Business of Software Workshop details, Wednesday 26th October

Details of the Business of Software Workshops for Wednesday 26th October: to register, go to your e-confirmation and set the agenda or book here. As one person was kind enough to point out, sitting in on these workshops would be enough to come to Business of Software. Sadly, some hard choices need to be made – quickly!

Practice your pitch. Jason Cohen, Judy Gonzalez Ricardo Sanchez.

We will invite 4 screened startups that will be given 5 minutes to ‘pitch their idea’, followed by 10 minutes of open & honest feedback from entrepreneurs who have been there before. We will select the startups to pitch before the date of the event and are currently seeking experienced entrepreneurs who can offer their time and experience to all the workshop attendees.

Dealing with investors or outs (it’s a similar process), especially for geeks and boostrappers.

Workshop moderator – Jason is the founder of WPEngine, the WordPress hosting company that makes websites fast, scalable, and secure, with tech support who live, breathe, and even debug WordPress.

Previously he founded and sold Smart Bear Software (software quality tools, mainly peer code review) and co-founded and sold ITWatchDogs (server room climate monitoring devices).

He’s known best for the blog and podcast about startups, marketing, and geekery.

Zen And The Art Of AdWords Maintenance: from exploited to predator in three simple steps. Dave Collins.

  • Mistake #1: Most companies believe that theirAdWords accounts are reasonably efficient.
  • Mistake #2: Most companies believe that AdWords is a no-brainer; that with a smallish budget you can’t go wrong.
  • Mistake #3: Most companies believe that their AdWords accounts do not waste money and opportunities.

Most are very, very wrong. Zen and the art of AdWords Maintenance will look at the three steps required to turn your account from exploited to predatory. It probably won’t change your life, but can transform your AdWords ROI beyond words.

Workshop moderator – Dave Collins, SoftwarePromotions

Technology hiring/building a development team & the challenges of technical recruiting. Corey Reid.

Corey Reid, ChiefCat Herder at FreshBooks, will lead a discussion on the difficulties of hiring developers, DBAs, QA folks and other technical professionals. How do you find these people? How can you evaluate them? What will attract them to your company and make them want to work for you? Share your frustrations, learn new techniques, and discuss your theories on what works and what doesn’t. Required reading: Joel’s “Guerrilla Guide To Interviewing”

Workshop moderator – Corey Reid, Freshbooks

Customer Relationship Management for AppOwners. Des Traynor.

Software owners are disconnected with their customers. Sure you can buy drinks at a conference or hand out 64MB pen drives now and then,but it’s not a real relationship. If you ask an app owner to introduce you to ten of their best customers, most would struggle, grimace and then get a developer to break out SQL. Imagine trying to run a bar, convenience store,hairdressers, hell any service with that level of apathy to the folks who pay your wages. It shouldn’t be surprising that your customers are willing to jump ship the second they hear of a competitor with a shiny new homepage. You never cared about them, why should they care about you?

This workshop teaches you how to greet your users, how to get to know them and establish a relationship that will last through downtime hiccups, buggy iPhone apps, and accidental emails. A relationship built on real communication, real contact, and genuine consideration. We’ll explore how to greet customers to your software, how and when to check in with them, how to encourage and reward loyalty, and how to measure the impact of all these activities. Attendees leaving the workshop will be freed from the thrice yearly email blasts, and will be focussed on delivering a compelling customer experience, one that increases retention and referrals. This won’t be a botched walk through gamification & sign up hacks, it will be a truly useful and practical guide to how you can change your companies attitude to your users.

Workshop moderator – Des Traynor is the Customer Experience designer at Intercom. He is an accomplished writer on start-ups and growing businesses on the popular Contrast blog, and is a regular conference speaker at events such as Future of Web Apps, MIX, CS Forum, MidwestUX, and many others.

Setting up and managing a software project with Subversion and Trac. Beau Adkins.

If you are running a software business, you deal with code. There are some great, free tools available to manage this important asset for you, but unfortunately some people in the field do not use them. Some people may not know how to get started, or which tools to use, or how to use it once it is set up. This talk intends to answer all of these questions.

