Not so long ago, I reconnected with Airpair’s recent marketing hire, Dilys Sun, who at the 2012 Crunchies, was known as the “Codecademy girl” who accepted on behalf of the team. She’s absolutely a breath of fresh air to deal with and she was able to help me understand the mission of Airpair, what the process would be like and literally held my hand throughout the entire onboarding experience.
After a brief chat, she convinced me to give Airpair a shot, and so I did. While their interface was intuitive, there were certain things that were a bit jarring and I was confused about, which I promptly shared with her as I’m sure others would face similar issues.
Once the time was scheduled, I was invited to a live Google hangout and told it would be recorded, which expected as it was an Open Source Airpair session.
I wasn’t quite sure what the market rate was for my problem was, but I was willing to pay just to get up and running and save the hours it would take to get over that hump. The rate I had agreed upon, was $90 for open source (a $20 discount, down from $110), which meant that Airpair could use the video recorded over Google Hangouts for internal or marketing purposes that they would make public as case studies or for other people who are confronting similar problems. They do offer several price points starting at $80 up to $300 per hour, which is not for those who are on a budget.
The problem I was facing
I had faced a few problems with Nitrous.io and hoping we could trouble shoot a few things that might be able to get me past that obstacle, and along with that was the issues I was having installing Ruby on Rails.
What I originally intended to troubleshoot was a host of different issues that I thought we’d be able to breeze by in the hour I had booked with Evan, who came highly recommended from the team at Airpair.
While we got on the call, we exchanged a few pleasantries and getting to know each other for a few minutes that was off the clock. After that, it was down to business, and what I originally signed up for wasn’t really addressed and we tried to install Ruby on Rails locally, which was a bit of a pain. What I had originally thought would take perhaps half an hour, ended up taking the entire hour. Most of the time was spent waiting to install because my machine was a bit slower, however, I wasn’t really sure why Evan didn’t skip installing all the Rails documentation which probably took at least 10 minutes of our hour and had zero added value, but I digress.
Keep in mind while you’re using Airpair, you’re paying for time, not results. I really had no idea what to expect other than some progress from where I currently was, but the bottom line was that I wanted some of the pain taken away from installing rails, which Evan helped with dutifully, professionally and patiently. If you’re tackling a particularly hairy problem, you should budget accordingly and have some ROI in mind because you’re strapped for development resources or hit a stumbling block that you can’t tap your own network to get help from. I would not recommend you use Airpair as a learning aid, because it can get pretty costly and can be a crutch at that.
To get the best value of out your time spent on Airpair, is to define the problem your facing with the narrowest scope possible. It would have been nice for Evan to have paced my expectations because I was buying his time because of his expertise with Rails. When I had booked my hour with Evan, I had thought I’d be able to tackle 3 different things at once, which definitely wasn’t the case, but that was because of my inexperience.
While I do appreciate what Airpair is building, and the value that they’re creating, for those who are in similar shoes like myself I’m not sure if it’s a good use of your money as taking a bootcamp or patiently waiting for a friend or mentor to give you the time might be better. However, if you’re a freelancer or a CTO looking to tackle a really hairy problem and need another fresh set of eyes to help pair with you, then I think Airpair is a fantastic option to get some extra engineering muscle at a price point that makes sense for all parties involved.