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Re: [NYC-rb] Re: [Workshop] The Art of Cucumber

From: John B.
Sent on: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 2:00 PM
@OP: It's your right to charge for a course if you like.

@Others: If you're willing to teach an all day ruby (or other programming) workshop for free, let me know and I'll make sure you have the space.

contact info:
@johndbritton -

On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 7:46 PM, Sam Livingston-Gray <[address removed]> wrote:
Was intrigued to see this in the digest this morning:

On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 2:40 PM, Joseph Wilk <[address removed]> wrote:
> Hello Rubists,
> I am planning to run my workshop The Art of Cucumber in New York City
> towards the end of November/early December. I wanted to get an idea of
> how many people would be interested in attending the workshop.
> You can read more about the content of the workshop and express your
> interest here:

...and then I saw this oh-so-charming reply.

Wielding a hammer of trolling +3, 'volkan' wrote:
> $400 for a workshop? That's really hilarious.

The reason for the hilarity is left implicit, but I'm going to go out
on a limb and assume that 'volkan' doesn't think Joseph is
undercharging for his services.

Leaving aside the question of Joseph's airfare and lodging expenses
(he's from London, but apparently that's his own damn fault for not
having the sense to be born a New Yorker) and the cost of renting a
suitable venue (for the latter two, let's just assume that real estate
costs in a reasonably central location are negligible), the question
of how much Joseph's workshop is worth boils down to one question:
will the skills you learn save you enough time to offset the $400

Personally, to say that I've lost weeks of my working life to the
abuse of Cucumber would be an understatement.  In one Rails
application at work, we have about 8,000 non-whitespace lines in 91
*.feature files and about 5,500 lines in 44 step definition files.  I
once spent nearly a day just finding unused steps so I could delete
them.  I've probably spent a few more cumulative days figuring out
where a particular step is defined.  (Yes, Cucumber prints the matched
step after each line, but when a step invokes another step, it's up to
you to track that down.)

Believe me, if I had a time machine and could go back three years and
slap some sense into the people who worked on this codebase before me,
I'd do it in a heartbeat.  Barring that, the best thing I can do is to
teach the people I work with today how to avoid making a similar mess
in the future.  Compared with the time I've wasted, $400 seems like a
no-brainer to me.  (Of course, I'm three time zones away, so that cost
would be more than doubled by airfare and lodging.)


As for the poster who suggested that a full-day workshop should cost
more in the $5-20 range:  a reasonable cap on a workshop like this
would be 20 people; more than that and participants might as well just
watch a video.  20 people paying $20 apiece is $400, or $20 per hour
of actual training.  I've seen a few job postings naming salaries of
$[masked]k/year; how many of you work for $20/hour?  (Note:  that
$20/hour figure assumes zero prep time.  I wouldn't be surprised if
Joseph had spent weeks working on training materials -- I know I've
personally spent tens of hours working on one-hour presentations.  I
was happy to give those talks for free; if anyone had asked me to do
that work for $1-2/hour, I'd have told them to get bent.)

Really, NYC.rb, is this the best you've got?

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