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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Øredev 2010 - Day 5 - Tristan Smith

Ten Big Holes - Software for the Next 20 years - Nolan Bushell (Founder of Atari)

Nolan covered some really interesting futures such as Auto Cars, a future without credentials, nanobots, augmented realities and swarms.

My last 30 failures and what I've learned so far - Ted Valentin

Ted Valentin gave us a decent talk covering his path into software development and covering some of the lessons he'd learned.
He talked about how success and failure are both parts of the same coin.
He cited some indy successes with Plenty of Fish, Million dollar homepage and Chat Roulette.
The success criteria he covered:
  • It should be quick and easy to build,
Make use of Facebook login, Twitter integration, Flickr images, RSS, APIs and open data to make it easy to buiild.
  • Simple to maintain
  • Easy to make money
Using Google Adsense, Affiliates (Plenty of Fish, Tradedoubler), Freemium, Selling (other peoples) things, Partners, Sell the site.
  • Easy to get visitors
Use Google, make your site good link bait, use good keywords, give it a long tail, prefer low keyword competition, aim for low bounce rates. Make use of Google Trends to find the right keywords, Social networks, Piggybacking on popular services, Returning visitors (email), Blog widgets, iPhone, Referrals, PR
  • Fills a need
He gave some examples where not following these resulted in fails:
  • Making a site focussed on an unsearched for keyword.
  • Making it too hard for visitors (making them work when they reach your site) leads to high bounce rate.
  • Not making the site monetisable leads to less investment. Geographic site for used books, not needed.
  • Not having a deadline, either GTD throw it out or set a launch party to get social pressure to make you do it.
The bottom line was that It's fine to fail, it's better to fail fast and cheap.

97 Things Every Programmer Should Know - Kevlin Henley

An open source crowd sourced compilation of collective wisdom from the Experts. Why 97? Strong prime? nope, because it's not quite 100, it's not trying too hard.
Deliberate practice to master the task, not complete the task(Katas) - Jon Jagger
Estimates negotiated to Targets which is made into a commitment - a promise to deliver specific functionality to a certain level of quality by a certain date.
Kevlin only managed to cover a few of the points in the book, well worth getting.

Social Media and Personal Branding as Project Leadership Tools - Dave Prior

In 15 words or less, describe your brand.
What does this say about your promise of value?
Think about your persona - the mask you wear to portray a definite impression and conceal your true nature.
Putin is a good example of this, holiday photos all show a beefy masculine character, showing strength.
Define your brand that will enable you to stand out and make sure that you can live up to it. Be consistent with it or people will lose trust in it.
Sender Receiver Model
Sender > Encoding > Message - Noise - (Encoding can be a bad mood making your message change)
How are you encoding the message of your brand?
Be interested and be interesting, this is key to social media.
4 types of social media users
1. Carefree / Careless (detracts from your brand if you say inane things)
2. Noise Makers (Look at me)
3. Barkers (Associative or braggers - Not engaging)
4. Strategic / Tactical users
Your digital footprint is your new permanent record. You have to consider this when you're posting online. Would I want anyone to be able to see this in 10 years? Make sure it's something you can wear, use and maintain without being excessively protective about it.
Social Tokens - The Fawn Liebowitz Experiment - Using core references to find people on the same wavelength to skip straight to trust. Something people have an emotional tie to. Eases communication flow, establishing more than just a common interest, forms a deeper bond by finding joined ownership to tribes.
There's no award for volume, in fact too much can dull your message.

The 9 Reasons you're not apprenticing anyone - Dave Hoover

"Today we have more developers than needed, but we have a shortage of good developers". Pete McBreen
  1. Your company won't let you Your company can't stop you, it doesn't have to be a full apprenticeship 'program'. It could just be grabbing lunch together.
  2. You don't like your job Change your job or change jobs, work on it, introduce change, challenge people.
  3. You're too busy You've got things to take care of before you can build in time for apprenticeship. Take control!
  4. You're a road warrior Leave assignments, just because it's not ideal doesn't stop it being possible.
  5. You're independent Feels like way too much responsibility. Contract with options to hire and defined milestones makes it easier in this case. Leave a legacy.
  6. You're not good enough Yes you are, you don't need to be the ultimate master of a subject to get started down the path.
  7. You can't find any apprentices Keep looking! Check the user groups they're full of passionate people.
  8. You don't like to mentor  Even if you don't want to do it yourself, try to be gentle, don't stop others from trying.
  9. You don't believe in it. (Gave some examples where it really worked)
Tips
Start small, incrementally, do retrospectives.
Pair programming, pet projects with milestones and code reviews

True Tales of the App Store Making iPhone Apps for profit - Jack Nutting

Some points form his talk:
Cheaper apps attract more haters.
Reducing price can often decrease ratings.
The structure of the App store means it's a hit driven economy, you can see flocking behaviour as a result.
Apple has a number of methods of raising the focus on an app (Staff Picks, Themes etc).
Ways of making money
In app purchases, lite versions, iAds + competitors.
Build free apps that help people use your own business.
Gameify dull activities.

If you're going to be a copy cat, add something extra.
People love stories, no matter how stupid, work them into your games.
Updates can increase popularity and increase value (Doodle Bug, Pocket God)
Eliminate Choice - Make your app as simple as possible but not simpler - modified Einstein quote.

Market while coding, find enthusiasts and give them sneak peaks.
Work your social networks.
Issue a press release.

Øredev Conclusions

Having attended Tech Ed in previous years due to our focus on .NET technologies, we've changed our focus more towards mobile development in general. This means we've hit Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Phone 7.
Øredev has up to 8 tracks going on simultaneously with tracks from below:
Java | .NET | Smart Phones | Patterns | Social Media | Agile | Software Craftmanship | Xtra (non coding related extras) | Architecture | Cloud & Nosql | Realizing Business Ideas
The sheer amount of options is quite daunting at first but it really does expose you toa lot of useful content that you just wouldn't find at a domain / technology focussed conference.
One of the biggest takeaways for us has been around process.
Working across so many different technologies and projects at the same time has an overhead in management, one that we've managed so far using Scrum. Scrum's a great methodology but it isn't quite as flexible as we sometimes need it to be, in Scrum you'd choose a number of tasks from the backlog for a sprint and not deviate from it. We do sometimes have emergency work and rush jobs that can't wait until the next sprint. This can be a real pain when you have to keep half heartedly adopting a methodology.
Kanban is a more flexible methodology that both Tim and I have mentioned in the blog so far, we saw a lot of sessions on it. We're both convinced it has the right managerial qualities as well as psychological benefits to suit us really well.
I really hope you've enjoyed hearing about the sessions we've been to, Øredev is a great conference one I can wholeheartedly recommend. Bring on Øredev 2011!

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