on the job hunt with porchfest at my side

Posted this on LinkedIn:

Spoiler: I'm soft launching a job search, my time with Monster Worldwide (and my time on a "design system for design system" project with its parent Randstad) will be ending in around 6 weeks. https://kirk.is/resume and https://kirk.is/portfolio if you want to see what I can do as UI Engineer reaching into the middle tier (Boston based, flexible about onsite vs WFH, React and Typescript for adding features to the front page and bread and butter search of some very high profile companies.)

But even as I balance that day job with learning and interview prep, I have a "side hustle" I'm proud of, making websites for various porchfests in the Boston area (along with the directory site https://porchfest.info ) In a dream world I would be doing something like this full time, helping more and more neighborhoods declare an afternoon for bands to get out of the garage and in front of an audience on the porch... but for now it's just a hobby with small stipends.

For most of my sites (JP, Fenway, Newton, Belmont, Dedham, Melrose, Natick, Newton, and now Medford) I do the whole shebang: the landing page, online signups, drag and drop tools for "matchmaking" (connecting bands and porches) and geolocation, display of the block schedule and interactive maps (in a mobile friendly way), handling bulk email contact, and sometimes even making print materials. But Saturday was the area's oldest and biggest porchfest, Somerville - somervilleartscouncil.org/somervilleporchfest - I "only" do the map/band card page for that but I love how it looks. And helping them make a static frontend of their site starting 4 or 5 years ago has been one of my "hero stories" - the version of the map and band browsing page that was hitting their Drupal backend for every request was a recipe for annual disaster. Porchfest traffic is INCREDIBLY spiky- even for a completely static site, it can be a challenge if you have a limited hosting budget. I reached out to the folks running it, we hashed out a way of pulling data as JSON, and I built a statically rendered (SPA-ish) site that let the browser do all the work of filtering and map-wrangling.

One of the biggest questions for a porchfest is whether they are "B.Y.O.Porch" (like Somerville), or if their vision of inclusion means more matchmaking (like JP, the first city I started doing these for) or some permutation of the two. My newest site, Medford, requested a new feature where we could send a link to porches that didn't have any band associated with them, allowing them to request a band from those that didn't yet have a porch. I was able to come up with the page thumbnailed here in less than a day of work, along with the update to my bulk mailer system to send the link (with appropriate authentication) to just those porches.

Anyway, get in touch if you want to know more about Porchfests - or if you have any thoughts about where my next day job could be...

A quote I saw today on another social that will now live rent-free in my head forever:
"No one wants to work" is just "no one wants to date nice guys", but for employers.