Amazing event (and not one of ours!). Business of Software, Boston, October 4th-6th

We think there are far too many events in the world that focus on fluffy, new, shiny stuff and not enough that focus on turning new things into sustainable businesses. We think this is why so many people say nice things about our events – that and they get to meet other high quality people.

I wonder how many of you feel the same way?

The BLN and Business of Software share the same philosophy. That is one reason why we think the Business of  Software conference is probably the most valuable event in the US that CEOs and Founders of software companies can participate in. Successful businesses are not all obsessed with coming up with a new and exciting idea, raising venture capital then exiting. This event is for people with the vision to see beyond the hype.

If you are a CEO or Founder of  software business, whether organically grown or venture backed, or if you are a VC and want to meet some of the best practitioners in the business, you should give some very serious thought to getting to Boston between October 4th and 6th this year.

Here is a two minute video that gives you a quick view of last year’s event.

One thing makes an awesome conference – awesome people. Here are some of the awesome speakers that will be talking, eating, meeting and learning from the awesome participants:

Joel Spolsky, Fog Creek Software

“My VC Year” – After ten years of running a slow-growth, bootstrapped software company that was profitable from day 1, I found myself running a fast-growth, VC-funded internet company that is actually trying to get unprofitable. I’ll reflect on some of the differences and some of what I’ve learned from going over to the dark side.

Seth Godin,

“Are you afraid to truly make an impact? The opportunity for linchpin organizations and the people who run them.”

Eric Sink, SourceGear

“Stuff I Learned from Selling Our Company to Microsoft” – Over the years, we’ve been approached by several parties interested in acquiring our company. I learned a lot from those discussions, even though none of the deals happened.

Paul Kenny, Ocean Learning

“Engaging Dialogue” – In his presentation Paul will build on the material covered in 2008 and 2009. In this session Paul will explore how best to get the customer really talking about their needs their concerns and their aspirations. We will explore how best to use our questioning and listening skills to engage the customer in a meaningful dialogue, which will help not only to identify an appropriate solution, but also to enhance the customer experience.

Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot

“Building A Great Software Business: Notes From The Field” – Dharmesh (who is not used to writing about himself in the third person) is obsessed with software companies. When he’s not working on his own startup, he’s reading about building software companies, investing in software companies, blogging about building great software companies or engaged in passionate debate with fellow entrepreneurs as to how to go about building great software companies.

Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni, Balsamiq

“Do Worry… Be Happy!” – One thing they don’t tell you about quitting your job to become a startup CEO is how much you’re going to worry about things.

Jason Cohen, Smart Bear Software

“From Geek to Entrepreneur” – As a geek who has started three successful companies, I’ve had to move from “coder” to everything else — salesman, marketer, accountant, and changer of the pellets in the urinals. In the process, I’ve found that some widely accepted advice lead to failure while trusting my inexperienced gut lead to success. Through stories I’ll give you six ways to figure out whether specific advice is right for your situation, and then workshop those lessons against the 37signals philosophy.

Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

“The Lean Startup: A Scientific Approach to Innovation.” – Most software projects fail. Most startups fail. Most new products are never used. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

David Russo, Eno River Associates, Inc.

“Company Culture and its DNA: “For Better For Worse, For Richer For Poorer …” – Summary – The presenter, David Russo, who consults with high tech companies regarding high performance management, and growing attractive and sustaining employer brands, and who is the author of the book 17 Rules Successful Companies Use to Attract and Keep Top Talent (2010 Financial Times Press), will use research conducted by top business school professors and his own experience as both executive and “trusted advisor” to show how the way the company sets itself up from inception to find, hire, engage, reward, and keep its “talent” plays a large part in whether a company grows, finds success, rewards investors and incumbents, and even lives or dies … regardless of the quality of the science, technology, innovation, or discovery.

Scott Farquhar, Atlassian

“From Bootstrap to $60m. What I’ve learnt” – Atlassian has been a successful software bootstrap, right up until we took $60m funding from Accel Partners in July 2010. Scott packs some of what he’s learnt about running a software company into thirty minutes. You’ll hear about how to pick a business model, how to get free marketing, how we hired 32 people in 6 months, and how we built a workplace that has won numerous HR awards.

Derek Sivers, MuckWork

“Profit Models” – Explore many wildly different profit models from a bird’s eye view. Abstracted to memorable shapes, it’s simple and inspiring to apply them to your business.

Rob Walling,

“The Primary Goal of Your Website” – What’s the primary goal of your website? Not to sell software. With most visitors returning multiple times before making a purchase, your primary goal should be to draw visitors back to your site. In this talk, Rob looks in-depth at why this is the case, and how to make it happen.

The Cranky Product Manager, DysfunctoSoft

The Cranky Product Manager is a fictional product management professional at a fictional enterprise software vendor named DysfunctoSoft. The Cranky PM has been officially in product management for many years, but before that spent time in the trenches as a developer and professional services slave. All told, she’s been working in tech for lots of years, at companies ranging from itty-bitty startups to IBM-sized behemoths. The Cranky Product Manager’s personality flaws and character failings include a passion for sodium-encrusted food, snarkiness, cynicism, abject driving skills, bluntness, and an absolute inability to tolerate pompous jackasses. The Cranky Product Manager might be revealing her true identity at Business of Software 2010. Or she might appear in wig and sunglasses. She hasn’t decided yet.

Mark Stephens, IDRSolutions

“(Don’t) Panic” – Something is wrong. Maybe you are just not checking your emails enough? Actually, it’s not you. The software universe really has gone mad and you need to step back and re-evaluate big time. This is your chance. The talk aims to take a long, cynical look at both the past and the future, give you some new ideas, and pose lots of those awkward, searching questions you try to avoid. All in 42 slides. And with kittens.

Dan Bricklin, Software Garden, Inc.

Dan Bricklin is currently president of Software Garden, Inc., a small consulting firm and developer of software applications that he founded in 1985.

Mr. Bricklin is best known for codeveloping VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet, while he was a student at the Harvard Business School. VisiCalc is widely credited for fueling the rapid growth of the personal computer industry.

If those people mean nothing to you, and the themes of their talks don’t get you interested, you are probably not the right sort of participant. If they do, then find a way to get there and take part.

The BLN  will be there and we strongly suggest you give it some thought too. If you want to get involved, use the code ‘BLN’ on registration and you will receive a $200 discount. (And, ‘No!’, we don’t get commission, we just think this is an awesome event and that our members are the kind of people who would value taking part).

Hope to see you there. More info: Business of  Software