It sometimes amazes me the sheer chutzpah of some people. I receive a number of emails every week from developers asking me to help them solve their coding problem, or send them a snippet of code that carries out some function.
It is as if they expect me to do this for free, my most common response to these emails is 'Do you have a budget for this?" Mostly I dont get any more email from that person again.
Now it is one thing when it is some student trying to finish his project, it is even more amazing when it is an employee of a large well known software company (and yes there is more than one company I am thinking of here). It seems that because at some time I did some consulting for a company or that I once built some software they bought I am now a resource for free knowledge.
It gets beyond the point of astounding when their managers followup from the 'budget' question with something like 'this will only take you 2 minutes'
I think it would be interesting to work out what 2 minutes of my time might be worth:
30 years of 'playing' with computers is a lot of experience, I know I have blink response to some aspects of developing software. I know when something is right or wrong. I can smell it. that is a rare skill and worth a big number.
The experience of running software companies and creating software startups is worth some pretty large numbers.
The fact I do not need your 'work' only adds to an already large running total.
It reminds me of the old story about a railroad expert being summoned because a brand-new diesel locomotive would not start, no matter what the engineer did. After a short time studying the situation, the expert gave the locomotive a light tap with a hammer. It started right up. When the railroad received the expert's bill for $1,000, they asked him to itemize it. The reply came:
Hitting the locomotive with hammer: $10
Knowing where to hit it: $990
How much is your knowledge worth?
Are you increasing the value of your knowledge on a regular basis?