. You might have heard of them; they’re called Tucows.

Most people who’ve used the Internet for some time — myself included until earlier this year — think of Tucows as a site for downloading software, especially shareware. They got started that way, and that’s what jumps out at you when you visit their site: the software library. However, it turns out that Tucows’ bread and butter is providing tools and services for resellers. One way to look at it is from a home construction/renovation analogy: if you think of the people who provide internet services to you — your ISP or whoever hosts your Web site or provides you with an email address, your domain name registrar, the payment gateway for the site where you sell T-shirts with funny sayings online — as construction people or contractors, we’re Home Depot.

(Wait a minute…did I just use the “Royal We”? I did! Because I can! Hah!)

Tucows has been around since 1993, which is like being reincarnated three times in an industry where lots of players say “proudly serving you since six weeks ago!”.

I’m going to have a lot of fun and learn even more from my new boss Ross Rader (can I refer to you as “Boss Ross” in the blog, Ross?), who’s a really sweet guy and has probably forgotten more about the inner workings of the ‘Net that I will ever learn, and his boss — CEO Elliot Noss — who wins hands-down the title of “Most Influential CEO For Whom I’ve Worked”. When I mentioned on IRC to super-duper ‘Net mover-and-shaker Joi Ito that I’d just come from signing my employment contract at Elliot’s office, he got excited and talked about how super-cool he thought Elliot and Tucows were. In rock terms, this is like joining a band and then hearing Radiohead say “You just joined them?! Cool! We listen to them all the time in our tour bus and we love the lead singer!”

The position for which I was hired is a newly-created one, inspired partially by a visit by blogger, Big Idea Guy and Linux Journal editor Doc Searls, who came to town to visit with Elliot and the rest of the Tucows folks back in March . At the “blogflocking” Doc held after his Tucows meeting, I met up with Doc and a couple of Tucows guys — Darryl Green and Ross — and this, in combination with a hearty recommendation from Cory Doctorow led to the interviews which led to the job.

(Here’s a photo of Doc at the gathering, trying on my hat and accordion.)

My job position: I’m the go-to guy if you’re a technical person who wants help using Tucows’ tools. If we go back to the construction analogy again, if you’re a contractor or construction worker and Tucows is Home Depot, I’m the experienced construction guy who shows you how to use the tools, finds out what you need and get you something to help, and does the demonstrations on a popular TV show. I’m Bob Vila. Or maybe Tim Allen. Since the position is new, I get to play a very active part in defining my role, which I think will make the job even more fun.

(I promise not to define it as “hiding under his desk with a PlayStation 2 and a keg of beer and still expecting a paycheque every two weeks”.)

The only downside to the position is that the title is a little unwieldy: it’s Technical Community Development Coordinator. That’s sixteen — count ’em — sixteen syllables; one short of a haiku.

(My more pedantic friends will correct me and say that it’s a senryu, not a haiku.)

Thankfully, it shortens nicely to TC/DC, which is close enough to AC/DC to get all kinds of rock references, including a slogan for my job: “Nerdy Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!”

I start working there full-time on July 14th, which coincidentally is Bastille Day.

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