An attendee will receive simple step-by-step instructions on setting up a Subversion server for source code version control integrated with Trac for web-based ticketing. In addition, attendees will learn subversion best-practices for checkins, branching, and releasing.

Workshop moderator – Beau Adkins, CEO of LightPoint Security

Changing Horses Midstream. Chris Byers.

This workshop is about the difficulties and leadership opportunities that come from changing key leaders in the midst of a startup. Formstack was only a few years old when the founder had a great opportunity to create a new social media startup and move out of town. This left the original, semi-bootstrapped plain jane has some revenue company to find a new leader. I’ll talk about the challenges I faced coming into a company with a pre-defined culture, finally gaining my own platform (thanks Spolsky for your 2010 talk) and redefining culture and the direction of the company. Changing leaders doesn’t have to be the end.

Workshop moderator – Chris Byers, Formstack

How to Near-Guarantee Marketing Results. Nemo Chu.

For some, marketing is like rolling dice. It doesn’t have to be. I’ll reveal my recipe for acquiring 3000 customers in 1.5 years for a new B2B app. The recipe is inspired by key principles in social psychology, lean startup thinking, and agile methodology.

Workshop moderator – Nemo Chu, Ambassador at Bloomfire

Where it Really Hurts: Finding the Pain of Your Present and Future Customers. Elizabeth Ayer.

Most people can’t explain their pain to their doctor, let alone a software guy. But if you don’t find out where it really hurts, your products will lack a compelling edge. Come get some ideas about how to get the right people to talk to you, and how to steer the conversation away from software specifics.

Workshop moderator – Elizabeth Ayer, Red Gate Software

What do people do to keep their business _online_? Dirk Paessler, CEO of Paessler The Network Monitoring Company

In this workshop we will talk about what your peer workshop participants do to keep their your business running! We don’t want to be in the customer’s way: How do they make sure that a customer can send you money for your product at any time, 24/7, 365 days a year? Of course step one is to simply monitor our website, shop, downloadsites? But what else do you do?

Even more monitoring: Do you keep an automated eye on your shopping cart process, your automated logfile download and analysis, your build process, your unpaid invoices, your daily cash flow, your maintenance rate, your support ticket count, your data center room temperature, etc.? Do you have a dashboard of the vital parameters of your business?

Hosting: Where/How do you host your website? How do you prepare for disaster or total failure of your hosting company? Do you dare to use the cloud (and are you prepared for cloud failure)?

Payment: What payment methods and what payment processing companies do you work with?

Usability: Are you testing your sign-up/download, trial and shopping process with people who have no idea what they are doing?

Support: Do you offer 24/7 phone/email support? Or just 8 hours on business days?

Workshop: Software Product Management – Maximizing investments. Ernani Ferrari

Learn how to maximize scarce resources and investments in software products. Get key drivers to streamline communication and processes in you organization and along with clients and partners. Understand

  • The software management cycle
  • Traps software companies fall into
  • The importance of systematic product management
  • The objectives and necessities of the product management process
  • The product management organization – approaches; product manager’s role and profile
  • The eight key-information areas for research, mapping and analyses
  • Address key concerns with whom played as a product manager and director for many years and has implemented the process several times.

Ernani Ferrari, Chief Consultant of Mondo Strategies and author of the book Product Management for Software – Simple Processes for Great Results, the Mondo Strategies Guide of Metrics and Software Indicators (this one not available in English) and several articles related to software management.

Planning for scale. Patrick Foley and Drew Colthorp.

After you’ve proven your business model, you want to know that your technology can grow as quickly as your business grows. While you don’t want an over-engineered solution, you do need to think about scalability early or else your technology will be an obstacle at the most inconvenient times – when you are experiencing your greatest successes. How do you plan for scale? And what about The Cloud, doesn’t that fix everything? This interactive session will discuss scalability strategies at a level that every business person needs to understand in order to have meaningful conversations with their technology experts.

Drew Colthorp builds custom software for clients of all sizes at Patrick Foley is an ISV Architect Evangelist for and has worked with numerous companies building scalable applications.

Sales Skills. Paul Kenny.

These are details of the Business of Software Workshops for 24th October: to register, go to your e-confirmation and set the agenda or book here.