I hired Soe Soe because of two recommendations here, his rather unusual website, and the positive impression I got from corresponding with him. While he is indeed a nice guy, and knowledgable about present Mandalay, I deeply regret hiring him:
1) He is THE most silent guide I've met, and contributes next to nothing about history and culture even when prompted.
2) That might be connected to the fact that he's not a licensed guide, a fact he omits in pre-communication. He shared this with me only as we were driving from the airport, when he said that contrary to our itinerary he cannot take me with a boat to Mingin. (Unlike licensed guides he'll have to pay for himself.) This surprise repeated itself the next day when he told me only at the enterance - again contrary to our correspondence - that he cannont enter the palace with me. (Had he warned me in advance I could have brought my LP with me.) when I voiced my indignation, he had the effrontery to say he was disappointed!
3) He said he could arrange transport to the airport for $20; the hotel did so for $12. Usually one expects the guide to offer cheaper rates...
I do NOT recommend hiring him.